Archive for September, 2008

Octagon Art Festival 08

Happy Dance
My last outdoor event, the Octagon Art Festival in Ames, Iowa, is over for the year. This year has been a gauntlet of bad weather, but at least it ended well. The day started off rather misty and foggy (as you can tell by these photos taken before noon.) But by mid-afternoon the sun came out and it was just lovely.

The crowds were phenomenal (especially after 1pm, again photos were taken early so shows a light crowd) but the buyers were cautious. We made more than I expected but far less than I would usually demand from an event even a couple of years ago. I have been doing the Octagon for around 10 years now. (They actually recognize me by sight and I didn’t even have to say who I was when I checked in yesterday. Thats how long I’ve been doing it.) I keep coming back because it is cheap to do ($85 booth fee) one day, and close to home.

I like this show. It is well run and organized and yet kinda laid back and easy going. (Sorta like me, really.)

Ames is located within 20 minutes of Des Moines and does pull a shopping crowd from surrounding areas.

  • Coffee, water, muffins and donuts for breakfast.
  • Good Sized Event with over 115 artists.

    As a side note artfairs can be too small (to few artists means the event doesn’t draw enough of a crowd) or too big. (too many artists mean too much competition and the sales can get spread thin.) I like my events to run between 75-150 vendors.

  • Usually brings out huge crowds which can be a buying crowd.
  • Drive up loading and unloading
  • Spacious booth size of 12×12 with plenty of storage in the back of each space.
  • Free admission
  • Friendly volunteers for check in and booth sitting.

I have no complaints about this event. While they don’t pamper you like some shows, you pay a tiny booth fee and frankly that holds more appeal. They do request a donation (of artwork) for a silent auction but again I would rather hand over a print than more money.

  • One day event. While I like that it’s one day, it can mean that if the weather is bad you have no show at all, while 2 day events you get a second chance to still sell.
  • Late in the year. Early and late shows run a considerably higher risk of bad weather. I’ve done this event wearing a winter coat (and wrapped in a blanket) on more than one occasion.

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More On Purple Sheep

Ewekie, the wonder sheep.

Ewekie - click for larger image
Ewekie – Oil Pastel 7.5″ x 9.5″

Just so you know Flamin’ Sheep was not my first when it comes to painting odd colored sheep. Ewekie here, was my first purple sheep. (This image is quite a bit off color wise. She is it almost as bold as my Flamin’ Sheep painting.) And let me tell you she caused quite a stir among the locals in my dusty little rural town. People actually came into the gallery because they had heard about her and I guess they had to see for themselves the insanity of such a thing.

As we have her available in small prints (click on the image to get more details) I still occasionally get asked if there is actually a type of purple sheep that roams the earth. I smile, feeling slightly guilty and say “No, I just painted her that way.”

Apparently she made quite an impression. Because, though she had been sold years ago, someone local had mentioned her again, just the other day. I told him she had been sold and I could almost hear what he was thinking. Crazy artists, paintin’ purple sheep. Who in their right mind would want something like that. Fortunately for me, quite a few people. As a somewhat realistic animal painter, it’s nice to do something fun once in awhile and still have it find an appreciative home in which to live.

Hitting the road.
Once again we leave for an artfair this weekend. Supposedly the weather is going to be beautiful so it should be enjoyable to do. This is my last outdoor event so it would be nice to end it with pleasant weather.

See you all on Monday. (I mean it this time.) (Urm . . . probably)

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Flamin' Sheep: Original Oil Pastel

Flamin’ Sheep
Oil Pastel on Handmade Paper
10 1/2″ x 13″

I finally got around to posting this. As you may have noticed, I got over my fear of calling it Flamin’ Sheep. I’m not sure how, but that title has appeared to have stuck.

So here it is finished. I wasn’t able to take it along last weekend, which is too bad since I actually have several sheep painting patrons at that event. So it goes. I’ll just have to email them a pic.

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Riverssance Art Festival

Riverssance Festival of Fine Art is held in Lathom Park in Davenport, Iowa. Davenport is also where I did my first event this year, Beaux Arts. (remember that? I think it was just a warning of what was to come.)

This event is put on by their local artist group Midcoast Fine Arts. As a result it is a well run, and an easy show to do. Theirs is the only application that I’ve read that actually got more than one chuckle out of me.

As I mentioned, we had a good weekend and the weather was just lovely. Look at all the blue sky in those photos. Riverssance is one of the best event I do. Both in terms of sales and how well they treat the artist.

The Perks

  • Drive-up loading and unloading
  • Spacious booth 14 x 14
  • Breakfasts Provided: muffins, juice, coffee, bagels and fruits
  • Generous Awards
  • Awards Dinner Catered by different folks every year. In addition they usually have live music or stand-up comedy for entertainment during dinner. Cool!
  • Art Angels: plenty of volunteers and booth sitters
  • Good quality work. This year there were 98 artists. Among these were plenty of 2D artists which is a good sign for any other 2D artist. It means the crowd will support them and is not just a jewelry and pottery buying group.
  • Located in a park. This is nice because staking a tent is far more secure than using weights. Also, if the event is during HOT weather, the trees and grass are dramatically cooler than pavement.
  • Live music all day. Music adds dramatically to the festival like atmosphere.

The Downside

  • On a bluff overlooking a major river, which is very scenic but can also be very windy.
  • Gate Fee which is only three dollars. I have mixed feeling about admission fees. They are good because they help cut down on booth fees and also because they tend to weed out the less than serious buyer. But having a gate fee definately keeps the crowd smaller and at the moment we need as much crowd as possible. Still this event has enough buyers that as far as I can tell it hasn’t been a bad thing.

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So It's Not Monday

I know I said “see you all Monday!” And okay, so it’s clearly not Monday. I took an extra day returning from the artfair to go bumming around Des Moines and hit the Blank Park Zoo. It is a small zoo and being off season they had even less going on. But I enjoyed myself and frankly could have sat and watched the baby giraffe all day, (instead of like the 3 hours that I actually did. Alas hubby gets a littly fidgety after like 2 1/2 hours on baby giraffe watch.) I’ve been wanting to do a new giraffe piece but the well was empty, so I really needed some new photos.

The artfair was good and the weather gorgeous. Sales were down from last year. But last year was better than usual. I’ll blog more on the event tomorrow.

I just can’t seem to catch up. The gallery is crazy busy which always bugs me after an artshow. Since I take so much work with me the place looks like it’s been robbed. We leave for one more event this weekend so I am not feeling like putting it all back together to tear it apart and pack it in two days. After this one I get a break again. Good thing too, because I need to get Colton’s potrait done. Whew!

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Away We Go

Well I did actually finish my Flamin’ Sheep painting but I am just too sore and tired to get it scanned and posted tonight. I’ll get them posted when I get back.

As you may have garnered from the title I am once again heading out for an art event this weekend. Weather outlook is good. 🙂 See you all on Monday.

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Oil Pastel Sheep WIP

Here is my progress for today on my Flamin’ Sheep painting. (Located Below: it’s a little dark) If all goes according to plan I will finish them tomorrow.

I really like this little flock of sheep and photograph them often. The models for this painting are located just outside of town and I drive by nearly every morning on my way to the gallery. In fact the photo here is from just this morning. It is a small enough group that they form ever-changing, infinitely interesting groupings.

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