Once or twice a year, artist Christopher Pierce
presents exhibitions of his own work in his
studio. All the works are framed and hung to
signify a professional, gallery atmosphere.
Gaining exposure and recognition for one’s fine art oil paintings or watercolors starts with putting finished pieces in the public and critical eye. This can mean participating in local community shows or full-fledged exhibitions, entering competitions, and hanging pieces in galleries. It is an exciting prospect, but it can also be stressful to prepare works for shipment and display.
Framing is the first step when readying a painting or drawing for transport. Box frames are standard and provide adequate protection for pieces that will be handled often, such as during a show. Frames are usually built of hardwood or metal, and should have a rabbet on their inner edge where the work sits suspended. Beyond that, there are plenty of choices to consider, including size relationship between the picture and the frame, frame color, molding profile, and mat size and color. Spend a bit of time thinking about the impression you want to make with your work and know that how displaying your work like a professional makes a big difference in how it is perceived.
When packing a piece for shipping, bubble wrap and rubber foam padding are both good choices. Wrapping an oil painting in brown craft paper is a good idea as well; it won’t stick to the painting and provides a barrier against debris and dust. After the piece is wrapped, it’ll need to be taped so the shipping materials don’t shift during transport—but don’t adhere the tape to the work itself. Tape it to packing material and fold over one end of the piece of tape before securing it, creating a tag that allows the tape to be easily located and pulled off. By creating a tag, no scissors or knife has to come near the work and possibly damage it when it is being unpacked (I learned this trick from a conservator friend).
What have your experiences been like when putting pieces on view in shows and galleries? Leave a comment and share your experiences and tips. To explore the possibilities of upcoming exhibitions, art competitions, and to just immerse yourself in the approaches that can give you a solid foundation for making savvy choices about your art from first strokes to final hanging, consider a digital subscription to The Artist's Magazine through Kindle, Nook, Zinio, or Google Play. Enjoy!