Thursday, November 30, 2006
Shadowy Field, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x16
I have a busy day planned today. First, I have to go do my stupid exercise for the day. I have slacked off on regular exercise in this past year, mostly because of my schedule and because it is the first thing to go when I get the slightest bit busy. Or if I have a hangnail. I was also just kind of burned out on it and it was easy to skip days, which turned into weeks and so on. However, it has really caught up with me lately as I am feeling horribly out of shape and my weight has been creeping up. So I have turned over a new leaf and have been managing to work out everyday for the last few weeks. I have been alternating between an hour on my spin bike/upper body weights and a 3 mile walk (with a lot of hills) each day and in a few weeks I'll start going to the gym for more weight training and Pilates and maybe an aerobics class once in awhile. Hopefully the variety will prevent the burnout again. Right.
I also have about five underpaintings that are ready for the color glazes and I really, really need to get going on them. So I am planning to work in the studio until it's time to pick up the kids at their various activities late this afternoon. Doug is in the city today so it's all up to me! Then dinner, chores, bedtime (for the kids), and then I'll spend a few hours knitting and watching a bit of TV. A few years ago I went completely overboard and bought tons of yarn. More than you can a imagine one person could ever own. Boxes and boxes and boxes. I have no explanation other than I wasn't really painting at the time so I had become completely obsessed with knitting and yarns. The textures and colors of the yarns and the process of making things really fulfilled my artistic needs, I suppose. In Utah, I used to knit things, mostly baby sweaters, and sell them but I don't have enough time for that now. Plus, everyone here seems to knit so there isn't much of a market. But I hope to use up all of my yarn in my lifetime so I continue to knit each night and make endless numbers of scarves and hats and sweaters for all of us and for anyone I know who has a baby.
Ok, so this has maybe turned into a real post. Phew! I thought it would be lame. heh.
By the way, the paintings that I have been posting this week are for the show in January at The Harrison Gallery.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Cabins at Sunset, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x16
My sneaky real life friend, Ashley, has started a blog, without telling me! She just casually left a comment on one of my posts, I followed her link and there she was, big as day! I met Ashley about two years ago and we instantly found that we have much in common. She is also an artist, wife and mother. And so whenever we have a chance to visit, which isn't often enough, we quickly discuss what we have been working on as well as compare notes on panels, subject matter, supplies, galleries etc. We have been in a number of local shows together and she had a really great show last year at the local gallery. I bought one of her pieces, she bought one of mine and I am eyeing the Batman piece, which you'll see when you go to check out her blog to welcome her to blogland.
I have been doing underpaintings the last few days. I have about seven pieces finished for the show (pending approval by the gallery director of course, so it could be less!) and so I am really getting back down to business this week. I know I keep saying that but this time I really mean it. heh. I did five 18x24 underpaintings on Monday. Since they weren't dry on Tuesday I was left with little to do, so after I wasted part of the day on the computer I did about six 8x10's. And today I am planning to do several 24x36 sized underpaintings. Normally, I don't do so many all at once, but I am just feeling like I should be starting as many as I can while I have the time and opportunity. On Thursday I should be able to start doing the glazes and I will go back to working in the usual batches of 4-6, leaving the rest to wait their turn. I think I will try to work through this weekend. Well, except for Saturday when our family has about 77 different things to do, such as a birthday parties, swim meets and a pancake breakfast/silent auction fundraiser.
I am going to leave you all with another link. My kids found this computer game and I knew a person with my history (blisters and missed deadlines from too much Tetris) should never play another computer game again, but I couldn't help it. This one is visually so beautiful and my kids are so great at it-how hard could it be? HA. I sat down to play it and fours hours later I thought maybe I should move so as not to get a blood clot in my leg. And my highest score was still much less than half of my son's best score.
So go and have fun, she said wickedly.
PS. I think the wires look like tapeworms. You'll see what I mean.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
A Curve to the Left, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x16
When I started to paint again, I knew that I should get a website. I bought my domain name, tracyhelgeson.com but had no idea about how to go about setting up a website. So I let that sit for awhile. Instead I decided to put my work up at Absolute Arts just so I would have a place on the web to send people to who were interested in seeing what my work looked like. It was easy to navigate, and I felt that most of the work there was of pretty good quality unlike some of the other art sites I had checked out.
I applied for a premiere portfolio, got it (though I suspect that anyone who can pay the fee can get one) and figured out how to upload images. It was really easy to manage even for a computer idiot like me and I was excited to see in my stats that my page got hundreds of hits each day. I could also tell which images were most (and least) viewed and a number of people, including my mother of course, and my aunt and uncle, and a few friends left notes in my message book.
With so many hits, I thought that surely I would sell some work, this was before I had some gallery exposure and so of course I was hoping to sell a few things, but that aspect was very disappointing. I received a lovely note from a woman in Nigeria who wanted six paintings, a dozen Panasonic cordless telephones, didn't care about the cost of shipping and wanted to pay with a cashier's check. Hmmm. Altogether, in two years I received three offers for paintings, all of them were substantially lower than the asking price (which really weren't that high to start with). I accepted two because they were for older pieces, but the last one was just too low and the buyer didn't accept my counter offer. I think there are many artists who sell a lot of work through Absolute Arts, but clearly I am not one of them. This experience helped show me that my work really should be seen in real life and that sales of my work would not be easy via the internet.
The positive things that happened as a result of my page on Absolute Arts was that two of my current galleries found me there. I don't know how, because there is a lot of art to wade through, but Glenn from Salt Meadow Gallery saw my work there and Thomas Deans in Atlanta found me there too. And it really was a great way to easily put up new work, so overall I am glad I did it. I should also add that the people who handle the sales were exceedingly nice and very professional. A big plus in my book.
However, things change and now that my membership is up for renewal, I have decided not to continue. It has gotten too difficult to keep track of what is there and frankly, between my .com site (which badly needs updating) and this blog I can't and don't want to keep up with it anymore. It seemed as if buyers always wanted a big discount and as my prices have gone up it seems more unlikely that I will ever sell anything there. And selling the work myself, even through AA, conflicts with the efforts of the galleries that now represent me.
For some reason the page is still up. They don't seem to be taking my silence to their renewal notices seriously, however I suppose it will close up soon. A good learning experience, one that I don't regret certainly, but one I am glad is over!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Windows, 2006. Oil on Panel, 12x16
We had a very nice, quiet Thanksgiving. The cooking went smoothly, with the exception of the the stupid turkey. Perhaps we were a little late getting it into the oven or perhaps it ALWAYS takes longer than the estimates according to the weight of the turkey suggest. So for whatever reason, we found ourselves eating at 7:30pm, which is dangerously close to my non functional time of the day. Despite that, we had fun and Doug and I enjoyed hearing what the kids are thankful for. Family, friends, our pets, and cheese (my son is kind of quirky) were some of the highlights.
On Saturday I spent some time going through the papers on my desk and came across a list of hits to my blog that result from google searches. I had been keeping track of them because they were so funny. I am sure that finding my blog as a result of some of these searches must have been a real disappointment. With the exception of the ones looking for me of course. heh.
Here are some of my favorites (they are exactly as entered-my comments are in parenthesis):
understanding men crabby (uh, yeah, good luck in figuring that out)
my husband works too many hours
oppressive & censored
seedy bookstore sex (I couldn't figure this one out so I looked it up-it linked to this post where I described artist Nan Goldin's work, thankfully it didn't refer to me because well, my mom reads this)
did hippies wear dreadlocks
boy tights (a result of mentioning that I put my son in tights for Halloween)
how to sew a magician's cape
mod podge (I sang its praises once)
woodstock (of course people are searching for my very favorite place!)
attending Raffi concert on broadway (ok, I am sure that I have NEVER mentioned Raffi, maybe concert made it come up)
A whole slew of hits looking for fellow bloggers and artists that I have mentioned and which are my best shot at getting repeat visits:
francis livingston (a lot of people are looking for him!)
barns Wolf Kahn
And relating to a post about art materials safety, the one where I discussed toxins in my studio:
safe to use turpentine while pregnant
turpentine, oil paint paranoia
toxin of oil, turpentine
oil painting when pregnant
My discussion of a Paul Simon concert last summer still attracts many, many searches for:
paul simon in a turkey suit
saturday night live turkey suit
who wore turkey suit on snl (must be a youngster)
still crazy after all these years turkey
and endless other variations on that particular performance.
But the all time winner of the most mistaken hits to my blog resulted from my posts concerning the death of our hamster. Let me first say that I have been really shocked to learn that there are so many horrible health issues with hamsters. I thought we had it bad just because I had to trim Fluffy's teeth once a month. Sheesh. These poor people.
hamster funeral (I get tons of these)
lump on hamsters chest
odd growth on hamsters back
kids hamsters funerals
open sore hamster mouth
watery eyes hamster
growth on hamsters lip
can hamsters go blind (only if they masturbate, sorry couldn't resist:-))
And the best one, AND most disturbing:
hamsters butt is bleeding will it die (I am guessing yes)
So there you go. Clearly I should be talking more about art and artists instead of prattling on about dead hamsters and Paul Simon if I ever want to increase my return visitor stats.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
View of Field from Route 20, 2006, Oil on Panel. 24x36
Something about having this blog makes me write about the whole history of my life, especially when a holiday rolls around. So here is my lament about Thanksgiving and the truce I have made with it in recent years. And an image of a recent painting that has no connection to any of that whatsoever.
I don't have any specific recollections of Thanksgiving dinners as a kid. I am sure we had a few family dinners at least, but I have a very small extended family and for whatever reason, the past holidays are not very memorable to me. When I was a teen I spent a few years living with a friend of mine and boy, did her family celebrate Thanksgiving! She had a huge family, with many aunts and uncles and cousins. Everyone gathered at her grandmother's tiny little brown house and I bet there were fifty people at every holiday meal, all of the tables were extended and every card table in sight was used. It was all very traditional. The women cooked and cleaned up after, while the men sat, smoked, belched and watched football. And the food! Tons of it-all dripping with animal derived saturated fat! I loved it. But the best part was just hanging around and playing cards and other games before and after the dinner. I was treated as if I belonged to their family, complete with teasing insults and a place at the adult table.
In college I never went home for the holidays, as I usually couldn't afford the travel expenses. So I spent most of those Thanksgivings at Dirty Franks in Philadelphia. The bar was always open on the holidays and it was a wonderful place for all of us lonely pathetic types. I met some of the most interesting people on those nights and the environment was perfect for an artist who thought she needed that lifestyle in order to be a true artist. heh. Those were my melodramatic years.
When I met Doug I thought that that would be my chance to celebrate the holidays with a big loving family, all happy to see each other on Thanksgiving and Christmas and Passover (Doug is Jewish. I am not). Alas, it was not to be. While Doug had a large family when he was a kid and they had great holiday celebrations, by the time I met him the dynamics had completely changed. His family was smaller and had become a bit fractured (it was almost exactly like the movie Avalon, if you have ever seen that). Anyway, I spent several torturous Thanksgiving meals with his dad (who I loved and enjoyed) and evil stepmother and her family. The stepmother filled the day with passive aggressive manipulations and by the end of the day I didn't know if I was coming or going. She also was into plastic surgery and so every time I saw her she looked different, which was really disturbing. The food was also scary. Dry and overcooked (she had a tendency to microwave everything after cooking it in the oven) and unrecognizable. One year we were late because of a bad snowstorm and by the time we had arrived (about 2 hours late), they had already eaten and cleaned up everything. It was like there had never had been a dinner at all. That was the last time we went there, because we moved to Utah soon after and then Doug's father died the next year.
In Utah, the holidays were really really hard at first. We both felt so sad for many years that, for a variety of reasons, we were unable to celebrate Thanksgiving with anyone in either of our families. But we made lots of babies and pretty soon we had our own respectable sized crowd (six!) for a good holiday party. And finally now, I love that Thanksgiving is just our day together. Doug and I quibble every year about what size the turkey should be and where the roaster is and which plate did we use last year for the bread. We cook a very traditional Thanksgiving meal, with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, peas and, rolls and pumpkin pie. I do all of the baking the day before, he does the turkey and potatoes and I make the stuffing. We put a nice tablecloth on the dining room table, use cloth napkins, light the candles and the kids get to drink sparking cider from the good wine glasses. The kids laugh, help, whine, argue, and insult each other at dinner, but no food is thrown on this day, and we all talk about what we are thankful for.
Monday, November 20, 2006
House with Pink Hedge, 2006, Oil on Panel, 6x6
First I'd like to point out how utterly lame I am. Doug and I went to the opening at Anderson-Soule Gallery Friday night and despite the fact that I actually carried my camera in my hand to the event, I completely forgot to take any pictures whatsoever. Sheesh! I specifically intended to take a few shots for the blog, since I have forgotten to do so at almost every other opening I have attended since I started this blog. Doug may also qualify as lame since I had asked him to take pictures and he also forgot about it. We are just magical together. heh.
Anyway, the opening was very nice. We arrived just before 6pm (it had started at 5pm) and there were already a lot of people there and it was downright crowded the rest of the evening. Doug and I spent a lot of time talking with Richard Gombar, the artist who also participated in the other show, Old Barns/New Perspectives. He and I spent some time comparing art notes (one of my favorite things when I talk to other artists) about our little gallery scene, our studios and family life. Turns out that he and Doug have the same dorky sense of humor and so I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes at them. It was interesting to see my work again. It had been two months since I had sent it off to the gallery and so it felt as if I was seeing old friends, a lovely experience and a nice surprise about how good they still look. In fact, as we were approaching the gallery, I could see a painting that looked really interesting and that was the first one I went to look at when we got inside. It turned out to be one of mine and I felt silly about forgetting my old friend! Well, it was that and I probably need a new prescription for my glasses also. A few of the pieces in the show had sold, including one of mine. So that was a nice surprise too.
We stayed in Concord and the next morning, decided to drive to Portsmouth, as neither of us had ever been there. It was so great! We spent all afternoon walking around and visiting all of the little shops and galleries in the downtown area. We came across two galleries that had some interesting work and in fact one of them, Nahcotta, was a gallery that I had submitted my work to a few years ago (got a very polite no) and I was excited to see some work by a few of their artists (MJ Blanchette and Tim Beavis) that I had admired online. The other gallery, Three Graces, had some work by a painter, Brian Chu whose work we really liked. It was kind van Gogh-ish, the paint was very thick and directional but the images seemed more abstract (in person, somehow, they looked more abstract than they do in the reproductions-interesting quality, I'd say!) and the colors were fairly subtle. We came across a hotel within walking distance of all of this and decided to stay another night and so we checked in and then kept on shopping. It was nice to see so much merchandise, in person. I do so much of my shopping online these days, because there are so few stores (it's all baseball tourist crap mostly) where we live and so I really enjoyed this. Doug HATES shopping, some of our biggest arguments have happened in stores-he gets all tense and then I get mad because he is sucking all of the fun out of my very favorite thing (spending money) and then we argue/ignore each other, but this time he held it together really well and we had a great time. We also came across a really great shoe store and we both bought shoes. They can be kind of tricky to buy mail-order so this was pretty exciting to us upstate farm folks to be buying shoes in a real store. Yee-haw!
Despite the fact that there were tons of really good restaurants in Portsmouth, we ended up staying in the hotel for the evening, as neither of us felt like going out again. We ordered a really good pizza from room service and watched Little Miss Sunshine, which I highly recommend, by the way. It was excellent, funny and quirky and painful all at the same time. We drove back home on Sunday and got back in time to enjoy the fabulous dinner that our sitter, Mary Jo and our kids had prepared.
No more post show meltdowns for me anymore. Today I have to get it together and start getting some work finished (I have not been particularly productive the last few weeks)! I also need to take some time each day to get some exercise-which is one of the things I have neglected with my busy schedule this last year and boy, I am I feeling the effects of that! So I am off for a long walk and will then spend the rest of the day painting.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Rock Face, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20
I didn't post yesterday as the kids had a half day of school and I wanted to make some progress in my studio (which I did-I nearly completed a pretty nice 24x36 landscape) in the morning. Sometimes I can still work in the afternoon if they are home, but I had promised them a movie so we went off to see "Flushed Away" as soon as they got home. It was definitely one of the better kid movies that I have had to suffer through, with all kinds of humorous references just for the adults. There was a whole thing about the singer Tom Jones and my kids sure had no idea why it was so funny that the singer had a pair of panties land on his face.
Now that things have calmed down a bit for me, art wise, that is, I have been reevaluating my future goals as well as what I did this last year that was fulfilling, challenging and successful. And what wasn't. I have decided to streamline my gallery representation as I have found myself a bit too scattered in the last six months and even though it all worked out ok, I feel that there were some negative effects on my personal life. While I don't mind giving up a few things temporarily when working to meet a deadline, giving them up nearly constantly is just too much and has given me a nagging, bad and guilty feeling, which I don't care for at all. So I have left two of my galleries, which while I won't specifically discuss here, I will say that I have made the utmost effort to end the relationships on a positive note, and leaving the door open to future opportunities. I struggle with feeling guilty about leaving (I have a tendency to take on guilt about nearly everything that happens, it's one of my little "issues"), however I know I am making the right decision for myself on both a personal and professional level. I have also decided to close my site at Absolute Arts (it is still up, but they keep telling me it will close soon because my membership has expired) which I will talk about in a future post. It is really difficult to make these kinds of decisions, but is an inevitable part of working as an artist.
Friday night is the fifth (and final) gallery reception for me for the month of November. This is the opening for the White Mountain School Revisited show at Anderson-Soule Gallery and Doug and I are driving to NH on Friday and will return on Saturday, or possibly Sunday as our sitter just so happens to be available for the whole weekend.
Concord, NH is not too far from Boston (Yoo-hoo! Jeff Hayes! I am talking to you!) so if you are in the area, stop by.
Two Capital Plaza, North Main Street
Friday, November 17
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Hay Bales with Purple, 2006, Oil on Panel, 18x24
I think now is a good time to tell the story about the very worst show experience I have ever had. It's a good time to tell it because I feel myself getting all overly self confident (which is an unnatural and uncomfortable state of being for me) about having had a pretty good run of shows and sales in the last few months. When I start to feel too confident I usually pull out the rejection letter file and recall the first show that I had after we moved to upstate New York.
Within about six months of starting to paint again, I felt absurdly confident about what I was doing, enough so that I had invited a local art gallery director to my studio (she scheduled me for a show) and sent in an application for a show at a nonprofit arts org in a neighboring town. Each year this org. sends out a call for artists and from that pool of applicants they schedule shows for the upcoming year. Often two or three artists who don't know each other are put into one exhibition based upon their art and how it relates visually or conceptually.
I was accepted and given a two person show with another girl, D. And when I say girl I mean that literally. I was paired up with a girl who had just graduated from high school and was leaving for art college the weekend after the opening was scheduled. Nothing like showing with a young and talented girl to make me feel old and ridiculous. Great. And not only that but the show was scheduled for the same month as the one other show that I had lined up. So I would have to prepare for both at the same time.
As is my tendency I painted many paintings for this show (for both shows actually) and went to deliver them to the arts org. D. had not delivered her work yet and there was some question as to whether she was finished with anything or not. She did manage to bring in five large paintings a day later and so the show was hung.
I had handed out postcards for the show, left stacks of them at area businesses etc. but since we were pretty new to the area I didn't hold out a lot of hope that anybody I knew would be at the opening. And I was right. I knew not one single person at the opening (except for Doug), I had the worst headache ever (I had neglected to wear my mouth guard the previous night and when I am nervous or stressed I clench my jaw at night which gives me major headaches) and when we arrived I found that D's prices were about one quarter of what mine were and that she had already sold two pieces. The opening was fine I guess, a good turnout, although I inadvertently made eye contact with a guy who then followed me around all evening, insisting that my paintings were profound (he was also interested in Doug's work and called him about a hundred times in the following weeks asking him to get involved in various lame projects-he was such a pest and it took months to get rid of him politely), and D's high school friends, looked at me as if I were a parent-yikes-when I hugged D and wished her luck at school. The people that we enjoyed talking to most were D's parents, who were, as I had suspected they would be, exactly my age. Fabulous...
Anyway, during the show I sent various people down there and it turned out that almost none of them had been able to catch the gallery when it was open. Seems that it had very limited hours, like two half days a week. The one friend of mine who was able to be there during those hours stood in an empty gallery for about ten minutes waiting for someone to come and help her. No one ever showed up and she told me that had she been the type she could have cleared the place out. And then about a week before the show was to end I called to find out which day I needed to pick up my work. The gallery director, as usual, was not in and I spoke to the president of of the org. who informed me that they had to sand and stain the wood floor in the gallery that week so a) the gallery would be closed and b) I couldn't get my work until the following week. She was actually rude to me when I asked if I could get my work before they did the sanding. She never once apologized for the situation, had obviously never planned to call me to let me know about the work to be done and to maybe give me the option if getting my work out beforehand. Finally, I went to pick up the work (it all had a good layer of dust on it-clearly no one thought about protecting the art on the walls WHILE THEY WERE SANDING DOWN THE FLOORS) and none of my work had sold. This did not surprise me since the girl who was working in the gallery had her head down on the desk and was sound asleep when I went in to pack up the paintings. It really was the perfect ending to the whole experience.
The next day I made it clear to the gallery director, who had been strangely out of the loop the whole time, that I was not pleased with how the show had been handled. She was very apologetic, and I appreciated that but the woman who had been rude to me never did call me or anything like that. So I have not continued to support the org in any way since then. I have heard that they have alienated many local artists with their disorganization and unprofessional behavior and I now know many artists who refuse to show there at all.
I know that working with a non profit organization can be risky, as they are always short of funds, volunteers and staff, and that the people who ARE there are often burned out and overworked, but since that experience I have shown in several more non profit arts orgs and they have all been absolutely wonderful to work with. So luckily, this was an isolated experience for me as well as the only show (with the exception of a few group shows) where absolutely none of my work sold.
By the way, many of those paintings are definitely cringe-worthy to me now, but several were really nice and I later sold about five or six of them. Our neighbors down the road bought on of the best ones, pictured below. The photo isn't so great but you get the idea.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Vivid Hillside, 2006, Oil on Panel, 6x6
The trip to Concord, NH last Thursday was nice but fairly uneventful. It is a five hour drive and I was a bit concerned because the mapquest directions had about 743 maneuvers, so I was sure that I would get lost or perhaps get into an accident while trying to figure out where to turn next. But the drive went very smoothly. I did however see way too many houses decorated for Christmas. Can I at least finish up the Halloween candy and enjoy Thanksgiving before I have to start stressing about all of that Christmas crap?! The other thing I found out was that my night vision isn't as bad as I had thought. It's just that I need some light to drive by, Heh. I was worried about driving around an unfamiliar city at night but it turns out that other places actually have street lights! Where we live it is pitch black at night, so naturally I was starting to feel as if I couldn't see too well.
The opening was interesting. It was an open house/grand opening for the building that had been renovated and the public was invited. I arrived a bit late so I missed the speeches and ribbon cutting ceremonies, but I had a chance to speak with Trish from Anderson-Soule Gallery, who I don't see too often. I was also able to spend a few minutes talking to one of the other artists, Richard Gombar. I was intrigued by his work and I especially liked this painting of his:
The art, despite being hung in a hallway (not usually my favorite venue, I must admit) looked really nice and I am quite pleased that there will be original art continuously displayed in the lobby area as well as in an attached board room. I would have liked to have seen spotlights on the work, however the ceiling lighting (I suspect the bulbs were daylight type bulbs) did a pretty good job and perhaps more lighting will be installed at a later date. One thing that I did notice was that my paintings were actually pretty nice! I was in such a rush and so burned out when I painted them, that I could hardly remember what they looked like. So it was nice to have a chance to look at them again more closely and see that I really did do a good job with the colors, the texture and the edges. I don't specifically recall doing all of that!
I enjoyed a quiet evening in my hotel room watching tv (uninterrupted!) and having room service, which was maybe the worst meal ever. But someone else prepared it and someone else cleaned up after, so I am not complaining. As I was getting ready to leave the next morning, I was looking through the local paper that had been left outside my door. On the front page of the local section were several photographs of the renovated building and some of the activities there and the photograph of one of my paintings jumped right out at me! My name was included and the color photo looked pretty good so that was a nice ending to my time in Concord.
I took my time getting home, stopping at several places and buying Vermont syrup and cheese and that sort of thing. And when I was near home I stopped at two places that have rows of run down cabins. There was beautiful late afternoon sunlight on them and I took tons of photographs that I will use as reference for some new work. I drive past those cabins all of the time and have always been infatuated with them, but this was the first time that I had the time and energy to stop, not to mention the perfect light and I am excited about getting to work on these images.
However, my eventful weekend was just beginning! As soon as I got home Doug and I went into town to pickup the kids at the gym and then went off to an opening at the local arts org, where I had a few pieces displayed. As I have said before, I don't sell too much of my work locally anymore, but it is always fun to go to these openings and spend some time chatting and socializing with our friends. So we had a good time.
Saturday morning I had to get up at 6am in order to drive an hour and a half to take my daughter to her first swim meet, which turned out to be pretty much an all day affair. She had three races and although I had taken my knitting along, I ended up chatting with the some of the other mothers and walking back and forth between the pool and the cafeteria where everyone was waiting until it was time for their races.
By the time I got home I was SO sick of driving, but I did want to go to an opening in Saratoga Springs (two hours away) if Doug was going to drive us of course. And I thought it would be pretty cool to go to three opening receptions in one weekend. But alas, our sitter had to leave and we couldn't go. So instead I sat down to knit, which I seldom have time for anymore, and promptly fell asleep with two cats on my lap. Heaven!
PS, The opening reception we had hoped to go to, but missed on Saturday night was the opening for Significantly Small #2, a small works show at Gallery 100 in Saratoga Springs. I have 2-4 pieces in the show so if anybody is in the area, go and check it out. Last year's show was excellent and I am sure this year's is as well.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Back of the Barn, 2006, Oil on Panel, 6x6
.....I am feeling pretty full of myself. It hasn't been officially confirmed yet, but according to Carrie Haddad's website (which I have been checking, because we all know that it is a jinx to be calling the gallery to find out if anything has sold yet), this piece has been sold. It is the largest and most expensive piece I have sold yet and naturally I am quite pleased about it.
Tomorrow, however, it will be back to reality because the big plan is to do the underpaintings that I didn't get to last week before I left on my trip to NH (more about the trip on Monday) so I have something to work on this coming week and then clean out the attic which is a horrible mess OR pull out the weeds in the back flower garden if the weather is ok.
But until then I will be walking around the house like I am the best chick artist ever. heh.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Pine Grove Farm, 2006, Oil on Panel, 30x30
I am slowly getting back into the groove of painting. It feels good yet is slightly painful as I maybe would have enjoyed another week or so off. But I am on a very relaxed schedule, with time to have lunch with friends, chat with the guys who are working on our porch, take my 3 mile walk each day, bake cookies and basically sit around a bit more than I usually do.
Today I have to finish up and deliver six small pieces to the Cooperstown Art Association for their annual Holiday Member Show & Sale. My local sales have tapered off a bit (I think most of the people in our small town who like my work have already bought one or more pieces) but I still like to support the local arts if I can. I am also going to do the underpaintings for the show I have coming up in January. If I get a good start now I actually think that I can take some serious time off in December. I will be doing 25 or so medium sized pieces, plus maybe a couple of larger ones, in the 24x36 range. While that might sound like a lot, after the last few months it seems like child's play to me!
I won't be posting tomorrow or Friday, as I am off to Concord, NH. The opening reception for the show that will include the eight barn paintings (including the one above) that I did in September, is on Thursday night and I thought I should attend. I wish Doug could come with me but he has to stay with the kids (now there's a switch, usually usually I am the one at home while he is gallivanting around the country), plus he and I are going there next week for another opening and staying overnight, so for this one I am going by myself. With the exception of the fact that I will probably spend much time standing around awkwardly at the reception, I am looking forward to having a few days by myself, even if I will be driving for much of each day (it's a 5 hour drive each way and I am so grateful to the person who invented satellite radio!).
The show will be at 2 Pillsbury Street in Concord, which is a newly renovated historic office building. The Anderson-Soule Gallery, which represents my work in Concord has opened a second space in the lobby of the building named appropriately, The Gallery. The show is called Old Barns/New Perspectives and the other artists whose work will be featured are Richard Gombar and Heather Stearns. The show will be on display until the end of January. The organizers of the reception chose this image to be on the front of the invitation for the event and so I am very flattered by that. I was also asked to participate in a radio interview on the Thursday afternoon and I pretty much declined that (my schedule IS pretty tight that day, as I am not sure when I will get to town). I know that interviews are very important and I don't mind doing them for print, but radio and TV are pretty far beyond my comfort zone. I think that I will be able to do them at some point, however I am not there yet.
This event is open to the public of course, and so if anybody out there is nearby please come and save me from looking like a pathetic loner at this social event. Oh yeah, and you can check out some art and probably eat some food too.
Monday, November 6, 2006
Path in Front of the Barn, 2006, Oil on Panel, 6x6
Based on the unusually high number of hits to my blog the last few days, I suspect that some of my regular readers are waiting for an update concerning the opening reception on Saturday night. I didn't intend to be coy about it-the reason I didn't post about it was because our satellite was down all day Sunday, which was kind of nice having no contact with the outside world whatsoever. But by Monday morning that wore thin, and since Doug REALLY needs the internet for his work, he spent much of Monday climbing up and down the ladder to the roof in order to get the position right. I don't like for him to do this as I don't think we have enough life insurance on him, but it was a beautiful sunny day with no wind or snow and the repair crew wasn't going to be able to get out here for 5-7 days. So at the end of the day, our reception hit 64 and we have been back to staring at a screen ever since.
I also wanted to thank everyone who left comments and emailed me with words of reassurance and commiseration. It was so thoughtful of you all and helped me feel much better. Thanks!
The opening went pretty well. It was fun, there wasn't a big huge crowd, but clearly everyone knew each other and many people came to see Jane's work, I think. And she did very well, selling several pieces at the opening, including one with a price that made my eyes all buggy-$11,000! That was so awesome! She and I chatted quite a bit, exchanging info about painting techniques, studios and the galleries that we both show at. Unfortunately, the other artists weren't there so I missed out on meeting them.
Carrie was very complimentary about my work and I love that she really appreciates and understands what I do, the palette, the mood, the imagery. As I mentioned though, she didn't care for the large, 48x60 painting and so I was not surprised to see that it had not been hung (Doug and I took it home and it is safely tucked away in our office for the time being). One small piece had sold before we got there and one larger piece, 24x36, sold at the opening to a very nice woman who said it reminded her of a view that she remembered from her childhood. That is what I like to hear! She and her friend were really looking forward to having it in their home. And since Saturday, I believe one more piece has sold, although, as you all know I won't be checking in to find out, because of the jinx factor. Oh, and Carrie told me that several people stopped in on Thursday and Friday specifically to see my work. I think one of them might have been a blog reader who had emailed me to get the details about the show. So hearing about that kind of stuff is really good for the old ego.
But now it is time to put the show, the compliments and the attention aside and gear up for the next show. I have had a very easy week, a pretty good post-show meltdown and now I must start again. I will be preparing panels tomorrow for the first batch of paintings intended for a show in January at The Harrison Gallery.
Gotta keep plugging away.
Saturday, November 4, 2006
Pink Barn with X's, 2006, Oil on Panel, 6x6
All last week, I was feeling confident about the work that I took to the gallery for the show and in fact just kind of floated through the last few days not thinking about any of it very much at all. I worked on several small, 6 inch square paintings for a small works show, cleaned up the house, caught up on the yard work a bit, did some baking and made a nice lunch yesterday for the guys who are working on our porch. Basically I took it easy and didn't do too much in the studio, kind of forgetting about it all for awhile.
But then last night I looked on the gallery's website and they had posted some photos of the show, including a shot of my section. It looks as if they had decided NOT to hang the 48x60 barn painting (I had suspected they might not-when I dropped it off they weren't too keen on it) AND I can see that at least one piece from a previous show was hung along with the new work. This set off all my anxieties, and I woke up convinced that my newer work sucks and that it was a struggle for the gallery just to find anything good to hang. And Jane's work looks amazing-her paintings are huge and beautiful and I am totally envious, but in a good way really, because I am very happy and proud for her, that she is so successful. It's just that I want that too, and today I am feeling very impatient about about getting there.
I think it helps me a bit ultimately (it's kind of that jinx thing-too much confidence is a jinx in my book) to have all of these doubts and worries, but in the meantime, I am kind of freaking out. I AM disappointed that they didn't like the big piece (mostly because now I have to figure out what the heck to do with it), and while I know and understand that everyone has different opinions (obviously, because otherwise I would be way more successful, we all would be) about what they like, part of me always hopes that everyone will love every painting that I do.
I know that this is all part of the post-show meltdown. The opening will be fine, I will meet cool people and maybe sell a few pieces. It'll be fine. I just need to have a good half day of insecurity, embarrassment and yucky feelings of disappointment in order to enjoy the fun part.
Thursday, November 2, 2006
Pink Patch, 206, Oil on Panel. 16x20
James at jrmedia asked me an interesting question in response to yesterday's post. He said:
I'm wondering, when you send your work to a gallery, do you ever 'suggest' how the pieces will hang - or is that just not the done thing?
I started to write a response and as usual it became rather long-winded so I thought I'd make a post of it. That way I can really prattle on and on.
Most of the galleries that I have worked with do a beautiful job of hanging their shows. So I have felt very comfortable in leaving my work and returning to find a nicely displayed exhibition. Doug and I have hung several of my shows at a few different art associations, so we know what's involved and that it does take a good eye and a bit of flair. I have a tendency to include too much work (editing my own work is not one of my talents) so I prefer to let the gallery take care of that as well as to group the paintings according to how they interpret them. Which is usually different than how I would. Which is good.
So at this point, I have never made any suggestions as to how they should hang my work. I suppose I might at some point, although right now I can't imagine doing that. I did come close this time, however, to making a suggestion. I made two large pieces specifically for the two spots in the gallery that will accommodate them, the director and I had discussed that ahead of time and she gave me the wall measurements. So when I dropped the paintings off, I mentioned that the two large pieces were meant for those spots, however if they felt that the work would be better suited somewhere else I was fine with that. Whatever they decide there will be no hissy fits on my part.
I certainly have had my share of bad experiences though. Mostly with art organizations whose livelihood doesn't necessarily depend on sales from their shows. I was in a show at an arts org a while ago and they did a terrible job of hanging the work, everything was either too low or too high and the groupings had no balance. They only sold about three pieces from the entire show and I feel certain that that number would have been higher if it had been hung better. There's a local organization that I participate in each year and I always offer to hang my pieces because they seem to have some difficulty with it, things are crooked and the nail holes and scuffs aren't always cleaned up properly. Last time, one of the two lights directed at my paintings had a burned out bulb at the opening, which was annoying. I did complain about that as I think that it really affected how my work looked at the opening. Burned out bulbs, especially at the opening receptions, are one of my pet peeves in a gallery and when I see that, it really bothers me. I was in a group show once where there were maybe 5 bulbs out. I didn't complain but it has affected my decisions about participating in future shows there.
That was a very long answer to a short question, which you all should expect from me by now. heh. To answer the other part about whether it is "the done thing", I don't know. And I would love to know. Perhaps some artists make suggestions, those who are more assertive than I am, and I imagine that more prominent artists would have some control over that if they wanted it, that is.
So tell us if you make suggestions about hanging a show or if you have heard of others doing so.
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Pink Hills, 2006, Oil on Panel, 36x48
The show at Carrie Haddad Gallery is in the process of being hung this week. I look forward to seeing how Carrie and Melissa, the director, choose to organize my paintings. I always love to see how others interpret a grouping of my work and how it differs from what I would do.
While this is not a solo show, it's not your typical group show either. The work by the artists will be hung in separate areas so there will be some definition between each body of work. The other artists included here are painters Jane Bloodgood-Abrams, Barbara Mink, and sculptor Gregory Smith. Along with me and the female owned gallery this qualifies as a very high ratio of art and organization by women. (Edna: take note!)
Jane and I are represented by several of the same galleries in the area and we have had occasional contact by email. We have not crossed paths in real life however, so I am looking forward to meeting her and I hope we have a few minutes to chat. I suspect we may not though, her work is very popular in the Hudson area and I think many people will come to see her and her beautiful, luminous, paintings. I am honored to be included in the same show as Jane and also hope I will get a bit of her overflow!
Barbara Mink is a painter from Ithaca. Arthur at the The Thinking Eye wrote about her work here. While I don't know her and have not seen her work in person, Barbara's work looks to be fairly abstract, full of energy, color and texture. I also look forward to meeting her and seeing her work in person which is always so much more interesting as we all know.
Gregory Smith is a sculptor who lives in Vermont. I am not familiar with him, but after reading about his work here I am very intrigued. This will be a good chance for me to learn more about an area of art that I often look past, not to be dismissive certainly, but in order to focus on painting or drawing, which is what I tend to relate to a bit more.
I think Carrie and Melissa, as usual, have put together a very interesting combination of art and artists.
The opening is on Saturday, November 4 from 6-8pm. Please come by if you are in the area. And just to remind you all of how trivial I am, I will be spending the next few days trying to decide which variation on black I will be wearing.