I love to visit the MOMA in New York on line and visit exhibitions that I otherwise would never be able to see!  The internet is the largest tool for understanding where you may fit in.  But for the   I found it very helpful when I “bricks and mortar” galleries I recommend studying art history.  When I did this I found that I understood more about my place in time and our contemporary art world. Before that I did some discouraging trial and error marketing of my paintings.  Find out what is going on in the art world today!
I found it necessary early on to build a cirriculum vitae. That is the fancy word for an artists resume! This needs to include;
Solo exhibitions,
Group exhibitions,
Jurried group exhibitions,
Newspaper or magazine reviews,
Television documentaries,
Groups & associations that you belong to,
and Collectors or at least the names of countries where your paintings have been sold.
Or whatever portion of the above that you can assemble!
So….it’s helpful to begin by entering your paintings in the local art center or art councils jurried exhibitions, also national competitions (with reputable jurors) and you may wish to hold a solo exhibition or two at a coffee house or apply at  the local art council for an exhibition when you feel that your artwork is resolved enough. By resolved I mean when you have a body of artwork that is consistent in scale and art language.
Once you have established some personal artistic background, then write an artist statement.  This needs to include your intention regarding your paintings. Okay, I know this sounds painful but you can do it!   We must not presume to know what the viewer will take away from our art works. Therefore, “My art is spiritually uplifting and will help you feel better is a no, no! Rather my intention is to create spiritually uplifting works of art that may suggest……and so on is the correct form.
Ask someone to write up a short biography of yourself or do an autobiography!
Very worthy exhibition spaces can be found in Universities. Colleges and Theaters. Alternative Artist run galleries may also be a choice for you to exhibit at this point in your career.
Now that you have a c.v., artists statement and biography, begin to visit and study the galleries. Have a chat with the owner or gallery director.  Be sure that you feel comfortable with this person.  If you choose to do business with them later you really want someone who is totally supportive of your art making  and with whom you communicate well. Once you have found a gallery that you are certain exhibits art works that are of the same genre as your works of art then may wish to telephone the gallery and double check the gallery director’s name and please do this on a Monday. The rest of the week they are very busy. (I know this because years ago I was told this several times by different gallery owners!) Also ask if they are taking any new artists. It will be a yes or no answer. If it is a no, don’t take it personally, okay! Just keep looking. If yes, inquire as to what is the best time to make an appointment with the gallery director to discuss this. You will probably be told to submit your c.v., biography, artists statement and a proposal along with a certain number of slides or attachments by email rather than come in to visit.  Or not, if you do get an appointment, be prepared and take along your information.
Okay, so the proposal is should be quite simple and straight forward;

Title of Exhibition


Number of works, media, sized between this and that ( from 2 feet x 5 feet to 3 feet by 6 feet!), Media.(oils, acrylics, etc.)
Explain your work in progress but again let’s not assume to know what the viewer is seeing. My intention is….

Sign this page anddefinitely include a wonderful cover letter, thanking them for taking the time to consider your proposal, expected date of completion of your work in progress, etc.

Galleries most often charge 50% of final sale price and they will ask you to pay for the framing and shipping.

You should not have to pay for wine and such, or invitations and mail outs.  Expect a reply anytime within six weeks. And remember that some galleries plan their exhibition schedules at least 1 to 2 years ahead of time.

Remember that the painting comes first!   Create everyday if you have time.  The sales will follow when we do what we love to do!  And very best wishes for continued creativity and professional success!