Ready, Set, Go

Tis the season when multiple art shows will be popping up all over the place.  As you look at the work of the artists, you may picture a painter at an easel, brush or palette knife in hand, and think, “Oh that looks like such fun.  I wish I could do that.”  I’ve heard similar comments.  What they don’t realize is that there is a lot more involved in being part of an art show than painting a group of canvases.  They have to be framed, of course, and a record of them kept that shows when they were painted and where they have been exhibited, so as not to keep showing the same paintings in the same annual shows.

My painting are in five shows this month.  Two shows are in Lawrence.  Delivering two paintings to the Phoenix Underground, the lower floor of the Phoenix Gallery downtown, was no problem.  The next local show will be Lawrence Art Walk, Saturday Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday Oct. 23 from noon to 6 p.m.  There will be a map showing where the various participants are located.  (Check for details online.)  My paintings are already hung on the walls of my basement family room but I will still have to make sure each painting has a card listing its title, media, and price, which means printing cards for the newer paintings and placing cards with each painting.

I made a special trip to Topeka to turn in three paintings to Warehouse 414.  That business is having a show honoring the Topeka Art Guild, of which I am a member, on their 100th anniversary.  Two of my paintings will be in the Kansas Artists show at the Topeka Art Guild Gallery  and two or three from the last show there will go on to the nearby Eagle Car Wash.

After preparing for all those shows I wasn’t sure I wanted to enter another.  But an email message said more artists were needed for the Lawrence Art Guild Holiday Art Fair at Lawrence Art Center November 19 and that that day was the last day for entries.  Oh well, why not?  I printed a copy of the online entry form and could see that this was going to be more work than I expected.  Not only were three photos of my work required but also a photo of my proposed exhibit.  That meant getting my screens out of the garage, setting them up, going to the basement and bringing up enough small paintings to fill them, finding the hooks and hanging them on the screens so I could photograph them and then putting everything away.

Next I had to transfer the photo of my exhibit to my computer and print it on my color printer, plus finding photos of three of the paintings on the computer and printing them.  Then I discovered that I didn’t have a padded envelope to put all this in for mailing so I had to go out and buy one.  Next I addressed  the envelope and added the photos, entry form and a check.  Artists not only have to pay to enter shows.  If they sell anything, they have to pay a percentage of that as well, which is why art sold at shows and galleries my seem high priced.  So finally, I have entered and am glad for this season at least, to have places where others can see what I’ve been doing.










Recorders of History

Boulder Creek II, Acrylic, 24" x 36"

Boulder Creek II, Acrylic, 24″ x 36″   

September 23, 2013

Some years ago I walked beside that creek in Boulder, Colorado, on a warm autumn day with husband, daughter and her family.  I painted the above scene from a photo I took that day.  After hearing the recent reports of flood damage in Boulder, I wonder what that scene looks like now.  It may never look quite like that again.

Last week I was painting on a Kansas farm and began a painting of a red barn.  I’ve painted a number of barns before.   Later I often learn they no longer exist.  Many farmers don’t use barns any more and so they fall into disrepair and are destroyed by wind and weather.  I’ve also occasionally painted silos, but they too are now becoming a thing of the past.

We who paint realistically may not realize it, but we are recording history.  If some of our paintings survive they will show what life was like in our little corner of the world in our time when the future may look very different.  Artists have been doing this for some time.  When we look at paintings from the past in museums or in our art books we can see how people dressed, what their homes and other buildings looked liked as well as the surrounding landscape of those bygone ages.

Impressionist paintings are favorites of mine and they show an interesting historical record.  While painters of the past had painted the nobility (they knew where the money was), in the late 1800s there was a rising middle class with the time and funds to go out and enjoy themselves and the painters of the time recorded that.  They painted people having lunch on a pleasure boat, men, women and children enjoying an afternoon in the park, couples dancing.  Something else that was new in the time of the Impressionists was the railroad.  Several years ago the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO, did an exhibit of impressionist paintings having something to do with the railroads.  I was surprised at how many paintings there were.

Next time you go out to paint think about the transitory nature of the things you see.  Your record of that building or scene may last longer than it will.

Art and the Computer

August 23, 2013

As an artist I have found my computer very helpful.  On it I keep a record of all the paintings I have and where and when they have been shown.  I also keep a file on all the paintings I’ve sold, where, when and to what person.  In another file are the records of the paintings I’ve given away.  When I have a show of my paintings, I make up a list on my computer for my bulletin board with the name of each painting, the price and the price including tax, so if anyone calls to inquire I have the information readily available.

The photo program on my computer is also very important.  I keep files of the paintings I have created each year.  From these files I can send emails to apply for shows or I can print small photos of the paintings to attach to cards.  I also keep a file of photos that might inspire future paintings.

But alas, I fear my computer is on its last legs so I’ve decided to shop for a new one.  And that’s where things get complicated.  When I spend that much money I want to see what I am buying and be able to ask a human person questions about it.  I would like to tell that person what I plan to do with the computer and have that person show me how it would be done on the machine I’m thinking of buying.  It would also be nice if it came with an instruction book.  That doesn’t seem like too much to ask, but it is proving to be almost impossible.

I’ve been using Windows on my computer, so I’d like my new computer to use that system too.  However, the only computers available in the two stores here in town that sell them all have Windows 8 and I have not been hearing good things about that system.  Husband thinks it would be too complicated for me and that I should buy a computer with Windows 7.  But I have discovered that the only way to buy such a computer is online.  I’ve looked online and can find computers with Windows 7 but there is no information about the other things I want to know, such as what photo system does it have and does it have a slot for discs?  Furthermore, the reviews of these computers do not always agree.

I know each computer upgrade is supposed to be progress but it just seems like complications and confusion for me.