Large or Small


Peppers, Acrylic, 6″ x 6″

As the holiday season approaches, small seems to be in when it comes to paintings.  There’s a very practical reason for this, of course.  They cost less and when it comes to holiday art shows they are competing in price with items like scarves, earrings and other jewelry.  I am in three holiday art shows this year.  The Southwind Gallery Miniature show in Topeka asked artists to paint six inch by six inch paintings which the gallery then framed all in the same way.  That show just opened and will run during November and December.  The Topeka Art Guild Gallery asked artists in their December-January show to contribute art selling for $100 or less, which means that the art will be of small size.  The Holiday Art Fair at the Lawrence Art Center in Lawrence on Saturday November 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. did not specify size but when competing with jewelry and other small items I plan on bringing smaller, lower priced paintings.

What can an artist do in a small space?  The painting above will be in the Southwind Gallery Miniature show.  When I am faced with a small canvas I tend to focus on small items.  My other painting in that show is of one water lily.  Not as impressive as a whole pond of them but I think there is something to be gained by limiting one’s focus to just one or a few simple objects.  I loved all the different colors in that one pepper.  Also, if the painting doesn’t work, not so much time and effort have been wasted.

I remember some years ago when I had some paintings in a local gallery, the gallery owner urged me to paint very large paintings.  I think they were in style at the time.  I was told that art majors at our local university were also encouraged to use large canvases.  Well, I tried one that was, I think 48″ x 30.”  It took a long time to paint and then the gallery owner didn’t like it.  I never tried another one that large.  I think smaller paintings have come back and that suits me just fine.


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.









Getting Ready

Nov. 28, 2012

I set up my screens that will hold my paintings at Holiday Art Fair Saturday Dec. 1 at the Lawrence Art Center at home and hung up the paintings I plan to take.  This is a good idea when you are preparing to show a group of paintings at one of those shows with many other artists.  This type of show tends to be well attended whether it’s an outdoor one in the spring or summer or an indoor winter one.  So you want to avoid some common mistakes.

The most obvious is not having enough paintings to cover the space you are allowed.  Because I am showing smaller, less expensive paintings at this show by hanging them on the screens at home I discovered that I had space for two more paintings.  Just handling the paintings again revealed some other things that needed to be corrected.  I found I had written the same title on the back of two different paintings.  Since I keep records, this needed to be changed.  I simply used sandpaper to remove a title from the stretcher on the back of one of the paintings and wrote a different title on it. 

By checking each painting I noticed that one of them fit too loosely in the frame.  I don’t understand why when I buy a standard sized frame and the same standard sized canvas they don’t fit perfectly, but sometimes they don’t.  The canvases  are occasionally a little smaller than the dimensions they are supposed to be.  That can sometimes be fixed by how the canvas is positioned in the frame.  Remember also to check the frames themselves.  After being taken to multiple shows there may be little nicks in the finish.  You can buy a group of something that looks a lot like Magic Markers to fix this.  I bought mine from Dick Blick.

Anyway, I am now ready for Holiday Art Fair and hope both my paintings and my attention to detail will result in a sale.

Holiday Art Fair

December 5, 2011

I hadn’t done an all day art show for some time when I decided to sign up for the Lawrence Art Guild’s Holiday Art Fair held in the Lawrence Art Center the first Saturday of December.  It’s a lot of work getting ready for a show.  First I have to decide what paintings to show, this time mostly small ones  since they are more likely to sell as gifts.  Some may need to be framed.  Next I put my screens up at home and figure out the layout of the paintings on the screens.  I also have to assemble hooks, price cards and a list of each painting’s price plus what the price will be with the sales tax.

The evening before the sale I pack my car.  The next morning I add my lunch and a thermos and plan to arrive about an hour before the Fair opens to set up.  Fortunately, there is a parking garage right across from the Art Center, but it still takes time and effort to carry everything between the parking garage and the Art Center, which is crowded with artists all doing the same thing.  I was also lucky to be assigned a spot on the first floor.

Then one spends most of the time from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. sitting.  Crowds are ususally good at this event since there is a big parade of horse-drawn vehicles downtown in the morning, which draws a lot of people who when the parade is over may decide to check out Holiday Art Fair.  This year they may have stopped in to get out of the rain, which poured steadily for hours.  Although most artist would consider it a no no, I can’t resist occasionally reading a book or doing a word puzzle to pass the time.

It’s fun to see what other artists are doing.  One one side of me was a woman selling hand knitted caps and scarves while her husband sold jewelry.  Across from me was a display of pottery and on the other side more jewelry.  I also enjoy talking to people I know at local shows.  Then there are the people who know me but I haven’t a clue who they are.  One woman, whom I didn’t remember, said she taught my middle aged son in Sunday School when he was in the second grade.  I didn’t want to ask what had made my son so memorable.   All in all it was a good day, even though I only sold one small painting.

Busy, Busy

Nov. 25, 2011

It’s Black Friday but instead of going out to buy, buy, buy, I’m hoping to sell, sell, sell tonight at Lawrence Art Party, which is part of the Lawrence Art scene’s Final Friday.  I’ll be at the Art Party with both paintings and cards from 5 p.m. to 9. p.m. tonight in the 700 block of New Hampshire Street in Lawrence.  Now if only that visiting relative will return with my car so I can go down and set up.  While you are downtown tonight, don’t forget to stop in at the Lawrence Art Guild’s 1109 Gallery where I have three paintings in the “Wintery Mix” show.

If you miss me there I’ll have an exhibit in both entrances of the Lawrence Public Library during the month of December.  I’m counting on a grandson to help me hang those paintings on Thursday since it involves reaching over display cases to hang paintings on the wall at one entrance and getting up on a ladder to hang the larger paintings in the other entrance.

For a third opportunity to see what I’ve been up to artistically, visit the Holiday Art Fair at the Lawrence Art Center December 3 where I’ll be showing some of my smaller paintings.  That’s a good day to be downtown since the Christmas parade of horse drawn vehicles is also that morning on Massachusetts Street.  Being downtown in Lawrence on the first Saturday of December is a great way to begin the Christmas season.