Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Set-up for the Open Studio Reception

Our Open Studio Reception this past Sunday afternoon was a wonderful event in every way. It will take me a few posts to tell you all about it. The support of my rock (husband Mark), the incredible catering of our daughter-in-law, Ashley (with her able assistant, husband Pete), the classy piano music of our friend Greg, and the warmth and encouragement of many friends and neighbors made this possible. Given my shy, introverted nature, planning--even considering--this kind of event is extremely daunting. But my life has been enriched over and over by the times that I push myself way out of my comfort zone to achieve a new goal--like staging this event. UPDATE: I have now added an index to all blog posts about planning and holding an art reception. Access it here.

These photos were taken the afternoon before on a heavily clouded day. I had hoped for brighter weather on the day of the reception, but it stayed quite cloudy all day Sunday. Thus, some photos are too dark too show you, and none of them quite do justice to the display of paintings shown all around our home. In these, you see a pair of 5" x 7" marsh paintings atop a chest of drawers in our bedroom, scenes from two very different local beaches hanging in the guest bedroom (one 18" x 24" and the other 12" x 16"), and a 9" x 12" sanderling in the surf on a nightstand.
Altogether, I showcased 17 paintings of coastal North Florida scenes in various sizes and prices. I sold two immediately and have several people considering investing in some of the larger pieces. Last time we held an Open Studio Reception, two major paintings sold about two weeks later, once patrons had time to think it over. I always offer a full refund for any reason because it is important to give buyers a chance to try a piece out in their home or business to make sure it works well for them. All my artist friends tell me that selling even one piece at this kind of event is good, that giving people an opportunity to see the work is the main purpose. The first time we tried a reception like this, I was truly amazed to sell a total of 8 paintings (counting those sold later as a result of the showcase) and of course, did not expect a repeat of that.
Then, to my surprise, I sold a painting that was not for sale! A gentleman was asking about my earlier work and admiring a scene of dunes and sea that I had done on heavy art paper about 8 years ago--early in my painting career. I told him that it had never mounted properly and pointed out some air bubbles under the work. To encourage myself, I had framed it anyway because I liked the way it had turned out. However, I had never offered it for sale because of the mounting flaws. Undeterred, he made a fair offer for the piece--and I made a totally unexpected sale.
Question of the day: Don't you just love it when an unexpected bonus comes your way? I give thanks for even the very minor serendipities in life.


  1. I love that you do this, Mary! While I used to be painfully shy, and still am in some respects, I'm not all that shy these days. Showing my work in a reception like this, however, would have me back to my shyness. Much credit to you and I think it sounds like such fabulous fun!! So wish I could have visited. Congrats on the unexpected sale!

  2. Thank you for your warm encouragement, Sherry. I hope that one day, you will be showing your delightful work in some context, as well (when and if you want to do that). I wish you could have visited, too--it would be so cool to meet in person some day!