Being an Exhibitionist Part 1

Back in March, the LSH volunteered me for an exhibition in one of the two local cafés. And then he told me about it. Which was actually a good way to do it, because I’d probably have said no if I had been asked. As it was, it gave me a kick up the butt to really work at producing enough paintings of a good and consistent standard to occupy the exhibition space.

I did indeed work very hard at it.  In fact, when you consider everything else that was going on at the same time – revamping Villa Amande in time for our first guests in May; tidying up the gardens in Villa Amande and at our house; preparing a self-contained apartment in our house for my mother; working my twelve hours per week; and (barely) getting our little vegetable garden going – it’s no wonder I’m tired! But I’m proud of what we achieved in those six months.

We hung the paintings on June 30th.

The exhibition corner in the Café du Cours can be dark, even with the spotlights, but I was pleased with how bright the paintings appeared. This was my first time seeing this group of pastels on display side by side, and I thought they looked great together.  I had wanted to select and arrange a group of pictures that would look like a cohesive exhibition by someone who knew what they were doing, not like a novice artist’s first steps into the commercial world. Which is what they were, but I think I hid it well 😀

The vernissage or “official opening” was held a couple of days later. I invited pretty much everyone I know in the area – if I forgot anyone it was because I didn’t have an email address for them!

I did a little rearranging before the vernissage – I felt that the two owls were lost were we had put them. It wasn’t obvious that  they were part of the exhibition, and besides they looked a bit lonely stuck in a corner in between the stage and the toilets! So I hung them either side of This is how we fly! Like bookends.

(L to R) Chouette 2, This is how we fly! and Chouette 1

Le Monarque and Le Danseur

Most of my paintings have French titles (except This is how we fly! That does not translate) and I printed out my artist statement in French first and then English. Ya gotta remember where you have decided to live…

Le Regard and Le Patron

Shiva and Desert Storm (the French remember Desert Storm)

And, in the end, I was delighted with how they all looked. I pinned Shiva’s story beside her picture, so that people would be doubly hit by the sad eyes in that smooshy face once they read her background.

I was nervous as we waited for people to arrive. What if nobody came??

When nervous, eat crisps

My BFF and her BF had come all the way from Ireland for the occasion, so at least there was no way it would be a Zero-attendance vernissage.

But I needn’t have worried. Lots of people came and said lots of nice things about my work.

Fake it…

… ’til you…

…make it!

Shiva was particularly popular and I saw several people surreptitiously dabbing at their eye after they had read her story. Two sisters were particularly taken with her and it looked like they were going to start bidding against each other at one stage! But they are very nice to each other, and one of them stepped back to let her sister take possession of the smooshy face.

My first exhibition sale! And I didn’t have any red dots to mark it as sold! But the nice lady from the local gallery nipped back to her gallery and gave me a whole sheet, just in case.

The sale of Shiva made the evening a success straight away. The icing on the cake was when Le Patron also received a red dot, followed by a sell-out of the greeting cards I’d had printed, and the sale of one limited edition print.

Greeting cards on top quality paper. I know that some of these were bought to be put into small frames. I have no problem with that – I’d do it myself!

Does this make me a real artist now?

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