I wonder how many artists out there have had an exhibition disaster at some stage of their art career? I know I’ve had a couple. When entering exhibitions, we always hope that everything goes well. We hope our paintings are hung with lovely lighting on them, that we have a sale or two, and maybe, just maybe we win an award because the judge thinks our work is outstanding! But often we forget about the work that goes on behind the scenes. There are volunteers who transport your paintings for you, others who unwrap your paintings, and yet others who hang them and then move them, and then hang them in another spot until they look just right amongst the other paintings in the show. I am ever so grateful for those people because I know it isn’t the easiest of jobs.
Unfortunately this week, one of the volunteers had to ring me and let me know that one of my paintings had fallen from its hanging space and landed on the floor. The glass had smashed and the frame had a chunk of wood out of it where it had hit the leg of the stand that it was on. It seems the hanging string had frayed and fell apart. My painting had been professionally framed so I don’t understand what had happened and as I hadn’t been there at the time, it’s still a bit of a mystery. The exhibition is in a small town which doesn’t have a picture framer so I can’t have it re-framed quickly, and have chosen to have the painting wrapped up and returned to me without it having the opportunity to be exhibited, which is a shame. I thought about exhibiting it without the glass but that would be a bit risky, especially because it’s a watercolour and would not be protected (all it would take would be for someone to sneeze on it and the colours would run and that would be the end of it!
Anyway, I don’t blame anyone and expect that it’s just one of those things that happen once in a while. I’ve only ever had one other exhibition disaster and that was a similar situation – a volunteer at an exhibition had dropped my painting – the glass smashed and the frame broke, but they were able to get it re-framed for me and it was still able to be exhibited.
So, my painting will come home (thankfully the painting is still ok, according to the hanging committee, and hasn’t been damaged), and I’ll have it re-framed, and try another exhibition. And I’ll check my hanging string before it goes out. And now I’m thinking I might even photograph the backs of my paintings from now on too. It’s a learning thing, being an artist.