Like squats… only for your face.

On Monday, I had my first stall EVER at Rowledge Village Fayre.

But what did I learn from this experience?

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1. Don’t underestimate the weather: I obsessively checked the weather for about ten days before the fayre. As I grew closer to the big day, I was checking four or five times a day. Great! No rain due! Glance over the fact that there are gale force winds. 

I arrived at the fayre two and a half hours before kick off to set up my wall-less gazebo. As soon as my stock was put onto the table, it was blown over, even my large glass-fronted framed print kept toppling over. My large orange display board? Forget it, that was threatening to fall over on my head, catapulting my original paintings everywhere.

Thank goodness for mum’s friend offering me a space in the big gazebo. Everyone shoved along and, although it was cosy, it saved the fayre for me.

2. Do some warm up facial exercises beforehand: I am generally a smiley person anyway, but no person’s face is used to smiling constantly for over four hours! Think of it like doing squats in the weeks leading up to a skiing trip… only for your face. Face squats.  My Stall!

3. Paint on the day, but don’t expect a masterpiece: I didn’t take all of my paints and paintbrushes with me. I couldn’t get close to my photograph, and I couldn’t zoom in on a screen like at home to see the detail.

BUT it looks great, and it invites people to watch you without feeling pressured to talk to you. Its a conversation starter! My friends from work said “Now we have seen proof that you actually DO paint!” It makes your artwork authentic and more personal. 

Photo: Talented artist at work

4. I am king of the kids: The tiniest little boy stared in complete rapture as I painted a meercat. I had no idea that little boys’ attention spans could be that trained on something that wasn’t going VRRROOOOM VROOOOM! After a while, he told me “that is a really good painting.” in a sincere and strangely adult way.

Another little girl kept coming back to watch me, saying “I wish I could paint like that”. I told her that at her age, I couldn’t either, and if she started practicing now – she would probably be better than me one day! Inspirational words!

5. I need to man up: Imogen! Be brave! People have spent a while watching you paint and complimenting your talents. Give them a business card, invite them to sign up to your newsletter for the chance to win a painting! Do something or you are the nameless girl at the fayre who can paint, but other than that you are forgotten.

For any blog readers, I am doing my prize draw in June. Anyone who subscribes to my newsletter is in with the chance to win a bespoke painting worth £95! If you have always wanted a painting, what have you got to lose? In my own words, man up!

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6. Don’t forget about your main market: At the fayre, I branded myself mainly as a painter of birds. I forgot my pet portrait leaflets, and I neglected the market of dog owners who were all conveniently at the fayre entering Fido into the “Waggiest Tail” contest. What a wally.

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7.  People are wonderful: Seriously. I felt overwhelmed with all the lovely comments I received. I am so thankful to everyone who came to support me, including the strangers who have no previous investment in me – who just genuinely like what I have to offer!

One lady flicking through my portfolio said “Your paintings are more lifelike than the photographs!” Wow. Day made! 

What have you learned in retrospect after a big event?

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A Painting Legacy

Yesterday, I used my Grandmother’s easel.

the beginnings of a masterpiece.

 

My dad had found it tucked away in a corner of our garage (aka the assorted junk and crap room, I don’t think it had ever housed a car.) much to my delight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t think I ever saw my Grannie paint. I know her mother (mum’s very own Granny Smith) was a keen artist, so perhaps it was bought in good faith or as an experiment to see if the art genes had been carried down the family tree.

Granny Smith did some lovely paintings.

They are a different style to my own, although, like me, she focuses on painting things that bring happiness and make people feel good. Aesthetically pleasing and realistic.

Its commercial art. And it is not ashamed to be so.

People would want it on their wall. We have it on our wall.

Its not what I call “Forced Art”, like you are taught in school or college. It is quite happy existing context free.

Ceramic head – created age 15. 

Random punter: “Hey Imogen, what were you thinking when you made a screaming, paint-splattered ceramic head with severed hands?! It must have been a horrific time in your life!”
Me: “Not really… I was probably wondering what was for tea.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, I like to think I am now carrying on Granny Smith’s legacy. Or my own Grannie’s legacy. One of the two.

It makes me sad that I never asked her whether she painted.
If she actually used that easel.

So from now on, whenever I use it, I will think of them. While I carry on making my commercial art. Art that doesn’t really tell a story, but the important thing is, it doesn’t try to either.

Whats more, its truly a delight to use. What luxury not to be hunched over painting and getting back ache. People should have thought of this centuries ago…

its coming on 🙂