Monday, 16 June 2014

come wind and weather

our pitch, ready and waiting first thing on Saturday morning!
© Teresa Newham
Given my previous experiences with Art on the Common, regular readers of this blog won't be surprised to learn that I stalked the weather forecast obsessively last week. My co-exhibitor Hillary Taylor and I set up with high hopes; there was only a 5% chance of rain, after all!  I'd even decided to bring along some original watercolours rather than playing it safe with prints.

Harpenden Common Discovery Day
© Teresa Newham

A few spots of rain as we opened didn't daunt us; plenty of folk were out and about visiting the show, or on their way to and from the Harpenden Common Discovery Day, which was taking place further down the Common.

down came the rain . . .
© Teresa Newham
So we were quite relaxed; and when the heavens did open (of course) we just moved everything under cover.  Then the rain started blowing in horizontally through the open sides of the gazebo . . .

. . .  and soon everything was getting extremely wet!
© Teresa Newham
We started to wipe everything down as the rain slackened off. Even though the exhibits were dumped in the middle of our former display, people were coming in to take a look; at one point I sold an Acer Leaf monoprint from a mini browser perched on a soaking wet tablecloth.  We started to lay it all out again and down came the rain for a second time; I hastily moved my pieces back into the centre, virtually prising boxes of postcards and bookmarks out of somebody's hands as the rain blew in.

revised layout, with everything on central tables
© Teresa Newham
When we finally dried it all off once more and surveyed the damage, there was surprisingly little.  Our framed stuff was virtually unscathed, and everything else was damp but OK (so glad I brought along some kitchen roll!).  We dragged all the tables to the middle, covered them with the driest cloths, and set up for a third time . .

some of Hillary's drawings, with the City of London at the front
© Teresa Newham
The new layout enabled visitors to walk around the outside of the whole display while we sat at the back, and was a vast improvement on our original idea.  We liked it so much that on Sunday we set up like that from the outset, with only a light drizzle to contend with.  The wind, however, was stronger today: a couple of my taller exhibits fell over and had to be relocated onto the grass.

the second day - re-arranged again to guard against the wind!
© Teresa Newham
We both made some encouraging sales; my watercolour painting May Evening, Harpenden Common has found a new home - and two Winter Bird monoprints are on their way to Dorset!  so it was a good morning, even though I had to ask my husband to bring me some trainers and socks as my feet were getting cold in some ill-advised sandals!

some of the other art on show
© Teresa Newham
The weather hadn't kept the crowds away - there were plenty of art-lovers walking up and down looking at the work on show.  The wind was still playing havoc - I had to re-arrange my cards in the rack to stop them blowing about - and as a final sting in the tail while we were packing up, a gust tore at the gazebo canopy just as we'd removed the tent pegs. It could have been a Mary Poppins moment . . .

cards jammed in tight to stop them blowing about
© Teresa Newham
I've learned a lot this weekend: sales can happen in the most appalling weather and the right person for the right painting can appear out of the blue.  Well-framed or well-wrapped items can survive a shower or two.  Always pack appropriate footwear.  And never, ever trust the weather forecast . . . !

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who visited Hillary and me at Art on the Common last weekend, and to Joy for organising it.  To see more photos from this event, visit my Facebook Page.


  1. I see what you mean about things getting wet!!! Congrats on the sales and being a sterling example of extreme arting. There really should be a special award for exhibiting in the rain...

    1. thanks! if there was an award, I'm sure somebody at Art on the Common would win it!!

  2. An excellent weekend, despite the weather, and great sales!

  3. yes, I was delighted - we both agreed it was well worth doing x