Not many people realise but I’m an introvert, painfully shy and uncomfortable in a large crowd. Taking part in an art fair is a big move for me, especially as a newly returning artist. Putting yourself ‘out there’ and in front of a huge audience – face to face – is both terrifying and exhilarating. Kind of makes you wonder why I’d even get involved in art fairs of this size really!

Yet the artists and visitors I’ve met at these events have been such amazing people, supportive, kind, enthusiastic and encouraging. And what I’m realising I love the most about art fairs is witnessing the effect our art can have on someone.

When a stranger comes along and stops suddenly because they’ve seen something on your wall that has captivated them….

When they just have to come and take a close up look because a particular mark or colour has piqued their interest….

When they strike up a conversation with you about the emotion they are feeling when they look at your art and how it has triggered a memory in them….

When someone returns for a second look with another family member then again with a third….

These things all happened over the weekend in Sandown Park and in those moments my introverted self took a time out allowing me to chat comfortably to my visitors. I could see the connection my art had made with them and that immediately put me at ease, and I felt honoured and humbled to have been the one who created that.

When we’re working on our own so much it can be difficult sometimes to remember that feeling. It can get quite isolating and then the frustrations appear. When a piece just won’t come together, or day to day situations eat up precious creating time and we have a deadline, then the pressure mounts and suddenly it’s not so fun or enjoyable anymore. It’s all too easy to start asking why are we putting ourselves through this.

And then we remember. It’s because this piece that is challenging us, resisting it’s making and fighting to reach resolution, will one day touch the soul of somebody. It will be loved so much that it will be taken to a new home, hung where it can be seen and appreciated every day.

In that moment, as we hand over the piece of art into which we have invested so much of ourselves, we inwardly shed a tear of goodbye whilst doing a little happy dance. I thank the painting for choosing me as its creator and wish it happiness in its new home. I ask the new owners if I may take a photo of them with their new art so I can remember that happy moment my art found a loving home.

That’s what makes an art fair for me. It’s not about selling, making money, shifting inventory. It’s about reaching out to people, ordinary people just like me, and finding that connection with them. Sharing stories and learning. My art is created with love and I want it to go home with someone who will also love and cherish it.

Human connections are so powerful and so fulfilling. We are becoming isolated and disconnected from each other as virtual networking becomes the norm and spending time engaging face to face becomes an uplifting and rewarding experience. I cherish every conversation I have with visitors and artists over these weekends. I learn so much and I hope I give in return.

If you haven’t been able to visit an art fair yet then do come along to Newbury (10th – 12th May) if you can and say hello.

IF you like what I do, please support me!

© Natalie Day 2019

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