Monday, August 23, 2010


Entry way into the show. This doorway thing is actually there all of the time. Worked for us though.
I'm really out of shape when it comes to spending a day doing a outdoor show. The show was yesterday and I was dead when I got home. What's worse is I woke up feeling as if I had a hangover and I didn't drink a beer all day. My problem was I only slept 3 hours the night before the show getting ready. Nerves and last minute changes I guess....well, mostly changes. As for the show well, they don't go over well in a bad economy. We did a heroic effort at putting on the show...lots of planning and losts of work. It looked great and came off very smoothly considering this was the first effort of a show by this group here in Los Olivos. I've been to worse shows that had been going on for years. This one was first rate. The problem was that buyers were in short supply. People spending $20 or $30 for jewelry or small crafty items but barely any on paintings. We had groups of artists in 4 locations throughout the town. In our group only 3 small paintings the group across the street only 1 sold. I don't know about the others but I've heard it wasn't any better. I managed to only sell a couple of books. Ho hum and ---- this economy. Sorry but it's starting to piss me off.
There is always good news and that is we had awesome compliments on my work. We had a hugh number of "lookers'' walk through our canopy and lots of great comments. We had a lady show up who came to see my work and she drove all the way from Palm Desert! That's half way across California. She saw my work online and told me she had to see it in person and she loved it. That was very cool. She bought a book and said she would go see more of my work at the gallery. I love people like that.
I suppose I could be more mad at no art sales but honestly I know I'm doing my best work to date and this economy is killing everyone around here. We made a very good presentation in the booth and I'm always good with the visitors. Come November maybe things will get better....VOTE!
Here are some pics of the day.....

My canopy , above and below, which looked pretty good out there.

As you can see the whole event looked good and there was some outstanding art there. This was Jim Woodark and Richard Rice's setups. Killer work from both artists.
This potter set up next to me and she sold about 7 or 8 pieces by the end of the day. I think her mugs were about $20. Very cool work. She does shows about once a week and told me this summer has been very good for maybe pottery classes are in my future....or jewelry making. Actually those 2 types of items always sell at fairs.

The tire planters were interesting but I think they went home with a big zero too. Nice couple and you had to give them an "A" for effort. I'd have given everyone that same A because all of the artists had good looking work...well, except for one guy. He was juried in with some female portraits but showed up with total nudes that looked as if they were posed by girls out of playboy...too funny. I should have gotten pics of that but I'm sure Linda would have kicked my butt if she saw me with the camera heading over to his booth.

There were many types of art...probably too many. I wasn't crazy about the artists being split up over the town and there were a lot of distractions. We had a paint-out down in the center of town, some things going on in other parts of town, bands, pay areas setup...things I don't normally see at shows. I've sold more at smaller shows but that was when we had an economy to speak of. This was in August too... you know, hot August, so it was a bit too warm for a lot of people. Still everyone gave it their best shot. Win some, lose some. Outdoor shows are like shooting craps no matter what the situation is like, sometimes you sell and sometimes you just go home tired.

Now that this show is over I have a renewed urgency to paint new work for the upcoming Studio Tour in November. I also have a show in October but that is a low keyed show where I don't need to be there. I'm itching to do some new work to replace old ones I've looked at too long over the year. New ideas and you know what the wiseman says...when sales are slow paint your butt off because you'll need a backlog of work when it picks up. Zoom!


Mick Carney said...

So sorry that you didn't enjoy the sales that your work deserves. Interesting post as I'm almost persuaded to put up some of my work at a fair in November. You bring the reality of the current climate to life so I certainly won't be expecting anything if I do show my pictures at the fair.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Mick,
From what I hear from other artists it isn't as bad back east here in the US so maybe over there where you are it isn't as bad.
California is all screwed up. We've run out business, provide for too much social services and our State government thinks just like the current Federal government...spend all you want, just raise taxes to pay for it and if taxes can't pay for it all...just spend more.

I'm sure you will do better over there Mick. We've got a socialist running things over here and he's persuaded the current Congress to go along with his dopey agenda. I should have been selling tshirts that said "Don't Tax Me Bro" because higher taxes are next.

Hang in there.....

Marian Fortunati said...

Beautiful set up and, of course, paintings, Ron.

You never know what will come of an event like this. People pick up your card and contact you later... sometimes they'll remember your name and work and when they see it elsewhere... WHAM!!! a new client!!!

Of course we would all like instant gratification, but good for you for getting out there and for making yourself proud to promote your best work!!!

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Marian,
Exactly...we have made some great contacts doing these art shows. I've been offered the chance to paint on some pretty big ranches out here as a result of people who have stopped by. I've also had people show up on the studio tour who wanted to see more work. I know there is another side to showing work out there and we have fun...get really tired but we still have fun.

We had some past customers stop by to say hi and see something new before the studio tour comes around so it's always nice to see them.
Thanks Marian.

cbmosaics said...

What a great setup, I wish I could've seen it in person! I like how you have different sized paintings to fit different budgets. I'd love to see the small ones up close. Where's the show in Oct and Nov? I hope to make one of them. Sorry no sales, but you sure put out a professional looking booth with beautiful work!! And I know you entertained those who stopped by. :)

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Christine,
Yeah, we really felt the small ones would have been snagged up since they cost so little. They got a lot of attention all day long too. Go figure, haha.

The show in October is down at Galerie Gabrie in Pasadena and will run all month long. I'm going to be busy now with getting ready for the Studio Tour here in October. Hope you can make it by for that.

Thanks Christine!

Gina Brown said...

I love reading your blog, Ron... so refreshingly honest. Your work is gorgeous and I feel that eventually your hard work ethic will pay off!

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Gina,
I am honest to a kidding....that isn't always a good thing either, hahaha.

Thanks for the comments Gina. Hard work comes easy...except when it's hot! I hope anything pays off at this point, haha.

Jim Serrett said...

Hi Ron.
What a great set up, and very professional. The lack of sales was certainly not due to your effort or the quality of your work. From my experience the items that sell at art fairs are craft items priced for fewer than fifty bucks. I am actually impressed that there was really “Art” at this art fair.
Overall good PR for you, and like others I would have liked to been there just to see your work in the real.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Jim,
You bring up a good point. Most sales are smaller priced items. When I first started doing these shows my work sold for much less so Linda and I have had a lot of discussions as to doing any more shows like this.

When we first got involved with it the show was to be an art show but it morphed into a more art and craft show which we had decided a long time ago not to do. My mistake there was not dropping out of it when we realised what was happening. I hate backing out of anything but I really should have at the time.

I still think the economy played a big part in low sales and attendance. There were a good many artists participating that I am friends with so it was at least fun to see everyone.
Thanks Jim!

Anonymous said...

Ron, Your booth looks wonderful by the way.

I’ve done three shows recently, all different with different booth rents and different types of cliental…. and NOTHING MUCH is s telling across the board. Not just for me either, but for many of the vendors.
Only things that seem to be selling at the moment are useable things like (you’ve guessed) pottery vessels, cheap and cheerful hand sewn cushions (I mean really cheap) and beaded jewellery. Same in the shop here as well, although I have been selling quite a few unframed, matted original watercolors…but have priced them for market conditions.
One good thing came out of a particularly bad recent show where it rained all day long…I made some new contacts for my watercolor classes, and as I was painting small watercolors in my show booth…lots of folk wanted to watch. .......Now if I had been giving fifteen minuet quickie lessons…. I may have made some money!!!
It’s so soul destroying when we put so much effort and months of painting into preparing a show…but unfortunately it’s part of the rotten economy at the moment that no one is wanting to buy good quality original art at these types of venues. Yes, England is just as bad as the US a the moment , I fear. Mind you, even my old gallery buddies in Key West, Florida have told me recently about several galleries closing down…and I know that they are not making it hand over fist like they used to with the tourist market down there.

We need as you said, to keep painting, keep optimistic and most of all love what we do…creating art.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Maggie,
So good to hear from you. I miss your Blog but understand the need to head into a new direction too.
Sorry to hear your economy is just a bad. Your shows sound much like the ones here. Had it not been so hot and I had the room in the truck to haul my painting gear I would have painted in case it was slow. That is always something to do to kill time or get someone into the booth, haha.

I met an artist who used to make a killing back in the 70's when modern art was doing well in LA. She showed at Moma in LA as well as galleries in NY, Chicago, San Fransico etc. When I met her those days were long gone and she had art just leaning against her wall s in her home...even a painting slid between the wall and her washing machine! She told me to always remember art was cyclical...always an up and down road so hang in there when it's down....and it's there right now for both of us and a million other artists. Your work is wonderful so do your best to keep your hand in art Maggie.

Great to hear from you!

Galleries out here are having a heck of a time just keeping the doors open. It's a shame and a test for all.