Monday, October 16, 2006

Another Art Fair

Art Show or Art Fair...they are about the same. I've now done 3 shows with another larger show coming up. So far, I'd describe shows in this order....anticipation, excitement, wondering, reflecting, depressed, tired...and debating.
Anticipation of what will happen.
Excitement as you setup and see all the others.
Wondering where the crowd is and where the heck the buyers are hiding.
Reflecting on why I do this.
Depressed on the low or no sales.
Tired on the way home regretting unloading the van
and Debating on should I try it again.
That's been my shows so far. I know, it is only 3 so give it a chance Ron.

Good things sometimes have a way of sneaking up on you. In the show frenzy I've had the most awesome compliments given to me about the art. That makes doing 1 or 2 shows worth it alone. I'd say I've spent about 98 percent of my life drawing and painting alone in some room or garage and 2 percent showing it to people. In a way the compliments at shows are sort of being applauded for all that time and effort. That's nice for an artist to hear.

I've also met some people who have given me leads and said some pretty important things but I have to look into those before writing about them. I've also been asked to do other shows so the contacts you make are worth the effort so far.

Would I recommend doing shows to other bet. The reaffirmation of ones talent, the camaraderie with other showing artists, the leads and contacts as well as getting your name out there.....and lastly, the internal character it builds in you to being resilient and forging ahead. Like my fellow artist Margaret says "it's paying your dues".

Here are some shots from the Santa Maria "Autumn Arts, Grapes and Grains" show.

Arriving at 6:30 AM to the vendors who had arrived at 6AM already setting up

My girlfriend Linda helping to set up installing the racks to hang the art and keep the tent on the ground...that girl is a trooper to the max!

All set up and the first lookie-loo in place. Notice the hands not anywhere near the wallet parts of the body on the lookie-loo....that's how you spot them.

Here are some local chalk artists doing their things at the show. I've seen some of these people in Pasadena at the big chalk show there sponsered by Stolichnaya Vodka...some great artists at these shows. They submit a drawing of their idea to a committee and if approved will show up to do it in chalk in front of city hall.

Our Friend and photographer, Pat and a friend she shared her booth with. Doing this at shows that allow it save you half the cost of booth space....and allow you to go to the bathroom or get something to eat while leaving your booth still manned.

Anyways....I have nothing against lookie-loos, I'm one of them too. When you are on the other end of the counter though a lookie-loo takes on a whole other dimension.

We spent the day buying lemonade for the ladie in the booth next to us. She was really nice and alone so we did all the drink and hot dog runs for her. We would have done the bathroom thing for her too. This way she could remain on her constant booth vigil supplying Santa Maria residents with their supply of 2006 Christmas ornaments but that was physically impossible so I apologised to her and made her go herself. The oriental necklace vendor dropped a bunch of beads from a broken necklace on the other side of us so I quickly helped him pick them up...other than that he rarely said a word except into his cell phone. On many occasions the afternoon winds sent many Christmas ornaments flying and hanging necklaces going airborne with the tent. Why people setup like they are in some department store oblivious to the wind is beyond me. We live along the coast of the Pacific Ocean and winds in the afternoon are an everyday thing here....I'm just adding this up to why people in other states think Californians are idiots....we often act like it. If it snowed here I have no doubt some vendors would be setting up wearing their shorts and flip-flops and others setting up to sell snow cones or Hawaiin Shave Ice.

Sorry to rant and rave but I'm really not. I'm in no way an expert in showing at fairs with only 3 shows under my belt. There are ways to anchor your tent...cinder blocks, weights, cans filled with cement and tent stakes as well as a lot of other ways. So how do I know?...I go to art shows and look.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Rogue River

This painting is from a recent trip to Grants Pass in Oregon. While there we stopped along the Rogue River at various parts since it runs right through town. This scene was located a few miles East of town at a rest stop. On the far bank was steep cliffs about 15-20 feet high covered in lush vegatation and kept in the shadows most of the morning. The sun had popped through in this one part illuminating a few bushes and I recorded it on film to use later as reference material for the painting you see here. This would have been a great area to do a plein air painting but sadly I'm still not geared up for that.....but I'm working on that.
I love Oregon and could find stuff to paint up there all day long. The road down through Cave Junction heading to California through the Redwoods would keep you painting for a lifetime I imagine. I'm dying to do a painting of the redwoods but I have yet to figure out a good composition that would not look so much like the many I have seen painted already. I'm in the same boat with Morro Rock in Morro Bay, do you paint something that will not look like the millions of other paintings of the same subject.
anyway, here is my painting titled "Rogue River Sunlight"....9"x12", Oil on Gallery Wrap canvas.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Best of the Best

" Cachuma Morning"
12"x16" Oil on Canvas

I say Best of the Best not because I am describing one of my pieces but naming a show I recently entered a piece to be juried into. It is the Best of the Best show in Lompoc, Ca. at the Grossman Gallery. This is a show open to all art guilds in Santa Barbara County. Each Guild is allowed 5 pieces from their members to be juried into the show which then judges the entries during the show.

My piece entered "Cachuma Morning", did not get juried into the show. Which brings me to why I am writing this. Showing your art can be done for various reasons that are all valid. Some want the recognition, some use showing as a way to be a part of being an artist, some show as a way of being actively involved in their immediate artist guild. There are others who show to win awards and some who even show to show up their peers...the "dreggs" of art I call them.

I show to be an active part in the local art scene and to open my art to the people who live around let other artists know I'm here plugging away and yes, for the pat on the back. These are valid reasons for an artist to show.

Although my painting didn't make it into the show it's ok. I've been juried into shows before and won awards with my art so I know I'm doing ok. It is in my opinion, the Judge. Each and every one is different and selects accepted pieces based on their own criteria. I see judges as a "crap shoot". One judge says the piece is too low in value, the next judge says it is too high in value....a crap shoot.

The bottom line is this...if you get into doing the juried shows don't let one judge's decision drive you insane to the point of cutting off your ear. You could very well take that same piece you entered into another show and get juried all depends on the judge. Do good work, do your best in each piece you create and go for it! The camaraderie you find with other showing artists is worth it alone.

Today after picking up my piece three other artists and myself went to eat Mexican food...2 of us didn't make it in but 1 did and we all had a great time! We all know that it could have easily been the other way around., go for it!

Monday, October 02, 2006

3 Pieces juried in at Elverhoj Museum Show....

Me again....I entered 1 pen & ink drawing and 2 oil paintings this morning at the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art, (pronounced Elver-hoy) in Solvang, California. All 3 pieces were juried into the show! Yahoo!!.....the Gods are smiling down upon me!

This show is very cool because it is one I've wanted to get into since hearing about it last year but missing the deadline for it....not this year, I made it! The show is called the "Central Coast Collection" and is composed of artist from The Artist Guild of the Santa Ynez Valley. The juror was Brenda French from the Grossman Gallery in Lompoc, California.

This show to me is one of those local milestones you want to make in your art career because it is in my hometown and in the Elvehoj Museum....a very classy place. The Elverhoy Museum is actually a house donated by the owner that was built in true Danish farmhouse style. It has been converted over to house the museum inside the original home with an added wing for various shows they have throughout the year. This addition makes for a great art show venue with it's high beamed ceiling and gorgeous interior.

Here are the details in case you'd like to go to the Artist Reception or visit the show.....
Location - The Elverhoj Museum of History and Art
1624 Elverhoj Way, Solvang, CA.
Show Starts - Friday November 17, 2006
Artist Reception - Saturday Nov. 18, 2006 4-7 PM
Show Ends - January 21, 2007
Museum Hours are Wed-Thu 1 - 4 PM and Fri-Sat 12 - 4 PM

"Red Roof" 10"x20" Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas

One of the images at the Elverhoj show in November

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I'm going to post this recent painting as a quick work-in-progress, or WIP. This will show anyone a little on how I paint some of my works. I usually start with the sky as it is almost always the furthest back part of the painting. From there I work my way forward. When working forward I tend to lay in my darkest darks first and then work in the mid-values and then the lightest values and highlights last. I call the very last part the "tweaking" part. That's where I adjust colors to pull it all together.

This scene is one of the Santa Maria, California fields. A good part of the produce out of California comes from this region. Seeing workers out in the fields is something I've seen many times and was dying to paint. So here goes......

First, I block in my sky colors...Titanium White with just a slight bit of blue to tone it down for the clouds....some Alizarin Crimson added to other parts of the clouds to tie the sky into the land which will have crimson dirt...and then some white with more Ultramarine Blue to give me some blue skies. This is painted in and slightly blurred together with my brush.

Once this is in place I tehn take my fan brush and blend the entire sky using a cross hatching pattern. This softens the edges of the clouds to blur into the blue of the sky. It also softly blends the pinkish reds into the whites of the clouds to give some soft glow to the clouds. If you lose too much of whatever color in the blending process then just take your initial brush and add some of whatever color you want back to the part of sky you need it in and softly blend again till you get what you want.

You can blend your colors to whatever degree you if you go crazy doing this and do too much blending just scrape off your paint, wipe the canvas down with a little thinner and do it all over again remembering not to get hypnotized by the blending process! haha. The first time you ever do this blending process you'll think you've created the best sky you've ever done.

Here is a detail shot of some of the sky showing the blending result.....

Next we add the background distant trees and the midground trees and house. Notice that I paint around the trees and house when doing the sky. I also didn't paint the area of my distant background. This allows me to paint these in right after finishing the sky instead of waiting a day to do it while the sky dries. I then will add the ridge and will begin laying in the field in the next part......

Here you can see the field pretty much painted in. This was all done with just the 3 primary colors and white...oddly enough, the same colors used in the sky minus the yellow. By doing this mix of just these colors I force myself to learn to mix instead of just adding some other color I have bought and it keeps my painting in uniform in color. I'm at this point in my painting career to stay away from using every color in the rainbow. Just a personal thing. One good thing about this is that I've learned to make many shades of keep my costs down on buying paints.

As you can see I've left the area of parked cars and trucks alone, painting around them, so I can paint them in right after doing the field. This is very important. It is very hard to paint over wet oil paint so do yourself a favor and paint around them.

Next we add in the cars and trucks and the farm workers. The workers are really small dabs of paint so I didn't feel I needed to paint around these areas but if you want to do that go for it. After painting in the figures I went to bed and then checked it in the morning. I decided I wanted more detail there so I added some to the figures....basically, this painting was started and finished on 1 day. That's pretty fast for me at this point in the painting game...most of my work takes 2-3 days to complete. is the final piece all finished up. Hope you like it......

"Santa Maria Fields"

10"X14" Oil on Canvas