Art Show at Bookmarx

In December 2016, I went into Bookmarx – this little locally owned bookstore on Walnut Street – with a friend. I noticed they had a gallery space in the back that was surprisingly large. I started talking with the owner Aubrey. She told me to send her an email with some samples of my work. I did send her some samples and she liked them. She said an artist had backed out for March, and I said that would be great to show then.


I went by about a month before set up and measured the space. I like to know which pieces will fit in the space in advance. I drew up a diagram of the space and was able to fit almost the entire show in it.



I took the unframed pieces to Gallery Gal. I really wanted the frames to match and knew they could get the job done! Matthew was able to match the exact wood (soft maple).

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In the meantime, I sent Aubrey info  (including a picture of the exhibition postcard, artist bio and the artist statement) for the Springfield Regional Arts Council promotional information for the First Friday Art Walk.

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As is always the case, time flew by and it was already time to go set up the show. M offered to take the paintings to Bookmarx for me and as he’s been pretty active at Royal Barbell these days, he had no problem loading and unloading all 13 pieces for me. Then after calling Gallery Gal for some help with hanging the artwork I put my show-hanging bag together and my work boots on and headed out.

This is my process of how I hang an art show:
#1 Once the paintings are in the space I organize them – leaning them against the wall. This way I can get a pretty good idea of how they will look in the space and with each other.

#2 I unload the contents of my show-hanging bag which includes: hammer, picture hangers (50 lbs), blue painters tape, white artist tape, pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, art labels (in a recycled stationary box), notebook (with secret formula), tape measure, ruler, level, writing pen, and micron ink pens. It’s also practical to bring a step ladder to these kind of things.

#3 I measure the space between the wall edges and the paintings, so that they are all even.


#4 I work out the eye level for each piece by using the secret formula. Because the whole reason I have made this blog was to share with you my artist process, I am going to share the secret formula! Make sure to include the frame for all measurements. Also, if you are getting numbers like “.185” just round up to quarters (.25, .5, .75).

Measure the Length (up and down) and divide it by 2 = x
Measure the Length (up and down) from the highest point of the picture hanger (when pulling up on it) and the top of the painting = y
Subtract x from y and add 56. x-y+56=z (The standard eye level is 56-58, but I’m a bit on the short side, so I favor the 56.)
Place the tape measure on the floor in the center of the painting and pull up all the way to whatever number z was and mark a dot in pencil on the wall. That is where you will put your picture hanger.
Example: 50.5 ÷ 2 = 25.25 (x)10.5 (y) + 56 = 70.75 (z)

#5 Hang work and use the level tool (a level is a tool to make sure the painting is not hanging crooked). Place piece of painters tape or artist tape on the back of the art labels and place next to the piece wherever it looks good – usually on the bottom right about an inch or so from the artwork. I also use tape to mount my artist statement, which I have printed on large, shiny foam board.


The art opening was the next day. The art opening is typically when the artist is present at their show. It may be a time for them to meet and maybe make some fans too.


There was a pretty good turnout – a lot of my friends came out. Thanks friends!


Living a Real Pinteresting Life

Pinterest is that special place we visit when we want to feel inspired, organized, and all put together. The projects there are displayed with all of their beautiful details, perfectly categorized, and placed in their own neat boxes. And when we think of our own projects, don’t similar results always feel achievable?

For example, I don’t know how to use a sewing machine, but when I saw that handmade doll, I knew if I got all of the supplies I could do that, right? My DIY doll was later named “douche rag,” which we shortened to “doo rag” for the child’s dignity and my self-esteem. The mother smiled politely and being a good mom she put the hand-sewn, buttoned-eyed choking hazard out of her child’s reach as soon as I left. Typical, right?


But these results don’t have to describe our Pinterest experiences. By following the six simple suggestions below, we can have better, more fulfilling DIY projects.

1. Know your goal

What do you want to achieve? Pick one thing and stick to it. This is not the time to redo your entire living room, put together from scratch a first birthday party, or try to create the artwork for an entire exhibit. Think bite-sized. Think baby steps. Instead of remodeling the living room, pick a corner and start there. Instead of an entire party, hand-make the invitations or the cake. Rather than an entire exhibit, just paint one picture. You want your goal to be manageable enough that you can easily achieve it. Consider what you will need to invest in terms of finances, time, and new skills, then decide if it something you should attempt on your own. Let your successes and your new skills build slowly developing a sustainable momentum.

2. Enjoy the process

We are used to admiring picture-perfect results, but the real action is behind-the-scenes. It’s the process, silly! If you are not enjoying yourself, those fun pictures you take and post may be of your first and last Pinterest project. Even if you are a perfectionist, try to be present through the entire process. Taking pictures throughout may help. You might just make some great memories and a few photo-ops. Also, people can sense fun, so even if your project is not perfect, people may be drawn to the fun moments you had. Think of those funny “nailed it” pictures when things gets rough.


3. Be gracious to yourself

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darnet people like me.” This is the time to be okay if your project falls apart, your cake is lopsided, or your painting looks crappy. You set a goal and you achieved it. Way to go! Make sure you get your Pinterest picture of the good parts.


4. Be gracious to others

Social media is a buzzword, but it’s also a community of real-live human beings. If your project succeeded, then that is good for you. You have had some success! Make sure to enjoy the results in a fun and healthy way without gloating or making comparisons with other Pinterest posters. If your project failed, pick up the pieces because you didn’t really fail. You set a goal and made an effort – and that itself is a win. Be careful not to turn your disappointment into jealousy or judgment. Remember the reasons you are on Pinterest and help build that community.

5. Be brave

You are going to have to have confidence to post that picture success or failure. Part of “living a real Pinteresting life” is showing and sharing your stuff.

6. Keep calm and Pinterest on

Be okay if no one else cares what you just did even if it was comparable to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.


You can visit my Pinterest at