Collagraph: Sunday Morning – and helpful resources for entering art shows

a sunlit window in a bedroom, with a lamp on a bed table, and a potted plant, in front of bamboo shades and sheer curtains

Sunday Morning 10.5 x 4.7 collagraph print with watercolor and colored pencil

How Do You Get Your Art Out into the Public?

Are you juggling family and jobs while squeezing slivers of art-making into your busy world? How often do you apply to art shows? Do you ponder the opportunities of artistic exposure and camaraderie on social media? In the melee of the artist’s mind, it can be challenging to mount the technology of digital sharing.  “But it’s free exposure!”, we all say!  “Free” after you learn to title and scan your work. Free after you plan repeated missives to fill the What-Should-I-Say part of your posts on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.  There is also the learning curve of each social media application. How do you upload images in all of them, and what is the best size and format? Which social media site gives the most bang per-post? What’s a hashtag, and where should I use them? It’s a quagmire to the unfamiliar, right?

an exacto knife pressing into the top layer of mat board to trace the outline of a shape and peel it away

Carving shallow, recessed areas into mat board that will hold printmaking ink

Other Exhibit Venues

If you’re overwhelmed with the whole idea of sharing your work digitally on myriad social media platforms, you can turn your horse around, and double back to camp to pursue old fashioned routes of exposure.  There are plenty of opportunities in regional or national juried art shows, competitions and exhibits. This will still require the titling and scanning part of that learning curve mentioned above, and maybe even the What-Should-I-Say challenge, if you’re required to tell a little bit about the art you’re submitting. And there’s the shipping of art too, unless you cast your nets exclusively to driveable segments in your local region. But you can get passably proficient with all of this stuff in one weekend, right? (Example: Here’s an online course to help you title your art.)

a bristle paint brush applying a clear gloss to the carved surface of the mat board

Sealing the finished plate with acrylic gloss medium

Writing and Speaking About Your Art

Writing and speaking about art to strangers is a topic near and dear to my heart. It’s rare that a paint-brush-wielding artist is a masterful wordsmith. Artists can be very isolated, and quiet, socially. That’s what we love about diving into the creative zone of MAKING. There’s no talking in that space.  Unless we’re talking to ourselves, or our canvas: “What do you want to be? Where are you taking me with all this green today?” But you can still rock an exhibit opening, or fill a show application with good words. All you need is a helpful little script. 📋

a collagraph print being pulled from the plate, showing a new mother holding an infant

Another line-style, intaglio collagraph being pulled after a trip through the press.


Thirty Minutes of Preparation for Exhibit Chatting

Even the most demure of artists can keep an internal script ready for either light exhibit conversations, or filling out show application forms. Cut, paste and print the questions below, and leave space to draft your own answers. Make a cup of tea. Set the time aside. Practice the questions and answers aloud with your family, just like you might for a job interview.  Stand tall, make eye contact, and be proud of your gifts. No bashing the art allowed – only positive replies.

Keep your answer sheet handy to refresh your responses before openings, and show applications. After one event with your ready-made answers, you’ll be an Art-Chat Boss. Existing, pre-planned answers are easier to launch and then continue with more specific details, and you’ll get better at this with practice. With thirty minutes of preparation for attention on your art from total strangers, you’ll be charming your patrons with much more confidence than if you attended without preparing at all. And you’ll have more fun at your own exhibit, because you’ll be ready.

Answer Me This…

  • What inspired you to create these pieces? Did you take the reference photos, or were they painted on site?
  • Which media and specific techniques did you use? Do you usually work in this size, this format and this color palette?
  • Do you work in series, or do you prefer stand alone, individualized media and styles? Is you art experimental, or do you plan with rough sketches, color studies or a specific palette? (NOTE: if you answer “no” to all of these, it’s a good idea to ponder & find your “yes” answers, so you’ll be chatting about what your work is, rather than what it isn’t.)
  • Materials used – include canvas type, make and surface of paper, professional pigments, media, etc.
  • Dimensions – include both image and also frame measurements for added clarity on show applications.
  • Who are your artistic influences? (Ask your patrons who they love/collect in the art world too.)
  • What do you like about this piece? What did you hope it would say – to you – and to the viewer?
  • Read this post which dives a little deeper on common questions the public asks artists.

a spatula, and square of ink on a glass table top and a rolled peice of felt with a strip of masking tape around its belly to hold it closed and coiled

Water-soluble ink, and a home made dauber; rolled craft felt secured with masking tape

Helpful Art Show Listing Subscriptions

Subscriptions to art exhibit harvesting sites will keep you apprised of regional and national exhibit information. Getting regular notices with lists of shows coming up all over the US works as a reminder to set some time aside, pick the ones that look enticing, and then slog through [did I say slog? As in plow, clench teeth, procrastinate? Yes, I did.] the application process.  [Did I just add something to your To-Do List? Yes, I did. I’m sorry. Here, sit next to me, and we’ll make popcorn and do it together.] 🙂

Here are five art show websites you can explore, register with, and bookmark or subscribe to:

after pressing paper against the carved and inked mat board, the print is pulled from the surface showing that ink has been transferred from the plate to the paper

Pulling a mat board collagraph print

Share Your Resources

Are there other websites for art shows that you use and find helpful?  Are there blogs you follow with helpful tips for artists just getting started along this path? Share them in the comments to others can find them too.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post!


P.S. You can subscribe to get each new post from this blog as soon as it’s published by signing up here.

P.P.S. If you enjoy making collagraphs – like the one in this post – check out (and join) a few collagraph groups on Facebook to swell your inspiration up to mountainous heights here and here.

how to make a collagraph print with added media

Adding colored pencil to the collagraph print after the ink dried

a matted and framed collagraph print of a bedroom interior with a window and a bed in filtered light

All framed and ready to hang. (listed here in my Etsy Shop)

Video: Inking This Collagraph Plate & Printing Without a Press

Art Quote

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means, and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again…

~William Faulkner

Click the kitty to visit this free online mini course – Six Tips to Paint More

Collagraph Print: Sunday Morning - and helpful resources for entering art shows
Article Name
Collagraph Print: Sunday Morning - and helpful resources for entering art shows
A collagraph print of a bedroom interior with a window, and a list of resources for artists to find juried art shows and exhibits
Publisher Name
Belinda Del Pesco
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10 Responses to Collagraph: Sunday Morning – and helpful resources for entering art shows

  1. Sonia 29/12/2018 at 7:46 am #

    Wonderful and inspiring work as usual Belinda. You make it look so easy! I’ve only tried one collagraph sample piece so far – definitely something to explore further in the New Year.

    • Belinda DelPesco 29/12/2018 at 8:40 am #

      Hi Sonia, I didn’t know you’d made one! Is it posted somewhere? I’m glad you’re going to explore collagraphs more – they are SO fun! Thanks for the compliments!

  2. Barbara Muir 17/10/2018 at 1:39 pm #

    Love the image and the post. Such great ideas always. I wish there were similar sites I could hit up in Canada for upcoming shows. Shipping isn’t a fun part of exhibiting internationally.

    XOXOXOXOXO Barbara

    • Belinda DelPesco 19/10/2018 at 9:39 am #

      Hi Love,
      I’m surprised there aren’t show aggregators in Canada. There is So Much Art! Does the Jealous Curator post show news? I’m with you on the international shipping. Not a picnic in the sun.
      Thanks for the kind words…

  3. Cristiane Marino 16/10/2018 at 9:44 am #

    Hi Belinda, I love your blog! I always find something gorgeous like this collagraph. And the Art Quote that you chose is wonderful….touched my heart. Thank you so much…

    • Belinda DelPesco 16/10/2018 at 4:30 pm #

      Hi Cristiane, Thanks for the lovely feedback, and your visit. I love that quote too! Onward, to capture and “arrest motion”! Have a great week!


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