Monday, November 24, 2014

Having daldrums after a solo show? ENTER small shows

As everyone knows you paint like a crazy person for a show and sometimes its hard to get back into a rhythm once its over.  Sometimes I fight that by dragging out a couple of old paintings that just didn't work, but I haven't thrown them away.  I "play" with them.  Its just fun!  Rarely, do I salvage them so I could sell them (you really should start over for that) but looking at them with a new critical eye and what was lacking in the first place is a great exercise for me.

Local Art Shows:  Fall is also a great time of the year for art shows.  We have lots of them in our area. Back in January,  my critique group decided we'd write an "art bucket list" for the year.  I had about 20 items (probably should be cut it back a little) and I've actually accomplished most of them.  One of the items was to enter local shows sponsored by new groups I had not worked with before.  I am doing 3 this fall.  I don't usually do more than one at a time and never thought about how much time they take, so everyone should keep that in mind... KEEP a calendar of events...drop off, pick up if rejected, some require volunteer duties, receptions, and pick up.  With that list you can see they can be a big time commitment. 

My tip: Enter shows with a friend or two so you trade off on some of the duties if needed and most important can help with drop off and pick ups if something comes up.  

Prospectus Read each one carefully.  Rules can be different for each event.  It is surprising how many people enter paintings, pay the fees, drop of their work and it is rejected not because it isn't a wonderful painting, but because they didn't read the prospectus and it doesn't fit the theme/requirements.

Fees:  Many shows have entry fees, but there are just as many small shows that do not.  Many will keep a percentage of the sale.  From 10-40%.  

Volunteer requirement?:  Keep in mind that in addition to entry fees, many local shows require you to do some volunteer work if you are in their show.  That can be making spreadsheets or labels, helping with advertizing, logging in paintings, assisting the judge, hanging the show, attending the reception (which everyone should try to do because it is fun), set up and/or clean up at the reception, bringing food for the reception, taking down the show, & checking the paintings out.

Dates you have to track: (It doesn't sound like much but if you are entering multiples it can get confusing.

  • When the entry has to be mailed 
  • If entering more than one show tracking which paintings are going where!
  • Drop off date (and pick up times if they aren't accepted into the show)
  • Reception
  • Pick up 

The Traveling Chicken

I've just learned that I needed to change the write-up for my blog so it isn't too close to the one I wrote for the Traveling Chicken blog (apparently that causes problems) Here's my updated story: 

I signed up hoping for a visit from the Traveling Chicken a few years back.  TC is a very popular chick!  She finally arrived at my house for her grand portrait.  Painting a famous chicken proved to be nerve racking! 

Rather than TC arriving from some exotic place (sorry Johnna), she only traveled a short distance from her last stop.  As it turned out, it was fun TC was close, because her last 'handler' Johnna called me and arranged for us to have lunch where she passed the baton (or rather TC).  We had a nice long lunch and were able to enjoy getting to know one another.  I hope it’s going to be a lasting friendship.  Who else can honestly say it was a friendship started with an introduction from a Chicken!  

To see where the adventures of the Travel Chicken has taken her, check out her blog, The Travel Chicken 

"Show Off" 6x6" oil on RayMar $50

TC's companion rooster was taking a vacation
so I found this one dressed in his Christmas finery.  


The other artists at the Loft Gallery were introduced to TCThe Loft is currently having a miniature show so TC fit right in as she checked out my frog!   

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August Hot Wheels Reception

THANK YOU  to everyone who was able to stop by my reception on the 10th and the friends who could not make it who called or sent me lovely notes and email.  And I don't want to forget those who couldn't come on the 10th, but have stopped by to see the show.  I am very blessed & grateful for a terrific turnout of so many friends.   Unfortunately, I didn't designate anyone to take photographs at the reception so I don't have pictures from the 10th. Oh well, next time! 

It’s hard to believe that after working for months to get ready for the show the end of the month is getting near.  My show runs until the 30th.  If you haven't visited Occoquan its a wonderful quaint town on the river with a number of nice restaurants, shops and of course art galleries!  

Loft Gallery, 313 Mill St., Occoquan VA (upstairs)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Art Tip

We all know oil dries slow and its tricky to get them home safely from workshops.  I've seen some artists  leave them out in the sun to get the top to skin over dry enough to make handling a bit easier.  I was getting ready to frame my last painting for my show when I decided I needed to add a couple more strokes.  The paint was thin but I needed it to dry to the touch before framing it.  My solution worked and kept the bugs away.  Be prepared for you car to smell like paint for a couple of days... or so my husband claims.  I thought it seemed just fine!! 

I had the best time painting this 1976 VW.  I was going to post a picture of it too, but I just realized I forgot to take a photo of it before I took it to the gallery so this is it for now.   

Friday, August 8, 2014

"August Hot Wheels"

I'm very excited my show is finally up.  We couldn't start hanging, which included touching up the walls, until the gallery closed at 5:00 last Sunday so we were there until late.  I finished up and hung the labels on Monday.  A HUGE thanks to my husband for helping me make what felt like a gazillion trips up and down the stairs at the gallery (and home) and helping me hang my show.  He had some great suggestions on placement, including the old fence.  I couldn't have done it without him.

Old fence!?! I saw an old piece of fence on a pile at the curb while I was out walking.  I went home, got the car and drove back.  I picked up this rickety thing, checked it out and put it back a couple of times.  I finally decided I could always throw it out again if it didn't work for my show.  It turned out to be a fun extra piece for hanging a couple of the paintings... And my husband doesn't think its weird anymore when I bring broken things home! 

It is hard to believe after months of working toward the show all is done with the exception of the reception on Sunday (8/10/14) and a little food shopping on Saturday.

I have 23 paintings for this show.  This is the main wall.

Loft Gallery, 313 Mill St., Occoquan, Va.  

Friday, July 18, 2014

August Hot Wheels - Loft Gallery

I'm having a show next month.  "AUGUST HOT WHEELS" runs from August 5 through the 31st at the Loft Gallery, 313 Mill St., Occoquan, VA.  My 'Meet the Artist Reception" is on Sunday, August 10th from 1 to 4 PM.  

I'm very excited (and stressed) to be the artist of the month at the Loft Gallery for August.
At a co-opt gallery the artist is a one man show and is in charge of everything dealing with the show (hopefully with help from your friends at the gallery).  I have a check list which feels a mile long. The shows always sneak up on me.  It always seems like it is so far down the road, but you have deadlines a couple of months out for ordering things like your postcards, frames, creating a write up for publicity and the list goes on!  

  Tips: Just some of the things to think about if you are having a show: 

Photograph all your work.  You'll need that for your postcards and advertisement, plus once its purchased you won't have the opportunity to do it!  If you forget until the last minute chances are you won't do it or it will already be varnished or behind glass so it will be harder to get a good photo.  Also, arrange to photograph your work once it is hung.  

Order frames about a month before a show.  Framing takes time to order and then to actually do the framing if you are doing it yourself.  Take extra hardware and tools when you go to hang, just in case.  You don't get to your venue and realize you've forgotten to attach the hardware or a wire! 

Besides frames what kinds of things do you need to order?  Letters for wall signage? Postcards?  Postcards need to be mailed out a couple of weeks before the show.  

There will be things you will need to make or have done....posters, labels for your work, a list of your work for the front desk, certificates of authenticity, etc.  Decide your pricing.  Include your prices when you post them online for the show.  Will you have your prices on the labels or on a inventory sheet for people to pick up? Decisions, decisions!

Labels: Include Your name,  title, price, medium and size.  Some people can't visualize size so that helps if they have a specific place they want it to hang.  I've certainly bought something and got home and found it was just a little too big.  I like to attach a label on the back so your patron will have all that information about the painting when they get home.  

Email your photographs to whoever is in charge of the venue's webpage. Do they have a Facebook page?  Make sure you are on it too. 

Check to make sure you've signed all your work.  You'd be surprised how often you'll find at least one you've somehow missed and have the person buying it point that out to you.  

Do you have the supplies you need to transport safely?  Those expensive frames are so easy to nick up. 

Measure the space where you will be hanging ahead of time.  If you haven't hung a show, I would suggest you guesstimate how long you think it will take, then double that.  Don't forget you will be working around the show that is coming down.  Find out if you may need to touch up the walls.  If so, you'll need time for the paint to dry.  I would suggest that if you have the luxury of having the space at home or in your studio to lay out your work before you go to the gallery and create a diagram to help save time.  

...and we haven't even started to think about the reception!! 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Art Tip - Gizmos &Gagets - Canvas Schlepper

I love gadgets... for art, kitchen, workshop, you name it. 

I have a wonderful wooden carrier for wet canvases my Dad made for me.  In fact, a lot of my friends and classmates liked it so much they asked if Dad would make them one too.   Dad's design is similar to the metals ones you can buy, but its much sturdier and doesn't fall over.  It carries two 20" or smaller canvases/boards at a time. 

A few years ago, I bought an inexpensive gadget at the local art store with the funny, but totally appropriate name "Canvas Schlepper."   Its been out of sight, out of mind in a drawer, but I have been hauling a couple of larger canvas around so I pulled it out.  Simple but effective.  It is a handle to help keep my fingers off of a wet painting.  It works on any size 3/4" wrapped canvas.  If you have two Shleppers, you can carry two wet canvases back to back.    

Great label!

Just slip it on the back between the canvas and the wooden stretcher bar. 
It hooks into place and viola you have a handle

Now you don't have to worry about paint on the edge.
Note: Be careful if it is windy you now have a sail on that handle!