Doing a Dog Expo for the first time is a pretty daunting experience. Many wakeful nights I have spent with my mind racing ideas around my head and fantasizing about how many hundreds of dog owners will be rushing to my store to get their custom pet portrait.
I spent the seven weeks of lead up time that I had painting the eleven paintings that were to accompany us the 1200kms down the highway to Melbourne. I also set up my website, got cards, tshirts and posters printed, registered my business, paid for insurance and did all the other stuff required to attend a big event such as this. It’s a big investment in both time, passion and money. I’m happy to do all this for my love of painting peoples’ beloved dogs, as I know how much joy they can bring – especially to owners of pets who have passed away.
SET UP DAY
Of course with anything new, it’s hard to know what to expect. My plan was to be as organised as possible to eliminate stress during set up and the Show itself. I laid out all of my paintings the night before set up because the permitted method of hanging the work was with 3M picture hanging strips. These require precision placement, as you can’t move them once they are stuck to the wall.
When we arrived, our first set back was the metal strip dividing the wall up that I hadn’t factored into my design so we had to lay them out again and readjust the set up
THE SET UP
Our first challenge came when we attempted to hang the canvas’ with the regulated 3M strips. The shell scheme walls weren’t overly stable when applied with pressure. They wobbled and so the paintings were unable to stick to the walls. A few visits to the organisers and we came up with the solution of double – sided tape. This worked well for all but three paintings, which kept falling off the wall, no matter what we did.
A quick trip to Bunnings on the way home that afternoon to sort out a plan – B for the hanging of those three paintings – and any that may have fallen off over night.
Being my first Dog Show, I had no idea how it go and was excited and nervous. Just before the show officially opened for the public, I met my new friend Archie, who seemed to like my doggie ears and tail.
It was pretty quiet on the first day, but gave me an opportunity to meet other artists and exhibitors and learn some new tricks. It certainly did feel awkward at first talking to people who were looking at my portraits. I didn’t want to hassle anyone but I also wanted them to spend enough time at my stall to really appreciate the paintings and to imagine how their own pet would look like in one of my portraits.
We came into the Saturday with a new plan for the set up to open the display and make it more inviting for viewers to feel comfortable. We also decided to offer a free voucher for a small custom pet portrait to visitors who join my email list. A much busier day with so many friendly dog loving visitors. Had a great time talking about my two loves – dogs and art. Wonderful day.
WOW! What a big day. So many people. Such a good vibe. I met so many wonderful doggie lovers and received such beautiful praise for my paintings. Made so many new contacts and am looking forward to drawing my competition prize when we get back home to Bellingen. I’m also really looking forward to painting all those special dogs that are so precious to their owners. Thanks Melbourne for a fabulous dog Lovers Show.
Thanks also to my beautiful husband and daughters for all there wonderful help and support. Couldn’t have done it without you.
Here’s some snaps.