Saturday, May 7, 2011

Art Show Results

Last night was my first ever art show! I had 23 pieces on display in the "local artist" gallery at The Firehouse in Del Rio, TX. On display in the main gallery were the works of the contestants of the annual Del Rio Artist League's Judged art show. I had four pieces entered into that contest, separate from my private showing.

And guess what? My painting of the robin on the wire, "Freedom to Soar", won second place in the oil/acrylic landscape category! Yippee! I was really surprised to see a ribbon on it, but how exciting!

There were a few hundred entries in the entire show, and there was some fantastic art represented. The winner of the "Best in Show" was also my favorite, a watercolor of a basket of southwestern looking vegetables spilling onto a table top. It was by far the best piece of art I have ever seen. EVER.

Here I am in front of my bird! I'll tell you, I felt slightly like a small town celebrity when I first entered The Firehouse. My showing wasn't to start until 7, but when I arrived at 6 the place was hopping! There were a few dozen art league members studying the artwork, chatting, and getting things set up. When I introduced myself to one of the ladies, she yelled, "PAULA REYNOLDS?! Hey, ladies! Paula Reynolds is here!" After a brief pause, the same lady continued, "You know, the one who painted the BIRD!"

Suddenly I was half-surrounded by a bunch of very tiny little old ladies all smiling and shaking my hand. "We were hoping you would come!" "We just LOVE your painting!" "It's so new and fresh, so unlike anything we've seen here before." "We've all been painting the same thing for years for the art show and it's great to see some new work!" "I knew she was young! You can just tell from the style of painting."

I tell ya, my ego got a bit of a boost last night!

Everyone was so incredibly friendly, outgoing, and sincere that even though most of the members were old enough to be my grandmother, they felt more like new friends. I am glad to be their "new, young blood" into their "little old lady" art club!

Here are some pictures of my smaller gallery space, before the show got started. The paintings were arranged by color, mostly; blues, brown/green, purples.

Some of the paintings have been done within the past year, others as far back as ten years ago. I figured if there was wall space needing a painting, I may as well put it all up!

The paintings looked nice on the walls and under bright fluorescent lighting. The lights made even the ones I've been staring at for years seem new and exciting.

The opening was quite busy, especially with the flow of people coming in for the Judged art show. Maybe 100 people or so came in and of those, I spoke with probably half. I tried to be approachable but not pushy, so if someone loitered around a painting more than another I would gently start a conversation about the painting they were looking at. I met quite a few very kind people last night.

The paintings that garnered the most interest were:

1.) The desert landscape with the four season sections. I heard over and over that "this could be a painting of my backyard!" I pointed out how from afar the desert looks dead, brown, uninteresting, but when you approach it and really more closely, all kinds of colors, details, and life appear. Apparently, I even accidentally painted "The Sleeping Lady" mountains of Mexico in the background. Cool!

2.) The dandelion painting. There were quite a few people who came to look at the painting a few times, commenting kindly on it. One man came back over and over, and when I approached him, he had a wonderful faraway sentimental look on his face. I won't give away a strangers story, but I was thrilled that a painting I had done could evoke such emotion and sentiment in a complete stranger.

3.) Mrs. Starkers. You know, the naked chick running through the field. I was hesitant to put her up. I wasn't sure if her nakedness would be a problem, but I figured what the heck. It's not like you can see anything. At first, when the young children came through with their parents, the kids would run over laughing and pointing at her while mom and dad tried to get them to look away. It was kind of funny. Sorry, parents! But when the kids were gone and the wine drinkers started coming, small groups of women would gather around Mrs. Starkers, smiling and laughing with each other. Each time that happened I would go over and gently enter their conversation by asking them what they saw in her, all naked and running. I got the same answer from each lady. (I think it's a tad revealing, excuse the pun, about the nature of our culture.) Here's the gist of Mrs. Starkers from a strangers perspective:

"She's free. Total freedom. Free from childcare, housework, business work, everything. She's so free she's not even hindered by clothing."

And then they would get this far away look on their face, like they were imaging themselves being free from childcare, housework, business work, everything.

I'm certainly glad I brought her along to the show. She stole it!

Of the 23 paintings I brought, 4 sold. And they were the four that I painted within the last two weeks. Now, I hope I wasn't cheating or putting bad art karma out there, but a few weeks ago I realized that most of my pieces were quite large and expensive. So I painted a triptych and a single daisy that were small, fast to paint, and had proven themselves sell-able as I'd sold ones similar to them before. I was simply hoping to have a few pieces say "SOLD" so other patrons might feel more comfortable purchasing art from an unknown artist. You know the thinking, "Oh, she must be good if some of her art has already sold!" Something along those lines.

And it seems like my initial idea was right on. Within an hour I had sold both the triptych (Live, Laugh, Love) and the small, red daisy. They were inexpensive, $65 and $60 respectively, so I made only a small amount, but those big, fat SOLD letters printed in red are what I was after by putting those pieces in. We'll have to see if it equals more, and larger sales down the road.

So now it's over. The paintings will stay up through the end of May and then the unsold ones will come on back home with me and resume their places on my now empty walls.

This whole process has been exciting, stressful, fun, interesting, and so totally worthwhile. I'm already concocting some ideas for new paintings, and I've already reserved the gallery space for next May.

Only 364 days to go. I better get started...........


  1. Oh Paula, how totally Awesome!! You must be proud! You are such a great artist. I am so happy for you. Love the blog too! Miss you all so very much. Happy Mothers Day!! Love you guys

  2. Fantastic Paula, I am so happy it was so successful for you! Your work is beautiful, I LOVE Mrs. Starkers too! Congrats!!!

  3. Thats really awesome Paula!Congratulations on your sales and also for winning a second spot for the Robin painting.You are doing a great job.Keep it up!

  4. Go Girl!! Congratulations on your first, and very successful art show! So proud of you! You earned all your accolades, plus more! Here's to a great month of sales so you can feel free to start all over again! Cool, huh? Thanks for taking the time to have someone take pictures of you and kids and the pictures. It's much appreciated!!

  5. Yeah! Wish I could have been there. I'm so glad lots of people got to see your creations and appreciate them like I do mine. It's just awesome.

  6. Paula lovely exhibit Congrats on the sales. I truly love your bird paintings. They make uch a bold statement. Love your blog

  7. My goodness! I just read this blog and missed the show! Congratulations on a successful show and even selling some! I have a hard time putting a price on my stuff & end up giving it away. (except my jewelry. That costs too much to give away. Though I've had some family just 'take' a favorite. lol) I don't usually think it's good enough or at times, just not finished. My favorite of yours is the "clouded monarch" I don't know your title, but that's what I call it. The monarch butterfly on the flower with the big clouds in the background. I'd frame a print of it even. I love it! Keep painting, you're great at it. Keep writing because you're great at it too. I can actually see you doing a kids book or two!