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Out of contact

Hi everyone, this is just a quick note to let you know that it turns out I am unable to post while traveling (this is from my son) so I’m going to be out of contact for a few days. Regular posts will resume as soon as I’m back. Thanks!

China — here we come

This is my last test before we leave for China on Sunday.  I just want to be sure that I know how to enter a post onto my blog, attach some photos and then have it be picked up on my Facebook page.

Here is where I would put in a photo…

My studio

My studio


okay, so it doesn’t have a lot to do with my China trip, but hey, this is just a test.

Reception was a mixed bag learning experience

It’s taken me awhile to get up the nerve to write this blog entry about last week’s 1100 Watercolor Society reception at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, because it was both a big success and a dismal failure.

In my previous working life one of my nicknames was Pollyanna, because I always tried to look on the bright side of things.  That just isn’t working here.  In terms of the attendance at the reception, the art itself and the way it was hung: big success. There were a lot of people admiring really good paintings that had been hung to advantage.  Nothing to be ashamed of there.

Ruth Hurd and her paintings

Ruth Hurd and her paintings

However, our price list and signage left a lot to be desired.  I did the price list and brought an extra 20 copies with me to the reception.  That was fine.  But the version I had emailed to someone to post in a frame on the wall was badly formatted which made reading it and understanding who had painted what and the price hard to decipher.  We had to take one of my printed copies and scotch tape it to the front of the frame (we couldn’t take the frame off the wall and be sure we’d be able to get it back up).  Very amateur hour.

The other watercolor group participating in the exhibit and reception, the Brooklyn Watercolor Society, had done a great job on signage:  a huge banner at the entrance to the exhibit, a special table with easily visible on-easel signage (name and logo), lots of price lists and a couple of Visitor’s Books for people to write in comments and their contact information.  All very professional.  Other than my 19 copies of our price list and one Visitor’s Book, we had none of that. The only place one could see the 1100 Watercolor Society name was at the top of our price list.  Very amateur hour.

To illustrate how disappointing it was, I twice saw people looking at my paintings and the BWS price list to try and figure out who had painted them and what the titles and prices were.  A number of people there simply didn’t realize that the 1100 Watercolor Society was half of the exhibit.

Although our paintings were very good, our presentation of our group was less than stellar.  Clearly a major learning experience, and we will certainly do it differently next time.

Watercolor Exhibit Reception at St. Francis College

The 1100 Watercolor Society ( and (inadvertently — see my last blog post) the Brooklyn Watercolor Society ( are both having an exhibit at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights from Tuesday, Sept. 3 to Saturday, Sept. 29, open from 9am to 9pm.

The opening reception is Friday, Sept. 6 from 6-8pm.

I will have three paintings in this exhibit, all based on rock walls in various parts of the world.  Agra Wall is based on a wall I saw two years ago in Agra, India.

Agra Wall

Agra Wall

My fellow travelers couldn’t figure out why I was taking all those pictures of old, weathered walls.  Those cracked and peeling walls contrasted with the smooth marble of the Taj Mahal (also in Agra) were the perfect embodiment of the contradictions in modern India.  I loved them both, though it was the walls I wanted to paint.

How can hanging an exhibition be such a struggle?!?

It was going to be so simple: 9 artists, 39 watercolor paintings, lots of wall space with a rod and hook hanging system (no hammer and nails needed), and two experienced people to do the hanging.   Start at 11:00, finish by 2:00.  The Fall exhibition of the 1100 Watercolor Society at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights was going to be a piece of cake.

Not so fast.  First, we didn’t have all the paintings.  One person hadn’t responded and we weren’t sure how long to wait.  Not a biggie.  We’d just start with what we did have.

BUT, at 11:30 another group (Brooklyn Watercolor Society) arrived saying they were exhibiting in the same space at the same time (the month of September) and were to have their reception at the same time on the same day (Sept. 6, 6-8pm).

OMG, what do we do now?  The mistake was not ours or theirs;  obviously the host location had goofed.  It was a holiday weekend so we couldn’t reach anyone, and even if we could …. Both groups had promoted their exhibit and neither wanted to back off.

Much discussion later, we both compromised and split up the space in a way we both thought was fair.  And having a double reception was probably a benefit to both groups. More people would come.  Their work was on a par with ours;  nobody needed to be embarrassed.  Win-Win.  Whew.

So then we got down to the task of actually hanging the work and started to divvy up the hanging hooks. BUT, there were only 48 hooks.  The other group had 22 artists with 2 paintings each.  Nowhere near enough hooks for both groups.

OMG, what do we do now?  How could the place not have more hooks?  There hadn’t been a shortage the last time we exhibited there (2 years ago) but, of course, we were only one group then.

Again, much discussion later, we both compromised and split the number of hooks. That left each group to decide how to cut paintings from their exhibit.  Nobody was happy, but it was fair. We decided to go back to three paintings per artist and left the decision of which to eliminate up to the individual artist.  The other group went to a local hardware store and found something that could be used as a hook — laborious, but it would work. Whew.

So both groups finally got down to work and did the hanging.  A couple of times someone wanted to question the decisions made, but cooler heads prevailed. In the middle of it all we managed to decide who in each group would be responsible for bringing what to the reception.  Somehow, our group ended up with more hooks than we needed, so we gave them a few extra.  They needed more medium length rods and we needed more short rods — we swapped. We ended up not needing as much space as they did so we gave them the whole wall we had intended to split. Win-Win. Whew.

We were finished by 3:30; not so bad given the stops and starts.  They were still working when we left, courtesy of the more difficult hooks and the larger number of paintings.

What made the whole thing work was that a highly motivated bunch of artists understood that there was no perfect solution and that compromise was needed.  It helped that there was one cross group friendship and a lot of common interest. And the fact that we liked their work and they liked ours didn’t hurt.

Win-Win.  Whew.  It’s a good exhibit and will be a great reception.