Mission Statement

The Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists is an open and diverse group of artists, collectors and admirers who share a love for the practice and perpetuation of botanical art and illustration with a fond focus on plants in the Rocky Mountain Region.
We encourage and participate in educational outreach, juried and non-juried exhibits, lectures, workshops and regular chapter meetings. The RMSBA is proud to be the very first chapter affiliation of the international organization, the American Society of Botanical Artists.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Is It Time to Exhibit Your Artwork?

Whether you are an advanced painter or a beginner, exhibitions serve a great purpose in the development of your artistic life. What are the benefits of exhibiting your art? Well, there are many. First, if you want to work professionally, exhibition is probably necessary. Your resume needs to show that your work has been accepted into juried exhibits, and one-person exhibits are a true indication of interest in your work.

If you aren't aiming toward a professional career, exhibitions are still an important part of an artist's life. Why? Having confidence in your own art methods, materials and results leads to more excitement and satisfaction in creating art. Feedback is a very good thing to have, as you can find out how others react to your art, not in a judgemental sense, but more in an empathetic sense.

"Knowledge is good" as we all learned from the classic film Animal House and their college motto, stating the obvious! And knowing your own goals and needs for your art is knowledge that is explosive! It can ignite your artistic talents.
Do you want to exhibit? Let's explore the proposition, see how it fits in your artistic life.

The Pros are pretty amazing:
Nothing is quite as intensely satisfying as the experience of sharing your joy in an art piece. And gallery/museum exhibits are a wonderful place to share. If you don't exhibit, you lose that opportunity. When hanging out at a gallery or exhibition opening, creative eavesdropping is a valuable art form. Can viewers see what you are trying to say/represent with your art? If so, ask them why the art moves/attracts them. If not, why doesn't it move/attract them. 

The Cons can be a bit daunting:
Exhibiting really only works well if it's part of your plan annually. Which, by inference, means you really need an annual plan. That takes some thought. Once you commit to an exhibit, you DO have to produce art in time to meet calls for entries deadlines. And there are often expenses - framing, glazing, matting, mailing, getting your artwork returned are not cheap. Do you want to spend the money it takes to do it right? Do you want to have your time scheduled externally, that is, following an other's schedule in your own art process?

The answers to the questions above may help you decide a lot of things in your life as an artist, including the theme being addressed in our blog in February, "To Show or Not To Show." It's knowledge that is indeed good to know about yourself.

Pseudolarix amabilis, by Libby Kyer, has been shown nationally at the Hunt Institute and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Florilegium exhibitions, and in Kew at the Sherwood Gallery. Lots of mileage out of a single image. You might want to consider regions you want to show in, so that you can design an image beautifully suited to travel!

Some other questions that need answering

How's your inventory?
        What do you have in recent paintings to present?                

        Do you know your own pace for production if you need more?

        Can you meet the artwork demand for new artworks for exhibitions?

How's your budget?
        Juried shows:  Entry fees are between $25 and $50 per show, generally for up to 3
        pieces, paid whether you are accepted or declined. It's good to enter the maximum
        artworks allowed for the entry fee.

         Framing in the simple frames called for by most botanical art exhibits is about $150
       to $200 for a 16x24" frame with mat and Plexiglas glazing.

         Delivery: Hand delivery is always less stressful if the exhibit is in your area. If you
       need to ship your entry, it will cost about $85 to $100 per leg - out and back - which
       includes insurance.

So, perhaps this gives you some insight into the planning and money needed to enter exhibits. There are, of course, variations in costs depending on location, jury status and other bits and pieces. As food for more thought on this subject, here are some links you can use to see what galleries want!

Great tips for finding a gallery and exhibiting are HERE.
What galleries look for in an artist - a great discussion is HERE.
Choosing the right gallery for your art - some guidance is HERE.

Next time, we'll talk about some shows you might be interested in when planning your exhibitions calendar.

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