As I was inventorying my paintings for the ValeArts Show I quickly realized I needed a plan. Each artist was allotted 4 (four) 3'x6' flats/screened hanging panels for their work. I needed to figure out how many paintings could I hang and what paintings worked together. I also needed to figure how to get my paintings up quickly.
In group shows, you usually are allowed 2-4 paintings so selecting and transporting aren't a problem. Those shows are usually hung in a simple line or doubled up. In the past, in a show with a lot of artists, we've leaned the paintings up against the walls as they were dropped off and rearranged them so they worked together, then hung them. For groupings of multiple rows of paintings on a large wall, I've laid out paintings on the floor so they could easily be moved around until they worked as a group. With 9 artists in a small space, laying them on the floor or along the wall wasn't going to happen.
I always do some pre-planning to get a layout in my head before a show, but that usually changes to some degree once I start hanging. This time, I fell back on my Bu training and decided I needed to create a written ops plan.
I had a couple of ideasIdea #1 was to get a cloth the correct size and lay it on the floor. A cheap solution for that is to cut an old shower liner (heavier than cloth, so easier to work with) that you didn't toss out because artists don't throw away stuff they might be able to use in an art project!! Once you get an arrangement that fits, take a picture with your cellphone and off you go.
I learned quickly that I couldn’t hang
by theme or color, although I
started each panel that way. I had to
find smaller paintings to fill empty spaces
Plan #2: I thankfully finally remembered I have 4 panels stored that I don't use, but loan out to other artists. I volunteered to store them for the Springfield Art Guild so my good deed was about to pay off. If you don't have panels and have time you might be able borrow one. I set one up in the climate controlled comfort of my studio. I lined up all the paintings I was considering along the wall and floor. Then I went to work deciding what worked together and more important... what fit together on the panel.
After I got an arrangement done, I took photos. Since I 4 panels, I also assigned each grouping a number and wrote the group # on a piece of blue tape on the back of each painting. Then I boxed up the paintings for each panel together. Since most were 20" or under I could get them all into a box. It worked like a charm!
FYI: Whenever I transport a lot of smaller paintings, I take a sturdy box or large plastic container and place a piece of cardboard on both sides of every painting. Once the box is full, but not too heavy, I use bubble wrap or something light to fill in the rest of the space so the paintings do not flop when I'm transporting them. I found that instead of laying them out flat, boxing them saves me a lot of trips.
Even though I had the photos on my phone, I also printed a working size black & white copy (1/4 page) which allowed me to also have room make notes. I hung a sheet on each panel (much to the amusement of the experienced artists!...Although they hid it well) so that I didn't have to keep pulling out my phone.
It was a bit more work on the front end, but it turned out to be a life saver for someone who hadn't hung on panels in a long time. My 27 paintings went up fast.