My Experience at Chitra Santhe 2016

I’ve always given excuses for not displaying my art; “It is not good enough”, “I don’t have enough paintings to make up a collection”, “I don’t know how to approach art galleries”, etc.

Well, a few of those reasons are genuine but I had to get out there. I needed to experience it. So, I decided to participate in Chitra Santhe. It is an art fair held once every year in Bangalore at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. It is for the common artist, especially those who cannot afford to have a solo exhibition and as it is a fair, it is open to all audience. Thousands of people come to this event in the hope of buying art at a price they wouldn’t hope for in a gallery.

I went in the end of October to get an application form and I was delighted when I was told I was lucky as it was the last one available. I submitted the form the next day. They cannot accommodate everyone and hence you have to wait until the end of December to find out if you made it to the shortlist. Sure enough, just four days prior to the event I got it. I went with my dad for site inspection. It was a very tiny little space because they accommodated more number of participants that year.

I went home and bought some brown paper. Dad and Mom helped me make brown paper covers big enough to pack my paintings in (in case I managed to sell any). I packed them all nicely to be able to take the paintings safely to the venue.

My very resourceful mom kept a watch out for delivery vans and convinced one of them to let us hire the vehicle for transport. He backed out later because he was not comfortable with the timing. We had to reach the venue before 7:30am as the road would be blocked for vehicles after that time. Anyway, Dad managed to hire a vehicle to transport the paintings. My uncle, my cousin and I managed to move the paintings to the location and set up by 8:30am.

Tips: Carry smaller size paintings so you can just take them by car and also don’t take more than 10 paintings. Carry a sun Umbrella or wear lots of sunscreen. Handout visiting cards even if others around you think you’re being stupid.

At Chitra Santhe 2016

Don’t lose hope even if you don’t sell anything. It is a good experience. You’ll know what to expect for the next time and you’ll get lots of feedback. You’ll also get to meet experienced artists and know more about the art world.

My parents came by my stall in the evening and I got my first customer then. The woman bargained a lot and my dad convinced me to sell a painting to her at a reasonable price. I sold one more painting after that. Selling two paintings was not so bad after all. And I managed to sell one more painting online when I put up an invitation to Chitra Santhe on social media.

So start with a fair like Chitra Santhe, Kala Ghoda arts festival, Sunday soul Santhe or any art fairs in your city and you’ll have a great time and gain confidence to exhibit more of your paintings.

P. S: The packing and unpacking at the site is quite a task.

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All About CANVAS

There are so many kinds of surfaces you can paint on; Hardboard, stretched canvas, canvas board and so on. I commonly use stretched canvas.

I lived in a place where none of these were readily available. The market in that village was literally only 200 meters long and forget about even buying paints. So I had to buy canvas when I was on holiday. One of the best things in the army is that you usually know someone who is in a place where he/she can buy canvas and there is usually someone passing by your town. So that’s how I managed to get my shipment. Of course now there is online shopping but you will be charged for shipping especially if you are ordering large size canvas.

As I was just a beginner I didn’t want to spend much on canvas. So I bought stretched canvas which was locally made by a store. They made their own frames in bulk and the canvas that came in bulk was hand stretched and nailed (not stapled) by some locally employed people who of course didn’t know much about how it was to be done.

I got these canvases very cheap and then after I removed them from the packaging one by one I noticed that these were flawed. The grain of the canvas was not parallel to the frame.

A canvas has grains like any cloth. This has to be parallel to the frame.

Linen Canvas Coarse Vignette Crumpled Grunge Texture Sample

Instead I saw a few which were mounted diagonally.

butterflies

It is unsightly and I don’t recommend painting on it

I also feel stapling is more effective than nailing a canvas to the frame to stretch it.

 A canvas is primed with Gesso which was traditionally used to prepare or prime a surface so Oil paint would adhere to it. Gesso is the same as a primer. It is made from a combination of paint pigment, chalk and binder.

The priming done on these cheap canvas that I bought was very uneven and has air gaps which looked bad and eventually opened up. The corners were not neatly folded either.

So remember there are lot of things you need to check while buying canvas

You also get fine grain, medium grain and coarse grain canvas. Buy fine grain for realistic art or airbrushing especially if you’re planning on doing a lot of detailing.

typesofcanvases

Medium grain is versatile. I usually buy these so I don’t have to decide what to paint in advance

The coarse grain takes up lot of paint. It is great for heavy textured paintings and knife painting.

The stretcher bars on which the canvas is stretched also comes in different types. I buy the standard 1 inch thick ones. The thicker ones are better if you can afford it and great if you don’t plan on framing your painting

You also get side stapled and back stapled. There is a bit of a cost difference. I buy the back stapled because I prefer not framing my paintings.

Well well, that is definitely a lot of information on canvas. I bet there is a lot more but this is all that I’ve encountered so far. Happy shopping.

Watch out for some awesome art shopping options also including online art shopping destinations in the next blog post. Don’t forget to subscribe. you can find social media links below and also checkout my videos on YouTube.