Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Road Food--Part 2

The day before yesterday we drove over to Fort Worth to try out some paintings in a client's home. And, not only did I get a commission on a pretty large piece, we got to go to Joe T Garcia's for lunch. We'd not been there in a while, since the Ft Worth Main Street show has not juried me in the last few years. Nothing better than a relaxing outdoor lunch - -if you haven't been, get the family style dinner--enchiladas, tacos, cheese nachos, rice beans, guacamole, fresh corn tortillas. All for a very reasonable price. Add a cold beer (or two), perfect 70 degree weather, a favorite companion (Rees) and you've got nirvana!!! But, maybe not so good for the waistline. Tough!!! It was worth it!

Foreign Challenges

My sister-in-law is a very gracious hostess--letting me bring my dog and my easel to mess up her tidy house. Both the art supplies and the dog do a good job keeping things messy! But, unlike my studio,with the myriad lights etc, I had to position the easel to take advantage of the natural light pouring in. That put me was directly in front of BOB, her punching bag guy. When I'm actually painting, I don't see him, but he is a great distraction every time I do look up.
One of my other distractions is the above mentioned dogs. Laird has a new dog, within the last few months--a 2 year old terrier type named Zip. I was worried he and Bug might not get along. I needn't have worried, as you can see in the photos. The only challenge came when they both decided to lie under my easel and between my feet, together. So, I'm guessing not as much painting as I had planned.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


We're off today for a few shows. The van is mostly packed and I'm almost ready. Quite a shock this morning when I awoke and found it had snowed--again! Just a dusting but enough to make me realize I was rally glad we were leaving for a while. I'll post a bit while I'm away as I plan to paint on the road but the postings may be a bit scarcer than usual. So, off to Texas for Southlake and Cottonwood, followed by the Laumeier show in St Louis. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm doing a few shows in the midwest this spring/summer--The Laumeier show in St Louis in a few weeks, the 57th Street show in Chicago at the beginning of June,The Des Moines Arts Festival at the end of June and thought I ought to have something besides mountains to bring. So, some barns. Too bad I can't recollect exactly where they are--most were based on reference photos taken while driving down the highway in Sweet Ride.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Commission Completed

This is probably the most urban piece I've ever done. Still, there are mountains and snow in it. It is actually a commission piece for a friend of mine from high school, who happens to love Telluride. It was fun to do (as was catching up with someone I haven't seen in 30 years!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


An old bakers rack--great drying rack for finished pieces under 25 inches in any direction. I traded for it with a batch of cookies--to the guy at the dump--excuse me, transfer station. The top corner is held together with duct tape!!! Another of my favorite tools!
Painters tape: great for taping pastel paper to my easel as it doesn't rip the corners when I pull the piece off the easel. Also good for keeping bangs out of eyes--really! Exacto knives with various blades--good for creating fences in panel pieces--just scrape down to the white gesso. Also a good tool if you inadvertently make mud and want to scrape back. The other item is my "smoosher"--the clay shaper tool used to do detail work in clay work--I use to smoosh the color into the paper or to blend colors--better than the pad of my finger!
This computer desk was actually purchased with this purpose in mind. But it was a whole lot cheaper than the pastel tables in the art catalogs. The keyboard drawer is a nice additional space.

Baby wipes!!! The are wonderful for pulling oil pastels off of your hands!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Art Shows

My booth at the Woodlands Waterway Art Festival
More of my booth
Vern Rollins, a painter and neighbor at the show and me!

I put some photos on the post because I'm used to doing so and didn't finish any pieces today. Although I did get a couple started.

For those artists who do art shows, skip this part. You know it already. But, for those of you who don't do art shows , I thought I'd tell you a little bit about the process. First, we DO NOT travel as a caravan from one location to another like some giant circus--although the carny analogy does work a bit!

Basically, almost every art show you attend (or think of attending) is juried. Meaning, you can't just pay your booth fee and show up. You and your work must be approved of in advance, up to 6-8 months in advance. This is done not by using a resume or reporting a history of sales at a particular show. And while some shows still require slides of your work and one of your booth display, the majority of shows are using online application services --zapplication, Juried Art Services, Entrythingy. So, for every show an artist is interested in doing, he/she will have to apply--pick images of the art and one of a booth display and send them in, along with a jury fee. Then, you wait a couple of weeks/months to find out if you have been selected by the jury to participate. Most all shows have a limited number of spots for their show. Some shows may receive 1200 applications for 150 spots--so your chances of getting accepted are spotty. So sometimes you apply to more than one show on a weekend, in hopes of getting in at least one of them. Or, if you get into two, you have to decide which one to do. You can't send a representative. Artists must be present (admittedly the better shows are better at policing this than some of the lesser shows).

If you are in, you get to send them more stuff--money (for your spot), more money, if you want a corner, still more money if you want electricity, and sometimes more money if you want a specific location. Then, some shows want to know how long your vehicle is--try measuring Sweet Ride in a 6 foot snow bank. Others want a copy of your drivers license, some of your business insurance, some a special passport sized photo for your pass to get into the artist lounge (thanks, Sausalito!), some want your vehicle license number--what happens if you get a new vehicle between now and then?. And, of course, if you are going to donate a piece to their charity auction (THAT is an entirely different post and one I will address soon.), they want to know (again, 6-8 months out) what the piece is, what its title is, want a digital image of it--usually a very specific pixel size.

So, basically, we artists apply for our jobs constantly--no tenure here, baby! If the jury is good and qualified, it will choose artists whose work has artistic merit. If the jury is not exactly qualified, they'll choose what they like. Most juries are supposed to change from show to show, but some recycle their judges pretty often.

So, if you get in, you pay your money for your spot to display what you juried with. And in a very few cases, a commission on the sales you make. In return, you get crowds and advertising for the show. But, you do not get a booth/tent/canopy or walls. The artist is responsible for all that. That is what Sweet Ride is for. We shlep it to the show and put it up and take it down. And, you can only display what you juried with--can't show jewelry if you got in with drawings....

Some artists do a huge number of shows in a given year. Others not so many. But, we artists do make friends at these shows. Our geographic circles may only intersect occasionally--I see my pacific northwest friends at shows in California, Arizona and Idaho but not as much in Texas. But, the really good shows, artists do travel much further afield.

While we don't have total control over our "job"--since we can't always get into all the shows we would like--we do have control over much of our livelihood. and that makes it worthwhile!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Big Panel

Almost finished this panel today. I still have some highlights to add to the trees. But since I used some oil stick for some of the darker spots on the trees, I've got to wait for that to dry a little so the highlights will stick. The piece is based loosely on the Santuario de Chimayo.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Texas in Springtime is Heaven

This one is actually Clovis NM--but it is only minutes from the Texas border.
Bluebonnets in Hamilton.
I hate HOT and I hate humidity, both of which you'll get plenty in Texas in summertime. But, in April, Texas is a magical place. The bluebonnets are out, as are the Indian Paintbrush and some cool looking yellow daisy-like follows. Add those to the lush green grass, nice light blue sky and you've got a slice of heaven. Then populate the landscape with horse babies, cows and their calves, a few goats, an occasional cardinal. Perfect. So perfect, in fact, that Rees & I meandered our way home from the Woodlands (we found Hamilton County to be particularly beautiful). Made for a long day of driving but was worth it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Road Food

The sign says "Acuff" but the wind and weather has eroded the lettering.
Forgot a photo of the salad from the salad bar that came with this light meal of chicken fried steak,gravy and fries--notice the piece of lettuce on the side with the slice of orange--a nice decorative touch.
And, let's not forget the peach cobbler for desert!
All for $6.95. Add a buck for the giant iced tea.

We left for a show in the Houston area yesterday am, about 6:15 am. Drove all the way to Acuff, TX, about 10 miles east of Lubbock for the fabulous home cooking there (recommended by Jeb of www.junkytrinkets.blogspot.com. We got there with only 20 minutes to spare but it was delicious! If you are ever in the vicinity of Lubbock between the hours of 11 to 2 or 5 to 9, GO THERE! It is worth what it does to your waistline (I'm thinking one piece bathing suit for our May Mexico trip, at this point!, and if I continue with my Texas eating patterns, I may opt for a full-blown turn-of-the-century (from 19 to 20th) bathing costume!)

Then, we finished our drive last night, set up this morning. Watching golf right now before our Art Dash party tonight! I'll try to take some pics at the show to post! Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


The van is packed and we're ready to go. Well, almost. I've still got to pack and remember all the things I might forget! The Woodlands, TX Here we come!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Preparations Underway

We leave early Thursday for The Woodlands Waterway Art Festival. And, I am ready to be outside in some decent weather. I'm hoping there are still some bluebonnets to view! So, the week is spent on a myriad of tasks. Framing. Varnishing paintings--although not too quickly
after the pieces are completed, I found out yesterday. Packing. Applying to shows. Deciding which show to do---although I haven't made a lot of progress on that one--Park City or Minneapolis. Ordering frames and supplies for my return. And, then there is deciding which way to drive to Houston. We can head down 287--we take that route a lot! Or we can go through Lubbock and on down. I'm voting and encouraging this route. And the simple reason is: FOOD. One of my blogger friends, Jeb of junkytrinkets.blogspot.com, posted pictures of the food at Acuff's steak joint just outside of Lubbock and I wanna go there. Good down home Texas style food. Yeah! But on a sadder note, I just found out that Hayes Carll, one of my favorite musicians these days, is still playing at the Spring Crawfish festival (really super close to my show in the Woodlands) on Saturday night. But he doesn't start playing until 10:30 (at night!!!) I'm not sure if I can stay up that late on a show night! I'll keep ya posted!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I've been wanting to do a night piece without structures. So I did.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Again, I've been foiled by snow and darkness for my photos! But, here are a few pieces I've been working on this week. They are all based on real New Mexico chapels. Since it is Easter weekend, I thought that perhaps the chapel thing would be an appropriate subject matter. Especially since there will be no Easter eggs this year. Although I did read somewhere that if you use brown eggs the dyed colors come out much richer--that is sort of my approach to using the colored substrate before I start a piece--more saturated color. But, since feeling The Crunch, I'm not going to spend time dying eggs. Not exactly time appropriate.

I've gotten a little feedback about doing a "tips" section, and while I haven't figured out if (or how) to put them in a special section, I do have one--one that I employed today. And, I hope I don't disappoint other artists who read this, as the "tip" may not be all that special.

TIP ONE: Unless you are totally trying for uniformity (think Seurat), vary the size of your drawing strokes. You'll get out of your box and it will make the piece much more interesting. In the church pieces above, I actually used the sides of my oil pastels to do the adobe of the churches. It meant that I couldn't use one of my favorite colors for sunny-side adobe--Sennelier 18--since Sennelier brand come wrapped in paper and are really too gooey to hold in one's hand for long (unless you like working in a 50 degree or less studio). But I found the combination of colors of the Holbeins to be maybe even better than my fave Sennelier. If I hadn't been trying to vary my stroke size, I may have never achieved this effect. Accident? Stretching? You decide.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Crunch Time: The Feeling has Hit

(Please excuse the quality of the photos--snow covering the skylight again. No foolin'.)

A little bit of panic has set in. It happens every year and every year I say I will paint harder and more in my non-show time (mostly October through February) so that this panic won't set in. And, still, it does. And I am working. Just not getting as much done as I'll need for inventory for all the shows I'd like to do.

And, still, every time I get a rejection, I piss and moan about it. And then when the acceptances are rolling in--like they were today--I wonder how I will replenish my inventory when I'm only going to have a couple or 3 days a week in between shows to paint. And some of those days will be in hobbled together studios in other people's homes--thanks Mom & Dad & Laird--where I am not likely to accomplish as much as in the convenience of my own studio. Right now, it appears that with the exception of Fathers Day weekend, and possibly the 4th of July (but cross your fingers on that one as it is Cherry Creek--one of the best festivals in the country and one I have only done once (best show ever by the way, by double!)--where I am an alternate,) I will have shows every weekend of the summer--from Chicago (maybe twice if I get off the waitlist/alternate list for Old Town) to Telluride to Minneapolis to Park City to Crested Butte to Boulder to Breckenridge to our local show here in Angel Fire. Now, I can't do them all because some of them are on the same weekend but it means we won't be home very much at all this summer.

What am I thinking? Angel Fire has dry beautiful air, never gets above the low 80s--and gets down into the 50s every night. That is the time I should be home--not when we are being inundated with snow. Still, most of the winter shows are Florida based and I'm not sure palm trees are in my future! So, I'll freak just a little, and settle in to a much more productive working mode--tomorrow. I hope. And I'll still be waiting (and hoping) for calls and emails from the shows where I'm only an alternate--knowing full well that if they call, I will say YES and I will go!