10 Ways to Beat Post Exhibition Blues

blue eye woman crying

Something that I never knew when I started exhibiting art was that it’s very common to have the post exhibition blues.

In fact, almost every artist I have spoken to has had this issue. There is a let down after the huge event. you spend so much time focusing on it all, creating artworks, hanging, publicizing, it becomes a massive high capped off by the opening. then, suddenly, it’s over. and your life can seem…empty.  It can be crippling- my first exhibition had me lost for over a month in a deep depression.

After that first experience, I decided that this should be something that can be avoided and I’ve been actively working on it ever since. these are my tips for beating that post-exhibition depression.

  1. Have a new series or body of work you are really excited about and ready to get started on. the sooner you get back into the studio the better. that’s why you became an artist!
  2. On the night of the opening go out to dinner with collectors, friends, family. a nice group of people you can enjoy who are going to give you support, distraction and a great come down after a perfect night.
  3. Don’t drink during the opening. Nurse a glass of wine all night or have something else. Alcohol is a depressant and you want to be sharp on the night.
  4. Keep a file of “warm fuzzies” – emails, comments, tweets of nice things that people have said about your work – refer to it at need!
  5. Spend 15 minutes in your studio each day, even if it is just looking out the window, sketching, looking at books, old sketchbooks, going over ideas, surround yourself in your art.
  6. Give your studio a spring clean. If you are like me, after an exhibition everything is in chaos. tidying it all up gives you a sense of closure, and a clean studio always beckons for new work!
  7. Try a new medium you have been meaning to try. experiment and have some fun!
  8. Tally up all your achievements at the exhibition, no matter how small. The people you gave your cards out to, the new mailing list signups, the good things that were said and done.
  9. Buy yourself a new sketchbook or brush or something, a nice treat to pat yourself on the back – it needn’t be expensive or large, just a celebration.
  10. Don’t focus on all the things you should have done or wish you had done. Remember them for next time and move on. Start planning the next big thing!

Thanks to Jeannie for sharing such an inspirational post with us. Jennie Rosenbaum is a contemporary figurative artist who shares random reflections, rants and rambles on Nudes, Art and the Art World on her blog. She rediscovered her passion and returned to painting to ‘quench the pain’ after being hit by a car.



(PS. Let’s meet on TwitterFacebook and now on Google Plus http://gplus.to/lorimcnee )

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  1. Gwenn August 29, 2011 at 11:11 am

    My favorite way to beat the post-exhibition blues is to tour the series to a couple of venues in nearby cities. This way, by the time the tour is over I feel like the work has gotten plenty of exposure and I’m even a little tired of it. In other words, I’m ready to be done with it, instead of it being done with me!

    • Lori McNee September 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      Hi Gwen, thanks for sharing your post exhibition tips with us! Your tip sounds like a great idea.

      Happy creating-

  2. Steve September 2, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Good advice. After all that production, getting ready for the exhibition, people are inclined to have a rest or take time off afterwards. The answer is to keep producing. If you find something was successful keep doing it don’t stop. Its the sudden lack of motion and energy that produces the depression.

    • Lori McNee September 4, 2011 at 5:26 pm

      Hello Steve, thanks for the great additional thoughts. I totally agree. It is best to keep up the momentum…

      Best- Lori

  3. Angeline-Marie December 27, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Oh, where was this when I most needed it? I was feeling the blues after my exhibit in September, and am now just getting over them. LOL…

    THANK YOU…because now I don’t feel so weird about feeling down in the dumps after my exhibit. I’m normal! Yay!

    PS: Go on a vacation…that helps. For me, it seemed to delay the dumps…LOL…but vacation did work!

    • Lori McNee January 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      Hi Angeline-Marie, what a pretty name! I am glad you found some new ideas to help you next time you are in this situation. Better late than never!


  4. Kirsty October 15, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Thanks so much for that.
    I’m having a really tough couple of days even after a reasonably successful exhibition. I thought I was going a bit crazy today. This article is a great reflief.

    • Lori McNee October 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      Kirsty, it makes me smile to know that this post helped you. I obviously know how you feel. I am going through some rough times right now myself and need to re-read my own post! Here’s to brighter days. 🙂

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