Goodness in Threes

[singlepic id=167 w=460 h=320 float=] A crazy good week just happened, and here's why.

First and second, I have been accepted to two great art fairs: one " old" favorite and one new to me. Art in the High Desert (Bend, Oregon) invited me to bring my pastels and oils for the third year in a row. This is an amazing, exclusive, high-quality show and I am thrilled to once again take part. Then I found out my pastels and oils and I would travel to Salem, Oregon for the Salem Art Fair and Festival for the first time this July. The new director received rave reviews for her transformation of this show to a top-notch, artist friendly venue. The list of 2011 artists boasts names you might see at shows like Cherry Creek and Sausalito. I can't wait! (Check out my summer schedule to date on my Art Fairs 2011 page here.)

Third, and very exciting for me, I received a major commission from Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington. Honestly, it has been so long since I submitted work for this project, I had completely forgotten about it! Then out of the blue appeared an email saying I made the final round. A week ago today came the good news: Providence wants a large-scale oil painting (3' x 4') based on my earlier oil, Ascension, pictured above. I'm already well into it---the painting ships in early May, rolled, no less! Fast turnaround for an oil painting, especially one that needs to be dry, but I'll make it.

Not too shabby for one Thursday-to-Thursday week. I remember saying not too long ago that I could really use some good news. Well, there you have it.

Villafranca

[singlepic id=360 w=320 h=460 float=left] Between the Pastel 100 coming out and my acceptance to Art on the Square, I thought I probably had better get my butt over to the pastel side of the studio for a bit. I'd been having too much fun painting in oils, and was getting into a pretty nice groove there. But no matter how many hundred pastels I might have on hand, the first early shows going onto my schedule always seem to induce unnecessary and unreasonable panic.

So I rolled with it and made a few small pastel pieces first, then Villafranca, left, which I named after an obscure species of lemon. The piece looked... well... lemony, and sort of Mediterranean, and the name seemed to capture both aspects. I wasn't even through with it before I was back on the oil side, though---seized with panic yet again as I realized I may have oil shows while most of my oil work is hanging in the Kress gallery.

The drama never ceases.

Pastel Journal's Pastel 100 2010

[singlepic id=198 w=320 h=460 float=left] Apparently, the Pastel Journal's Pastel 100 issue is out, and I'm happy to report that my pastel, Horizon Study (left), received an honorable mention in the contest. The Pastel Journal is an internationally-read magazine dedicated to the pastel medium. Their extremely popular annual contest gives awards to the top 100 pastels submitted. The awards are divided into five top prizes, then split into five different subject categories, within which there are first, second and third place awards, and honorable mentions. My honorable mention is in the Still Life and Floral category. The other categories include landscape, portrait, animal/wildlife, and abtract/non-objective.

The nice thing about this contest is that you can submit any piece done within the past few years---even if it is sold. Which reminds me: Lorraine, if you are reading this, I'll send you a copy!

Art on the Square

More good news! I've added a new show for 2010: Art on the Square in Belleville, Illinois. This show has been ranked #1 in the country by the Art Fair Sourcebook (the art fair artists' version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). It's going to be a long trip, but I am so excited to do my first-ever midwest show. By the way, I only got juried in with pastels. The competition to get into this tiny but excellent show is tough!

Solstice!

[singlepic id=333 w=460 h=240 float=] Today is Solstice, and it feels like time for new beginnings. Of course there are a few holidays ahead, but shortly, hopefully, I can get back into the groove and do some serious painting.

The past few months have been like those dreams where I run and get nowhere... with so many shows and so much to do, there was always something standing between me and the studio.  Right after the Sausalito show, the flu took me out until the Little Spokane studio tour. October was spent planning and sketching for upcoming shows, and starting to build up some creative momentum--just in time for jury duty in November, Thanksgiving week and the regular interruptions that are part of the holiday season.

So once again, I'm looking forward to January. My first big project will be Las Lunas, the large three-panel oil mentioned in the previous post (the pastel study is shown above). Some major rearranging of my tiny back-room studio was required to even fit the three 3' x 3' canvases, but it will have to work for now.

Something hopefully good has come of this sometimes frustrating few months: between the challenges of maintaining my schedule working at an in-home studio, and my desire to begin painting more large format pieces, I've decided it's time to start looking for an off-site studio. More about that in the next few months, I hope. In the meantime, happy Solstice!

More Lunacy

[singlepic id=332 w=320 h=420 float=left] Now that the small works shows are all on, it's time to get serious about making some big pieces. I've got two more gallery shows and a lot of wall space to fill and basically less than two months to paint. Today I finished Blue Suspension No.5 (left) which I started last week. Now I am working on a pastel study for what I hope will be a major triptych in oil---three 3'x3' panels---if the pastel turns out as planned.

The idea for the triptych is to be leaves arranged to resemble a group of luna moths in flight. I'm hoping it works out well, especially since a collection of coincidences are making me think I have some strange connection to these moths. It started when I did a similar small work last week or so. As I finished and was trying to name it, I decided it might look like a luna moth. I liked the name "luna," anyway.  But I actually didn't have any idea what a luna moth looked like. Hoping the name would work out, I Googled luna moths and found that, luckily, they looked very much like what I had painted.

I liked the small painting, but decided it might have more impact with more "moths," and planned to use the idea in the big three-panel format I had been wanting to try. With all the panels combined, it will be the largest oil painting I have done to date, so of course I've been feeling a little nervous about diving into the project. (My friend Neicy and I were just discussing how with each new painting, we sometimes suddenly feel as if we will have forgotten how to paint!) Anyway, on a holiday shopping trip downtown this weekend, I walked into Atticus, an awesome local gift/coffee shop, and the first thing I saw was this big, sparkly luna moth ornament. Given that a week before I would have had no idea what it was, I thought that was a pretty cool find. So I spent a whopping four dollars and took it home for inspiration.

Here's hoping my new lucky moth gets me through the next few months with a ton of good work for my next two shows!

Dahlias!

[singlepic id=301 w=460 h=340 float=] Getting back into the studio after a long absence can be a challenge. It's not easy to slow down after summer's mile-a-minute pace, to set aside until spring little booth projects devised during long drives, and just paint. One thing that can really help out in the motivation department is a new batch of reference photos. Lucky for me, I found the dahlias.

Not that dahlias are easy to miss. But if you're as much a creature of habit as I am, it can apparently be done for several consecutive years. Nearly all of my reference comes from visits to the Manito Park perennial garden. Occasionally I'll venture into the greenhouse, but that's just above the aforementioned garden, and together those areas make up a very small percentage of a very large park. This year I determined to expand my horizons a bit.

Having enjoyed my recent work with daisies from the greenhouse, I thought I'd try working with something similar. I expanded my route through the park in search of zinnias. I found a few, but they didn't inspire. So I kept walking. Then, as I crested Rose Hill, I spotted them---a bed of giant dahlias, most of them taller than me, in every imaginable color. Blooms the size of my head were just at that heavy, twisty decline phase that I love. Did I really "SQUEEEEE!" out loud? Probably.

Seven hundred and sixteen dahlia photos later, here's Medusa Study, my first dahlia pastel. I expect it will become an oil painting soon. I also expect to have several hundred more dahlia photos before the frost finishes them for another year.

A Change of Season

[singlepic id=258 w=460 h=340 float=] Today is my first day home from Sausalito, my last art fair of the season. I can't quite wrap my mind around the fact that summer is almost gone. Although the weather is still beautiful, it was cold when we walked into our house last night, which seemed telling. At the moment I am debating whether to go get a hoodie, as the chill has lingered. Maybe this is for the best. Maybe it will help me transition into the studio season. But the fair season has been so fantastic that it is not easy to let go.

Fantastic comes in a lot of different forms. Of course we all hope our shows will be fantastic in terms of sales. In some places, this was true. But in other areas, the economy definitely seemed to be taking its toll. All in all, I was lucky enough to have a pretty much profitable season thanks to a few shows where the patrons really came through for us. To all of you who purchased art this year, thank you. It means everything to artists.

This year was also fantastic for me in terms of recognition from show juries. I won three awards this season: the President's Award at the Edmonds Arts Festival, a Benchmark Award from Art in the High Desert (Bend, Oregon), and First Place in the Drawing Category from the Sausalito Art Festival. All awards include an invitation to exhibit at the following year's festival, so I will happily return to all three shows in 2010.

One more aspect of the show season I will miss is the fantastic camaraderie that goes with the show circuit. Every summer brings an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, and I did more than my share of both this year. Over the past few seasons the shows have evolved from odd places filled with strangers to familiar haunts full of friends. With each passing year it takes longer to walk from one end of a show to the other as I stop to chat at more and more booths. And in the towns, annual traditions take root, such as shopping at Burnsies in Ketchum, eating at the Lotus in San Rafael (we ate there so often the restaurant bought our dinner on our last night in town!), and now lunch from Cafe Yumm in Bend.

Thankfully, there is still a little bit of summer left to savor. I have one more outdoor event ahead: the Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour. It promises to once again be a beautiful event and a great way to wind down the season. Much more info to come, so stay tuned.

Sausalito Art Festival 2009

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This weekend is the Sausalito Art Festival at long last. It's hard to believe the festival season is almost over. But after my one day at home after Art in the High Desert, I am packing to leave for California tomorrow. I'll be showing oils for the first time in Sausalito this year, including Serenity, above. Serenity is my most recent oil painting (save one), and was just varnished today for its first showing on Friday. In addition to Serenity, I will have lots of new work in both oil and pastel in my first double booth at Sausalito. For those that have seen me at Sausalito in the past, I will still be on the tennis courts in the farthest aisle from the show entrance. I hope to see many new and returning collectors there!

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Sausalito Art Festival

When: September 4 – 7, 2009

Where: Marinship Park, 2400 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA

Hours: Friday (Opening Gala), 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., Saturday – Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m, Monday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

What I’m bringing: Pastels and Oils

Booth #416 (on the tennis courts, farthest row from the main entrance)

Art in the High Desert: August 28 - 30

[singlepic id=292 w=320 h=380 float=left] This weekend I am heading to Art in the High Desert. I am very happy to be doing this show. It is only in its second year, but I have already heard wonderful things about the jury and the quality of artwork selected. Also, I know some of the artist-organizers and expect great things. As I think I mentioned here before, I missed the jury deadline for the inaugural year of the show. I had heard the show was coming, but didn't know what the name of the show would be or its jury deadline, so I missed it when it appeared on the jury submission website. As a result I am particularly thankful to be included this year, especially since it is such a small, high-quality event.

I will be bringing some new artwork, not including Shoji Study, pictured at left. I made Shoji Study last week in anticipation of the next round of shows, and sold it at Arbor Crest last weekend (thanks, Arbor Crest, for a pleasant and profitable show, and thank you to my new collectors). But I am spending the few days I have before I leave for Bend creating a few more red hydrangea pieces, so if you liked Shoji Study, don't despair.

I hope to see some of you in the High Desert this weekend!

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Art in the High Desert

When: August 28 – 30, 2009

Where: The Shops at the Old Mill, 661 Powerhouse Drive, Bend, OR

Hours: Friday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m, Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

What I’m bringing: Pastels and Oils

Booth #10-11

Art and Glass Fest at Arbor Crest

[singlepic id=291 w=320 h=390 float=left]This Saturday and Sunday, August 22nd and 23rd, Arbor Crest Winery will hold its annual Art and Glass Fest. The show runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days. This is a seriously fun event with lots of original art and crafts, live music, food, wine and a beautiful hilltop setting with a spectacular view of the Spokane Valley and the river. Come see me and some new paintings in pastel and oil, including one of my newest small pastels, Magnolias Study, left.

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Art & Glass Fest at Arbor Crest

When: August 22-23, 2009

Where: Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, 4705 N Fruit Hill Rd, Spokane, WA

Hours: Saturday – Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

What I’m bringing: Pastels and Oils

In Between Days

[singlepic id=289 w=320 h=460 float=left] Where has the summer gone? My friend Amy just reminded me she will start teaching again in two weeks. I am already most of the way through my show schedule. Summer has become my favorite season, but it disappears so quickly---divided among show days, travel days and in-between days. I'm taking advantage of a few of the latter at the moment, gearing up for Arbor Crest,  Bend and Sausalito with some painting. I took my new "daisy" pastels with me to Bellevue a few weeks ago, and was somewhat shocked when I sold out of them. So, my priority for the next weeks is to paint a few more for my remaining shows.

Before getting back to the studio, I had the idea to turn one of my horizontal daisy sketches on its end and make some adjustments to create a new composition. I don't have a lot of time to paint, and planning my designs can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of the process. So I worked on that for quite a while, and even made a small sketch. I liked it, but in the end it wasn't quite as inspired as I would have preferred to take to a large size. I tried tweaking the sketch some more, but eventually set it aside and started fresh. And within a very short time, I had worked out my idea for Golden Ascent, left.

This isn't the first time I've chucked an idea and started a new sketch, when I really just wanted to get into the studio and paint. Now that I think about it, some of my favorite and perhaps strongest work has come out of similar situations. I think my tendency when clearing the slate is to go simpler in my designs. While Golden Ascent isn't simple in every respect, the overall concept of the winged shape is. This is especially intriguing to me at this moment, because on a whim last week I purchased and read the book, "In Pursuit of Elegance" by Matthew May.  I don't want to give too much away, because it is a fascinating read and I highly recommend it. But in essence it is about editing, leaving out, clearing the mind of the urge to solve problems by adding. My latest pastel drove the point home nicely.

For a few more examples of my favorite simplified designs, go here.

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Sun Valley Center Arts and Crafts Festival

[singlepic id=130 w=460 h=420 float=left] This upcoming weekend is the Sun Valley art festival and I am so happy to be on my way there. Sun Valley is always a great show for me in so many ways. The collectors are wonderful, the show staff is extremely organized and helpful, and we always see several artist friends. Not to mention KB's, my favorite burrito place away from home. Their tofu soft taco with miso sauce is amazing. I'm getting hungry already.

This year I'm bringing oil paintings, including Red Skies, left, to SV. I've only shown pastels there in the past so I'm excited to be showing a new medium. And, of course, I'll have plenty of new pastel work too. If you are planning to be at the show and want to see a particular piece of art, please contact me by Tuesday. I may already have the work with me, but if not I just might be able to talk Paul into bringing it when he meets me there.

 

The details:

Sun Valley Center Arts and Crafts Festival

When: August 7 – 9, 2009

Where: Atkinson Park, 900 3rd Ave., Ketchum, ID

Hours: Friday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m

What I’m bringing: Pastels and Oils

Booth #G8-G9 

Out of the Studio and on to the Road

[singlepic id=286 w=460 h=400 float=] After a very enjoyable week in the studio, it is time to face the prospect of seven weeks with no studio time at all. Art Fair Season is now upon me.

With that in mind, I've tried to get the most out of the last few weeks at home. As I mentioned previously, I've lined up some gallery shows for next year. So over this last week I made a large painting specifically for my oils show (to make me feel like I've gotten a head start, I suppose). Lacewing (detail, above) is the result of my efforts. Not a very good photo, I'm afraid---I took it in the studio with absolutely the wrong lighting and lots of glare. As a bonus, my studio is so small I can't actually get far enough away from the painting to photograph the whole thing. Thus the detail shot. But, considering the quality of the photo, that's probably for the best.

And that will undoubtedly be my last new painting post for a while. It's time to head to the basement and reprise my role as Framing Troll in preparation for the next several weeks. Beginning with the Bellevue Arts Museum Arts Fair next weekend, I will have an art fair every weekend save one until after Labor Day (and Sausalito). For the complete schedule click here.

I'm very excited to get out there and do my shows, but I'm pretty sure the magnitude of the travel schedule hasn't quite hit me yet. Not to worry, it will soon enough.

Serenity of a Different Sort

[singlepic id=285 w=460 h=360 float=] As promised, I spent this past week on the oil side of my studio creating my latest painting, the final version of Serenity. As always I was afraid that I would have forgotten how to paint in oils, and as (almost) always I found it completely enjoyable and needn't have worried. I was particularly glad to have chosen last week to get back to that easel, because I also spent some time last week lining up multiple gallery shows here in Spokane. 

So far I have two solo exhibits scheduled, both opening in the first half of next year. The first, at Tinman Gallery in north Spokane's charming Garland district, is set for February 2010. It is an honor to be featured there, as the Tinman represents some of the region's most respected artists.

Then in May, I will be back at the Kress gallery downtown, this time with my first oil-paintings-only show. The Kress is a big space. It eats oversized paintings for breakfast. Thus my relief at not having forgotten how to paint---I will need to do it a lot between now and then.

Lining up shows is thrilling and nerve-wracking and just another part of the daily grind, all at once. It is what I do, after all, but it never loses its excitement. I can go from thinking I have too many paintings to thinking I have far too few in the time it takes a gallery owner to say, "let's put it on the schedule!" But there is no better motivator to do more and better than the prospect of a solo show. That looming deadline brings butterflies and peace of mind in equal parts, and I absolutely love it.

Serenity

[singlepic id=284 w=460 h=362 float=] Serenity is both the title of my newest pastel study, and what I hope to find a bit of in my studio for the next few weeks. My next show, Bellevue Arts Museum, isn't until the last full weekend in July and I hope to get some serious painting done between now and then. My goal for next week is to use this study for an oil painting to take to Bend and/or Sausalito later this summer, although I realize I will be pushing it for drying time. It's not as if I don't have plenty of oils to take with me already. I do, however, have other shows coming up, and I guess I'm just never quite satisfied with what I have. I suppose that's to be expected in a situation where a sale requires having just the right piece in front of just the right person at the right time. Small wonder artists are constantly second-guessing themselves. Or are they? Is it just me?

See what I mean?

President's Award at Edmonds

[singlepic id=283 w=360h=300 float=left] This past weekend was the Edmonds Arts Festival, and I enjoyed a laid-back four days including great booth neighbors, visits with old friends and collectors, and re-familiarizing myself with the smell of the ocean (much needed). The weather mostly cooperated, and I made it through setup and tear down without ripping out the stitches I received after a freak utility knife accident during my preparations for travel. All in all not too bad, but I must say the possible highlight of the weekend was receiving the President's Award for my booth. Not only is the award an obvious honor, but possibly better still, it came with the single most ginormous ribbon I have ever laid eyes upon (see photo for scale---the Pro Panel wall is seven feet high). Now I need to figure out what to do with it... maybe someday when I have a bigger studio, I'll have room to display it. Not likely anytime soon, but a girl can dream, right?

Edmonds is this Weekend

[singlepic id=282 w=460 h=360 float=] See my pastels and oils at the Edmonds Arts Festival this weekend:

Edmonds Arts Festival

When: June 19 - 21, 2009

Where: Frances Anderson Park, 700 Main St, Edmonds, WA

Hours: Friday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

What I’m bringing: Pastels and Oils

Booth #22 (O’Keefe Blvd along Main St.)

Above: my booth at last year's show.

Back in the Studio, For the Moment

[singlepic id=281 w=320 h=360 float=left] Artfest left me a bit disconnected for the last week or so. There's something about starting the fair season that really messes with my painting mojo. Invariably I return from the show with a great to-do list of details missed during initial preparations. This time it was price tag holders, an extra naugahyde baseboard and a few other things apparently too inconsequential to remember at this writing. I can't seem to shift gears out of show-prep mode after the show, so I tackle these projects instead of doing what it is that I think I am supposed to be doing, i.e., painting. After finishing those items and still feeling incapable of entering the studio, I moved on to more framing, sending out packets to persons of interest in the art world, and unexpectedly getting together a group of paintings for a new gallery

I'm finally back at the easel (at least somewhat) this week. I just finished Lacewing Study, shown here, which may be the beginning of a large pastel or oil. I hope to complete a few more small pieces in the next few days, but then it's off to Edmonds. Hopefully my recovery time will improve this go-around. Riiiiiiight.

Artfest 2009

[singlepic id=280 w=460 h=360 float=] Thanks to everyone who came down to Artfest this year. It was a fantastic show. I had fun, saw lots of friends, met some great new people, and of course sold some art.

One of my favorite stories from this weekend involved one of my very first and most loyal collectors. Without going into too much detail, I'll just say that she mentioned a piece of work she saw on my website which she thought was long gone. It turned out I still had the painting, and collector and painting were united at last! I am so happy she ended up with it---things just could not have turned out any better.

Also, I may soon have some more gallery show news. I have a few things in the works and will post again when details are more concrete. All in all, an extremely fun and productive weekend. Next stop, Edmonds, Washington!

(Above: this year's booth at Artfest with oils and pastels.)