You’re Going to Be the Solo Featured Artist…Oh My!


Recently, I was invited to have a solo art show at a business grand opening. Awesome! Then suddenly all the preparation and planning required for a successful show hits me in the gut! What have I gotten myself into? I have a lot to decide…what paintings do I have to show?  What paintings do I have that fit the spirit of the business? Do I have enough art of any one subject to put together a “themed or series” show?  

Then it occurs to me I have some butterflies! I have some very large and a few small butterfly paintings. The large colorful, abstract painting is hanging on my guest bedroom wall above the bed. Darn, I just bought two throw pillows that pick up the magenta in the painting. If the painting sells what will I do with two orphaned pillows?


Thank goodness I have saved images of my sold butterfly paintings that have flown off to good homes. Now, I need to get my local printer to produce a half dozen canvas giclees with butterflies within a tight deadline.

I still need more original paintings to display. I go searching around my house and under my bed looking for paintings. Where are  butterflies when you need them?

In my studio I find two 30×40 canvases with unfinished abstract paintings. I didn’t know how to finish them so I was waiting for inspiration. Desperation can can create inspiration, I discovered. I will finish them with a few butterflies. After all, butterflies are a symbol of transition, change and infinite possibilities. The question is… can I change two large abstract paintings into two butterfly paintings in time for the show?  Now, I have lots of butterflies… but they are all in my stomach!



1. Get someone who will assist and support you! (If you are lucky your friend will be an artist with experience with art shows.)

2. Provide your business cards to art show guests.

3. Prepare a theme with paintings, i.e., butterflies, birds, tropical flowers.

4.  Create a price list with your paintings name, size, medium, and price—one copy for the sponsoring business and one copy for you.

5.  Sign an agreement that spells out sales percentages and show terms.

6.  Assist with publicity by providing photos of you and your work.

7.  Prepare your artist statement and bio and display at the show.

8.  If you have other merchandise to sell (greeting cards and/or prints) prepare them for display.

9.  Prepare labels for each painting to mount on the wall near each painting; include your name, name of the painting, medium, size, and prices.

10.  If you have postcards or any small token to give to each visitor it helps as an ice breaker.

11.  Little red dots to indicate the painting is sold… hopefully you will need lots of them!

12.  Invite your friends and family to attend you show.

13.  Promote your show with postcard invitations and your social media .

14.  Have a sign-in book to collect guest names and contact information.

15.  Check with your sponsor about food and beveragewhat’s being served and who is paying.


Left to Right:  Sign in book w/ pen, price list, tape measure, level, information about the artist, poster tack, business cards, note cards,

labels for paintings, and camera.


Supplies I Used:

Followup:  I am happy to report I had a successful opening with the help of my “Bestie” Debbie and the sponsoring business, The Attunement Center.

4 thoughts on “You’re Going to Be the Solo Featured Artist…Oh My!”

  1. Donna Cariker

    What a cute, yet very informative article! I loved your hunt for pictures already finished. It’s hard to be on a deadline, especially for a “solo” show. Thanks, too, for the art show tips. I printed out the info for my future shows. You have a delightful way of writing about the life of an artist. Donna Cariker

  2. These articles by Midge Pippel are very informative and helpful. I love how this article takes you out of the studio and into the next phase of being an artist – exhibiting. She makes everything seem easy and organized.

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