Friday, May 29, 2009

Another Show Approaches

Today is all studio time, and I am beginning to feel the approaching deadline for Chicago Old Town. I need large work and small even though I still have some of each from the Decatur show. A painter never thinks he has enough - at least not enough strong pieces. Even so, there should be enough time to put together a strong showing.

WHAT'S NEW: A river painting similar to this morning's posting. I started this one yesterday.

It is 43"x41" I'm calling it Twists and Turns.


Last week was a slow show, probably for several reasons. Sales are predicated on who attends, their budgets and their outlook on the economy. Oh, and in this case, weather. Obviously, right now many folks are holding onto their money. Art purchases, especially spontaneous ones, are less likely, so it's important we as artists market creatively, and remain focused on what we do best.

Like so many parts of the economy, the art market is going through transition. The tightened credit markets along with a large number of people watching their discretionary spending may mean it takes years to return to the sheer numbers of buyers we had in recent years. The ones that do return may expect lower pricing. What the new reality will look like is still a mystery and may be a long gradual change. Artists and dealers should be ready to adapt.

WHAT'S NEW: Painting Commission, 43x41 tentatively titled River Sunset

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Parting Gift at Load-Out

Back home after an a rainy all-night drive. Most of yesterday in Decatur was rain free, but very overcast. The sun did show up for an hour or so in the afternoon but rain came and drove out the crowds. In talking to several artists, the consensus was slow sales. They were slow for me. This show didn't return expenses, so I will have to consider the situation next year before applying again. While weather was a factor, some shows bring out the buyers even when it rains.

Because of the congested downtown location, parking for load-in and load-out is not abundant. Passes are issued to load your booth out to your vehicle only after everything is disassembled and ready to move. Unfortunately, your work is exposed to the elements while you take apart and pack your tent and other equipment.

Around 7pm, I could hear the thunder and sense the impending doom. Yes, the last and strongest storm of the day hit as everything was in it's most vulnerable state. Some show volunteers braved the rain and helped move my paintings to a large tent in front of the old courthouse while I took down the rest of my booth. The work wasn't damaged but practically everything else (including me) was soaked and loaded wet. I'll need to spread out eveything in the sun later today and dry it out - if it's not raining.

Well, another festival in the books. I met a lot of nice folks this weekend, including some Atlanta area painters who shared their knowledge of galleries and local artist organizations. I sold a few small pieces and probably gave out a hundred or more business cards, so good things may come from this show at a later time. The economy is hurting the art community in many ways right now. Outdoor show sales are only one facet but they are taking a big hit. We all hope things improve soon.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rain of Power

At the peak of a historic drought in the southeast in 2007, Sonny Perdue, the governor of Georgia famously prayed for rain on the steps of the capitol in Atlanta. Ok, so rain was already forecast that week but a little political theater never hurts a politician's ratings. What those of us in the artist community know was that if the Gov' had just proclaimed it Georgia Art Festival Week, the heavens would have opened from Rome to Valdosta and everybody would have been served without those prickly separation of church and state issues.

It's not a lock, mind you but rain does seem more likely to occur in the region of white tent roofs. Maybe it's a related phenomenom of tornados and mobile homes. My data is more anecdotal than scientific, still - I'm just sayin'.

Yes, today was rainy but lots of people braved the odds and came out to see the art. In spite of the extra inconvenience and mess, the rain is a blessing. Dish it, Sonny.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Drive Time

I made the drive from Orlando to Atlanta today for the Decatur Arts Festival which starts tomorrow morning. It rained hard most of the way north. At times, emergency flashers on - hard. Not a good omen for the weekend. There are no rain dates for art festivals. If you drive 2000 miles and it rains for the whole show, there are no refunds or do-overs. Mercifully, the rain subsided as I approached Atlanta and we only had drizzle in Decatur for the booth set-up.

Dinner out of a take out bag at the hotel while I make title and price tags for the booth. The end to a 13 hour day. A glamorous life indeed.

Mountain View, oil on canvas. 12"x12"

Monday, May 18, 2009

Another Show Prep Week

Monday, and the start of a show week. Friday morning I must be on the road to Decatur GA for the Decatur Art Festival Between now and then a hundred details need to be addressed. From having business cards made to getting out the show equipment and going through each piece in a kind of peace of mind inventory. Every artist doing an outdoor show has somewhere in the back of his head a fear of showing up 1000 miles from home with 3 of the 4 tent legs for their booth. I have shown up 1,300 miles away without my tent roof. I looked a little shabby for three days, but being under a big top tent with the other artists, no weather damage was incurred.

I have also shown up without my trade mark amyrillis and vase, my guest book, my painting title tags, and more than once without a coat. Who knew it could be cold in Chicago in June.
Even if you remember, it's just hard to pack scarves and mittens when it is 92 degrees in Florida. The leap of logic is just too broad.

Between now and Friday there is also a lot of work on unfinished paintings. This last week before a show is always a little unsettling. Each painting has to find it's conclusion so it can be packed and loaded. I cross my fingers that they will finish up with appeal to buyers. Or at least be something I am proud to hang.

On a visit to Decatur a few weeks ago, I stopped by the courthouse square and looked at my space, number 56. I am on the SW corner of the old courthouse. I noticed I will be setting up under a rain tree that has a dense canopy. That's great if it's hot, but the lack of light filtering into my tent won't be good. Paintings can only look good if they are properly lighted. Deep shade is not going to be helpful. Most shows don't want to move you unless the the conditions are intolerable, and the artist loses the advantage of being found by patrons that use the artist space directory in the program.
At any rate, this should be an enjoyable show. Our daughter Michelle attends Agnes Scott College, just a few blocks from the square, and though she is home in Orlando now, I will enjoy being back in Decatur.

Here is the painting previously posted. I think it is finished. I called it Here to Forever. It measures 36" x 48" and is a gallery wrap, unframed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Large Painting Begins

This week is more studio work. Roughly 9-5 each day if things allow. I have 4 or 5 pieces in flux. I like to swap around as too much wet paint is hard to manipulate. This afternoon I started the one shown here. It measures 36" x 48". I liked it when I left this afternoon but tomorrow will tell me more when I walk in and get a fresh look. My challenge is to fine tune it without losing the quality of the brushwork. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Press Any Key, No Not That One

It seems like too many of my posts start with something like, "its been awhile since I posted...". I'll try to be more disciplined, but I have an excuse if you need one. This has been DSL hell week. The home network went down for about the fourth or fifth time in the past 10 days. The last time it took the router with it and it hasnt been working since. Each of my attempted fixes somehow led to additional issues with the desktop or other devices. The periferal called a refrigerator was still working around 10pm last night so I quit while I could still get a cold beer.

Let me take this opportunity to apologize to my family for too loudly expressing my anger at the AT&T automatron lady who each time after the help line went dead, patiently led me through 4 more minutes of voice mail hell to reach tech support. FYI, their voice recognition program doesnt respond to certain words that usually get a big rise out of real humans. It's looking like the DSL will be switched back to cable soon but for now I want a few days return on all my spent fury.
The painting above is new and part of my work for the upcoming the Decatur Art Festival, May 23-24 in Decatur GA. The painting measures 10x20" oil on canvas, gallery wrap, $1,175.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 4 of the Paint Out

Tonight is an "off" night from the Winter Park Paint Out. At least there are no plein air painters social events. This week has been a blur of setting up to paint in 5 or 6 locations, each for a couple of hours until the light changes and moving to the next spot. Then rushing home to clean up and go out to socialize with the plein air painters and patrons. It has been great fun and a lot of work.

The fun part is the painting, mixed with sharing the time with the rest of the painters and organizers. Tuesday evening we took boat rides before a catered dinner at the museum. Drinks on the yard at Houston's restaurant Wednesday evening as we watched the sun set over Lake Killarney. Some of us painted while we were there. Thursday was a catered artist/patron dinner at Hal Stringer's home where we enjoyed another beautiful evening outdoors. Tomorrow night is the gala at the museum where all the work from the week is displayed.

As much fun as it has been, all this painting has been hard work. The schedule is compressed into short sessions that have you racing to catch the light before it moves too far across the sky. Before it has changed too much, it's time to move on. It demands focus and speed.

Here is a sample of my work. This is the Winter Park train station yesterday afternoon. I have a few more that I will post later.