Anyone who has followed my journey on social media or in person will know I'm relatively new to getting my work out in public and on display. Despite painting regularly for several years, it is only over the last 12 months that I've felt confident to even tell anyone other than my wife about my work. So starting posting online and talking about it openly was quite a big step - putting my work out in public places was even bigger.
But it's fair to say I've been blown away by the response. I've had so many positive comments that it has really spurred me on to take it to another level. A couple of anecdotes on that, first good then less good...
Showcase 2022, The Forum, Norwich, Dec 2022
The other night while hanging my paintings at the Forum in Norwich a fellow artist, who I vaguely know from social media, came up an introduced himself with the words: "Your work stopped me in my tracks and I just had to take a closer look". I was so flattered by that, particularly coming from somebody who's work I like and respect.
Now the less good. During my first exhibition at Merlina Arts in Earsham, I was getting a big head after few kind comments from people at the private viewing. I took a moment to turn to my wife and have a glass of wine. A couple came over to view my pictures and my ears pricked up, expecting more compliments. The conversation went something like this:
"These paintings are interesting."
"Yes, are they for sale?"
"Yes, I think that one has sold."
"Really? I'm amazed somebody has bought that."
Needless to say they weren't fans. But I guess that's art. Not everybody will like it and I'm lucky enough to have more compliments than criticism.
Merlina Arts exhibition, Earsham, Oct 2022
Recently I've got to know a few artists, some newcomers, some more established. I think virtually all of them say taking the first step is the hardest and once you start putting yourself about, opportunities open up. Opportunities then lead to more opportunities and it gradually grows. My one tip, for what it's worth, is get used to saying "yes" a lot.
Of course there are scams and rip offs out there so don't be naïve. But any opportunity to share your work, no matter how big or small is worth grasping - afterall art is made to be seen! I've also learnt that early on, visibility is key and you can worry about sales later.
Art House Cafe, Cromer, Nov 2022
I'm lucky enough now to have sold a fair number of paintings, taken on commissions and have a few avenues for displaying my work (please check out my display at the Art House Cafe, Cromer, which runs until February). The aim over the next year is to grow that further and see where that increased visibility can take me. In a future blog, I'll try to share a few tips on how to take those first steps in sharing your work, so please keep following.
Sign up to my newsletter via my homepage or follow BenPaintsLandscapes on Instagram and Facebook.