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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Never Give Up

Last year was not a good year for me artistically.  There were less places locally to exhibit paintings than there used to be.  And no one seemed to be interested in my work.  I signed up for Art Walk in October, when people visit local artists at their homes or studios.  In addition to the numerous paintings on the walls of my basement gallery, I put out a stack of older work I wanted to get rid of at greatly reduced prices.  The only painting I sold all year was one from that stack.

It made me wonder what was the point in painting if all I was doing was piling up art nobody wanted.  But for some of us not being creative does not seem to be an option.  We are simply programmed to be artists.  We can’t help it.  The same seems to be true of writers and musicians.  So I gave a few paintings as gifts and kept on creating.

Then came more bad luck.  My computer stopped working and went away for repairs for almost a month.  Computers are vital to just about everyone these days, including artists.  I couldn’t add photos of new paintings to those already on the computer or print them.  The records of my work were on my computer.  And I couldn’t write on my blog or enter art shows that these days have to be done on a computer.  When my computer finally returned I found a new Microsoft system on it and even more frustrating a whole new picture system, Adobe Elements 14, that is probably a good system if I could understand how it works.

But then suddenly things began to change for the better.  My daughter referred a woman to me who wanted a painting of a dog, now deceased, that had been her husband’s favorite.  She provided a photo.  I hadn’t done a dog in years but I rashly said yes and agreed to do it in pastels, a medium I don’t usually work in.  The result is below.  (I wanted to put it above but somehow couldn’t.)  The woman was pleased with the portrait of “Benny,” which was to be a gift for her husband.

Several more sales followed.  I participated in Art in the Park and sold a painting of a Bradford pear tree.  I joined the plein air painters at the Overland Park Arboretum spring event and sold a painting from it.  A relative bought a painting to give as a gift.  So I guess I’ll just keep on keeping on.  The process itself is irresistable.

 

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Getting Ready for Art Walk

Kentucky Street, Acrylic, 14" x 20"

Kentucky Street, Acrylic, 14″ x 20″

Now that fall has arrived with cooler days that encourage folks to be out and about, it’s time to get ready for Lawrence Art Walk, which is scheduled for October 24th and 25th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.  This is the 20th year that Lawrence artists have opened their studios to the public and I have participated many of those years.  It’s a great way for artists to introduce their friends and neighbors to what they create without having to pack up paintings, screens, tent etc. and haul them to another location.  But it does take a certain amount of preparation.

I want to make sure some of my most recent paintings are framed and ready to hang, although since I have quite a lot of wall space in my exhibit area, there will also be paintings from past years.  Most will have a Midwestern theme but there will also be paintings based on my yearly trips to Colorado and also from places farther away.  With each of those paintings I will include a card listing the title, media, and price.  I still have quite a few of those to print.  The last few years I have also been making cards with photos of various paintings and those will be for sale too.  I need to make some more since I have been using up the cards for birthdays of my large extended family.  I’m also going to have a stack of unframed paintings from past years for sale at garage sale prices.  But those still have to be chosen and removed from storage.

Maps will be available at each artist’s location and there are 21 of us this year.  We are painters, photographers, and those who work with ceramics or glass.  Since I have to be here with my work, I can’t see what those other artists have on display in their studios.  But if you and I want to see some examples of the creations of the Art Walk artists, the Phoenix Underground Gallery in downtown Lawrence has an exhibit of paintings by those artists that will continue during October.

I’ve had some good news recently.  My painting, “Kansas Hay Bales,” which I entered in the Topeka Art Guild’s current Kansans Paint Kansas juried show, won an honorable mention.  That show will continue until the end of November.

AUTUMN EVENTS

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Fog Rising, acrylic, 20″ x 28″

As the days become cooler and people return from vacations or venture out of their air conditioned houses, social life accelerates. Among the events vying for our attention are several related to art. Art and charity seem to be combining frequently as the organizations that serve our communities add art auctions to their fundraising events.

I am donating paintings to two of these this fall. The Joshua Center, which serves the social, emotional and educational needs of neurologically impaired children, will hold their annual dinner and art auction in the Camelot Ballroom at 6635 W. 151 St. in Overland Park, KS, from 5-10 p.m. on Sept. 19. This is the favorite charity of my daughter-in-law so for the third year I will donate a painting to their art auction. The Women Build group of Lawrence Habitat has scheduled a Happy Homes Happy Hour at the Carnegie Building at 200 W. 9th, in Lawrence, KS, from 5-7 on Oct. 9 which will feature an art auction. My contribution is the painting pictured above.

I hope my art will bring a good price for these groups who do so much good, but the fact is that most paintings at auctions, except for those by very well known artists, are lucky to bring half what the artist lists their value at. But there are exceptions. Last spring at a charity auction one of my paintings sold for the highest price any one has ever paid for one of my paintings. But whatever they sell for, they will no longer be hanging on my basement wall and there will be room for new paintings.

I’m looking forward to two other art events this fall. During September and October the Topeka Art Guild Gallery will feature their annual juried show, Kansans Paint Kansas. I recently finished the three paintings I plan to enter. On October 24-25 I will be a participant in Lawrence Art Walk, when the public can meet artists and see their creations in their homes and studios. I’m glad to see this event on the schedule again with new people stepping up to organize it after the previous director moved back to England.

When marking your fall calendar be sure to include some art events. Visit a gallery, attend a charity auction, talk with artists about their work in their studios. You’ll be glad you did.