Updated: Apr 22, 2021
Questions for Live Video Instagram Interview
We had a pleasure to speak with Marsha Hamby Savage this Sunday and she was kind enough to answer our questions about an upcoming exhibition. I hope you will enjoy her answers as much as I did.
1. When do you know that you are ready to show your work?
Most of us want to show what we are doing to someone. Be sure to share
what you are doing with family and friends.
But, showing your work in a competition or a gallery is a whole different ball
game. I would suggest first visiting galleries to see what is being shown. Go
to the local gallery as well as the better known ones, and the ones in
surrounding larger cities. See where your work fits in as far as technical
ability, vision and impact.
When you see that your work is as good technically, and you see you have a
message you want people to respond to, then you might be ready to enter the
world of showing! Sometimes it is good to have a support group that will help
critique each other’s work ... but without telling you “how” to paint “your”
One big thing to take into consideration is your ability to take the bad
comments by viewers with the good. You must have a pretty thick skin. There
are always going to be those that don’t like your work as well as those that
do. That is what makes the world go around, right? It is not personal. That is
what I am getting around to. It is not personal!
(I had started painting when my first child was born, and I knew my best
friend was also an artist and taking lessons locally. We started painting
together at times. She was the person that told me I needed to take some
lessons to learn more. She was doing so and had been for some time. She
and I have known each other since we were 10 years old.)
2. When should you start entering shows/exhibitions/contests?
Entering a “show” is a good way to make you try things that are a little
different sometimes. It is also a way to gauge your work in the big picture of
“all those wonderful artists out there!” As for timing of when you should start
entering them, that is something only you will know. How is your thick skin?
Are you ready to hear time after time that you have “not been accepted?” Do
not think of it as “rejected.” Your work will be compared to all the other entries
and it is just the opinion of a juror or jurors. We all have our likes and dislikes.
Pretend sometime you are the juror when you visit a show and keep notes
about what you would have chosen and what you wonder about... “wanting
to know why did they choose that one” ... be specific ... look at the technical
aspects and also the emotional impact, etc. Write it down. This will go a long
way to helping you decide when you feel your work meets some of those
Entering shows / exhibitions / contests is really putting your ego on the line.
You are asking someone that cannot be inside your head, cannot know your
intent, to make a determination of the worth of the product you have put out
there. This is an important word... “product.” When you are working on your
pieces, they should not be viewed as a product, but as a study. A study is not
quite as precious. It will allow you to work through the times you don’t like it,
and believe me there are those times for all of us. It will allow you to have
more successes in your own eyes. Submit those!
Paint only for yourself and only what you love. If you are in this journey for the
accolades and money, then it is ... again ... a different ball game.
3. When did you personally first time showed your work?
Take your time before you start showing your work in a retail setting. Be sure
you are producing a consistent body of work. They need to have some
consistency of style, subject matter, emotion... or something someone could
say, “I know that is ____________’s work!”
I was painting probably a couple of years when I decided I had something I
wanted to frame for myself or for my family. The frame shop was a small one
in my hometown. The owners asked me if I would hang some of my work in
their frame shop/gallery. Of course, my answer was a resounding “yes!” I did
sell a few of my pieces over the next couple of years. It was a fantastic start
for me. I had that relationship for probably 20 years and even started
teaching a weekly class in the evening at their gallery, and eventually worked
for them one day per week to help them have a day off!
After a few years, my best friend and I decided to have a little “bazaar” of our
paintings and our craft items. It was an invitational postcard, but they could
tell others or invite friends and family. We wanted to enlarge our audience. It
was a one day event only. We both had framed our pieces and the show was
a success and we did this for several years! They were lined up at the door
for it to open.
During the next 10 years or so, I put my work in a few more small galleries in
my local region. I had some regular sales, and received commission requests
because of showing my work in a retail setting. All these things have helped