Guest blogger: Ruth Soller
I just enjoyed my first-ever sold-out show at the Panhandle Plains Invitational Western Art Show and Sale after participating for four years.
Here are some tips from four years of hard work and keen awareness that led to this moment.
Prepare to Meet the Show Organizers
My first time to attend the Panhandle Plains Invitational (PPI) reception the museum director graciously greeted me and gave me his card. I asked him to introduce me to the curator and complimented him on the quality of the show. I don’t believe I would have met the curator if I hadn’t asked for the introduction.
The second year, my husband and I made a point to tour the entire museum in advance. At the reception, we were prepared to discuss the historical exhibitions with the museum director, curator, representatives, and anyone else who might have been interested. This showed that we were just as interested in their work as they were in ours.
Introduce Yourself to Collectors
After the first PPI show closed, a collector purchased Loveland Feed & Grain Mill because she had grown up in that town.
Upon my return for the second time, I noticed that the collector and her husband were sponsoring the show. When I saw the woman looking at my work, I introduced myself to her. She asked if I had other paintings of old buildings in Loveland and later purchased Loveland Depot as a gift for her brother.
Meet the Other Artists in the Show
- How well they are doing in specific galleries
- Requirements for becoming a featured artist in publications
- Plein-air events or workshops that interest you
- Teaching or speaking opportunities
You will be amazed at the helpful information you receive just by showing interest in other artists and their work.
Observe Works That Are Selling
During the Panhandle Plains Invitational reception, organizers ring a cowbell each time a work is sold. You can immediately see the best-selling subjects and learn how to adjust your future entries.
I observed that horses, cattle, and nostalgic Texas landscapes were selling. After paying attention to this, I created two nostalgic working draft horse paintings for the third year and one sold to a new collector.
This year, I painted two landscapes of the local Palo Duro Canyon and included a Texas longhorn in one of them. Both sold during the opening reception.
I also painted a colorful Taos adobe scene that sold after the reception.
Reconsider Your Price Points
After each year’s show, I look up my favorite artists’ websites and often follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
I learn about their gallery representation and the prices of various sized paintings. I also check with the PPI’s online catalog of the show to follow sales after the reception.
As a result of these efforts, I sent smaller works with competitive pricing this year, which contributed to my success.
Next time you’re thinking about drinking a lot of wine and eating your way through a reception, STOP. You have work to do! Extend your antennae and get busy collecting data for your next show.
About Our Guest Blogger
Ruth Soller paints the western landscape in a magical style pronounced by intensified hues, symbolic motifs, and dramatic value contrasts. You can see a video of a recent solo exhibit of her work on the home page of her website.