Archive for July, 2009


I’m doing an artfair this weekend after all. I had missed (by many many months) the deadline for a local (ish) event and so called them well after the fact to see if there was any spaces left. I have done that event for 8-10 years or so and they know me so no need to jury or anything. At that time they were full up with 95 artists. Well yesterday they called and said they had a cancellation and asked if I would still like to come.

I’m like “Umm . . . . Uh . . . yea . . . sure . . . why not.” I can get prepared and packed in less than 40 hours. No problem.

Sometimes I don’t know what possesses me. Seriously I didn’t need to take on another event. The gallery is still busy and very soon we hit a stretch of artfairs every weekend.

I guess I just can’t help myself I suppose.

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Watercolor Pencil on Suede Board
13 1/4 x 19 1/4

The above photo is a little more saturated than in real life. Somewhere between Photoshop and the blog it changes a little.

Okay I know that I had said that this painting was done before. But I was never completely happy with it so I kept picking away at it when i had a minute or got bored. But then my deadline for the Apples N’ Oats article is just around the corner and since this was my latest horse painting I figured I had better actually finish it if I were to be writing about it.

And so here it is. A rather dramatic difference from my last final completed shot. Way more hair in the forelock and much different color. I am fairly at peace with it at this point. It is always hard for me to say “Okay. . . NOW it’s done.” The tweaking stage can go on for an eternity. Well until it gets committed to print. That’s when I am truly done.

The article is also just at the tweaking stage. I cheated a little and used a blog post for part of it. So I’ll wrap both the article and the painting up and then move on finishing the Red Buffalo.

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Owatonna Festival of the Arts 09

So we are two for two. This events sales were less than expected. No idea why. It was a lovely weekend and the park had many lookers but buying was limited. Most of the regulars (artists that do this event often) said it was unusually slow. Ah well. At least the events sales are balanced. Two fairs better than expected and two worse.

The event is held in Owatonna Minnesota’s Central Park which was created in 1855. The fountain and trees were added not too many years later. Totally gorgeous. The event had 52 artists and several foods and kids activities.

I think next year we will return to Clear Lake’s artfair. It has equelly nice artwork and standards. The park is as nice and the crowds do come out. We always did well in CL but as we had been doing that show for something like 8 years we took a break and tried Owatonna. The big benefits for doing Clear Lake is not so much that I’ll make more sales but that my expenses are less. It is only a one day event (meaning more work time in the gallery) plus I’ve got no hotel expenses (2 nights worth.)

Owatonna’s Pluses

    They had nice live music for the whole event

    Coffee and doughnuts for breakfast

    A very swanky artist dinner Saturday night

    Impressive awards (good sized checks especially for the size of the event)

    Relatively heavy on 2-D art (a rarity these days)

    lovely park setting

    Located near the twin cities so can and does pull buyers from there
    Helpful, curteous staff
    Easy load in and out
    High standard for quality work (another rarity for small events)

The Downside

    Small event in a small town (Not sure if this is actually a downside but nor is it a plus)
    For the two years that I did the show sales were sluggish for many of vendors

And now for something just a little bit different.
The gentleman here spent much of the weekend wandering around the event painting scenes of all the activities

This photo is of him painting Mike and I from the back of the booth. Sort of a behind the scenes thing.

Pretty cool..

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I had seriously pondered not working on her and saving her to work on at the artfair this weekend. It is a smaller venue so in theory I could have easily done so. Plus demonstrating (when possible) is excellent way to generate interest (and often sales) at an event. Not to mention it really makes the artfair folks (those running the show) quite happy.

But the drive to continue on with her was greater so I did. At this point I have begun the background (not pictured here) and will have to put the finishing touches on her when the framing arrives, much like I did with Cowgirl. And like Cowgirl the background will be similar, meaning dark purples and chartreuse-y greens. Though perhaps the background here will be a little brighter since my critter is as well. I probably won’t show a W.I.P. again until she is done. (Probably. Who knows maybe I’ll post her when I get back. I can be fickle at times.)

We leave today for Owatonna Art Festival. As I said Owatonna is a small event but draws a good crowd of locals. Last year the sales were questionable but we got rained out of Sunday completely so we are giving it another go. See you all on Tuesday.

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Red Buffalo Painting WIP

Well here she is pretty much at the stage where I finished the demo. I have made some progress and will post that tomorrow before we leave for yet another event.

Woolly Bully
I really would have liked to call this piece by that title, but alas she is a cow (i.e. not a bull.) I had pondered pretending she was a bull, because when looking at the finished painting, like who would know. (well now all of you would, but still that’s pretty good odds) And she’s got a thick coat yet as the reference photos were taken in early spring and she was still sporting her winter attire. But I figured there is always someone who knows the difference and trust me, they will call me on it. So for now she is just known as the Red Buffalo.

Living in Rapid City I spent allot of time in the state parks out there and have hundreds of stunning buffalo pics to choose from. I chose her because she isn’t stunning and (not so much in my primary reference photo) because of her wild eyed looks. As a wild eyed female myself I could relate and instantly bonded with her.

I bumped up the red color in this photo though when painting I just used my washed out versions. I added a horn just to help her be more recognizable as a buffalo. These bright critters tend to throw people off a bit.

I get allot of, “Is that a sheep?”
Me “Yes”
Them “Are they really that color?”
Me “No”
Them “Um . . . ”

The nice thing is my crayola critters sell really well. So at least some people get them. Or is it they get me? Hm.

I included this shot just to illustrate the bulgy-eyed one horned wonder that she is. Don’t you just love her? I’ve always had a thing for imperfect critters. Somehow they seem more real and have more personality.

Note: The crayola critters reference is just what I currently refer to them as, in private. I’m pretty sure that is a seriously big time trade mark infringement if I were to use that regularly. So Um . . . just forget I ever mentioned it. Seriously, I really do plan to come up with a title to help distinguish these guys from my “other” work. Wild Things perhaps? Hm . . . needs work.

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What The Hail?

So I am crunching some inventory numbers while simultaneously jockeying the card printer, when I receive a call from Mike saying to get the van in the garage it’s hailing at the farm. The farm is about 3 miles from the gallery as the crow flies, so I pop out quickly whilst staring at the ominous skyline and promptly pull the van into one of the garage bays of my gallery building. As the garage door trundles shut the rain begins.

I dash to the front door and see my new precious pink geraniums outside and ponder running out to get them. Nope, too late. The wind starts driving the rain in a torrential downpour and all I can do is lock the front door. The wind actually changed direction several times (that’s one of those things that creeps me out because living on the tip of tornado alley rapidly changing wind is never a good thing.)

The hail begins to fall. Pretty much pea size. Budda totally bug-eyed runs up to me, then darts behind a plant, then runs back to me. And then . . . all hell . . . um, all hail breaks loose.

The hail gets bigger (a little larger than marble size) and pelts the front of the gallery. I close my blinds (you know like that will help) and me and the cat step far away from the windows. I don’t know how much rain we received but it was a rushing torrent of floating hail down the street. The wind whipping it so hard it made waves.

It was pretty much over in 20 minutes. No real harm done. Well except for my geraniums. I haven’t had the heart to check my garden. Driving home seeing all the damage the hail did to the fields I decided not to get too pouty about loosing my flowers and tomatoes.

Anyway, I promise to post about my Red Buffalo tomorrow.

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(Photo Above: As they roll into town.)

They go on a Tractor Ride!
What’s a tractor ride you ask.

Usually in the summer when field work is at a minimum (about now apparently) farmers and those who just love tractors break out the classic machines and hit he pavement showing off their restored (and those yet to be restored) much loved tractors.

I suppose it is like a classic car show only with field equipment. There is allot of Red (International Harvestor) and Green (John Deere) but there was a small handful of other breeds in the line-up.

Kinda a nice bit of Americana there really.

(Photo Below: Hard to see but there are about 35-50 tractors. Everyone is parked to take a break.)

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Yes that is a red buffalo. Here is the finish to my previous post regarding the demo that was held at the Side Street Gallery last Saturday. After a 11 hour day on Friday I still hadn’t decided what I would do for my demonstration piece. I decided something simple graphically would be best. I had been kinda wanting to do another buffalo and so quickly sorted through my photos and came up with this old girl.

One of the questions that was asked me was “How do you decide the color palette for your painting?”

An intelligent question and frankly my reply was underwhelming. “I just wing it.” (Yes, that was helpful I’m sure.) But sadly it is the truth.

I knew I wanted to go bright because I love and enjoy the fantastical elements of it, but also because it would be much more eye catching for demonstrating, which it needed to be since it was so small.

Mari (the gallery owner) loved it and I promised as soon as I finished it she could have it to sell in her gallery.

In an upcoming post I’ll show my progress on it (if I’m lucky enough to get the time to play with it) and my reference photos.

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Side Street Gallery Demo

Okay, seriously what fun!!!! And I’m not the only one who thought so. Katie Plucker kept saying over and over, “We need to do this again next year . . . maybe even twice.”

The crowd was good. It never really got overwhelming, just a nice steady stream of visitors. I of course didn’t think to pull out the camera until it was all over, so all my photos were after the fact. And to top it off, I got no exclusive photo of Mari (the woman who’s gallery we were in to celebrate her 30th year in business) There were people everywhere taking pictures so hopefully a few will be sent my way.

The above photo is the group shot. Starting at the left: Me, Mari Stewart, Katie Plucker (a little below) and Judy Hemphill (behind the banjo playing frog) in front of Mari’s gallery in old town Okoboji.

Mari Stewart and The Side Street Gallery
It is a rare thing for a gallery to be around for thirty years and even more so with one owner. It is a testament to Mari as an artist and gallery owner. Mari is now primarily a painter, though she is also a potter and if I am remembering correctly her initial art love was jewelry. Mari’s website offers more information on her celebrating 30 years in business as well as her artwork and the artists she represents.

Judy Hemphill (photo left) is a photographer from Spencer Iowa. She is shown here standing in front of a collection of her boat and lake photos. For those of you unfamiliar with the area Okoboji is a major lake that is a huge tourist destination.

Judy does quite a bit of commercial photography for magazines and such, but also does allot of freelance artsy stuff. She is a dear friend. (Actually all three of these women are.) You can see more of her work by visiting Judy’s website.

Anita Baedke-Plucker
I have always known Anita as Katie. I am pretty sure all those many years ago when we met (she as the director of a local gallery and me sussing out the local art scene after just moving to Iowa) that was who she introduced herself as. So despite all the information to the contrary I still call her Katie. Again if my faulty memory serves me correctly I believe Katie was her nickname, coined when a child because she looked so much like her aunt Kate. At any rate, Katie is a watercolorist (extraodinaire) whose work currently focuses on the lakes area. You can learn more about her by visiting Katie’s website.

Yes I was the odd man out . . . err make that woman. . . out, with my horses and wild things. But in a good way I think.

So tomorrow I will show a photo of me doing my “thing” as well as what I was actually demonstrating.

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A weekend off? Kinda.

I am doing a gallery gig on Saturday at the Side Street Gallery in Okoboji, Iowa. (about 2 hours away from my place)

The gallery is run by a friend of mine Mari Stewart, and she is celebrating her 30th year in business by having different artists each weekend come in and demonstrate. So I am on board for this weekend along with two artist friends of mine, Judy Hemphill and Katie Plucker (but the rest of the world knows her as Anita Baeke-Plucker.) It should be fun.

So if my goal is to demonstrate I really need something to demonstrate with. Do you think I have something I’m working on? Of course you all know me better than that. Nope, not yet. And as I am less than 24 hours away from said event, you’d think I’d get right on that. But no . . . I’m here blogging about getting right on it.

I had planned to draw something out 2 days ago in the evening, but went to see Angels & Demons instead with a friend. And last night well, I went to see Harry Potter with same friend plus my husband and her mother and daughter. Ahem . . . so tonight it is. Yes siree. . . tonight is the night. Ummm . . . I better get right to it then. Though you know, I hear Night at the Museum is playing in Pocahontas. I really did want to see that movie.

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