Selling at Art Fairs and Festivals

Well, this weekend I take the plunge to sell my art locally at the High Fliers Art Market on LBI.  I shut my eyes, held my nose, and decided not to stick my toe in the waters. Instead, I am jumping in with both feet.

I was expecting that this venture would have some start-up costs, and I was prepared for most of them. But the closer the day gets, the more things I realize I need to do this successfully, and a lot of the costs will not likely be recouped for awhile, but that’s what happens when you become serious about this as a business.

For anyone thinking about doing this, I have a quick to do/to get list for you and it is by no means complete…

First, have an online presence with your brand–and make your name as an artist part of that brand.  That means twitter, facebook, and an online website or blog to showcase your art. And do keep it current!

Second, you need inventory. I had lots of paintings, but most were of subjects relating to my time in Asia. Around here, country scenes and seaside subjects would sell far better.. I am not the quickest oil painter in the world, so I refrained from starting down this road until I had enough originals to show well in a sales booth. Make sure you remember to wire them all before the week of the show.

Original oils cost money, so to make my booth more appealing, I also had some nice inexpensive prints made up and a couple of really nice fine arts prints made of the paintings I thought would sell best. These options allow for several different price points.

Now, this is as far as I had originally gone when I decided to make the move to sell. I quickly realized there were MANY more things needed to do this and look like I knew what I was doing. Here is a short list. If you are just starting out, borrow the things you can until you see how this is going to work for you. Another alternative is to ask fellow artists in your local guild or art association. Often, there are members who no longer want to do these shows but may be willing to art with some or all of their display equipment.

The take list:

tent, with sides (especially at the windy shore areas), stakes and sandbags

a banner with your brand and preferable some of your art showcased on it

racks for your art (by the way, at a recent festival I saw someone zip tie low-cost wire fencing to the legs of their tent and it worked great. I wish I had thought of that before buying racks), and single drapery hooks to hang the art

receipt book (I use an order book so I can get buyers’ addresses for my records + a “PAID” stamp

a means to take credit card sales on your phone -this is imperative if you are selling originals or any art over $100 — squared up can get you started for free in this but there are many companies

cash box stocked with change (by the way, be smart and price your art to end in 5s and 0s -much easier for making change)

a couple of camp chairs because 8 hours in a tent standing up is NOT comfortable

price tags, markers, red dots (to mark sold pieces)

small folding table (I got 24 x 48 because my banner is 4 ft wide and I can affix it right to the front of the table

I got clip on cup holders for the table so my coffee wouldn’t spill when the table inevitably gets bumped and end up all over my receipts

table easels, boxes, etc to place art at different heights

table cloth, covers for boxes and stands

business cards, promo information, flyers with your business info on it

plastic sleeves, backing, mats, –whatever you need to package your work for customers and make it waterproof

safe storage for transporting your art — the wise ladies in my art association snap up old blankets and comforters at garage sales and sew them up into art bags with handles to cushion large pieces. You can also make flat padded rectangles for placing between works in the same bag

coffee thermos or cold drinks and toilet paper (never fails to be prepared)

price guidelines for your work (in case there are any questions on site)

umbrella, sweatshirt, snacks, sunscreen, bug repellent, sunglasses – whatever you need for your environment

if you can, take some art to work on while there–folks love to see you at work

A fishbowl or big clear cookie jar with a sign to drop in your email/name/address or business cards for a drawing for a free print (i.e. new client list)

pad and pen, just in case

for us over 50s -don’t forget your reading glasses

Finally, take your sense of humor and a big dose of patience–things go wrong so be ready to be flexible.





NEW! Works in Progress

I promised I would give a preview of the new stuff I am working on for the High Fliers Art Market on October 8th in Brant Beach. Here are some of the new oils in progress. I am putting more than one in on the progress where I have them to show. (Sometimes I forget to take photos of my WIPs.)

I love doing these sea creatures. Got a favorite? Let me know.



Studio Yu


My friend, Jenny Yu is an artist, art lover, and entrepreneur. Her cooperative art site is a wonderful and novel way of connecting with artists and purchasing art in an entirely new way. I was fortunate enough to be chosen for Studio Yu and the image you see here is the painting chosen to represent me on their website.

This painting depicts a wonderful canal town in Southeastern China called Zhouzhuang.

Please check out Studio Yu, and “stay tuned for updates”.  🙂

I’m working…

The trouble with many passions is that you only have 24 hours in a day. I have not been in the studio for a week or so. My writing muse has been feeling ignored, and I have been trying to placate her.

I did spend the entire day in the art studio today and promise there will be a number of new additions posted very soon.

I will also have some photos from the Zentinels hanging in Lacey and the Little Egg Harbor library reception which is tomorrow evening at 7 PM.

If you are in the area, please stop in. There are some wonderful paintings in this group show!

September at Lacey, LEH Libraries


Zentinel series to Lacey Branch, Ocean County Library. I will also have six works, some new, in Little Egg Harbor Library.

Took a terrific class at Pine Shores this week with Linda Ramsey. Brought the fun back into painting for me–all big brushes and loose, free work.

I promise to post some photos later this week–here’s a teaser: they are sea creatures, including some from shots I took a couple of years ago in Ocean Park in Hong Kong.

This might be the birth of a new series for me! 🙂

Poetry & Painting / Barnegat Library

On Monday, August 8th, the LBI Poetry and Painting Exhibition will host a reception from 6 to 8 PM at the Surf City  branch of the Ocean County library. I have two paintings in this exhibition, one done expressly for a poetry entry.

My main collection is moving to Barnegat Library for the months of July and August. Be sure to stop in and check out the display. I also have a few pieces displayed at Stafford Library in July as part of the Pine Shores Art Association group hanging.

Coming in September, the Zentinels will be on display at Forked River in the Lacey Township Library. More information to follow.