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.










An Afternoon at the Gallery

April 12, 2013

Working a shift at a cooperative gallery (one where those who show art work take turns working) can be an interesting experience. Other artists come in to pick up art work from a previous show or call seeking information about various art related activities. What these galleries tend to lack is visits from the general public, especially those interested in purchasing something.

This means there is plenty of time for the assigned worker to waste or try to use constructively. I often bring along art magazines I’ve been meaning to read. Today I was also attempting to broaden my skill as an artist by drawing elipses. I was doing this because I had read a specific way to draw them along with the admonition that one would probably have to draw 1,000 of them to get really good at it.

The author said to draw a line and then draw another line perpendicular to it directly in the center the same length on each side of the first line. For a horizontal elipse start at the top left. For a vertical elipse start at the middle left. Sitting at a desk I started looking around the gallery for objects containing elipses to draw. Try that in just about any room and I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at how many you will see. I saw such things as light fixtures, the end of a roll of adding machine tape, a vase, a jar, etc.

But that was not the end of my afternoon’s experience. A woman came in carrying a flute. She was looking for someone who was not in the gallery at that time but we got to talking and she asked which paintings were mine. I showed her two, one done from a photo and one done on site. She said they each had a different vibe and then asked if she could play her flute for me. Well, why not. I’m tired of drawing elipses. She played and I listened, supposing she was playing some tune she had memorized. But no. She said she was playing the difference between my two paintings. Really? I never would have guessed. But as artists we should be open to new ideas.

A Magical Day

Soybean Field, acrylic, 14″ x 18″

September 28, 2012

Last Wednesday morning was a magical day for painting when everything just seemed to go right.  The weather was perfect for outdoor painting, not too hot or too cold and with an absense of wind.  The autumn sky had interesting patterns of clouds in varying shades of bluish purple.  On the way out from Lawrence I had begun to notice the beautiful color of the yellow gold soybean fields and the way the trees in the distance were just beginning to turn color.  When I turned onto Hemphill Road in Leavenworth County I found a perfect place to paint.

There are always painting possibilities along country roads but the problem is that there is usually no place to park or to sit and paint.  Often there are ditches on both sides of the road.   But here there was enough flat space beside the road that I could park my car and set up my easel.  And as I started to paint things continued to go well.  I didn’t spill my jar of water and have to travel some distance to refill it.  And I hadn’t forgotten any essential tube of paint.  Better still, what was beginning to appear on the canvas actually looked pretty good.  I was essentially finished in about two hours.  I don’t know if I anyone will want to buy this painting, but as long as I have this canvas it will continue to remind me of a magical day.

My good luck even continued to the next day.  When I took down my exhibit and the Community Mercantile in Lawrence I sold one of the paintings.

Themed Art Shows

September 16, 2011

Both of the cooperative galleries I am involved with now have themes for their art shows.  This doesn’t mean that everybody who exhibits pays much attention to them but many do and so do I.  Sometimes I can find several paintings among my stash that reflect the theme.  At other times it is an interesting challenge to try to create something new that will correspond to the theme.

But sometimes the themes seem weird, I don’t understand them, or they don’t correspond to the type of art that I do.  Then I don’t enter that show and evidently others feel the same because soon I will be receiving email from the art organization saying, “Help.  We don’t have enough people to work this month.”  They then list numerous dates that have so far not been filled in by workers.  (Most who exhibit work the required six hours a month.  If they don’t and they sell something from the gallery, the gallery takes a greater percentage of the sale price.)

The next show at one of the galleries I participate in has an upcoming show titled “Self-Examination.”  I won’t be entering that because I’m not sure what that means, but I don’t think it has anything to do with landscapes, which are primarily what I paint.  So therefore I won’t be working at the gallery during that show.  I asked another artist who exhibits there what she thought it meant.  She said that an artist who would be having an exhibit in the back room of the gallery had had breast cancer and maybe it had something to do with that.  I had thought maybe they were encouraging self-portraits.  Who knows?  But I’ll bet I’ll be receiving that same email, “Help.  We don’t have enough workers this month.”  There is something they could have done about that, choose a more understandable and inclusive theme.