Moving your art practice forward: Wednesday 2nd May, ’18

Moving your art practice forward: to gold!

In this half-day workshop Lesley Dabson, one of our members, shared her experiences as an amateur artist turning professional. Over the last 10 years Lesley has set out to make her art practice both commercially viable and at the same time satisfy her passion for being by water – of any kind  – and painting it.  As many of our members will know she has created a niche for herself with her boat and wave paintings as well as those of Venice and its beautiful canals.

Lesley started the workshop by explaining how she planned her approach to building public recognition of her work by going to galleries, applying to open exhibitions and choosing which art societies to apply to join. For example, she focuses on mainly marine societies and groups.  Along the way there were some mistakes which she has learnt from. She impressed us all with the sheer determination and guts she has shown, to get to where she has got to although she aims to get more letters after her name:  it helps to give buyers confidence.

The workshop included contact details of galleries around the UK, what they are interested in (or not), possible open exhibitions, how some societies will only accept you as a member if you have successfully exhibited with them three years running and so on.   She explored how to price your work (e.g. by the square inch) and then stay consistent with that, regardless where you are selling.   There were examples of the cost/benefit analysis of hiring a gallery (who also promote your exhibition to their client base) rather than being tied to any one gallery.   It all made for some deep thinking, and whilst we all made notes we also have the typed information sheets.

Key to success is to set yourself goals of what you want to achieve, with realistic timelines, and be prepared to review this list at least once a year.

Clare Weatherill (another member who is going places) said: ‘It was so informative and helpful, from basic tips to more complicated methods to progress one’s work.   Lesley provided such detailed and generous information; it made a very worthwhile morning.”

If you missed this half-day workshop and would be interested in attending should we run it again in the autumn or next spring, please get in touch with me:

Lesley Dabson CV:

Lesley Dabson RBSA has been a working artist for the last 10 years. She has experience of exhibiting with some of the major UK art societies, RSMA, ROI, RBA, RBSA, SWA. Lesley is an elected member of the RBSA and a current member of the CAS council and is on the Hesketh Hubbard committee. She has exhibited with several galleries, shown at many art fairs and has hired local galleries for short exhibitions. 


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