40 Before 40 #11: My First Watercolor Show

Did I tell you I hung my first watercolor show? Yep, I totally did. #11 on my 40 before 40 List and it’s done. Well, actually, the show is still up and I invite you to go check it out if you’re in the area.

Throughout the month of August, two of my paintings will hang at Los Altos Library in the the group watercolor show, “Guy Magallanes and Selected Students.”

Guy hangs the first painting

Guy hangs the first painting

When Guy asked me if I wanted to participate, I made an ugly face and said something like, “Really? Why?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to ruin the pure joy of painting by sharing my work with a judgmental public.

I am truly a beginner, only having been painting since 2011 and with Guy since July 2012. I still see marked improvement on each new painting, which tells you how far I still have to go. I’ve also been very careful to keep painting personal, to avoid commercializing it in any way lest it go the way of photography. After a few week’s consideration, I decided to give it a go—and I’m glad I did.

To prepare for the show, I had to have my paintings matted and framed. I took them to Photograph & Frame in Palo Alto for custom mats. I asked for the mat to be cut to fit in a standard frame, in this case 16×20. Then I took advantage of the Aaron Brothers 1-cent sale to buy two frames for the price of one, and asked the staff there to string the back wire for me (only $5 per frame). I got both images matted and framed for less than $125. Pretty good deal, I thought.

Turns out that, while I was running around town, one of my peers took her painting to Michael’s for their Custom Frame Express service and got hers done for even less. Looks like there are a lot of great options for affordable framing these days. Cool, right?!

In addition to preparing the paintings for hanging, we had to write artist’s statements and bios for the exhibition guide. I’ll share more about that another time.

Art show participants

Top, from left to right: Carmel Adams, Susan Jochheim, Guy Magallanes, Cheri Gustafson, Bonnie Gilkis and me. Bottom left: Paintings by me (top) and Nga Bui (bottom). Center: Artist statement & bio in exhibition book. Right: Paintings by me (top), Margaret Inokuma (bottom), and Virginia Weiss (right)

All of the show participants gathered at Los Altos Library the afternoon of August 1st. The exhibition area’s hanging system consists of a top, wall-mounted rail and flexible metal rods that can be added, relocated or removed. Each rod has one or more hooks that move freely along the rod to hold artwork. It looks similar to this.

We began by lining the paintings up along the floor. While some of the other newbies hung out and watched, I had a lot of opinions about what looked nice together and offered them up. Did you expect anything less? 😉 I kept being drawn to placing paintings with similar color themes and aspect ratios together and that’s how our big wall came together. Here it is:

Paintings from left to right credited to Cheri Gustafson, Guy Magallanes, Bonnie Gilkis, Kate Watson (top), Margaret Inokuma (bottom)

Paintings from left to right credited to Cheri Gustafson, Guy Magallanes, Bonnie Gilkis, yours truly (top), and Margaret Inokuma (bottom)

Any questions about hanging an art show? Let me know in the comments.

If you’d like to see the show, please visit Los Altos Library at 13 S San Antonio Road before August 30th.


Kate Watson


40 Things to Do Before 40 » KateWatson.net - […] my watercolor paintings (Done! Group show, August 1-30, […]