Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Harvest Festival Number Two

I had planned to write this post yesterday, but I had to deliver some work for a show and plus it turned out that even though I thought I had recovered from the physical labor and the hours of chit chatting with tons of people, I wasn't really. I feel much more like myself today, so here we go!

Even though I know it's a bad idea to be finishing up paintings and packing and organizing for an event right up until the very last minute, sadly I still persist in doing it. More than anything I wanted to get enough sleep the night before, but I didn't get to bed until almost midnight on Friday night and then kept waking up because of the RAIN. Just what one wants to hear the night before participating in an outdoor art event. Anyway, I got up at 5am and we got the car loaded (well my son and husband did that part) and arrived in Sharon Springs at 7:30am. It was humid, wet and muddy from the rain, and was looking like it was going to rain any minute. Awesome.

But with crossed fingers, we set up my brand spanking new tent that had just arrived on Friday (I like living on the edge!). Last year I had borrowed one from my friend Karen, but this year SHE was also in the festival (we were hoping to be next to each other but alas we were separated) so I figured I better get my own tent. I didn't begin that process until the Tuesday before the show so it was a miracle that I managed to get a good tent, reasonably priced and delivered to my front door on Friday. All I can say is that I hate Walmart a little bit less now. heh.

Anyway. Set up went smoothly, my son Julien helped me again this year and in a lovely coincidence, I had brought one of the large sheep paintings and the couple in the booth next to me was selling big beautiful hanks on yarn spun from the wool of their own sheep. In fact, I bought some of their yarn at the festival last year. And on the other side of me was a woman selling hand knit hats and scarves, she and her husband were very nice and they also bought one of my little snow paintings. I always enjoy getting to know my neighbors at these things.


Saturday passed in a pleasant blur. I sold 16 of the small format paintings which was really exciting and also totally beats last year's two day total of 14. And even though I consider myself to be a weird mix of somewhat antisocial and overly chatty, I thoroughly enjoyed talking with everyone who stopped by. There were so many interesting people! The weather held up, even though it was overcast most of the day, there was no rain and then the sun did peek out near the end of the day. I was quite glad when the day finally ended though so that I could stagger home and fall into bed at an embarrassingly early hour. My feet were killing me, turns out that muck boots don't really provide much support; my feet STILL hurt from wearing them all day Saturday.


I finally got a decent night's sleep so Sunday started out in a much more relaxing manner. It was a beautiful, warm and sunny day. The first few hours were kind of quiet, then more and more people started coming through. However, I didn't make any sales until well into the afternoon and I admit to getting a bit of a complex about it. I contemplated changing my display around, and it even crossed my mind briefly that I should change careers. Ok, so maybe I was still a bit tired. Finally a few people came by and each bought a few pieces, then there were a couple more sales and my number for Sunday ended up being a very respectable 7. Doug and Ginger came later in the afternoon and I was able to go out and walk around the rest of the festival. I also visited the Mercantile and chatted with Brent for a few minutes.

There were probably twice as many vendors this year, and so the shopping was good! I am not sure how many visitors there were this time, but I think it must have been at least as many as last year, probably more. Also, the mood was somewhat different than last year as there weren't any TV cameras for me to avoid and no Rosie O"Donnell for me to chat with. There may have been some famous people there, but either they didn't stop by my booth or I didn't recognize them, which wouldn't be the first time. heh. Also, I loved the variety of people that attended, it made me feel like I was in a very comfy place between city and country, so many people there were visiting from other areas. The Beekman Boys have really put together a wonderful thing.

So today I am (almost) fully recovered and I have added all the remaining small format paintings onto my sales blog. Except for the sheep. Turns out the sheep were quite popular; I had six small ones and they all sold. But don't worry, I'm no dummy. I will DEFINITELY be painting more!

Sheep Study #339, 5"x3" Oil on Cradled panel

Friday, September 23, 2011

Harvest Festival Time

Crazy busy here all week, preparing to deliver paintings on Monday for a local show of my portraits at the Cooperstown Art Association, and also getting ready for the Beekman Boys Harvest Festival in Sharon Springs. I did the Harvest Festival last year and while normally I don't do these sorts of events, I am happy to be involved with this one as it is a great way to support our local economy, farmers and craftspeople. Unfortunately I might have had temporary amnesia when I signed up again because I forgot how much work it is to do so many small paintings all at once, not to mention when that coincides with a another deadline, a husband on a week long business trip plus kids that have to be driven around and fed. I think I am doing better than last year though, in that this time I was actually finished with the painting part of the paintings two days before the event, rather than one day. heh.

I will be pleased if I get even half of what I have to do, done today. I still have to paint the edges on about 10 of the small paintings put hangers and labels on all 37 of them, edit all the jpegs of them, document everything, finish packing up and load the car tonight. I also have to finish the color at least on one and a half more portraits for the show at the CAA (will have to finish the edges, etc on those on Saturday and Sunday evening after a long day at the festival, blech). But MOST importantly, I have a very much needed hair appointment midday. I plan to avoid the cameras this weekend again, but just in case I better cover up the grey.....

Anyway, I better go, wish me luck and let's hope the rain that is in the forecast for this weekend, takes a sharp left and avoids Sharon Springs!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The One With Wolf Kahn

So I thought I'd dust off this here old blog and tell any of my remaining readers about the exhibit with Wolf Kahn.

I know it's been ages since I wrote about this, so here is a quick description of the building and how the shows are usually organized within it:

"The Smithy is the oldest building in Cooperstown. It has three floors, each with varying kinds of gallery space. The first floor is at street level and is the original part of the building, it's very rustic; stone walls, forges, anvils, and tools remain from its original use as a blacksmith shop. The second floor is where the member group show is held each summer, in addition to a small room that features a solo show each month. I had a solo there in the summer of 2008. And the third floor is a large open space, which usually features one or two artists and often has a particular theme, often historical. This is the space I will be sharing with Nancy Samstein. The member group show and solo show by Michael Whaling will be on the second floor and Wolf Kahn will be showing on the first floor."

You can read my initial post about all this here.

I was a bit worried about showing in such close proximity to an artist who A. I admire, especially for his amazing longevity and productivity and B. my work has so often been compared to, mostly because of the whole brightly colored landscape barn thing, I think. I was worried about looking like a copy cat I guess;)

I decided to work around B. a little bit, by doing some new work which would include humans and farm animals, though not together, which would put me in an entirely different genre. heh. I was also reading the recent biography of Grant Wood at the time and decided it was time to put some figures and barns together and just so you know for sure, yes, I was COMPLETELY thinking about "American Gothic" when I did this painting:

Sunday, 2011, 60"x40" Oil on Panel

And since the one and only sheep painting I have ever done was the very first piece to sell in a show last spring, I decided to do some more sheep, and go larger too. So I did three that were meant to be together always:

Then I did a large red barn just for old time's sake.....

The rest of the paintings in the show were older paintings that I had on hand, ones that have not sold found their people yet. I spent quite a bit of time choosing pieces that worked together and that also looked right with the new paintings. Doug helped me a lot with this since I tend to want to include everything I have ever done and he tends towards sparse.

I had two walls of a HUGE room, the whole third floor actually. The light was a bit funky, there is an unfortunately placed stairway, and a lot of windows. Although I specifically requested the walls with the windows because I wanted to make groupings on the smaller wall sections.

So here are images of the exhibit. You can see a bit of Nancy's work in the last picture.

Now about Wolf Kahn. I learned a few days before the opening reception that he would not be able to attend. I was disappointed but I immediately understood that the bright side was that I wouldn't have to worry about prattling on and on in front of him or doing something dorky, like spray cracker crumbs on his shirt while prattling. Despite missing Doug, (he was out of town) I was very pleased that so many of my friends came to the opening and I had a lovely time chatting with everyone, not to mention getting my ego inflated a bit. The farm couple and the sheep received a LOT of positive feedback, yayy!!

However, the ego part didn't really last long enough for me to become unbearable. A few days later when Doug was back home, we went to take pictures of the exhibit and while we were doing that two guys were looking at the show. They were wandering around the room while we were taking pictures and finally stood in front of "Sunday." One of them said, and I quote: "the only thing that missing from this one is a pitchfork" Cue their hysterical laughter. Then he turned and they both spent about 5 minutes checking out every. single. detail. of the really "well built! nice color! sturdy! and it has a drawer!" table sitting near the stairwell.

Doug and I had a good laugh about it after they left and I am quite glad he got a few pictures of them which will serve as a reminder to me that not everyone loves my paintings. Sob.....

Anyway, Wolf Kahn's work was displayed on the first floor. Danielle (the Smithy's gallery director) was the curator and she did a wonderful job of that. The pieces were all pastels and were priced in the 3-5k range. I think Doug was tempted to buy one, but unfortunately those prices are not in any part whatsoever of our budget lately; our income is at the mercy of the current economy, alas. Maybe I should have suggested a trade? bwahahaahaaaaa!!!!!

So of course, it was wonderful to see his pastels in person, to see the marks, the colors, it all has a random and expressive quality yet the space and structure is so descriptive. Also these pastels were far more subdued that the pieces I have seen in the past, probably due to the changes in his eyesight (he has macular degeneration) and that accounted for just a little bit more of a difference in our work. Phew!

So all in all, this was a very exciting event to participate in, especially since it was actually IN our little town here. I am very grateful to Danielle for thinking about me when she got the yes from Wolf Kahn, and I am also extremely impressed that she was able to get that yes! Not sure yet if anything will come of this show for me, however I do have a pile of cards for the show with both our names on it which is pretty dang awesome and constitutes actual proof that I once had an exhibit with Wolf Kahn.....