Category Archives: Paintings

Waterfall

Waterfall. Yes, it is. Acrylics on masonite, 24″ x 20″, April, 2018.

Art Diary reference, look here.

Waterfall 4-18 24 x 20002

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Real Estate Tour

Little houses for a cozy place to live?

Acrylics on Claybord, ATC-sized. Done in April 2018. Art Diary reference is here.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending June 8

 

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Saturday, June 2 – We spent the day at the Saucon Creek Arts Festival. I’ll show you the show process for an outdoor show, and at the end of today’s entry, you’ll know how things go from the exhibitor’s point of view.

First we stop on the way to get coffee. Always.

AD 6-2 #5

We arrived at the show at our pre-assigned set-up time. Since we’re at the front of the show, we were one of the last ones to arrive. The black arrow shows my location at Space #4.

AD 6-2 #1

First thing we unloaded the car, setting up the tent very quickly and putting our things beneath it. Now, remember the forecast was for rain? No, not a bit of it (not that we were sorry, believe me, setting up in the rain wears down your mood very quickly). Still, it’s best to get the tent up first if possible.

All around us people are setting up.

AD 6-2 #7

We progressed through set-up. Once the racks are up it gets easier. You see my husband attaching the weights to the tent legs. Weights are a MUST. We have two sets, both made of PVC pipe filled with concrete (we made them). We are using the lighter set today – no real wind is anticipated and we are not leaving the tent up overnight. We have bigger, heavier ones for bad weather/overnight, plus, we also stake into the ground for overnights, if we’re in a place where we can do that.

Now you see the finished tent all set up. If you look around the top edge of the tent, you can see rolls of fabric. These are detachable sides. If needed, we can roll them down and zip along the sides to enclose the tent. Since the forecast was for rain, we set them up. We always use the sides when going to a show where we leave the tent up overnight, but not always, when we’re on site just for a few hours.

I also want to mention that my planning paid off. I fit every painting into the display that I had selected. No extras. Well, I’m a little proud of that.

Here are some views of the show. The day turned out to be oppressively hot and humid, the kind where you sweat just sitting still. Very different from the rain we had expected.

We did get a couple of showers, enough to roll down the sides for a short while. On the whole, though, the weather held, and that was especially appreciated during takedown (another time you just don’t want any problems). We are very fast at disassembling the booth – we have done it hundreds of times and we know our roles.

We were on our way home less than one hour after the show closed. As far as things went at the event, it was a very well-organized and easy event to do. Attendance was satisfactory but sales were almost non-existent, for all of us exhibitors.

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I could go on and on how shows have changed over the past 15 years; it’s been a source of discussion among the exhibitors I’ve known and showed with for a couple of decades for some time now. We all remember typical shows of the past, where crowd interest, willingness to buy original art and craft, and a larger variety and number of patrons existed.

Today, more and more, people view the artists’ exhibits as just another part of a day out, being willing to browse, but much less often do I interact with people who have that spark of interest or understanding or curiosity about the art or artist that leads to conversations, much less sales.

I don’t have any solid explanation for the changes and I won’t get into my speculations. I do see that it’s less and less satisfying to exhibit, and I also see that younger people don’t seem to be taking it up (at this show, I would say the average exhibitor age was about 55 or so).

I am sad about this trend. I’ve found a lot of meaning in showing my work; I’ve met so many people and talked about all kinds of art ideas. I’ve made life-long friends in this world and even among show people I’ve just met, well, we always can find plenty in common to talk about, wherever we are. I’ve also earned respect for my work from buyers and from fellow artists, and that means the world to me. I hate to let go of this, and I am sorry if younger people won’t be able to experience it.

Well, anyway. I am pretty sure I will not do this show again. I’ve given it three years to develop, and results have been thin. All right, we live and learn and move with the times. That’s requiring some thinking, and some letting go, for me.

For 20+ years I have focused on making art with the idea that, though I emphasized my personal vision and expression, still, I would exhibit it and sell it.

Now, I see myself moving into a new phase of art-making where selling is not a factor. This year I realize I am evaluating shows, finally discarding the non-productive ones, and I am facing filling that gap with some kind of way of doing things differently. It intimidates me and yet it is possibly liberating. Time will show me the way.

Sunday, June 3– I unfolded the tent sides and laid them out to dry out in the basement. Even a little moisture makes them mildew. I’ll leave them here for a few days.

AD 6-3 #1

I got my husband to sand down a couple more paintings I wasn’t happy with. Do you remember this one?

Where It Is Safe 24 x 36 2-18006

I struggled over it when I was painting it. I’ve looked at it for a couple of weeks now at shows and – I am not happy. It does not reflect a good feeling to me, and – I felt that I was just reworking an old idea. So, I worked on it on Sunday afternoon – gessoed it black, ironed clothes, came back, and did this:

Nestlings and Egg 24 x 36 6-18

So far I am calling it “Nestlings and Egg” (24″ x 36″). I like it. Let’s push away the “should” of deciding what to paint (I mean to follow my evolving feelings, as I said in yesterday’s entry) and I FEEL LIKE PAINTING BIG COLORS AND SHAPES.

Capital letters to remind myself. All right. I also worked on this little one, another rehab, this one 12″ x 16″:

It may need more. Maybe not. We’ll see. So far it is called “Eggs Outside”.

Eggs Outside 12 x 16 6-18

Monday, June 4 – Well, I’m just trying to settle down and it’s not coming to me yet. I’m running around the house doing housework and chores and getting things all tangled up. This mood spilled over into painting. The poor little eggs painting from yesterday,  well, I worked on it enough to make it – hideous. So I blacked it out again and this afternoon tried to paint calmly and:

OK, now I am happier.

Forgot to show these last week. A couple more pages of figure drawing with the India ink or acrylic inks, and Chinese brush. The idea was working with an initial shape, like a C curve, and making a figure to fit it.

And, I got this mat for the studio. I am having a lot of trouble with achilles tendinitis and arthritis in my feet and…this mat is here to help.

AD 6-5 #3

Tuesday, June 5 – I’m still scattered but hanging in there. Today I started on a boring but necessary task. I need to clean and repaint the black edges of my paintings. Clean them, because show life is a hard life, and they get dusty. And repaint the edges because…I am always in a hurry to do this task and I don’t do it well. And, show life is a hard life and the edges really can get banged up.

AD 6-5 #c

I’m going to do a few a day and take my time. This way, they will be done when my exhibit comes in July.

AD 6-5 #b

Here’s an update on the Nestlings and Egg painting:

Nestlings and Egg 24 x 36 6-18

and then I worked on it later in the day:

and I worked some more on these weird cartoon-like things – they are acrylics, inks, crayon, and colored pencil on 6″ x 6″ 1/8″ board that I gessoed. I had a nice time with these, a kind of off the cuff improv.

AD 6-5 #A

Friday, June 8 – I did some more black edge-painting. And I did a little work on this last page in my current Large Artist Sketchbook. I had colored it with markers the other night and I added a little collage on Wednesday. Today I finished it up and put some paint on the inside cover of the book (this “last” page is actually the first page, that I had skipped when I started the book, why, I cannot tell you).

My next step will be to spatter paint the blank pages, one by one (the artwork is done only on one side of each page). Then I’ll turn it over to the Poetry Marathon Claudia and see what she does to the book.

I got out some recycled cardboard pre-cuts and started putting some paint on them. This is the first step in the creation of postcards and ATC’s – it’s nice to have a starting point all laid out for future projects.

Oh, I forgot. I glued on the poetry that I had created a couple of weeks ago for these little cards. That was also a Poetry Marathon activity. Now I don’t know what I will do with them, but they are nice-looking, I think.

AD 6-8-18001

OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending June 1

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Smile, it’s time for Art!

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 25-27 – We spent this time at Mayfair in Allentown, PA. I’ll give you some info.

As background, this incarnation of Mayfair is the third one of this long-running show. For many years it was outdoors in a park; it then went indoors to a local convention center (which is where I first came into the story), and this year was held on the campus of Cedar Crest College. The show has a bumpy history – it was not held at all in 2017 for financial reasons – and so this revival was kind of a test.

Mayfair is a combination family festival, music festival, and art festival. I had stopped doing the show before it took its hiatus for reasons of – no sales! – and I thought I’d try things out at the new location. No expectatations, just a let’s see how it goes.

The campus is lovely. Very open and green.

Many kids’ activities. I saw one little girl go down the bouncy slide like a sack of flour, hit the barrier at the end, jump up laughing, and immediately start climbing back up to the top to do it again.

We left our mark on the Chalk the Walk.

I stopped and talked to the people who were running the pony ride. Wish I could have taken a turn but I am too big now…

AD 5-25 #9

I noticed a lot of women (and a few men) wearing these yellow t-shirts mentioning “Tap Ties”. Turns out it was National Tap Dancing weekend and each day performances were put on by a multitude of tap dancers on the second stage. I stopped to watch a few sessions. Dancers were all ages – very young to a group from the Allentown Senior Center.

As this man filmed the performance, he was moving to the music, and I have the feeling the video will be a little – bouncy. I figured one of the girls onstage was his daughter. Made me smile, he was so obviously into it.

AD 5-25 #17

The main music tent was enormous and was not only filled each night for the headliner performance but also the lawn beyond it was covered in – people.

And of course, many food vendors.

AD 5-25 #8

I show you all of this to portray the nature of the festival – it’s not focused on art but on the community having a variety of activities. Now I get to the art part.

We arrived and unloaded on Friday. The show went three days, noon to 8 PM.

AD 5-25 #1

I had chosen an inside spot in the gym. There was also an outside section.

AD 5-25 #5

I had a nice space and the accommodations were just great.

Overall, the show was really pleasant and easy to do. I think this revived version of the festival was really enjoyable and I know the organizers were very pleased. For me, though, sales were almost non-existent, and while I am not focused on that aspect as much as others, I do need more revenue from the show to make the work and time worth it.

Now, there is certainly the case that maybe things just didn’t fall my way, etc. I have been to many shows where my work generated interest but for whatever reasons, it didn’t turn into sales. Here, though, it was clear this crowd did not come to buy a painting or spent a lot of money on art – we were just part of the overall scene at the festival. There just wasn’t much interest in my work; though I had  a few nice conversations, overall, most people drifted in and out, or looked as they walked by.

I had wondered if this scenario might be the case. I  know that paintings fall at the end of the impulse buying spectrum (the bad end, if you are talking sales!) Show attendees need to come to the show wanting to look at art and understanding the price ranges in order for me to have a chance at interesting them. Even someone who was caught by my work was not necessarily expecting to be thinking about buying a painting. And since most people regard a painting as an investment, something you live with for a while, there is a need to be in a mindset open to making this kind of decision – regardless of how much you are taken by an artwork.

Maybe it sounds too psychological, this analysis, but it’s what I’ve worked out over the years. I don’t need a large crowd to sell or to have appreciation, I just need the right crowd. And you don’t know this until you try out a show.

So, now I know. I won’t do the show again, but I am glad I was here, and the pleasant location and the great organization of it lessened my disappointment. We packed up the car after three days, said good-bye to our show-mates, and headed home.

AD 5-27 #1

Monday, May 28 – We spent the day starting our recovery from the show. My rule of thumb is that it takes two days for every day spent at the show. We’ve done 5 days of shows in ten days, so we’re down five days!

When I went through my work to pack for the show, I decided that several older larger paintings had to go. Plus some smaller ones, too. (When I say older, they are about 2 years old. Things do not stick around here – one way or another they move on! I don’t hang on to my own art.)

I felt they were not up to current standards. So I got my husband to sand them down and then I gessoed them black. I’ll set them aside for later.

Wednesday, May 30 – I’ve spent most of my time today working on putting together one of my print poetry books (getting the manuscript ready to be published, I mean). Ran out of time for anything else. I will mention a clay-oriented book I just finished reading – I checked it out of the Montgomery County Community College library last week. It’s full of info on handbuilding in clay. I can recommend it – I learned quite a few things from it. I find that in almost any book I can get some tidbit of info or another that makes my work easier or better.

Friday, June 1 – Art time today consisted of getting ready for tomorrow’s show at Saucon Creek (near Bethlehem, PA). I’ve done this show before and so I know what to expect, which makes things much easier.

This event is a small but classy one benefiting the Saucon Valley Conservancy and is held on the grounds of the Heller Homestead. It’s a one day show, nice because it is less tiring, but we will have to set up and take down in the same day. No big deal, just requires different planning.

Unlike the previous two shows, we will be using our tent set-up. I will try to take pictures of that process for next week’s Diary. What it means is – I needed to do some planning.  The tent, its weights, and side curtains (since rain is expected tomorrow) take up room in the car. Also, the rain issue means that I don’t want to take a table to set outside the tent (where I usually display smaller items).

On the plus side, I know from the site plan sent to me by the organizers I have a neighbor only on one side, so I can hang art on the outer side of my racks (though if I have to keep the tent sides down, that advantage will be negated somewhat).

So, I developed a plan to figure out how much art to take. I’m in the position of having a lot on hand right now because I’ve worked hard in the last few months to create pieces for my gallery show in July. Usually I don’t have to leave anything at home and I’d just be packing the car with whatever I have.

First, I figured out how much hanging square footage I had to work with.

AD 6-1 #4

This cryptic notation just means that I have 12 rack sections to cover (top and bottom counting as one, though the racks themselves break into half for transport). The inside ones are priority as they will be most protected in case of bad weather. The outside ones might have covers on them at times.

I got out my work and started to array it around my studio in configurations relating to each rack section. Each grouping is an upper and lower section together, and each section is 3 ft. x 3 ft. for a total panel of 6 ft. x 3 ft.

I’m a hands-on kind of person – this is the way I make sense of the situation! The quilty coverings you see are bags I made a long time ago (when I was still exhibiting collage, which is what they were sized for) and they work great to pack art in that they are padded and yet very easy to put around the work (essential for packing up. You just want to go home!).

I also transport some paintings in cardboard boxes that I got when the boards were originally shipped to me – I separate each painting with foam board. Now, cardboard is not a great thing for wet weather. I will need to be careful to keep these off the ground tomorrow.

I also packed a box of 8″ x 10″ paintings – these will be the smallest I take to this show. Here is the group I selected from.

AD 6-1 #3

Once I was finished, here was the result.

AD 6-1 #2

I realize my display may be a little crowded, but I’m not worried about it. I expect that the show will have less attendance than usual if the weather goes as they say, but this show also gives prizes (I won an Honorable Mention last year). I always like to be judged, and though I don’t anticipate winning, many judges will talk with you about your work, a professional assessment, and that does not come along that often in the art fair world.

After I finished this work, I went to the grocery store. Another thing I’ve learned over the years – you cannot count on what kind of food the fair will offer. Take your own meals, as well as drinks and snacks.

AD 6-1 #1

OK, that’s it for this week. Cross your fingers for manageable weather and pleasant art conversations!


See you next week! Thanks for following along with me.