Detail leafy section from a dahlia painting by Susan Neilson, displayed at ArtWalk 2019

After the Arts Festival

Just a few tips

After the arts festival, some notes for next time.


There is always something to plan a little differently for the next time! Here are a few simple points from the Lake Country ArtWalk experience last weekend.  This was a huge regional juried arts festival with tremendous involvement of artists and community volunteers from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia

1. Step back and look at the big picture

Pause, breathe, and take a few photos

Document work with photo records before the show

(Ideally not just with an Instagram unfinished process shot!)

One never knows if something might sell, so I should probably have taken documentation photos of all paintings before displaying them. I thought I did, but some were missed.

A work-in-progress garden photo appears to be the only record I have of a small (20″ x 16″) painting that went to a new home on Saturday.

Then, later I also realized that another little painting purchased on Sunday, had never been photographed at all.

Still, . . . I really am okay with that.
I am glad they found homes, and I hope the new owners enjoy them. ❤

Take a few moments for photos on the day.

Even if it is busy, make it a priority.
It does not take long, and people usually really don’t mind! 

For records, for websites, and more, you will be glad later if there are a few good photos from the day. Photos of your own booth before the crowds arrive can be helpful for noticing imbalance or better arrangements for set up. Photos of the entrance and other features from the event will also be great to have later.

I forgot, and then got busy . . . and it never happened. When the event is over it is over. Thinking of it later (like I did) isn’t all that helpful!

2. Step out of the comfort zone

It’s okay to test the waters

Stepping out of my comfort zone is always worthwhile! I might feel more comfortable exhibiting only in galleries, or exhibiting only the kind of work that would make a consistent portfolio; but instead I brought a few types of work to this large art event, taking the opportunity to learn about responses. The feedback was really interesting! Brilliant questions, positive reactions, and truly interesting comments; really helped me to clarify some ideas I have for next steps this fall. I am ready to start a new body of work, so the timing was perfect!

Prepare for the unexpected

It’s the simple things!

. . . and be grateful for the kindness of strangers when you need a helping hand.

Professional discomfort is often good, but physical discomfort is unnecessary. Bring comfortable clothing layers! In my location, Saturday was hot, but then Sunday was really cold. One lovely kind woman (who I had never met before) went and got me a hot cup of tea when she noticed that my lips were turning blue from getting a little chilled Sunday afternoon!

3. Follow-up is important

Start with at least two simple preparations in advance, and then take a little time after the show

Time for personal follow-up after events can be a challenge when life gets busy and we move on to new projects, but it is well worth the effort.

1. Bring a guest book.

This is a good first step to make some sort of follow-up possible.

I forgot to do this at some open studio events and at an exhibition in New Brunswick this summer, but I remembered this time!

Some people left questions, others left helpful contact information for places I should visit, or people I should call. These will be really helpful!

2. Bring LOTS of business cards,

. . . especially when the event includes children. I love that kids were collecting cards, but I was also happy that I had enough for the adults as well!

Other News

Workshop Registration for October 5th at KAG

I promised I would post a bit of information about my October 5th workshop at the Kelowna Art Gallery. Registration is done directly through the gallery.

It will be all about drawing and painting on natural surfaces other than paper or canvas, starting with simple meditation stones, Acryla gouache, ink, primers and finishes to seal and protect your work. There will even be a few hints about working with metal leaf, and some chances to try a few processes to see what materials you like, before you buy them yourself.

I will be sending more information and a few sample photos to the gallery this week! There is an internal link below, to a sample lesson on my site, where a group of students collaborated on a project with personal meditation stones and other objects.


Internal links:

Personal Journeys:  Collaborative Student Project – Lesson by Susan Neilson at UBCO, displayed at the Alternator Gallery with an exhibition organized by the Central Okanagan Hospice Association.

This shows some visual examples from a project I did with students, with similarities to the meditation stone workshop I will be teaching October 5th at Kelowna Art Gallery

Personal Journeys Collaborative Project

External links for event and workshop information:

Lake Country ArtWalk –


Kelowna Art Gallery Workshop Information –

Kelowna Art Gallery Workshop Registration – 250-762-2226

That’s all for now!

Thank you for visiting this page!

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