Monday, March 29, 2010

Nuts and Bolts

Occasionally people at shows or in the studio ask how the business of art works. In one sense, I'm not sure how it works, but I know about the arrangements between galleries, shows and artists.

First, to clear up a common misconception, artists don't keep 90% of a gallery sale. Generally we keep 50%. In most cases we pay to frame and ship or deliver the work. The gallery does the sale, collects taxes and pays the artist the arranged percentage after 30 days. If work is returned, it is usually the responsibility of the gallery.

Another occasional misconception is that an artist wanting to do an outdoor show simply calls up and asks to have a space reserved. In truth, he or she has to be juried into the show, paying a fee for that jury process. If accepted, they typically pay between $300-$900, and receive an assigned 10 or 12 square ft. piece of real estate. The artist supplies all materials and equipment to display the art and keeps all proceeds from sales. The artist is responsible for collecting taxes for the state and municipality they sell in and must file as any other business in that jurisdiction. Occasionally a show will charge a nominal fee to the artist to participate, doing the transaction and tax collection, while keeping a percentage of each sale.

I wrote about this once upon a time on this blog but this is the Cliff Notes version.

What's new: Lace of Light, 4o" x 40", oil on canvas

Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Hour in the Park

Friday afternoon I got outdoors to practice my plein air skills. I decided to return to Kraft Azalea Garden, a city park on Lake Maitland in the Winter Park chain of lakes. I was looking around the park for an inspiring view when a city employee struck up a conversation. He pointed out the Cottonmouth Moccasin on the dock.
There is a structure called the Exedra Monument popular for wedding photography and ceremonies. It's a good subject to practice my perspective skills while painting the flora and fauna. It was also a suitable distance from the snake.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Warmer Weather Coming

I missed seeing snow this year. I lived the experience through our daughter in Atlanta who saw more than usual. I ran across a series of photos of snow I took years ago and painted a large painting from. This week I painted a smaller painting just because I like the image so much.

Winter Field, oil on canvas, 9x12

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Plein Air Paint Out Coming Soon

It's soon time to switch gears. Next on the schedule is the Winter Park Paint Out April 24 - May 1 at the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park FL. I need to get out and hone my plein air skills for next month.

Meanwhile this is a painting I completed last week in the studio, and was shown in the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. It measures 24" x 24", oil on canvas. Title: Early Moon.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Art Shows Gone Wild - Boston Mills Artfest 2005

This is the first in what I hope is a series of artist submitted weather stories from outdoor art festivals in the past few years. Barbara Kline, wrote about Boston Mills Art Fest 2005 in Ohio after she read about this past weekend's early end to the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival Sunday due to weather.

"For extreme weather stories, I'll always have Boston Mills. As I headed to the Gala Event at 3:00 PM, scattered storms were reported on the radio. Once I reached the show the large parking lot was flooded with water and I had to park at the far end on higher ground. The show takes place at a ski resort in Boston Mills, OH, outside of Akron. I managed to get to the lobby of the building only to find people watching the water rise outside the locked doors flooding the tents of the art show.

The show was set up in three tents at the foot of the ski mountain and next to a small, mostly dry creek. Lightning struck a tree which blocked the creek and sent the water rushing through the art show tents. The only way out to my booth was to go upstairs in the ski building and down the outside stairs to the show. When I stepped off the bottom step into the water it was nearly waist deep. Pushing through water and past floating garbage such as oil drums, branches, and wet critters with beady eyes which washed up from the creek. Car alarms were going off from new cars that were on display for the gala evening. Wine bottles and food were floating by. Potted plants and yes, art. Many art vans in the parking lot had water over their wheel wells and more alarms were beeping and then failing when the water covered the system.

I finally made it to the North Tent which was a shambles. Booths were knocked over by the torrent of water. Mud and branches were everywhere. I went into my booth and tried to pick art off the walls and put it on top of a table that had not fallen over yet. Walls were trying to fall in from the crush of water and art floating in the current. Other artists were in the tent attempting to rescue their art. A beautiful inlaid wooden jewelry booth across the aisle was in shambles. The big tent over head was bulging with water pools and the poles were wavering. Tubs of art were spilled into the muddy torrent. Credit card machines and just about anything you can think of floated by. A group of artists rescued a case of wine, brought some of the shrimp plate out to the tent and were making the best of a bad situation. Borrowing glasses from glass and clay booths provided holders for the wine.

Eventually the rain slowed and the water began to subside leaving the mud caked carnage visible. Noticing the mud building up, I began sweeping the water as it subsided out of my booth in hopes of finding the rug on the ground. It worked. I was able to have a somewhat dry spot in an otherwise mud filled mess. I emptied the water from the bins of art and sorted through my art and other art which floated into my booth.The show did open without me the next day at noon with a few booths remaining and the North tent emptied to other locations. My next show was Cherry Creek and I had some work to do cleaning the booth, etc., if I were going to salvage the next show.

Okay, Steve, that is my one story. I also have the Storm of the Century in New Smyrna Beach, FL, several years ago. Artist tents floating in the intercoastal waterway with weights attached. My booth and four others survived that mess. And on and on it goes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Duck and Cover

"Schedule an Art Show". That's the punchline to the joke, "How do you end a drought?"

One of the usable technologies for the outdoor show artist is the smart phone with internet radar display. By noon the warnings were circulating at Winter Park predicting a sharp line of thunderstorms and high winds. The radar was painting yellow and red.

"Twenty minutes." I heard from a neighbor. I ran to the van for plastic and a dolly to move things out that werent essential. Sometimes the crowds congregate inside the open tents for cover, so it's often so crowded you cant move. Here there are shops and restaurants along the avenue so most took refuge where there were drinks and food. Rain led to heavier rain and winds and by 2:30, a show committee person gave us the word, the show was closed.

Trouble is it's hard to safely load art outdoors into a monsoon. Meanwhile a pool of water was growing deeper inside my tent. And I had to use a stick to push off water standing on the roof. In a half hour most artists were packing up. Everyone was soaked through by this time anyway. No need to stick around for more of the same.

My wife Susan had to leave the show before the rain reached its peak, so I needed to pack 2 tents and contents in the storm. Luckily I have good friends. OK, really good friends. Ones who came out in the rain and helped load it all out to 2 vans. Thanks Tim, Patti, Cynthia, and a special thanks to Ellie came out but who also loaned her van and wall panels to Susan. You are saints, one and all. I owe you. Five hours later and the skin on my fingers is just now starting to smooth out.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Winter Park - Day 2

This morning was cool and clear and the crowds came out. I had a descent day of sales. Thanks to each of you who bought a painting. And thanks to you all who signed my guestbook and spoke kindly of the work. It is all greatly appreciated.

Sunday looks challenging, weatherwise. Thunderstorms are forecast in the afternoon so the artists will have the stress of keeping things from flying as well as keeping them dry. I'm hoping this show doesn't add another chapter to the book of art show weather catastrophies. I have experienced a few personally. Some of those might make interesting postings.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day One of Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival

Today marked day one of the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Day two if you count most of yesterday that it took to load in a truck full of art and support equipment. Yes, the muscles are a little stiff and achy but the weather was near perfect and the crowds were respectable. Since this show is only blocks from my studio, it's a chance to talk with local friends and acquaintances. Thanks to everyone who stopped and said hello today. Saturday and Sunday should be beautiful spring days, so I hope to see even more of you.

What's new: Early Moon, 24x24, oil on canvas

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Painting at Amelia Island

A few weeks ago, a friend and collector of my auto art called me from Jacksonville FL with some information about this weekend's 2010 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance car show at the Ritz-Carlton. This is an annual affair where admirers and collectors of rare and beautiful cars meet and share a passion.

The theme of this years show was the 40th anniversary of the Porsche 917, a purpose built racer that dominated the international racing circuits in the 1970s. I got in touch with the chairman of the event sending a picture of my painting of the 917 that won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1970 and 1971. I did the painting in 2000. I was searching for my next life in art after 15 years as the Olive Garden Restaurants mural painter.

The 917 painting is certainly different from my landscape paintings, but I consider it one of the best pieces I have ever done. The painting was featured as part of the display for a seminar in one of the ballrooms. The talk featured a number of distinguished racing stars and a team manager who had worked in the development of the car. The panel was hosted by Sam Posey and Tim Considine. I had the opportunity to meet car's the current owner, Bruce Canepa, who has restored it to original and race ready condition, and keeps it in his car museum, the Canepa Collection near Santa Cruz, CA.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Painting the Night

The idea of plein air painting at night has always intrigued me. There is a lot to see and document at night that just isn't that interesting in daylight. Street lights, lit windows, mysterious shadows - all make for a fascinating mix of the dark and moody. Problem is it is hard to see your palette and canvas to paint what you are seeing. I know artists that have played around with miners lights and car battery powered lamps and any other number of lighting tools. I have never seen anything that worked so well that I wanted to get out there and paint at night.

But I was playing around with the settings on my point and shoot camera the other night and rediscovered a night shot function. It uses a slow shutter setting but it works surprisingly well. I walked around the block clicking shots in the street lights. I was surprised to see just how much I could document with a small amount of light. I knocked off a fast sketch yesterday in a well lit studio where I could paint off a computer monitor. Maybe these night scenes would make for an interesting series of paintings
What's new: Eola at Palmer, oil on canvas, 12" x 9"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Painting Air

Atmosphere -The gaseous mass or envelope surrounding a celestial body, and retained by the celestial body's gravitational force.
Painting atmosphere can be a challenge. The above definition sounds like it's just visual background noise, but if affects everything in a landscape painting. One elementary rule is the farther off the object, the less vivid it appears. I did the painting at left purely because of the atmosphere. It's as big a part of the mood as the light.

I took a photograph at dusk in the bluegrass region of Kentucky after a rainy afternoon. The moisture was still heavy in the air. When I later looked at that photo, I could feel the dampness and I wanted to try painting it. It took several layers of paint to convey that air. I still have some details remaining but I like the feeling it conveys. I've learned painting air can be a challenge.

Whats new: Haze at Nightfall 9"x12", oil on canvas

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


A sizeable portion of my paintings utilize a light source from behind the scene or away from the viewer. To me, when you couple this with low light as in a sunset or sunrise the landscape takes on a most beautiful tone. It's like a veil that hangs over the imagery and lends a saturated color richness that I love to paint.

I am currently working on a number of small paintings for the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival which is coming up in about 2 weeks. Above is a sample.

What's new: Marsh Study 12" x 12"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cades Cove

The economic news affects us all in different ways. As a painter I am getting a daily reminder of the recession. Paintings are a tough sell in an atmosphere of thread-bare budgets.

I mentioned a week or so ago that I had been awarded an artist grant by United Arts of Central Florida for which I was going to use the money to put together a show at Bennett Galleries in Knoxville TN. My proposal was to spend a week at Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains painting and photographing that area exclusively. I had hoped to get into the park in early Spring which would give me another season in my series of visits.

Then I read where the 11 mile paved loop was to be repaved and the road and the trails through the park would be closed from March 1 through late May. Today additional news comes that Senator Jim Bunning, R-Ky., blocked an extension of the Highway Trust Fund because he wanted the spending offset with cuts in other areas or with additional revenues. The Cades Cove project which was part of that package and which had started just hours earlier was halted and the workers sent home. As of now the road will stay blocked off and the park will remain effectively closed until the issue is resolved. This will certainly affect my schedule but more importantly a lot of people in the area that rely on the tourism generated by the park. I hope all this is resolved soon and a beautiful spot can be re-opened.

What's new: Outpost, oil on canvas, 16x20