How to Prepare For an Outdoor Art Fair

Preparing for Rain in an Outdoor Art Fair

As the weather may be unpredictable or there might be some drizzles at the art fair, here are our thoughts.

Bring more covers than you think you’ll need, more containers, and more plastic bags. Also, bring a bagful of spring clamps to keep everything pinned firmly in place.

Don’t just leave them in your car; please bring them with you.

What Kind of Raincovers Do You Use in an Outdoor Art fair?

A lightweight tarp that you can flip on and clamp down instantly.

If need be an ordinary tablecloth, though, I find those blow off.

Umbrellas and types

In my experience, never enough; if you have umbrellas, you have the customers; keep handing them out.

A well-vented umbrella clamped on top of an easel is fantastic in case it’s too sunny.

I also use a central rectangular garden parasol. It’s vented and lightweight. 

Protecting Art From Rain

You can display board-backed prints in clear self-seal cellophane bags

Rain At An Art Fair

Rain At An Art Fair

To be extra safe, tape the end; it only takes a pin-prick to let in water. However, UV rays will still eventually ruin the picture.

If your selling routine is to be actively painting, and it should be your selling routine as it brings in onlookers, remember that umbrella that you have already placed on top? That buys me time should it start raining all of a sudden.

Cover the board with another sheet of clear perspex and secure it with bulldog clips. This does the trick, but if the wind picks up too, store the original in a box until the danger has passed.

How Do You Deal With Damp and Humid Weather

In many ways, a heavy downpour is easier to deal with. You throw your covers over and wait for the rain to stop.

Humidity is more insidious. It creeps up on you. There are sultry days when the air is saturated. This affects the paper.

Protect them inside a plastic box with half a dozen large silicone sachets to absorb the moisture.

If humidity is an issue, fine misty drizzle is a killer. It’s almost impossible to trade in those conditions because umbrellas make no difference. Pack up and head home.

Wind Oh, My Wind and Rain Help!

Believe it or not, it’s not the rain I worry about; it’s the wind. If it’s wind and rain, you may as well pack up. That said, it takes a lot for me to quit, and there are some things you can do to ease the pain.

How Do You Secure Your Easel Against the Wind?

The first thing to blow away is the lightweight easel. A simple test to see if you should even begin with painting the umbrella test if the umbrella can’t be open, don’t paint. Make sure you tie a stone to hold the easel in place.

How Do You Secure Your Art Prints Against the Wind?

Stick my prints to corrugated plastic display panels. They are the same panels printers use to make ‘For Sale’ signs.

Velcro the panels to a metal frame and velcro the prints to the panels. Or clamp the panels onto the structure as a precaution.

To Much Sun

You would think the sun would be your best friend, and sure it brings out the crowds and cheers everyone up, but there are a few things to consider.

For one thing, no one wants to stand around in the full sun for long. People seek shade if it’s very hot, and the good mood soon frazzles into hot and bothered. Bring a tent to offer shade.

Pictures need shade. This is what happens.

  • Your prints appear bleached out.
  • Paper warps
  • Display sleeves wave
  • Velcro melts
  • Marks, smears, and scuffs are highlighted
  • Prints sweat inside their wrappers
  • Cellophane and perspex glare

Adjust your display as the sun pans across the sky. Umbrellas are not just for the rain.

Other Environmental Hazards When You Sell in an Outdoor Art Fair

Birds and Insects

Bird dropping what not.

You will constantly be wiping, cleaning, and inevitably, squashing everything. 

I can only work under the protection of an umbrella. That’s fine for dropping and the like. But insects have an uncanny knack for finding their way inside the cellophane wrapper. It’s an attack from all sides.

It’s easy to casually brush away an insect only to squish it onto your artwork. Gently blow them away if you can; make sure your mouth is dry first. If that fails, use a feathered blending brush.

Bringing the Right Clothes For an Outdoor Art Fair

Always bring more clothes than you think you’ll need. It’s far better to take off layers than suffer the discomfort of not having enough.

Always bring a rain jacket/windcheater, and as the season changes, dress in layers. You get cold standing around all day.

In short, if you think you might need something, bring it along.

The one thing not to wear is sunglasses. It’s intimidating and will hurt sales.

Are There Any Advantages to Selling Art Outdoors?

You would think that after listing so many reasons why selling outside is a pain in the backside; I’d jump at the chance to sell indoors. Not so.

Decades of selling research show that if you want to sell non-essentials, you must capitalize on impulse, and the sure-fire way to do that is to be under people’s noses. That’s best achieved outside; luckily, outdoor pitches tend to be cheaper.

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