The countdown is on to my first outdoor art fair, the 50th anniversary of Art in the Park, Oakville, ON.
It is so strange to still be a newbie, considering my first solo exhibition was in 1996, and I’ve exhibited numerous times in galleries & (indoor) shows in the Caribbean, Canada & even Paris, France since then!
However, it is true, although I’ve had a couple paintings outdoors before, as part of the Burlington Fine Arts Association’s tent during events at the Burlington Art Center (now the Art Gallery of Burlington) and even recently at Car Free Appleby, this is the first time I’ll have my own outdoor booth in an actual art fair.
The two biggest deterrents of course are the unpredictable weather (this same one-day art fair was hit with a bad rainstorm last year), and the tedium/hard labour of packing up kit & caboodle (what IS a caboodle anyway, and why does it always come with a kit?), unpacking at the fair (with a strict time limit) setting up, then repacking later to take home, & unpacking again when I get there. I think this gets easier once you have a few shows under your belt & have developed a system, but for now even just preparing for the event is a big deal, breaking into my regular painting schedule.
Part of that is all the research & shopping involved … I just ordered 3 table covers for my 6’x6′ table and that took all morning. An artist friend, Teresa Thompson-Martin (who will also be at Art in th Park Oakville) recommended this site, as she had just ordered black tablecloths online and they were at her door 2 days later. I wanted a plain white rectangular tablecloth, but they were sold out. After considering several alternatives, I decided to get a white fitted tablecloth.
At Car Free Appleby I used a taupe tablecloth from home, and I tacked my coroplast sign to it with small bulldog clips. At the end of the day, my husband went off to get the minivan & I packed up the artwork in a hurry so I’d be ready to just place them in the vehicle when he arrived. I put away a few small paintings that were on the table, and then lifted up the stand with the greeting cards … and the weight of the sign immediately started pulling the tablecloth to the ground. I quickly put a hand out to stop it, but a pile of newly printed postcards hit the wet ground (it had rained on & off all day)! Luckily the postcards were glossy, and even though I was only able to wipe them down when I was home (5 min away) and had unpacked the minivan, most of the cards were actually undamaged! Anyway, a fitted tablecloth should eliminate this from happening again.
I also ordered a black fitted tablecloth AND a royal blue one. Their royal blue is the same colour as the Pthalo blue acrylic paint I’ve been in love with for the last year or two. In fact when I did the Culture Days event last September, the City of Burlington had provided a canopy & table with a royal blue tablecloth & table skirt.
It was a great accent colour, and serendipitous – the colour of the peacock-feather inspired painting I started that day, “Flow”, and the colour of the sign I made for my business – Blue Roots Art Studio. So for now, my plan is to use the royal blue tablecloth. If it competes with my art though, I’ll have the more neutral white or black to fall back on.
The thing is, no matter how much research you do beforehand, it seems you still end up having to go through some trial & error, which is why most art fair veterans say that that this too is an “ongoing process”. I am wishing now that I didn’t make the last change to my order … from a regular black 90×132″ tablecloth to a fitted black tablecloth.
It turns out that the way you get into the fitted tablecloth to get to whatever you have stored under the table, is through the single slit which I was planning to place up against one of the tent walls … which might be awkward if there are people near the table, and things on it that might fall over when I move it away from the wall. It would have been smart to have had a regular black tablecloth as a backup. I was just thinking of how great the fitted tablecloths would look if I did an indoor event with just a table and a few grids. Then there’s the issue of signage … and the possibility of digitally printed tablecloths … you see, it never ends!
As it is, there is a slight chance that the tablecloths won’t get here in time (when you spend over $49., shipping is free, but it could take up to 2 weeks … I’m taking a gamble, I’m almost certain they’ll get here in time). In which case I’ll probably end up using my light taupe tablecloth, but at least I’ll be prepared for the next event.
Anyway, I’ve decided to post a new painting every day, from tomorrow until Art in the Park, Oakville on August 3.
I have been very silent on this blog for the last couple months because I have had a number of projects on the go, and just didn’t have the time to write about it, but I’ll be able to give more details in the next few posts.