Archive for July, 2008

Peeping Tom . . .Cat

So here I am working diligently and nature calls. I wander over to my bathroom feeling safe because no one is in the gallery. I close the door.

I should mention here that my building is nearly 100 years old. Most doors don’t really latch well unless you concentrate while closing and listen for the click. Also the toilet can be seen from front room of the gallery when the door is open so you’d think I would be more careful.

So there I was, just about to get really comfortable and the door trembles and I can see a shadow moving under the door. Startled I tense up and babble something like “I’ll be right out!” I listen. . . No response. The door shudders again.

Suddenly swoosh . . . the door swings wide and there sits Budda, looking smug. I swear softly and say “Geez Budda, you scared the (deleted for inappropriate content) out of me.” Good thing I was already sitting down. He meows lazily and ambles in.

This has become a daily occurance (thus the photo of him breaking and entering) and I have yet to learn to listen to click of the latch. Unfortunately he has realized that this is an excellent place for him to get petted. (because like an idiot, I picked him up and petted him. After all I am just sitting there.) Plus he is obsessed with the toilet. His own private splash bowl whenever Mike or I forget to close the lid.

Little weirdo.

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Back From Owatonna

We got back mid afternoon on Sunday. For those quick witted among you, you’ve probably guessed that yet again we got rained out. Oddly enough, the more times we get rained on the less upsetting it seems to be. I would have thought that logically it would go the other way ’round since it means collectively I am continually earning less. (Heavy Sigh) Still, I don’t seem to get be getting to bent out of shape. Of course this was a small event (only 70 artists) and my expectations weren’t all that high to begin with. Next weekend is a big event that I do have high expectations for. (Hope springs eternal.)

On the plus side of things I won an award. Now I have very little use for awards since I am not actively trying to build my resume’. However this one came with a fat check. (Fat checks are definately something I have use for.)

A little bit about the Owatonna Art event. It is held in Owatonna MN. They are a small town but they really work hard to put on a nice event. The standards are high (meaning quality of work), booth fees resonable, and the awards generous. They host a nice catered dinner on Saturday and have live music throughout the event. Much of the staff comes around and introduces themselves, as did their 7 judges! I have never been to an event with that many judges. Very impressive.

Thats about all there is to say. Other than it is so good to be home.

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Minnesota, Here We Come.

Okay I think I have said all I have to say about Breyer, at least until I get my photos developed. Today I leave for Owatonna, MN and will be back on Monday. Once again, the weather is supposed to cooperate so hopefully we’ll have a successful event.

Just 2 more artfairs and then I am free (free as a bird) for the next month or so. I have two major paintings planned (if I can squeeeze them in) during this time frame and so will finally get back to posting artwork.

See you Monday.

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Live Shows
By now you know that Breyers are models of horses, so the term live show throws me off a bit. (actually it tends to make me snigger like a school girl.) Not knowing much about the model showing universe it surprised me how serious people take it all.

A live show is where the model is actually present at the show, as opposed to a photograph competition. The goal of these shows are to showcase the model in as lifelike a setting as they can acheive. Just like in real life the horses are shown in different classes such as halter or performance.

Top dollar is paid for quality models either original to an artist or a Breyer that has been altered or is in classic condition. A high premium is paid for quality painting and tack. In the end the prices being spent rival that of a real horse show for both animals and tack. Wow!

The number of people participating is small (compared to that of an artshow that is) but they are very serious. These people would stand in line for hours just to get a good deal, or enter the swap meet.

The Holiday Inn West in Lexington, KY was completely taken over for 4 days. Most people who stayed at the hotel opened their rooms and sold their older models or whatever. You could walk up and down the hallways to find room after room full of Breyers and Breyer enthusiaists. They also plastered the walls with sales fliers showing the horses for sale and the room number. I would think this would do major damage to the wallpaper but apparently not, since the hotel hasn’t put a stop to it and the event has been held at the same place for many years.

I should mention that Stone has an event going at the same time at the same city. His event is called Equilocity. I didn’t run over there but that just goes to show how much interest there is in this stuff.

Carol is good as what she does. Her passion for her art and animals comes through in her work. She loves cows like I love horses. It’s just something in the gentics that is hard to explain. She used to do a lot of horses but over the past several years her work has focused more on the livestock side of things. And towards cattle in particular. Her business acronym is COWS. (Carol’s Original WorkS) Very clever!

Most of the people we met were great fun. The vendors and fest goers at the Kentucky Horse Park were all friendly. Our neighbor Nicolle at the artisans gallery was a hoot and made what would have been a rather stuffy experience a joy.

However, there was a select few people who held a rather high opinion of themselves and I think they tended to look down their noses at Carol. Mind you, some of these same people she helped get into the industry. Breyer uses a rather small stable of artists to create original work for new models. I believe having only a handfull of artists tends to increase the competitive edge for some. I mean seriously, had a few of them been any more Alpha Dog, they would have come over and pee’d on her table.

I did want to say not everyone gets cut throat when it comes to Breyer. Brigitte Eberl is the German sculptor who created the Alborozo model for this years event. She and her friend were a delight. Carol and Brigitte (Bri-gee-ta) are good friends and share much between them including information and a place to stay when one is visiting the others country.

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This was the 19th year for Breyerfest to be held at the Kentucky Horse Park (KHP) in Lexington, KY. It is expected for 2009 event to take place there, though not a certainty. And in 2010 the World Equestrian Games will be held at KHP so who knows what will happen to the Breyer people. KHP is currently under heavy construction to improve the park in readiness for the games.

The KHP is huge. I walked all over that place and still didn’t see it all. It has several museums (all dedicated to the horse) a racetrack, polo field, cross country course, show jumping and dressage arenas. They have an extensive breed barn and many things dealing with the history of the horse. I was in pony heaven.

Breyerfest events were held in the arena at KHP, as were the vendors. Here is a photo of our both. (Carol and mine.) It was located on the railing and behind us was where the horses did their performances. We were the only artists at this location. All of the other vendors were more retail like in that they were selling Breyer models, t-shirts and such.

The other location for Breyerfest activities was at a nearby Holiday Inn. There they had the Artisans gallery where tables showcasing the artists works were displayed. Also this was where the auction and swap meet was held. Sorry no photos of this. By the time we got there after a day of sitting in near 100 degree temps at the park, I wasn’t feeling very much like taking pics.

A surreal experience
Carol Herden is a sculptor and has created several pieces for Breyer. You can check out Carol’s website and get a much better idea of what it is she does.

I have known her for many years now, but didn’t really know her, (if you know what I mean.) The idea of spending a week with someone I was not thoroughly familiar with, in very tight spaces was a little unsettling. But what I knew of her, I liked. I figured either we’d get on like a house afire or we’d wind up killing each other. Turns out . . . we are actually the same person.

At first it was just really weird how similar we are in husbands and lifesyles and personality. We occasionally said the same thing at the same time or after long periods of silence both spoke at the same moment. We have the same suitcase, toothpaste and moral code. But by the end of the trip the weirdness had worn off (well almost) and all that was left was friendship.

Thanks for the ride Carol!

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Back From Kentucky

Greetings from Kentucky
I have returned to the comforts of Iowa. But for the past 7 days I have been enjoying the sites and hospitality of Kentucky. I took both cameras but failed rather badly at taking loads of pics for the blog. I got a little swept up in all the horses and spent most of my time with the 35mm trailing around the barns.

A friend of mine, Carol Herden had booked a booth at Breyerfest to be held in the Kentucky Horse Park, but had misjudged the weekend and her usual help was unable to attend. So she asked if I would go. She bribed me with some booth space to sell prints and the freedom to go and watch all the equestrian events held at the park. I have never been to Kentucky or the horse park, so after about 15 minutes of deep introspective thought, I agreed.

For those of you who don’t know what Breyerfest is, I will talk about it in more detail in an upcoming post. But suffice it to say that it deals with little plastic horses that people collect. Breyer is a major manufacturer of this type of thing.

Churchill Downs
Yet another oh so flattering photo of me. I swear I am going to have a photo shoot just so I can post something that looks somewhat attractive.

Churchill Downs is the famous racetrack where the Kentucky Derby is run. Just so you know this is as much of it that I saw. We arrived after it had closed (only just) and so didn’t get to go in. Carol insisted she take a pic of me in front of the place, despite the fact that I had been on the road for 18 hours and was wearing the same clothes that I wore the previous day. (Hmmm. Long story that. The point is however, never, ever pack your luggage behind two tons of art product. So that you would need to unpack the whole freakin truck to get fresh clothes.)

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We’d like 16 pounds of cheese please.
We now are the proud owners of a sparkly new Ez-up canopy freshly purchased at Sams Club. The only time I ever go in a Sams Club is when we need a new tent. It is always a little surreal. I mean it’s not like I will ever need to purchase 16 pounds of cheese or 100 rolls of toilet paper in one go. Though I imagine if we lived conveniently near a Sams Club we might actually shop there. Maybe.

About the artfair
For this years Brookings Summer Art Festival it was sunny, clear and cool. All in all a perfect artfair situation. The crowds were enormous though the buying a little lack luster. We made enough to make it worth our time but it did not reach my goal for the event. Still . . . it opened the door to the possibility that I can have a complete art fair without getting doused is flood rains. (Once again with the happy dance) Um (see previous post.)

So to give you a comparison between this event and Omaha Summer Art Festival here is the breakdown of amenities and/or benefits.

  • They host an artist dinner the night before the event. It is simple but very tasty.
  • It is on grass. It is far more secure to stake down the tent which adds to peace of mind.
  • They allow you to put up a second canopy (at no additional cost) behind the first. Some use this for additional selling space or shade.
  • They bring you a water once each day.
  • free music and entertainment.

Ummm . . . thats about it.

Downside to Brookings
Brookings tends to be quite crafty. Now I really am not an art snob but the truth is fine art and craft buyers are completely two different crowds. They do not spend the same. (I plan to cover this a little more thoroughly in the future.) Not only is it crafty inside the event. But it also has around 50 or so booths of buy/sell surrounding the park. This is the only venue where I have seen this happen.

Yes I am leaving again.
I know I know, I just got back. But an opportunity came up that I just couldn’t pass up. I am going to the Kentucky Horse Park for Breyerfest. Now I really don’t care about attending Breyerfest. But I am sooooo excited to be going to the horse park. I have never been and I can’t wait. I have both cameras (digital and film) and will tell you all about it when I get back, (Ahem) next Tuesday.

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