7 lessons learned during my first exhibition

Blues festival

It was with great pleasure and excitement that I did my first exhibition, on August 16 and 17, at the Argenteuil Blues Festival 2019, at Barron Park in Lachute. I share here the 7 lessons learned during this exhibition weekend.

7 lessons learned

Here are the lessons I learned from this weekend rich in exchanges and experience. These are new tools in my toolbox as an artist.

1) Do not stress, breathe and meditate

When I arrived there, I had some paintings that were not prepared to be hooked, which caused me a lot of stress. I was not completely ready for my booth. In spite of all the preparations I had made, this detail was still in my mind to settle. I had brought tools and materials to prepare my paintings on the spot and it was stressing me a lot. As the visitors arrived later in that kind of event, I had plenty of time to prepare my booth. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself unnecessarily. It is normal to have some stress and feel excited. Participating in an exhibition is a great pleasure, once we live the present moment, saying to ourselves, “whatever may come”. Doing a meditation can also be beneficial. Check out my guided meditation here.

2) Prepare your plan in advance to hang your works

I had no plan to hang my paintings. So I spent a lot of time hanging, removing and again, hanging my paintings so that they look good on the panel. There are many ways you can plan an exhibition panel. The first way is to place them on the floor, taking into account the dimension of the panel that will be assigned to you. Ask in advance the dimension of the panel. A second way is to use a software allowing to put the dimensions of the panel and the canvases. Try to do the best arrangement and the positioning possible.

3) Choose the right color for your shelter

If you buy your shelter, make sure it is neutral and ideally white. If the shelter is provided by the event, check with the organizers and ask for it to be white. Other colors, such as red or blue, may make yourself different but the colored shadow will alter considerably the color of your artwork.

4) Let visitors come close to the artworks

Standing between the table and your works is the best way to place a psychological barrier for visitors. It is often the natural way to position oneself as an artist, behind the table. However, it is best not to put this barrier. Let the visitors come closer and enjoy the detail of the paintings more closely. To do this, if you have a table, stick it right on the panel so that all your products are easily accessible. You have to give freedom to the visitors, especially to your potential buyers.

5) Let visitors come to you rather than approach them

In my enthusiasm, as soon as a visitor approached my table, I offered a beautiful smile and a nice hello. Despite my good intentions to welcome people to my booth, it had opposite effect. It is better to let them wander through the booth as they wish. Like point 4, visitors must be given freedom.

6) Protecting artwork from the rain

Some of my artwork were in baskets, ready to put ont a table, but they had no protection. When moving the unprotected baskets from my car to my booth, while raining, it made me a little nervous. Paper and rain doesn’t make a good match! Luckily, my cards were protected by cellophane bags and it was not raining too much. The humidity can alter artwork so it is preferable to carry artwork in closed bins.

7) Bringing lighting and mosquito repellent for the evening

In a festival like this, you have to think about exhibiting in the evening. It is better to equip accordingly. The first night I was there, we had no lighting and when closing shop, the affluence began! It was the busiest time and I had no lighting! So always have a lamp for outdoor exhibitions, inside a festival. Whit the dusk comes the mosquito, so a repellent is also a must!

I hope these little tips will help you for your own shows. I say again thanks to the people I met in this festival and who are mentioned in my article on my first exhibition.

If you want to have other artistic tips and tricks, come visit my English Youtube channel!


Enjoy the colors of life!

Chantal Rioux