Monday, June 29, 2009

Albuquerque Rocks!!!!

Rees & I returned from the New Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair late last night and are just about recuperated from the long-houred show and the tear down and drive home. I had been really disappointed when the show called to say that they had made an executive decision to move the entire show inside the Manual Lujan building. I'd always enjoyed being under the cottonwoods, enjoying the sometimes hot, sometimes warm afternoons, and generally enjoying being in New Mexico. Admittedly, the show has suffered from early monsoonal rains in the afternoon and some devastating winds. Still, to go inside a dark dreary state fair building for the entire weekend was not on my agenda. And, the Des Moines art festival (a much more prestigious show) had called and offered me a place off the waitlist. I declined. After all, Albuquerque is only 150 miles from home. Unlike Des Moines. I purchased a double booth at the show--since I wouldn't have the exta storage always afforded me by my outside spot-- and hoped for the best.

BEST!!! Is what it was. Although the overall crowds were light, my sales were really strong! It was really fun. And where I would have thought that demographically Albuquerque would be the most price sensitive market, it wasn't. I sold large pieces (plural is correct), medium pieces, and small ones. I even sold out of my new long skinny cradled boards--that's never happened before! Everyone was enthusiastic and it was worth every minute. So, thanks Albuquerque!!!!! You are the best. You've rejuvenated me and given me just the boost I needed to keep going! Can't wait to go back next year! Oh, and I couldn't help but snag a piece of art--an oil--by Addie Draper whose work is absolutely awesome!! Check her out:

Thursday, June 25, 2009


When I paint dusk pieces I generally use a burgundy background. Lately, the introduction of white at the horizon line has , I think, improved these pieces as they have a better color balance. I'd show you a piece--in fact, I have resized it and adjusted the color in photoshop just for that purpose. Only, for some reason, Blogger won't let me upload. Hopefully, it is just some techno-glitch that has nothing to do with me and I will be able to upload the image later.

Turns out it was just me being stupid. The upload window had gotten hidden behind several other windows. My apologies!

We're off to Albuquerque, for the New Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair. It opens tomorrow at 10. So, today is a full one--pack the van, pack ourselves, get Bug to Don & Judy's, drive to Albuquerque, check in to the hotel and the show, unload and set up! Whew! I'm already tired. I think the hotel doesn't provide internet so I probably won't post until Monday.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cold & Wet

Yesterday I spent some time watering some of my perennials so as to keep them alive. I admit it--I basically just torture my plants--give 'em enough water that they live but never thrive. And in this arid country, mother nature doesn't provide a lot of extra help. Except over the last 24 hours. It started raining last night about 7 or 8 o'clock and continued straight through the night and on and off today, all day. So, I'm not sure if mother nature provided the rain or if my watering efforts yesterday brought it on.

I've put away my turtlenecks, although kicking and screaming all the way (Rees says they are inappropriate attire after Memorial Day, like white shoes are after Labor Day) but when it is 52 degrees outside and the studio is only 56, a turtleneck would be a welcome accoutrement. Instead, a waffle weave shirt, warm wools socks and a fleece jacket were my work attire today (actually it is usually my attire at least until the day warms up--high altitude generally means pretty cold nights and not so very warm days.) Even so, at about 4 o'clock I realized my fingers were actually a bit stiff with cold. So I went in and enjoyed the fire Rees built in our family room fireplace to take the chill off. Ahhhh!!! I guess the thing to have done was build a fire in the studio early this morning. Who would have thought I'd need one on the first day of summer--after all, June is usually our warm month!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How Long Does it Take You?

I'm often asked at art shows how long it takes me to complete a piece. Not a bad question. But one I'm not always sure how to answer. I mean, does the person just want to converse? Or does he want to know how much I'm making per hour, to compare to himself? Or is he really curious about the process? (And I use the male pronoun because it is generally men who ask me that question.)

It is a question we artists talk about between ourselves when we are standing around our booths. Not so much the answer to the question but how we respond to it when asked.

Some artists--some really famous and some not so much--who simply say that the piece has taken them "x" number of years, that being equal to the number of years they have been painting, since all their previous knowledge about art has gone into every piece. I kind of get that response but it seems evasive, like you don't want anyone to know how fast you are. I, myself, am relatively fast with the oil pastels but I have chosen to be an artist not to account for my every hour but to create art that I like and that people like and buy. So, I don't really keep track. I can tell you that my night scene skies take much more time than the puffy clouds, but I truly don't know how much more--twice, three times, not really sure. Sometimes I can get a couple of decent size pieces done in a day, other times only one. Sometimes I get 5 little guys completed in an 8 hour day. Sometimes not.

Then there is the issue of that is the time devoted to production. There are framing days, show days, set-up days, travel days, framing days, email hours, show application times, stamping and printing of postcards to be sent before a show, Christmas cards to design, ads to send into production, thank you notes to write, accounting to do, keeping track of which states you've sold in and what amounts of sales tax are due when, inventory-ing of art and framing supplies, hotel reservations to make, oil changes to the van--our nearest dealership is 160 miles away, taking of reference photos, uploading them and then ordering them from shutterfly, blogging, conversing with potential customers via email and phone. So, like lots of businesses, the production is only one part of it. And, in my opinion, the fun part! And, I am super lucky that my husband, Rees, takes care of a lot of the non-production part of the business. Thanks, Rees!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Studio Time

Today I spent the morning packing up some paintings for shipping, repairing a piece that a client's dog jumped on, framing a piece and getting them all ready to ship. Not the glamorous part of the art job, but a definite part of the whole equation.

Then after a trip to my local gallery, Angel Fire ArtSpace, to drop off a few new pieces and over to Monique's to get my hair dolled up, I managed to go back to the studio and smoosh in a night sky on a piece I'd sketched out before we left for Chicago. For those of you not in the know, "smooshing" is the way I blend the darker colors over the lighter and get the color as close to the stars as possible. All in all a productive day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back Home!

Sorry about not posting while I was on the road. I had an excuse for some of the time because we were up in Door County Wisconsin in between my two shows and there is no high speed internet up there. But, I did have time otherwise, I just got lazy.

Truth be told, the Chicago show in Hyde Park wasn't very good and I was a bit bummed about it. Horrible rainy cold weather, a bad spot at the show, and the not so wonderful economy made the show a very trying one. I did win an award and am invited back next year. And, I'll probably try it one more time. The show puts newbies in the alley and school yard and saves the street locations for veterans of the show. Next year should be a better location. On a positive note, mom's cousin Jonathan and his step daughter, Helen, came by the show, as did my Aunt Patty, Gary and cuz, Hillary. It was really nice to see all of them. I also saw an old high school friend, Dave Shannon, who was back for his 25th college reunion--yep, I'm that old! And Celeste and Dan came by and purchased a piece. Celeste worked with me at my first job out of college so I've known her 25 years too! Hard to believe.

And, I guess I was just tired. Between going out to the east coast and then back to Chicago and home, Rees & I have driven 7000 miles in the last 5 weeks. A little too much.

Salina, however, was full of warm fuzzies. It is a little town in Kansas but they put on a quite good art and music festival. The entire town comes out and participates! Way cool! And, my deepest thanks go out to Doc Steph and all her extra efforts to take JuneBug while we were at the show. My sales weren't spectacular but they were decent and the enthusiasm of the crowds just awesome. Plus the forecasted rain never came!

Now we're home for a while and I can post more appropriately. The pics above are of the Missouri river and of JuneBug and her sleeping spot in the van. We've removed the cup holder console so she has a few more inches.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chicago, Here we come!

I know my posts have been few and far between. Off to Chicago for the 57th Street Art show in Hyde Park this weekend. I'm looking forward to doing a new show!