Sunday, December 22, 2013

Maybe I'm Back

Since I haven't done a show in a while, I've been flirting with the idea of posting on my blog again.  It had been so long, I didn't remember how to log in.  But, here I am.  Probably not a daily thing, but perhaps weekly...

I'm not totally prepared for Christmas this year.  Some of my orders aren't even expected here until end of business on the 24th.  I've got a tree...a fabulous one that my wood guy brought us.  It is up and I'm watering it daily.  But, sadly, no lights or ornaments yet.  But, on the positive side, biscochitos, Christmas cookies and pumpkin bread are ready.  It is a start.

Hope everybody has a fabulous holiday time.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Happy Holidays! xo, Jennifer

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Old Town wants me!!!

We were driving  to the White Sox game last night when my cell phone rang.  It was Joan of the Old Town Art Fair.  They found a place for me so I'll be exhibiting this weekend on Lincoln Park West.  Booth number 93.  I am so excited!!! Hope you can come by and visit if you are in the Chicagoland area. Show hours are 10=8 on Saturday and 10-6 on Sunday!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hanging gessobords

I've been painting  my vertical slices for about 5 years.  They are done on prepared gessobord, made my out of Austin, TX.  And, I have a ton of fun painting the verticals.  But, every once in a while, I have some great ideas that get stuck in my head for horizontals.  And they (the ideas) won't leave if I don't get them out through my paintings/drawings.  So, I've done a few but have been a bit unhappy about how they hang on the wall.  I can solve the issue easily in the booth--thank you carpeted walls--with a bit of velcro on the back.  However, I don't think many of my customers have carpeted walls and so that doesn't really help.  I've tried the sawtooth hangers coupled with some felt bumpons on the bottom corners and that helps, but isn't perfect.

So, a customer of mine asked if I had ideas for hanging the piece more flush to the wall.  I responded that some of my other artist friends just hung it straight on the nail.  But for him, with his 3 adorable children and at least 2 dogs that I know of, I don't necessarily recommend this approach.  "Seems risky" I think were his words.  But, I've come up with a very simple addition to this hanging method that provides some security.  So, from now on, I'll make these little notches on all my small horizontal pieces.

Basically, all I did was to use my drill and drill bit to made a small notch on the inside top of the piece, at the center point, about 1 centimeter from the outside edge.  It was pretty shallow and just wide enough to fit partially on the drywall screw I angled into the wall.  Then, when I hang the piece I merely feel for the notch with the screw.  Gravity then holds it in place without worry that a slamming door will slide the piece off its hanger... 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Better safe than sorry

All winter long I've been drawing away.  Trying to build up my inventory for the upcoming show season.  And since we are leaving for Scottsdale a bit early, to enjoy some sunshine and some R & R.  But now I need to figure out which pieces to frame and /or varnish to take with me and which to leave at home.  They all won't fit in my gynormous Sprinter van.  Additionally, my mind is trying to calculate and remember all the things I'll need in addition to the art.   I leave all my display equipment in the van so I don't need to worry about that part. Clothes, sunscreen (last year I got sun burned through the van windshield on the way down!), bags, wrapping materials, drill, frame kit, show clothes, summer fun clothes, dog stuff, good knives--most rental homes have crappy ones,etc.

Additionally, I've got to figure out where to put all the extra Sprinter parts another artist suggested we carry.  As it turns out, if you need a Sprinter van part and are in the middle of nowhere--a place we spend much of our driving time--most vehicle repair places don't have the parts.  Well, in some cases you might actually miss a show if you can't get the part.  So, thanks to my friend, Scott Swezy, and to Rees who ordered all the parts--we are hopefully prepared for those eventualities.  We've got extra belts, heater hose, harmonic balancers and the like.  Just in case.  But I feel like I now have an auto parts store in my studio!

Friday, February 17, 2012

His Gaudy Vest

"Fish fine, and far off." --Charles Cotton

 (From John Gay, an English poet)
When if an insect fall (his certain guide)
He gently takes him from the whirling tide:
Examines well his form with curious eyes,
His gaudy vest, his wings, his horns and size,
Then round his hook the chosen fur he winds,
And on the back a speckled feather binds,
So just the colours shine thro' ev'ry part,
That nature seems to live again in art.

Although the possessive pronoun "His" in the above  poem refers to the "Gaudy Vest" of the insect, I thought that theme might be what directed my decoration of the fishing vest for Casting for Recovery.  I got a little carried away with the decoration of the fishing vest.  But it was fun, if perhaps a tad too time consuming.  And there won't be another one of my oil pastels being had for a song at an auction.  Instead, hopefully someone will get to bid on the fishing vest.  Now, I did paint all of the flies, river and fish on canvas rather than directly on the vest (how does one hang a vest on an easel to paint it?) and instead of gluing the pieces on the vest, I used velcro so all the decoration could be removed.  So, in theory, a person could buy the vest and remove the canvas pieces and frame them. Or they could buy the crazy vest and keep it just the way it is.  What would you do with it?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Resolution Revisions

I'm beginning to think New Year's resolutions are not for me.  They are too vast.  And by setting so many tough resolutions, I feel like I am bound to fail.  So, I'm implementing a new plan.  A monthly revisit of what I want to accomplish.  After all, a year is a long time and I may like the opportunity to change that resolve and those goals.

Studio work is going well.  Mostly oil pastels since I haven't been applying to shows much in the painting category.  I think the work I've been putting out is strong and I have some good ideas of where I would like to take it.  Whether it goes with me is an entirely different story!

After watching a reality tv show about a failing restaurant, I turned to Rees and said "I can't believe this guy doesn't know the costs that go into his bread."  And then I had a moment. A moment when I realized that I did not have a strong handle on the costs of my "products" either.  I did at one time.  But, I've upgraded the frames, my mat supplier has raised his pricing, and frankly, I don't know if my glass costs more now than it used to. In fairness to me, I am not on the verge of bankruptcy.  I am making a decent living. Still, a good business person would have a handle on both fixed and variable costs involved in his/her business.  And, so I am going to calculate those things out. Then, at least I'll know and won't be a pot calling the kettle black the next time I watch that silly tv show....

Oh, and by the way, my new year's resolution of "Being Nice to People" is going pretty well.  I do try to get Rees to answer the phone in case it is a solicitation or something, which would probably elicit a rude response from me.  But, so far, the nice thing has been pleasant.  Tough when I had to hand the receipt over to the anti-theft person at Sam's door on the way out...but I did smile.  Couldn't quite get myself to say anything nice but I did smile.  How is that for resolve!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Let the Preparations Begin

The above piece is a 24 inch square panel.  I've done some stormy pieces over the last 18 months but never a panel.  And since I used some of these in my show applications for both Cherry Creek (Denver) and Lakefront (Milwaukee) and got in both, I figure I ought to have some similar pieces in the booth.  So, I'd better get busy.   This one is based on a photo I took years ago while waiting for my brother, Chris, to come back upriver after a day of fishing near the junction of the Red And Rio Grande.... wish he'd come back and fish again sometime....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The art part

Yesterday I finished this 30 by 30 inch panel.  Of course, by the time I had, it was getting dark (darn these wintry days) and today it is snowing so there is still no good image.  So, just pretend it is crisp and clear and in focus and with appropriate lighting. I love it when I complete a big piece. I just feel so productive.

I thought I'd be varnishing some pieces I sprayed yesterday but with the humidity the snow brings, I think I'll wait.  Lucky me, that means I get to paint....and maybe watch a little football.... 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Would that you could create all the time!

As my "production" season speeds towards show season, I realize how many other things consume my time--time that I'd much rather spend at the easel.

I've been preparing for a "pastel" show at the Scottsdale Exhibition Gallery for the month of February.  I believe there are 5 artists total in the show.  The opening is February 2.  Groundhogs Day.  My favorite holiday.  But, I won't be attending it. Too much else to do.  And, while painting/drawing/coloring for the show was a pleasure.  The other preparation not so much.  First, the taking and editing of all the photographs of prospective pieces.  The titling. The framing.  The photographs of me at the easel.  The rewriting of the bio. And, then the packing! How time consuming that is.  I spent a good half day yesterday just getting the inner boxes of art into the actual shipping boxes!  Egads, someone needs to remind me of all the extra time that takes!   

Additionally, we prepped a photo for a new business card.  Thanks to some of my facebook friends for some great new ideas. 

And, then my mind gets full of show schedule stuff.  If shows are really good, I cannot possibly do all the shows I've been lining up.  But, if they aren't so good, would I have enough inventory to do more? Or if sales are mediocre, should I even bother with some of the lesser ones. It is way to early to tell, but I will be having to send in those booth fees soon.   I've got that crazy optimism--I know the shows will be good and I know I can do them all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Crazy Creat-er

Everyone who knows me knows I dive into my projects.  Head first sometimes.  And with purpose.  But, the resulting chaos occasionally becomes overwhelming.   I mean, even when I'm doing something simple like sewing up fleece painting socks...there are bobbins of thread, scraps of fabric, pins, scissors etc...just exploding into the work space.  I would love to be the quiet, organized creat-er, who puts things in their proper place as soon as I am finished with them.  But, that it not me.  And, I'm finally beginning to realize that it won't be me, prolly ever!  So, when the chaos gets to be too much--there is a threshold--I just need to step back and do a bit of I did with my pastel table yesterday.  Whether it results in better art creation or not, it doesn't really matter...Because creating is always more fun when you can find the right colors!!!