Wednesday, October 4, 2006
My Visit to Hudson
Barn in Early Morning, 2006, Oil on Panel, 30x30
After painting seriously for almost a year, I thought it was time that I try to get a show in a gallery. Sounds pretty naive in retrospect, (you know, to just go out and get a gallery, no problem!) but at the time it seemed like the thing to do. By that time I had had two shows, both in local non-profit galleries, one being an arts center and the other a seasonal (summer) gallery, so I knew I'd have to find a gallery outside my immediate area if I ever wanted to actually get a career going. A number of artists whose work I liked had shown or were represented by the Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, NY, so I thought that would be a good place to start. In early September, 2004, I took a day and drove down to Hudson with a batch of my info packets and a few of my paintings in the back seat.
By doing this I was breaking all of the rules in trying to get a gallery. I knew that it wasn't really a good idea to walk into a gallery, talk with the director and give them my info right there on the spot. I totally understand how annoying that must be for galleries. But I couldn't help myself. I wanted to visit the gallery in person, as well as a few others in the area, and since I am a total narcissist I was pretty sure that I would end up talking about myself and the fact that I was looking for opportunities to show my work. I wanted to be prepared in case someone would be so taken with my sparkling personality that they would want to see my work instantly. Uh, right. I visited about four galleries that day, all located on Warren Street which is where all of the cute little shops and galleries are located in Hudson. One gallery was not right for me at all. The next gallery was definitely right for my work. I chatted with the owner for awhile about some of the artists that he was showing and when I mentioned that I was an artist he started to clam up. I left my info with him despite the fact that he was looking at me as if I were something he found on the bottom of his shoe (I emailed him after a few days to follow up and he never responded). I spent quite a bit of time with another gallery director, and he was even interested in seeing my paintings. He said that he would like to visit my studio and would call me to set up a time. While I was pretty encouraged about that, I also didn't think it was the right place for my work either (I was right about that, he never did contact me). The last place I visited was the Carrie Haddad Gallery. Carrie was just opening for the day and was busy with setting things up so I had a chance to look around at the current show. Finally, despite knowing it was a bad idea, I told her that I was a artist, and then I began to really babble and told her the whole freaking story, that I had taken years off to have kids but was painting again and was looking for the chance to show my work, yada, yada, yada. She nodded and smiled and was very nice but I could tell it was really bad to handle it that way. Cursing myself, I handed her my folder and practically ran out the door.
I had a bit more time so I decided to head up to Woodstock, as I had never been there and of course was interested in checking it out. I walked around the main street area, marveling at the whole retro sixties thing and visiting the art galleries. I felt like an idiot about what had happened in Hudson so I kept my mouth shut and just looked at the art. I also decided that day that I loved Woodstock and that that was where we should have moved to. Anyway, on the drive home there was the most amazing light and so I took many photos of the area. Later I did a whole batch of paintings based on those photos and they were the first ones that I did where I finally hit the right color layer combinations after having experimented for nearly a year. You know how there are days that are turning points in your life? Well, this was one of those days for me, though it sure didn't seem like it at the time. Ain't that the way.
How did I end up working with Carrie? I think I'll finish this super fascinating story tomorrow....