Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Whole New Dimension

The entire time I was in Utah I found myself wanting the ability to do panoramic images of some of the views. Instead I come home and crop. Up to this trip I had not ever desired the ability to do wide sweeping photos. I figured those I saw were gimmicks printed and framed were gimmicks. And I know there is a way to do them with a tripod and a sequence of shots married in Photoshop. I just never bothered. I am more an aim and shoot sort of person. Besides I photograph for paintings and up to recently painted in classic proportions.

But that shifted with the commission for the 26 x 62 inch painting. It opened a whole new perspective. At the same time I stretched that canvas I stretched on 14 x 46. I have been pondering an idea for it and found two. No, not the image above. That would make three.

Today I have been working on little "cartoons" in the same proportions per my conversion wheel - 4 1/2 by 14. I have two done and I am in love with both. I just called the art supply store to see when they will have the 14" stretcher bars in stock. Tuesday! So in the mean time I must finish the paintings in the studio and enlarge my cartoons to 14 x 46 inch sketches.

I must thank the patron that requested that first "off-size" painting. It has led me in a direction I find quite exciting.  And yes, there is also probably going to be another red sky.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Art of Giving/The Giving of Art

Every year about this time I ask myself if Pablo Picasso had to put up with the same give me, give me. Now is the time when all the non-profit organizations in town ask for a donation of art for their fundraisers. A starving artist could go completely belly up donating to worthwhile organizations. So some years back I decided to cut back on the giving, and be more selective.

This decision was prompted in part by a volunteer working for an organization I routinely had donated to even though every year they cut back the benefits they gave in relationship to the price of work donated. When I told this volunteer, I didn't think I could afford to give that particular year he said, "Come on, it is not like you are giving money."

Well, it is money. I live off the prices my art brings at a sale and every art piece I give away is that much less money.

The other line they feed you is that it is tax deductible. Well, no. If you bought it and donated it you would be able to deduct the entire price. I, however, can only take off the price of materials which I do anyway on my income tax forms. Once organizations promised exposure and advertising for your donation. Live auctions brought interest and often more than the price you would sell at ergo raising the value of your work. But now it is cheaper to do silent auction. Art magazines have denounced this most favorite form of making money off the art donated. Everyone knows what hideously low price the winner bid and it lowers the value of all the artist's work. A mystery auction where only the winner knows what they paid is much more fair to the creator of a piece of art.

So this year I decided whether or not a piece I donated would go in a mystery auction would be my criteria for donations. The Angel Fire Library fundraiser this year will be part mystery and part live auction so I gave them a work of art. They advertised that I was one of the donors so I also got some nice advertising off it. But it let another Angel Fire group know I was in a giving mood. I have been called by three people requesting I donate a mask for their silent auction since.

Sorry, Charlie. This group with Angel Fire in their name has picked a Taos artist to feature for their poster every year but one. And they don't even know I paint! And they won't even consider a mystery auction! "Well, maybe the board could consider it for next year." Maybe I can consider going to a few concerts next year then.

BTW this is the same group that had the volunteer who told me it wasn't like I was giving money. How about a little volunteer training on asking for donations? I will even donate my time to address the workshop: The art of asking for art.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Great Intentions

I have three paintings to finish and six ready to begin. I got the sketches done and transferred Four more canvases stretched and ready to paint on. Then life happened. I frankly cannot paint amid upset so I spent yesterday while packing to review fair applications and the business aspects of the summer fair season instead.

I signed up for Angel Fire Resort's Summer Fest in August. My jeweler friend, Jessica Duke, is doing that. And I will be submitting an application for Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festivals Holiday Show. I don't do as many fairs as my artist friend, Jennifer Caven, but already my 2010 season looks a bit much for me.
  • Red River Fine Arts and Wine Festival -- June 19 and 20
  • Angel Fire Artsfest -- July 9, 10 and 11
  • Artistic Vistas and Treasures Grand opening weekend -- July 23, 24 and 25
  • Angel Fire Resort Summer Fest -- August 6, 7 and 8
  • Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festivals Holiday show -- Nov 26, 27 and 28
And, of course, I will have the studio open to the public from June through November. And in support of that I have to get rack cards, and post cards made and more business cards ordered. So the question is: Do I have enough art to sell? Right this moment for the June show I would have to say no. I need the paintings already laid out finished. And I need those and eight more framed.

With a month to go before the first show I would say I had enough time to be more prepared especially if I pull some work out of the two galleries I am in. But, as I said in the opening paragraph, life has a way of thwarting our great intentions. So when I read an article recently about "crowding" your paintings into your booth display I stopped to ponder it for a while.

The theory of the writer was that the major mistake fine artists make at fairs is trying to display all their work at once. The crowding of individual pieces lessens the impact of any one piece and "cheapens" the art. This reminded me of my impression of galleries I have recently visited on Santa Fe's Canyon Road: plenty of wall space around each work. The visitor was definitely not overwhelmed by the display but could consider each piece in its turn.

But you have two or three days at a fair to impress your public and make sales. The drive seems to be to display as much of your work as possible in the 10 x 10 foot space. For my first show this year I am going to risk by not doing that. I intend to showcase a few special pieces, like my triptych, on the back wall and two "flaps" that open to the public. I will cluster more small pieces on the side walls, and store replacement pieces behind the booth to replace those sold or to just refresh the booth appearance with new work.

Given that approach I have enough finished pieces of art now unless sales are back to pre-economic crash days. And some early reports from artist friends says they just might be.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Live by Art Alone?

These are the two paintings waiting patiently on my studio table to be finished. Then there are two canvases already stretched awaiting sketches to be done from the couple thousand photos I did on my Canyonlands trip. And four small panels. And yesterday I put together stretcher bars for five more paintings.

It had been my intention upon returning from vacation to hit the ground running as it were and quickly whip out another 10 or so paintings for the summer fairs then set to framing them and the eight awaiting framing. I have only a month to the first fair.

But my friend from Albuquerque, who had been up taking care of the fur kids, stayed to help me put together the apartment to be a vacation rental this summer and fall. That was necessary and it was great to have the help. The two bedroom apartment is now all appointed with furniture and cooking wares, etc. Need to take pictures of it this morning to post on a website.

Dianne left yesterday and I was free to paint and draw and stretch canvas. The above picture is as far as I got. Instead I did some tending of my plant collection in the studio, beaded a necklace and then sat in my easy chair and watched Brideshead Revisited while knitting a cabled shawl.

Oh, that I could live by art alone. I guess I imagine Picasso and VanGogh doing nothing outside the studio but sleeping. But I know this isn't so. Surely Toulouse Lautrec wasted hours in brothels and bars. And the vacation to Utah proved to me I cannot live by photography alone. I found myself itching to sketch or paint or even just knit -- all things I couldn't do because of time and packing constraints. I seem to need multiple areas of creative stimulation.

BTW my cactus orchid and orchid with all the buds did not bloom while I was away as I feared. Looks like both will finally open blossom one today or tomorrow.

Then there will be those to sketch and perhaps paint on those small panels.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Colors in the Canyon Walls

People always ask where I get my colors and ideas for my paintings. My recent trip to the Moab area of the Colorado Plateau has reminded me of the answer. The patterns, colors and images are just everywhere. These are just a few from the Lavender Canyon backroad trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands.

A priest with hands uplifted addressing the multitude.

Kissing baby bird arch

Yeh ba Che dancers on a cliff face

I haven't a clue but I love it.

It is hard to believe that just wind and water and the chemicals in the rocks created this.

Or painted the stripes on this wall
Or this one

Or carved this arch and did the op art design on the walls.