The first day of the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival dawned sunny and hot... and early!
I showed up at 6 a.m., and unloaded the van. Just when I was losing hope that my promised help would arrive, it did, in the form of my daughter and son-in-law - and the tent went up in a jiffy.
The process that takes me nearly three hours to do alone was done in about half the time, with the luxury of help.
And so the show began.
Many friends visited. Many Montville Patch readers stopped by my tent, too! I couldn't have been happier - thank you, all of you who took time out of your lives to go to the show, and stop and say hi.
One painting sold that first day, a small one, to a sweet couple from Rhode Island who have bought several of my paintings.
I am finding that there are buyers, and they are great, and then, there are collectors - people who love my paintings, and want to decorate their homes and offices with my stuff.
At this point, I am blessed to have about nearly a dozen collectors, and I cherish them. We are kindred spirits, and their presence in my life makes me as happy as my paintings make them. It is sustaining, it is confidence-building, it is a source of pleasure and joy for me.
Yes, the sales are wonderful, but with collectors, it is about so much more than sales. Somewhere in the process, the money becomes secondary and the shared vision becomes the main thing. There's an unexpected delight in that - and I think it's felt as much by them as by me.
Saturday was hot. It was hot, it was humid, and it was a long day. By 6 p.m., broiled, baked and aching, I was happy to head home.
Sunday, it rained.
I walked the six or so blocks from my tent to the artists' breakfast and got absolutely soaked to the skin. I walked the six or so blocks back and got soaked again.
All around me, artists were packing up. It was supposed to rain all day.
But when you get into these shows, you agree to stay for the duration. And so I felt I should stay. I had nothing better to do, I had agreed to stay, and I know this show. People plan their weekends around this show. They plan vacations around this show - and to do that, and show up and find no one there? Bad.
So I pulled my display in a little, I battened down the sidewalls of the tent, I took down paintings that were hanging low. One large painting that I wanted to hang facing the street, I tucked in a clear plastic bag for protection from the rain.
I pulled my chair into an inside corner and, wondering if I was completely nuts, began to wait.
And soon enough, people came.
I felt like hugging them! There they were, out in the pouring rain, on a miserable, raw day, to see art. I welcomed them into my tent, I thanked them, and I offered them a sizeable rainy-day discount as thanks.
With the lack of competition, my work was more visible. The concentration of potential buyers, as opposed to lookers, was much higher than normal. I was willing to give good deals, and people were happy to buy.
All told, I sold seven paintings over the two days of the show. And I learned a valuable lesson. Be brave, stick out the rough times, and you never know what will happen.
To read about how I became an artist, check .
To read about how to get into an art show like the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, click .
To read about what it's like to do a show like Mystic, click .