Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Selling My Art At The Port Festival

Saturday morning activity at the Port Community Arts Centre Booth at the Port Festival

Mick writing up another sale
I was huffing and puffing and trying not to think of the likelihood of having a coronary  as I dragged the fully loaded plastic tub (balanced precariously on my little  hand trolley) along the bumpy surface, all the while cursing at my arthritic knees and ankles (the back's not too great either).   I seriously wondered if it was all going to be worth the effort.  

I was endeavouring to transport both mine and my brother's art from the exhibitor's carpark (which seemed to have moved further away each trip) to the art exhibition.  To do this I had to traverse a section of challenging unsealed gravel car park and two sets of train lines.  This was my third trip and Murphy was still haunting me - the trolley again stuck in the railway line grooves exactly as it had done for the two previous trips.  So once again I gave a marathon shove and I was trundling off once more and heading for the PCAC art stall.
Interested Passer By - One of My Paintings at the Front
I'm usually a keen and enthusiastic  member of the Port Community Arts Centre (although today my enthusiasm was rapidly waning somewhat), which is a community based art group consisting of amateur and  professional artists who exhibit their art in the Black Diamond Gallery at 66 Commercial Street, Port Adelaide (sorry, couldn't resist just a little plug).

Last weekend on the 8th & 9th October, this art society took part in a fun festival held at Port Adelaide, South Australia. The  Port Festival,  as it is called, is held in the heart of Port Adelaide every two years.  
For those who do not know Adelaide, South Australia, Port Adelaide is an historic harbour town with a rich and colourful maritime history extending right back to the pioneering days of early settlement.

Because of this it has a large number of old historic features (same as I do), lots of museums and tourist attractions.   This year there were about 70 stalls taking part and featuring all kinds of arts and crafts.  Music and entertainments  were provided for the public throughout the day and evening,  and there was a colourful light show once the sun went down.    All of the museums were  open and free to the public as were all of the local art galleries, of which there are quite a few.  
So much art we couldn't find space to hang it all!
Mick signing up a new member
Once we had all lugged our art to the booth and set it up so that it was looking all colourful and spiffing, the booth attracted a large amount of interest from members of the public. 

People of all ages took the time to look at the excellent and varied range of eye catching paintings which were provided for sale by our members. Although the majority of works were paintings all done in a wide variety of mediums, sizes and styles, there were also original art cards, sculpture, photographic works and some beautifully crafted small wooden items.

The event ran from 9.00am to 9.00pm over both days,  during which time the booth was well manned by PCAC committee members and volunteers, all of whom worked very hard to promote the PCAC (we stopped short of pursuing people down the street).

I was one of those volunteers and I was really pleased to see how much interest people took in our artwork.  There was also considerable interest in the art classes run at the Black Diamond Gallery and a number of new members joined the society.  If they are all artists it will make our future exhibitions even more interesting. 
A number of  artworks were sold (including about five of mine - yaaayyyyy!)  which is an excellent result considering how difficult it is to sell art in the current economic climate.  As usual, I probably sold mine too cheaply and  I would have liked to sell more (who wouldn't ha ha) but as I am currently financially embarrassed,  I figured that a sale in the hand was better than a sale in the bush, so to speak.  
"A Fine Red" by my brother Ian Holland
As jolly and enthusiastic volunteers we made sure that we handed out a large number of information leaflets to any interested people and it is to be hoped that this will result in higher turnouts at the exhibitions held at the Black Diamond Gallery.   (If anyone would like to check out our next art show it is called "Celtica" and starts on Nov 26th).

In addition, many complimentary and positive comments were received from the public about the quality of the artwork on show.  As usual, Alan Ramachandran's watercolour art was much admired.  I was a little chuffed that a number of people asked which ones were mine and told me how much they liked my work, which was very pleasing to hear (at least no-one said "yuk, that's awful, thank God!").   

Customer looking at some of the art that was for sale

We were very lucky with the weather too, which has been very changeable of late.  Saturday was fine and although rain was forecast for the Sunday, the morning showers cleared (naturally it was after we reached the shelter of the booth) and the day turned out well.  Unfortnately, as it was near the Port River, at around about 8.00 pm some of the local mozzies (mosquitoes) decided to check us out as well (must remember the mozzie repellent next time) and it still amazes me the little blighters can bite through trousers and socks.  At one stage I thought I would be going home anaemic.

It was great to see so many young people taking an interest in the art.  It seemed to me that the female shoppers were  the ones that were the most interested in looking at what we had to offer and overall they were more keen to buy than the men (they obviously had an eye for quality!).

In fact,  it was very frustrating how many times impatient husbands dragged their wives away just when we thought we were going to make a nice big sale, drat it!  Men just don't grasp the idea of retail therapy at all!

However, I did notice that the men who were being dragged through the booth with a glazed look in their eyes (as they wondered how the football scores were going) all seemed to stop and take a good long look when they saw the lovely wooden items so carefully hand crafted from desert woods like Mulga. 
Gunther's  lovely items made from desert wood

Due to our Secretary Mick’s excellent organisation of the event,  everything went like clockwork.  My thanks to Mick for  putting in so much time and effort organising the venue which resulted in me selling my art.  (Mick had  to put up and take down, with his wife Carole's help, all of the display boards, which had to be loaded into a trailer after 10.00 at night).

A brief lull  allowing time to grab a coffee

I worked there the whole of Saturday from 9.00am to 9.00pm, but only did from 5-9pm on the sunday as I spent most of that day sitting in on an enjoyable watercolour workshop with Alan Ramachandran (tell you about it in my next blog).  As well as the stall, PCAC ran a number of art workshops in conjunction with the Festival.

I am sooooo glad we had some chairs upon which to place our tired little bottoms.  

John Ford working on a painting

There was a minor disaster on the sunday morning when we went to the nearest coffee selling booth only to find that they had had a power failure and couldn't make us coffee (oh no!!).  Surrounded by forlorn and bleary eyed sellers they were frantically apologizing and attempting to remedy the disaster.   Resignedly we hauled our footsore, tired and aching bodies a bit further afield for the necessary sustenance and order was restored to the world (mmmm, coffeee, aaahhhhhh.....). 

My watercolour art teacher, John Ford (who is a really well know maritime artist and also the Chairman of PCAC) had his own booth next to the PCAC one.  He seemed to be doing very well and I noticed lots of people in there admiring his work.  You can see examples of his art on the PCAC website. He was always surrounded by a circle of admirers as he worked on a maritime watercolour painting. 

Customers at John's stall

Overall, it was an enjoyable weekend during which I drank way, way too much coffee and ate far too many hot greasy chips and although I was exhausted by the end of it all I am already looking forward to the next one.  

All I have to do now is get the knees working again so I can unpack the huge pile of art stuff still sitting in on my lounge room floor (where it still resides after being dumped  there late on Sunday night) and remove the sold items (yes!) from my various web sites. 

Cheers for now,  Heather.

These little figurines were very popular.  One of Alan Ramachandran's paintings front left. 
PS  If you live in Adelaide and are interested in joining an art group and exhibiting your art, check out the new Port Community Arts Centre website at:
and their facebook page at :
 (I took lots of photos, but they are not on our facebook site yet but check it out anyway)
PPS.  And if you want to look at my art most of the links are on this blog site.

PPPS (I wonder how many  of these you can do?).  These are a few of the the paintings I sold:

Umbrella Rainy Day Blues 2
Umbrellas In Space

Maritime Partytime


  1. FYI

    WELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    but seriously, coolness rating, 4.999/5
    From an anonomus awesome person, whose goal is to set the world reccord by commenting on every single site ever uploaded on the internet! (Just so you know) I actual read your blog too, and it wasnt bad either!

  2. OK - thanks for the rating and I hope you succeed in your ambition - whatever does it for you - glad I could help by providing a blog!