Living like an artist

June 11, 2010

Keeping accurate records is vital when showing art work, although I don’t think artists are thought of as being very well organized.  Art shows are often arranged as much as a year in advance.  It’s easy to commit to a big show when it isn’t going to happen for almost a year.  But time has a way of sneaking up on one.  A couple days before leaving on my recent trip I noticed on my bulletin board that I was supposed to have a one-person show in Wheatfields restaurant in Lawrence in June and July.  I had a moment of panic when I realized I would not be returning until June 4.  Fortunately, a call to the restaurant confirmed that I wasn’t schedued to hang the show until June 6.  But that still meant rounding up 19 paintings and making sure I had information cards for each, plus locating someone to help me hang them, all within a very short period of time.

When I returned two and a half weeks later, I called my helper to remind her that we were hanging paintings on Sunday, only to be told that something had come up and she was no longer available.  Fortunately, my husband agreed to come along, so last Sunday he and I were at Wheatfields, with me, with two bad knees, climbing up on the padded benches of the booths to hang the paintings.  I was told recently that the way to solicit help is to “look pitiful.”  I guess I will have to figure out how to do that.

At my easel: I finally finished the commissioned painting, “Peony Bouquet,” packed it, along with the other painting she ordered, for shipping myself and sent it off by UPS.  It’s a good thing I have saved some of the shipping boxes that frames I have ordered have come in.

June 5, 2010

I haven’t entered a new post in a while because I have been out of town, first in San Antonio for a few days and then in Montreal and Quebec.  Some artists sketch or do small watercolors when they travel.  I take lots of photos.  It’s quicker and doesn’t make other people I’m with wait for me.  A few photos are sure to suggest future paintings when I’m painting indoors.  I haven’t had time to put photos from my latest travels on my computer yet, but I am hopeful that some will be inspiring.

While I’m traveling, I like to see what other artists have been up to.  In Quebec the group I was traveling with visited the official residence of the Governor General of Canada located with the Citadelle overlooking the St. Lawrence River.  Many paintings by local aritsts have either been donated or loaned and are on display in this residence.  Nearby we visited the Quebec National Fine Arts Museum, which had a large collection of very abstract art in bright colors, much of it quite large.  One of the museum’s most interesting exhibits was a collection of Inuit (Eskimo) carvings.

In both Montreal and Quebec I also walked down a narrow, cobblestoned artists’ alley where artists were selling paintings and prints of local scenes.  I don’t care much for those but I admired the artists who did portraits from life.  Some of them were amazingly skilled.

It takes a while to catch up on tasks at home after being away awhile, (no food in the fridge, baskets of dirty clothes, stacks of mail and email to sort through) but I’m eager to get back to painting when time allows.

May 19, 2010

I recently received a commission to do a painting, which is great because I know it will sell and that is always comforting.  But there are challenges to painting on commission, primarily trying to figure out the image that is in someone’s else’s head.

Here’s how this commission came about.  I received an email from a woman I’ve known a long time who lives in a different state.  She’s having two of her bathrooms remodeled and wanted to buy “Snowball Bouquet,” which she had seen on the still life page of this blog.  She also wanted a painting of wine red flowers.  I didn’t have anything like that, but my dark red peonies were about to bloom, so I suggested that I could paint those.  We agreed on a 14″ x 18″ size and that the flowers should be in a vase.

The peonies obediently burst into bloom a few days later.  Thank goodness for technology, which allowed me to photograph and email to her several different arrangements.  She chose one.  Now I only hope that the color I paint, which can’t be shown adequately in photos, will be what she has in her head.  I’ve already begun to paint with the vase of peonies in front of me.

May 12, 2010

On the first Sunday in May I participated in Art in the Park in South Park in Lawrence.  This is an annual outdoor show for one day only sponsored by the Lawrence Art Guild.  Outdoor shows are a challenge and this is the only one I’ll do this year.  If you are thinking of entering outdoor shows, the first thing you will need is a tent, preferably 10′ x 10′ and white.  I bought mine some years ago at Sam’s Club on the advice of another artist who said their tents were as good and much cheapter than those sold by artists’ supply places.  It can be erected quickly, but it takes two people to do it.  It only has three sides and theses are attached to the tent with velcro straps.  Tent stakes are not sufficient to keep the tent up in a high wind.  You need heavy weights attached to each corner.  My husband made mine, heavy cylinders of concrete hung by chains from the top of each corner.  They are a pain to lug around but they are vital.

During a two-day show I was once in, a high wind arose during the night.  My tent survived undamaged, although the sides blew loose.  The husband of an artist whose tent was damaged beyond repair said he thought mine survived because it had an open side.  His wife’s more expensive tent had four sides and zipped up.

These shows are great fun if the weather is sunny and warm.  They attract crowds of people from the elderly to babies in strollers and every age in between.  While they are looking at my paintings, I’m looking at them.  That day I saw lots of overweight and overly tatooed folks and many people accompanied by dogs of every immaginable breed.

There are always a lot more lookers than buyers, but their comments are interesting.  It is not often artists get a chance to hear what people really think of their work.  “Pretty” is often used to describe my work.  Unfortunately, pretty art work seldom wins awards or is taken seriously.  Although I usually sell something at this show, on that day I sold nothing.  I prefer to blame it on the recession rather than my art.

May 5, 2010

I was out of town last week for a plein air painting event in one of my favorite places, Augusta, MO.  It’s a tiny town east of St. Louis and north of Washington, Mo. nextled in the rolling hills of wine country.  The vineyards, wineries and bed and breakfasts are the major local businesses.  What makes this town special, in addition to the scenery–you should see it when the dogwoods are in full bloom–is that this is a whole community who love artists, espeically the plein air variety.  Eight years ago a few of the locals organized a week-long plein air event and invited aritsts to come and paint in the town and surrounding country.  All they would have to do is give one painting to an auction at the end of the week, with the artist receiving 50% of the price paid, the rest going to the organizing group.

When I received that first notice of their event, it felt like a lifesaver.  I had been through some horrible family stuff and just needed to get away for a while.  What I found were kind, welcoming people who provided breakfast goodies each morning and suggestions and directions to possible places to paint.  For a whole week I was free to do what I pleased.  I could paint as little or as much as I wished.  I didn’t feel selfconscious about painting in public because there were so many other people all over town doing the same thing.

I have attended six of the eight plein air events in Augusta.  These events have changed over the years.  Special events began to be added where artists could go to a specific location and paint for a specific time.  Then the work was judged and money awarded to the winner.  This year there were special events every day with monetary prizes at the end of each event.

Augusta Plein Air has now grown to a week and a half, but artists are free to attend as many days as they wish.  Although the event began on a Wednesday, I didn’t arrive until Sunday evening and left on the following Saturday.  The auction has changed too.  Now the only paintings in the auction are the first, second, and third place winners in each category: oils, watercolor, pastel, acrylic and mixed media. 

The hospitality has grown as well sponsored by local businesses.  I attended a breakfast for artists in a charming log cabin.  Twice during the week I was there we were provided with free sack lunches.  After the daily special events, the sponsoring business provided wine and snacks.

More than 100 artists were registered for this year’s event and as one organizing committee member pointed out, the quality of the art has continued to rise.  This makes for a very competitive situation.  I attended four daily events because they were held at places I hadn’t painted before.    Painting started at 11 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m.  I don’t usually paint for long periods at a time, and I was exhausted at the end of each day.  About 30 to 40 artists probably participated in each event.  I was quite surprised when I won a second place award one day and received $150.  I’ve posted that winner, “Nursery Garden,” on the Rural Midwest page.  But I didn’t make it into the auction, so I didn’t sell anything.

April 21, 2010

We traveled to Iowa for a few days last week.  Included in our trip was a visit to Iowa State, our alma mater.   My years at Iowa State were life-changing in many ways.  One of the more significant was my discovery of art.  The high school I attended didn’t offer art classes.  When I went to Iowa State as a student in the department of home economics, I learned that there were several possible majors within that field.  Freshmen were required to take the beginning courses in all of them.  One field was called Applied Art.  My roommate took the beginning basic design course during the first quarter.  I was scheduled for it later.  I  looked at the supplies she bought for the course and was envious of her.  I wanted to take that course right now.

Applied art, which I decided to major in during my sophomore year although it seemed wildly impractical, included courses in fashion illustration, advertising, interior design, textile design, and crafts as well as basic drawing and painting.  I remember my drawing and painting teachers well.  I recall Miss Adams, our drawing teacher, taking us out behind the buildings of a small shopping area where we drew trash cans, brick walls, etc.  She came to mind when I have painted several scenes of the back of buildings in downtown Lawrence.  I still have one of those paintings and I’ll post it on the Lawrence page.  Miss Davis was our painting teacher.  It was in her class that I first painted en plein air.  We sat in a meadow, in the spring, I think.  Oddly enough, my first plein air painting was not exactly a landscape.  I painted two of my friends as they sat painting.  I still have that painting somewhere.

I thought of that experience today when I painted outside for the first time this spring.  I drove to the country to meet two artist friends who live north of Lawrence.  Once again I sat before my easel in a meadow.  The sky displayed varying shades of gray with shafts of sunlight breaking through.  Pale green trees with their new leaves stood in the distance.  The green meadow around me was dotted with bright yellow flowers.  I could hear several different bird calls.  All other concerns fall away in such a setting.  There is only the scene in front of me and my urgent desire to commit it to canvas as quickly as possible, since the light changes so quickly.  I don’t know whether I will decide my effort is worth touching up and framing or if anyone will buy it if I do.  What I do know is that the two hours I spent in that meadow will stay with me indefinitely.

April 14, 2010

Lawrence is at its most beautiful in April, I think.  As I drive around town I’ve seen first crocuses, then forsythia, followed bydaffodils, tulips and violets. Then suddenly like white candle flames, the Bradford pear trees burst into bloom, followed by redbud, magnolias, flowering crab apple trees and finally the cherry tree in my back yard.  It’s frustrating not to have more time to paint.  But I’ve been using my new camera and maybe some day some of those shots will turn into paintings.

Meanwhile I’ve finished “Rock Patterns” and done some more work on a painting I began last fall of a scene along Tennessee Street.

I’ve already begun preparing for Art in the Park, coming up the first Sunday in May (weather permitting) in Lawrence.  It’s the only outdoor show I’ll be in this year.  Outdoor shows are challenging, most obviously because of the possibility of rain, but a high wind can be destructive too.  Then in addition to all the paintings to transport, there are the screens to hang them on, a tent and those very heavy weights that supposedly keep the wind from blowing everything down.  Packing and unpacking all this stuff requires recruiting another person.

Currently, I’m in the process of deciding which paintings to take, getting them framed and doing the paperwork.  Choosing paintings is made more difficult because I already have a total of 38 paintings in various exhibits (see the current exhibit page) and I need to choose paintings I haven’t shown in Art in the Park before.  But I’ve managed to come up with a list.  Now if only the weather could be as warm and sunny on Art in the Park day as it is today.

April 7, 2010

I worked at the Topeka Art Guild Gallery last Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Artists who exhibit there are required to work six hours a month, which can either be done in one day or in two three hour-shifts on different days.  We had more browsers than usual but nobody bought anything.  I get a lot of reading done when I work.

Toward the end of the day the members who were in charge of the gallery’s First Friday reception came in and began preparing for that.  On the first Friday of every month in Topeka a number of galleries open their doors from 6 to 8 p.m. to anyone who wants to come in, view the art on display, socialize with artists and other interested in art, have a drink, nibble on snacks and occasionally listen to a musical group.  People can move on from one gallery to the next doing all these things and it is all free, unless you decide to buy something, which of course we hope you will.  In addition to the paintings, the Topeka Art Gallery has many lower priced, one-of-a-kind items, including cermanic and glass bowls and vases, gourd bowls, jewelry and small matted but unframed watercolors.

I helped the women set up the table for Frist Friday with a beautiful lavendar cloth and a vase of daffodils for a centerpiece.  Our table included friendship bread, chocolate Easter eggs, nuts, crackers and cheese and assorted fruit with another table for drinks. 

So when you are thinking TGIF, we hope you are referring to First Friday at the Topeka art galleries.  The Topeka Capitol-Journal runs a list of participating galleries.  The next First Friday will be May 7 and the Topeka Art Guild’s current exhibit, “Promise of Spring,” will still be there. 

March 31, 2010

I’ve had two recent requests for donation to charity auctions, and I will give a painting to each for different reasons.  I’ve given to the Topeka Ronald McDonald House auction before and will do so again.  Those houses are wonderful for out of town parents with very sick kids.  I know because number 1 daughter used the Ronald McDonald house in Kansas City with her husband and two little kids, one an infant, when her number 1 son was very sick and was hospitalized at the KU Med Center.

The other request for a painting came from the Good Samaritan project in the Kansas City area.  Someone from that organization, which helps those with AIDS, had seen my painting at the Heartland Art Show.  They offered to provide two tickets to their event if I would donate a painting.  I think all organizations which ask for a donation of a painting should do that, but some do not.  Another thing all charity auctions requesting the donations of paintings should do, but some do not, is to let the artist know who bought the painting and how much it sold for.  I always request this but some do not comply.

Number 2 daughter was disappointed that we would not be attending the Lawrence Art Center auction this year, so she agreed to go with me to this event instead.  I will be glad to have two paintings find a good home and at the same time help out worthy organizations.

I’ve been working on a small painting of rocks.  I paint mostly with a palette knife and the texture of rocks lends itself to that kind of painting.  The pattern of a group of rocks can also make a  a good design.

I know I should be outdoors painting, but my plein air painting group seems to have folded.   I guess I’ll have to make more effort to find places where I can paint outside by myself.

March 25, 2010

It has been a frustrating week.  If you think that a painting is finished when the last bit of paint has been applied, you are so wrong.  Last week on March 18 I thought I had finished a new, fairly large painting, “On the Road” 16″ x 35.”  I painted it specifically to be one of three paintings which I am submitting to a juried show, deadline April 1.  Then On March 19 I looked at it again, decided it needed more work, and finally finished it late in the afternoon.  I meediately took it outside to photograph for the entry.  I’ve found that outdoor light on a cloudy day is best.  But it was too late in the afternoon and the light wasn’t good enough.  No problem.  I could photograph it the next day.

But on Saturday March 20 I awoke to snow, lots of it, and it was still snowing.  No photographing that day.  Sunday the weather was bad too.  On Monday March 22 I took my painting out on the patio to photograph but something was wrong with my digital camera.  I thought maybe the battery needed recharging so I took the camera in the house and recharged it for several hours.  Then I tried using it again, but it was obvious there was something more seriously wrong with it.  I drove to Best Buy where I had bought the camera about three years ago to see if I could find out what was wrong.

Of course I was told what one often hears about the latest electronic gadgets.  Yes, it was broke (the sensor, he said) and no, it would cost too much to fix it, if that was even possible.  He recommended buying a new one.  I liked my Kodak camera because it was simple to operate and compatible with the photo software, Kodak Easy Share, that I have on my computer.  I decided to buy another Kodak camera similar to what I had.

No, that was not possible, I was told.  Kodak was coming out with new models.  In the meantime this Best Buy did not have any Kodak cameras.  And their other stores in the area didn’t either.  I ended up ordering a new model Kodak which would not arrive until early April.

My husband has a Canon camera and I decided to use that.  I got it out when I got home but couldn’t figure out how to operate it.  He likes more complicated gadgets.  I would have to ask him in the evening when he got home from work to explain how to operate it.

March 23 I photographed my painting with my husband’s camera.  Because his camera is not a Kodak and my software is, transferring photos to my computer is complicated.  When he helped me transfer the images to my computer that evening, I saw that I had managed to cut off part of one side of the long, narrow painting.  I would have to retake the photo the next day.  The next morning outside it was about to rain and the light wasn’t good but I decided to go ahead anyway.  When I took the photos, the flash went off.  In the evening I again asked husband to help me put the photos on my computer.  This time I noticed a big lighter spot caused by the flash.  I would have to photograph them once again the next day.

Fortunately, the weather was better on March 24 and this time I got good photos, which he patiently helped me transfer to my computer once again.  As a result I was able to put my three photos on a disk and today, March 25, I mailed in my entry.  A more superstitious person than I might conclude that something was trying to tell me that I didn’t have a chance of getting in this show anyway and I might as well save my $35 entry fee.  That could well be true, but I’m glad I tried.

I have received acceptances to two future shows recently, Art in the Park in Lawrence and Images in Overland Park.  Acceptances or rejections these days come via email rather than snail mail, which saves money for the shows but cuts down on postal business, which causes the rates to keep going up. 

March 17, 2010

Yeah!!!  I sold a painting this week.  The painting, “Fountain in the Park,” was on exhibit at the Classic Bean in Topeka.  (I’ll keep it on the Lawrence page for a couple weeks.)  I painted it on site in Lawrence in 2002 and have shown it numerous times since.  Last year I bought a better quality frame for it.  But that didn’t have much to do with selling it.  The man who bought it, a prominent Topeken, said he bought it as a gift for his son, who had been married in that location.  We met at the Classic Bean, where I brought another painting to hang in its place.   Although we had never met before, I recognized him right away.  I had seen him on the news on the Topeka  channel the night before.

I and most artists I know pursue continuing education in our art throughout our lives.  The Topeka Art Guild offers workshops.  The Lawrence Art Center offers classes and I’ve already signed up for a plein air class this summer.  The Lawrence Art Guild has monthly meetings with speakers on a variety of art forms.  I attended their meeting Monday evening when the speaker and demonstrator was Donna Aldridge, an award winning painter, writer and teacher.

Who knew that pastels (never call them chalk, Ms. Aldridge said, as that is a completely different product) now come in pans and are applied to paper with little sponges in various shapes?  I’ve worked occasionally with the stick pastels.  This new form looks intriguing, but I’m not going to rush out and buy more art supplies.  I’ve got an office full already.

Ms. Aldridge also talked about plein air painting, and I may buy the little adjustable metal view finding gadget she showed us.  I had a cardboard viewer once and sometimes use the view finder in my camera the same way.  I also like her idea of using a value chart (from darkest to lightest shades of gray) when plein air painting.  Now if only the weather will cooperate so I can actually go outdoors and paint.

March 10, 2010

Both galleries in which I exhibit are having themed exhibits this year.  Some themes make it obvious what is expected, such as the “Paint Pink” theme at the Topeka Art Guild Gallery.  Others, such as the current “March Madness” exhibit at the 1109 Gallery in Lawrence, leave more to the imagination of the artist.

I haven’t seen the the exhibit after it was hung, but I was there checking in art on entry day.  In this college town March Madness means basketball but only two pieces that I saw included Jayhawks and basketballs.  Others were more imaginative.  Since I’m not a sports fan, I entered two landscapes depicting March with stormy skies.  Others concentrated on the “Madness” part of the title and that can include a lot of territory.

One of the more interesting pieces in this category was a stuffed (as in taxidermy) jackalope.  One of our members actually thought this creature was real.  Come see for yourselves.  The exhibit runs through March 28.  Now what can I come up with for the April exhibit, “Art is Zen?”

I’ve started a new painting this week.  It was inspired partly by an odd-sized (35″ x 16″) frame I bought inexpensively and an old photo I found among my stash of painting ideas.  There’s no information written on the back of the photo, but it was obviously taken on the highway in what looks like Western Kansas with a storm coming on.  Who knows why it appealed to me now but not during the years I’ve had it.  

Preparing a canvas with an odd numbered side means a trip to Creative Coldsnow’s in Overland Park, the only place I’ve found in this area that sells uneven numbered canvas stretchers.  I have a roll of prepared canvas for just such projects and an electric stapler.  So now the canvas is stretched and I’ve painted on it a couple times.  It’s amazing how many colors there are in the sky. 

March 3, 2010

When you see an exhibit of paintings in a restaurant, library, community theatre, etc., unless you are an artist or have one in your family, you probably have no idea what goes into getting ready for such a show after the actual art work is completed.  During March and April I have an exhibit of 26 paintings at the Classic Bean on Kansas Ave. in downtown Topeka.  Here’s what went into getting ready for that show.

First I chose a theme, flowers, since I and everyone else is longing for spring.  Then I went through the list I keep on my computer of all the paintings I have, including information on where each one has been exhibited and when.  From this list I chose 26 paintings, most of which have never been shown at the Classic Bean before.  Next I checked with my basement stash of paintings to see which ones currently were framed.  I often paint on standard size canvases so that I can switch frames depending on what paintings I want to put in an exhibit.  I then removed frames from some paintings I wasn’t planning to use and put them on the paintings that needed frames. 

The next step was the computer work.  I checked with my box of little cards that go with each painting that tell the painting’s title, medium and price and my name and contact information.  For some of the newer paintings I had to print cards.  Next I made a list of all the paintings in the show with the price of each and the price after Topeka sales tax had been added.  Artists who sell work in shows are required to have a tax number and charge sales tax.

Finally, all the paintings had to be brought up from the basement and my contact information taped to the back of each.  The frames had to be checked for damage.  I transport my paintings in the back of an old mini van that does not have seats that fold down flat, as some newer models do.  So a strong son-in-law removed the two rows of back seats from my van.  I packed the paintings back to back then covered the layer with old quilts or blankets and packed another layer of paintings on top of that.

Driving to Topeka on the turnpike I passed wonderful country scenes in muted colors I would love to paint, but stopping along the highway to take photos did not seem like a good idea.  Fortunately, I was able to park right in front of the Classic Bean, and the owner helped me carry them in.  After I decided what paintings went where, he also got up on a ladder and hung them.  Most sites where I exhibit are not so accomodating.

I did make time to paint this week,  working on a small canvas I had started in South Park in Lawrence last summer.    

Feb. 24, 2010

I think the newest blog is supposed to go at the top instead of the bottom, so that’s what I’ll do today.

Artists get a lot of rejection, from galleries, from potential places to show their work and from the small art buying public.  We get used to it.  But when I can’t even give my work away, that’s something new.  This week I’ve been rejected by the Lawrence Art Center’s annual auction to benefit the Art Center.  Most artist don’t make a profit from their work but we give what we have, our art, to auctions to benefit various charities and community services.

The Lawrence Art Center’s auction is huge with both a silent auction, for lesser works, and a live auction for those that will potentially raise more money.  I’ve had my work in both at various times.  Contributing artists get two tickets to the auction, which includes refreshments and drinks, and one fourth of the price their piece brings (it used to be one third).  There is always a huge crowd and it’s an event I’ve enjoyed attending with my daughter.  But the feeling seemed to be that there were too many donated pieces, so they decided to cut back and I’m one they cut.

The Topeka Art Guild is also in a charitable mood.  Their current show “Paint Pink,” in which I have three paintings, will in a small way benefit the Marian Clinic, which serves uninsured women in Shawnee County.  If a piece sells, the artist will receive 50%, the gallery 25% and the Marian Clinic 25%.  Since this is a cooperative gallery, aritsts who exhibit must also work at the gallery six hours a month.  While working there recently I had a chance to see the show which features lots of pink flowers, both photography and painting, paintings of flamingos, a girl in a pink dress, landscapes with some pink in them, etc.  What makes this show unique is the requirement that all the frames had to be black.  Since that meant I had to buy three new frames, I kept my paintings small.  Several paintings have already sold, but not mine.  The show continues through March.

When painting this week I finished a plein air painting I had worked on last fall, sitting near a cornfield on a friend’s land.  It’s called “Cornfield in Autumn.”  (I’ve done so many paintings it’s getting hard to come up with catchy titles.)  You can see it on the Rural Midwestern page.

Feb. 3, 2010

Why be an artist?  About the only logical answer is that you can’t help it.  It certainly isn’t profitable for most people, especially in a recession.  Yet those of us who can’t help it continue to “art,” as my daughter used to say when she was little.  And yet we’re not all crazy or a little odd, as some people seem to think.

What is it really like to live like an artist?  At this point, I think that’s what this blog is all about.  So in the cold, gray days of winter, here’s what it’s like for me.  I added a sizeable amount to my credit card yesterday at Hobby Lobby, buying three picture frames and one tube of paint.  I told myself it wasn’t really so bad because the frames were marked 66% off and as an artist who theoretically sells my work, I don’t pay sales tax on art supplies.

Today on my email I recieved a wellcome surprise when I finally made it into the Heartland Artist Exhibition juried show in Merriam, KS.  (March 6-April 3).  I had two paintings that I thought were pretty good so I paid the $35 entry fee.  But since that fee allowed for the entry of three paintings images I put in an extra one that I didn’t really have much hope for.  You can guess which one got in.  I’ll add “Bygone Days” to the media category.

Feb. 10, 2010

Finally, I can manage my blog all by myself, quite a feat for a nontechie like me.  To get there I hired a consultant, my 13-year-old grandson, who helped me figure out the steps.

Outside the weather has tended to be mostly cold, gray and snowy.  Staying inside I go through my mail and emails deciding which juried art shows I will submit entries to.  People wonder why art costs so much.  There are a lot more costs to a painter than just the materials and frames.  It starts with  trying to put art out there where someone will see it.  To submit an entry of two or three paintings to a juried show costs $30 to $35, whether you get in the show or not.  Most shows these days require digital entries–although if they get picky about pixels, I tend to give up.  One show I submitted an entry to asked for photographs.  How quaint.  If you do get in and sell something, the show will take about one third of the purchase price.  The big outdoor tent shows run a little differently.  There is the usual fee to try to get in.  If you are chosen for the show you will pay around $250 just for the privelege of showing, whether you sell anything or not.

I’ve been working on a 22″ x 28″ painting I started in January, of snow, what else?  During the Christmas holidays I photographed sledders in Centennial Park, where my kids ued to sled, and I’m working from those photos.  Look at shadows on snow and try to decide what color they are.

Feb.17, 2010

Finally, after many false starts, my blog is set up and organized.  While some may think art is a solitary activity, that is certainly not true for me.  The idea for this blog came from an article in The Artist magazine.  A grandson helped me set it up and when some of the things we had posted started disappearing, Number One Son, during a couple of phone consultations,  showed me what to do without any of that “How can you be so stupid?” attitude.

I was recently talking on the phone with an artist friend in her late eighties.  She and I used to paint with a plein air (French for painting outdoors) group.  Although she is no longer able to do that, she hasn’t given up painting.  She told me she had painted a still life of two stuffed animals.  I told her she was following in the footsteps of Van Gogh, who when he was hospitalized did a painting of the chair in his room.  She encourages me too and always wants to know what I am painting.

This week I finished the snow painting, “Centennial Park.”  You can see it on the Lawrence page.  Although I am often dissatisfied with what I paint, this one I like.  It is an inhabited painting and I don’t do many of those.  Painting sky, hills and bushes with a palette knife is much easier for me than painting people with a tiny brush.  I can’t wait to paint outside again.


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