Thursday, August 27, 2015

Rosa Sepple sells 50+ paintings in 4 days!

I don't often write about the exhibitions of individual artists - however Rosa Sepple very much deserves to be highlighted on the pages of this blog.

Rosa can currently be found in the Mall Galleries with her one woman exhibition "Out of the Blue" - in association with her gallery (Adrian Hill Fine Art, Holt, Norfolk). She's an elected member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour (2004) and the Society of Women Artists (2009).

Out of the Blue by Rosa Sepple RI SWA #1
Rosa has invested a great deal of effort and money in this exhibition. For example she has:
  • hired the large Main Gallery - which is unusual. Most artists having a show at the Mall Galleries normally go for the North Galleries or the Threadneedle Space. However Rosa is showing some 120 paintings and needed the space!
  • framed all her paintings with the same high quality frame from Italy - customised for each painting in terms of size and thickness. In addition, the work is triple matted and the middle mat picks out a colour in the painting. It's very professional, very simple and very effective.
  • got a hardback book out - about her story and all the paintings in the exhibition.

I'm sure some people must have thought she was taking a huge risk with this sort of approach to selling her art.  They couldn't have been more wrong!

I very much recommend people go and see her exhibition before it closes on Saturday for the following reasons:
  • it's a very impressive exhibition. I can't think the last time I saw 122 paintings by the same artist which are all painted in a mature and well developed style. Seeing them all together certainly packs a punch!
  • the consistent framing really helps with the very positive impression of the exhibition as you come into the gallery. This is an exhibition which convinced me it was impressive as I stood at the top of the stairs and before I'd looked at any painting up close.
  • importantly, in four days since Monday, when the exhibition opened (with the book launch) Rosa has sold over 50 paintings - both large and small (for - I think - between £6.5k and £750). 
I think I saw more red dots this afternoon in the West Gallery than I've seen in the same gallery during some annual exhibitions by some FBA art societies towards the end of their run!

Rosa Sepple with some of her paintings on the end wall.
Chatting with Rosa in the gallery this afternoon I wanted to find out why she has been so successful.

First off, she had always had a feeling that having a large exhibition of her work would show people what she was capable of - and she is very definitely correct about that. Others have also been very impressed with her show.

Out of the Blue by Rosa Sepple RI SWA #2
Out of the Blue by Rosa Sepple RI SWA #3
She also wanted to find out why people liked her work and hoped to get some clues from what sold and who bought what. She certainly now knows which paintings she could have sold again and again. (I think she'll be painting a few more 'Madonnas' after this show!)  However other than this her collectors continue to be very diverse.

Out of the Blue by Rosa Sepple RI SWA #4
Here's why I think she's been successful.
  • she paints for herself. She doesn't do commissions as such. She only paints what she enjoys painting and her paintings are unique!
  • she paints happy pictures. Never underestimate the power of a happy painting to make a buyer also feel happy!
  • she paints pictures of people who are often in groups and there's a story behind every painting
    • I have been whinging for some time on this blog - in various contexts - about the way that narrative painting involving groups of people appears to be in severe decline in this country. Artists appear to have lost the ability to tell stories with their paintings. 
    • Rosa hasn't - and the result is that, so far, she's sold 2,000 paintings in her career to date (and she had her first exhibition at a library in Outer London in 2003)
    • In my experience people like working out the story behind a painting and they're very happy to make up their own version. In other words, having a painting with a story engages the viewer and draws them in.  I've seen this happen with other artists. I had a friend where we all used to guess the story as she developed the painting - it becomes engrossing!
  • she's developed a strong base of collectors who love her work and want to buy more to add to their collection.  This is the key to becoming a successful artist. People who LOVE your work are powerful advocates for it, love showing it off and love telling others to come and see the latest exhibition of their favourite artist.
  • Working with a Gallery that does "own-art" certainly helps a lot. Being able to buy paintings over 10 months means that you can acquire collectors, as Rosa has, who plan on acquiring more paintings and have now developed a habit of buying on a monthly basis - without a gap!
So there you are - that's a recipe for success! See if you can do better!
"My paintings are an expression of a playful world I never had. Somehow I missed my childhood, went straight into marriage and motherhood and much of the fun in life seemed to pass me by. Now, as I sit and work in my studio, I can take my most excessive imaginings for a walk in complete safety and do all the naughty things I might like to have done."
Rosa Sepple


  1. This review of Rosa Sepple's wonderful exhibition at The Mall Galleries is deeply appreciated. The links between Rosa Sepple and Adrian Hill Fine Art, based in Holt, North Norfolk, culminated in publishing ''Out Of The Blue' which features the collection of 122 paintings showcased at The Mall Galleries. The arrangements included the need to have all the paintings framed, a task entrusted into my care. Rosa's brief was that all the paintings needed to have a unified appearance as they were being displayed as a collection in one room. However each painting needed to be treated individually and your review describes perfectly the approach that was made, using triple mounts where the central colour could be imaginatively matched with the tone of the painting. I was deeply privileged to oversee the choice of colour used and to personally frame every painting. Having spent my entire life as a picture framer developing an art related business with my wife, we now have our son (Adrian Hill) working alongside us running the two fine art galleries in the historic Georgian town of Holt. We remain totally captivated by Rosa's paintings and treasure the close friendship that has developed over a relatively short period of time.
    Michael Hill, Picturecraft of Holt

  2. Melissa - do you always try and correct the English Language used by the author of a blog post? Even when that author is English?

    You whine and I'll whinge!

    Incidentally I did discover that there are parts of the world (the USA) where there are people who have never heard of the term "whinge". I had this on the good authority of an Australian friend who found herself having to explain the term.

  3. Many congratulations to Rosa Sepple on her very professional exhibition and also praise must go to her framer and advisers. This is also a very well written piece and I did enjoy reading it.


COMMENTS HAVE BEEN CLOSED AGAIN because of too much spam.
My blog posts are always posted to my Making A Mark Facebook Page and you can comment there if you wish.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.