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Marsha Hamby Savage Q & A

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</