Summer Gallery

This is a great time of the year to gather a bunch of summery paintings and take them to your local non-profit venue where they can be seen by leisurely summer visitors. Most communities find a way to showcase local artists during the summer season when people are out and about, eager to enjoy all the goodies of long warm days when one can relax and spend a few hours just wondering around, visually feasting on everything that summer has to offer.

In Vancouver, we have the Federation of Canadian Artists Gallery right in the most wonderful, artsy part of the town - The Granville Island. There is a beautiful market, a gorgeous harbor and the most charming community of art studios, galleries, stores, restaurants, and so much more.

The FCA organizes many art shows throughout the year, including the traditional Summer Gallery in which I have been participating for many years. In fact I sold my first few paintings there, for which I am extremely grateful. You can find all about joining the FCA from their web site. If you think you'd enjoy being a member of a large, diverse national art organization, I recommend that you look into it.

Few things before paintings leave the studio:

1. Even if the pieces are finished and have been shown elsewhere, I look at them with a critical eye and make corrections and touch-ups if I conclude that they need improvement. This can go from minor fixing of the surface, re-varnishing, to glazing certain areas to change the temperature of the color, or even repainting passages that bug me. I almost always re-varnish them just to restore that special fresh-surface luster.

2. Photograph the paintings for the archive. I used to agonize over this and I still have a system of floodlights, light filters, tripods and what-nots, but I don't use any of that any more. I just go outside and find a location where the painting surface won't get any glare from the sky or shiny objects (north side of the house is your best bet). I don't even use a tripod - today's cameras are so fast, it's easy to snap crystal clears shots freehand. Here is my super easy "setup" which consists of a nail on my yard shed.

Photographing paintings outside - the painting is hung in the shade and it faces north to avoid glare

3. Make sure the titles and prices on the back labels match with the inventory list.

4. Frame the pieces that need a frame, go over the edges of unframed canvases with a fresh coat of paint. I usually paint edges black, but this time I added a thin coat of coppery glaze as an experiment and I really like it. If you happen to visit the FCA Summer Gallery, let me know what you think.

5. Wire the paintings for hanging in a way that the gallery recommends. Every venue has their own preferences, but in general the wire needs to be strong, mounted about at the third of the frame height measuring from the top. The mounting hardware mustn't have any protruding and/or sharp points. The whole thing needs to look neat and professional - front, sides and the back.

6. Put cardboard corners on the framed pieces to protect them during delivery. Everyone will do their best to protect your art, but it's always a good idea to do what you can to make their job easier. I like to wrap edges of all paintings with a layer of packaging shrink wrap just to be on the safe side.

I hope some of you can visit the FCA Summer Gallery between June 23 - July 19, and participate in your local summer art events. Enjoy!