Archive for July, 2010

Since I was having so much trouble getting a photo with enough contrast for the blog I decided to edit this photo in a different photoshop. I think I got somewhat better results.

As the deadline for the next Apples ‘N Oats is fast approaching I am painting and writing my little heart out. I had a bit of a rocky start since, well let’s face it. I write about draft horses an awful lot and seriously what new thing could I possibly discuss on the subject.

So since the painting is of my neighbor’s mares I decided to go with my favorite story of them. (the horses not the neighbors) Sorry guys, you’ll have to wait until the magazine comes out for it though.

I included another detail of my third horse. Once again the muzzle area is not done. This is the work that I completed yesterday. Today will be all about getting her body in and then tackling the job of putting in mane and forelock on all three. (Shown here only the under wash is in for the mane)

My plans for a background are going to be very basic. Light blue sky. Very soft and subtle. Because as you know I’m all about the horses.

Place Your Bets!
So whether or not I make my deadline is kinda up in the air. I am pretty sure I can. Unless I run into difficulties getting the manes in which honestly is the only area that I am feeling a little anxious about.

Another possibility is the gallery chaos will overtake my painting time. We shall see I suppose.

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So here’s the skinny on this event.

Positive Attributes

* Located in an affluent lake district.
* Small but a good size for the size of the hosting town (about 75 artists)
* Very well juried. Extremely high quality of work
* They balance the artists and actively court artists of different styles and mediums
* Provide water and donuts for setting up.
* Six awards of $150 each
* In a park with plenty of shade trees and a lovely view of the lake.


* Size of venue may not be good for artists who have to travel to attend.
* One day event. Even though I like that about this show (it really couldn’t be extended into a two day event) it means if it storms your completely out of luck.

All in all this is a well run little event. The number of 2D artists is a bit staggering and may actually cut into profits. This however is an extremely rare thing for art fairs to have too many 2D artists and is proof of their desire to keep a balanced show.

Coming Up
Tomorrow I’ll post the progress on my Percheron mares painting. I’ve begun working on my third horse and hope to mostly finish her off today.

I have no title for this painting as of yet. Any ideas?

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Here’s what I got done at the last art fair.

I usually prefer to finish one critter at a time before moving onto the next. But for demonstrating I figured watching a horse face materialize would be more interesting than a shadowy neck. So I got a couple of floating heads.

So today I worked on adding the shadowy necks and anchoring my horses. This took longer than I expected since I put in far more detail than I originally thought I would. I always feel better once my subjects anchored.

Once again since the distance photos appear so dark so I included a detail shot.

The muzzle areas are still unfinished. Also I think I’m planning on covering the right horse’s left eye with forelock. I put in the eye to help me visualize but it will most likely get covered. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to finish up the necks and begin face number three.

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Yes that’s me on the left working on my Percheron painting.

A Day In The Life Of An Art Fair Artist
5:00 am Wake Up
5:30 am Get on the road. Driving in heavy fog.
7:00 am Arrive at event which opens at 9
9:15 am Booth opens for business
9:16 am – 4:00 pm demonstrate, paint, talk and sell
4:15 – 5:45 pm Pack stuff back into the van (normally takes less time but we had to haul everything out from the center of the park)
6:00 pm after a quick meal we leave town
7:00 pm Arrive in town 45 miles from home and stop to go to a movie.
9:30 pm Drive home
10:15 pm Arrive home and answer emails and messages from the day.
12:15 am Go to bed.

We Got Lucky (Let me count the ways)
1.) So what I thought was to be a sweet spot turned out to be an awkward and cramped spot because whoever was marking booths failed to factor in the fact that the tent could not collapse down into a triangle shape. We had to bump our tent right up to our neighbors because of this we wouldn’t have access to the back of the booth. I figured I’d have to sit near the entrance of the booth (which I hate doing because it often scares of lookers.) We usually like to have access out the back for storage and selling area.

As were staking the tent into place I looked enviously at the empty neighbor spot thinking it was probably a jeweler (because they can usually show up at the last second with a few tables) But a thought occurs and so I go the staff and ask if our neighbor is a jeweler (because secretly I was hoping it was a cancellation) and lucky me it was a cancellation. I then asked if I could set up my other tent since I was planning on demonstrating if I promised “not” to sell in it.

She said “You can do whatever you want with that space. It’s your lucky day.” And so I did an quickly before any other neighbors got idea of staking a claim.. In the end, instead of one cramped spot with no access out the back I got a double wide which looks . . . well twice as impressive with tons of space out back. (Sa-weet!)

2.) The weather was gorgeous. It had stormed overnight a few people had lost their tents (no idea if that’s why my neighbor canceled.) Since we knew it would storm and lately they’d been severe we passed on setting up until morning. The crowds were thick but the buying light. We had a good days sales and I’m happy with my take, but as usual was hoping for like double what we did. I don’t know that I’ve ever said “Okay we made enough money at that event. I don’t think I need to sell another thing.” The Gap between more and enough never closes.

3.) Also I got an award. This event doesn’t have a best in show, first second third kind of thing. They have 6 merit awards of equal assessment. So I got one with a check (I really do love free money. meaning I didn’t have to give something up for it. Well other than my time and sweat.)

So there was my day. And Lorie, you were right. We were blessed.

I’ll do an art fair assessment on the Art Sail event in a day or two.

Once again I forgot the camera. But not being able to come back and say sorry no pictures yet again! I used my cell phone. So image quality isn’t the best but at least you get an idea.

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The Sweet Spot
So tomorrow (July 24th) I am doing the Clear Lake Art Sail which is an event located near the lake at City Park. Name of lake? I bet you can guess. (I’d post a link but there isn’t one.)

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve done this event so I am hopeful we’ll do really well. Prior to that I think I had done it for at least 5 years. It’s a small venue (about 75 artists) though really well juried. The art is all quality stuffs.

I am located in the sweet spot this year which is dead center of the giant X layout they have for booths. This is a great location because of course it is in the center so everybody goes by (as opposed to being on an end somewhere) but also because the shape of the formation will allow me to open up the sides of the booth for more display and work area.

I do plan on bringing the painting along since there is no rain forecast. I’m struggling to believe this since it HAS rained very nearly everyday for months and the storms of late have been very severe (as in tornados touching down within 13 miles of home) with impressive lightening displays. It’s supposed to rain all day today, so tomorrow better dawn sunny and bright or . . . I guess I have no one to threaten about that.

I’ll do an event wrap up when I’m back plus any work in progress I’ve accomplished.

My booth number is 49 for anyone in the area come on out to see me. For everyone else, I’ll see ya’ll on the other side.

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<p style="color: #1A67B8; font-size: 125%;"Ahhh hubris, Will I ever learn?

So today I did a phone interview with Bethany Caskey of Rural Heritage Magazine about my draft horse art. Rural Heritage Magazine is bi-monthly magazine devoted to farming and logging with horses, mules and oxen. I was totally tickled when she asked for an interview.

Because it’s been awhile since I’ve done an interview I thought I should do a little studying. You know, so I would sound like I know what I’m talking about and don’t say things like

“You know like . . .”


and worst of all “Umm . . .”

Most of the time when magazines or newspapers do an article on me they just look through the mountainous piles of online stuffs and then just ask a couple of questions. But I had a feeling this was gonna be an actual interview.

So the plan was to prepare for it by doing a little research by looking through that mountainous pile of information, so I’d have a wealth of artsy fartsy words at my brain’s fingertips. (figuratively speaking)

Eventually I babbled out some sort of verbal diarrhea the content of which I don’t remember because my subconscious has had to block out the trauma.

As I perused some of my writings it brought back memories of college exams and cramming at the last minute. Yes, I knew about the interview a few weeks prior, but why do then what I could put off until the very last possible second now.

After a few minutes of this, much like in real life, I got bored with myself and thought “Meh, what possible question could she ask that I wouldn’t immediately know the answer to?” And so just like in college, I slacked off.

<p style="color: #1A67B8; font-size: 125%;"And The Silence Was Deafening

So when she called I had my giant tumbler of Diet Coke at hand and got comfy on the couch, fully prepared to dazzle her with my elite equestrian artist-ness.

Bethany: (paraphrasing here) “So Mona, what would you like the readers of Rural Heritage Magazine to most know about you and your work?”

Me:That having my artwork in their homes will bring them happiness, joy and prosperity.

Okay, that’s not what I said. That’s what ran through my head because of my childlike tendency to amuse myself. Fortunately it went unsaid because I do have some impulse control. What I actually said was,

“. . . . Ummm . . . . err . . . ahhh . . . . that’s a good question.” (aw crap!)

Yup. I totally blew the cool artist thing I was shooting for, and I did it within the first 30 seconds of the interview. (awesome) Eventually I babbled out some sort of verbal diarrhea the content of which I don’t remember because my subconscious has had to block out the trauma.

But Bethany was a trooper and soon she had me relaxed and laughing. 45 minutes later I came to the determination that I liked her and thought she and I would get along really well in person.

So Bethany if you just happen to take a peek back on the blog, Thank you so much for your kindness. You made me at ease and relaxed and better still you made me laugh. All of those things are proof that you are a seriously excellent at your job. I’m looking forward to meeting you at the World Percheron Congress.
<p style="color: #1A67B8; font-size: 125%;"UPDATED:

Occasionally I am a little slow on the uptake. (Okay not just occasionally.) Bethany had said a couple of things which triggered something that didn’t quite sink in until after I got off the phone. Subtle hints that said she was creative in addition to her writing. So I Googled her.

Yup just as I thought. Bethany Caskey’s website is chocked full of really great horse art. Check it out!

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Demonstration Day

Well this photo is rather dark so I did a close up shot as well. This is pretty much all that got done on demonstration day at Mari’s gallery The Side Street Gallery. Keep in mind for me this is a pretty big piece so though it doesn’t look like a lot, it’s actually is quite a bit of square inch-age. I plan on taking the painting along to this weekends event ( Clear Lake Art Sail) to work on as well as long as it’s not supposed to rain.

The demo went well though this is probably too large a painting for doing a demo at Mari’s. Her gallery space is pretty tight to I took up quite a bit of room. Smaller (like last year’s Red Buffalo) are better suited. We had an okay crowd and sold a few things. I had my picture taken with a couple of happy patrons (but alas though I brought my camera I took no photos.)

The thing about the lakes areas is if the weather is nice, everyone is out on the water. In the end it was worth the trip and was as always, fun. I will continue to do it as long as Mari wants me to.

I plan to put in the base colors on the rest of this horse and the head of another so it has time to dry and be ready for all the dry work while I’m at the event.

In this photo the muzzle area is unfinished. I plan to leave the purple-y thing I got going. So often I start with loads of blues and purples and then start smacking it with reality and toning it all down. So we’ll see what happens here the farther in I get.

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Because you guys write some really well thought out or just plain funny comments I thought I’d try a new regular (as in monthly-thus the name) post. I think often the case is that only I read them, since once someone leaves a comment they rarely come back in to see what anyone else said.

So I thought about once a month I’d do a Comment Of The Month post featuring the comment that I thought was really good and worth a second chance at being seen. I often felt like there was some gold buried in the comments section. If the comments start getting more numerous I may bump this up to weekly We’ll kinda have to see how this plays out long term.

Robert Sloan said:
<p style="color: #1A67B8; font-size: 150%; "“Obviously that’s the Special Advanced Mousie Toy with Judo. He looks like the toy just threw him and tied up his hind leg in his front leg! He also missed and bit his own thigh — yep, the advanced judo mousie toy. Perfect training for the gallery cat who may have to guard against attack dust-bunnies and art critics.”

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So tomorrow I do the demonstration at the Side Street Gallery. And yeah in order to demonstrate I really need something to work on, so I had to make a decision. Next on my docket was a rhino. I really want to do a rhino. Much like the giraffes I am pretty much guaranteed it will sell as soon as it’s completed so when I got the hankerin’ to do one I should . . . But (there’s always a but)

But I got a Apples N’ Oats deadline looming and the World Percheron Congress is right around the corner so I really should be doing a Percheron painting. Carol Eilers editor and friend is great not to pressure me. This is all my own doing. But seriously a grown-up would see it’s an obvious choice. SO just this once I’m being a grown-up and working on a Percheron piece. Not that this idea wasn’t also on my to-do list I just wasn’t “feelin’ it” at the moment.

Of course if I was scheduled to be at the World Rhino Congress in a few months I’d totally be wanting to do a Percheron painting right now.

Above is my basic reference photo for this piece. The image is not the best but I really like that “you’re there” kinda vibe it give off. I plan on pushing a lot of shine where none exists and giving them that Friesian-esque look that the Percheron Mares that I photographed last year had. You know the ones that looked like they just had their tips done at some fancy salon.

About The Event

Last year you may remember I did the event with two of my good friends Katie Plucker and Judy Hemphill. This year when I was approached I was like so looking forward to repeating the experience. This time though it was to be me Katie and my dear friend Connie Herring (of paper making fame) was to join us it made it all just that much more perfect. Until I received an email from an art fair that I forgot that I had applied to. (because it’s been many years since I did that event . . . or perhaps I’m getting old and the memory is not quite as sharp as it once was.) Ah Crap!

When I called Mari to cancel she said still really wanted me to do it as she a had some folks wanting to meet me. And so I agreed to this weekend. I have no idea who the artist is that I’m demo-ing with but her business name is “Naughty Girl” so I’m pretty sure we’re gonna be besties when it’s over.

So if you’re in the area of Arnolds Park stop in at the Side Street Gallery and say hello. I won’t be doing Pearsons Lakes Art Center show this year in August. SO this will be the only time I’ll be in thh Lakes region.


22×32 approximately

After 5 or so hours of draw time here’s what I got. I shifted head positions slightly and the left hand horse is going to be moved closer to the center horse when I trace this off onto the suede board. Also I think I’ll tip the left hand mares head (nose in) just a little more. So I’ll post a progress shot either tomorrow or Sunday if I totally don’t bugger this up on Demo Day.

Note: Because I do my drawing and then throw it away once I trace it over onto suede, I just tape together whatever scrap pieces of paper I have. Since this is a pretty big drawing I used a couple of 18×24’s. I mention this because of the shadow lines.

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Warning: This one seems snarkier than normal so if you’re not in the mood hum a happy tune and skip it. Tomorrow (late tomorrow) hopefully I’ll have a new painting started for the demonstration I’m giving this weekend at the Side Street Gallery in Okiboji.

So I’m still watching the Work Of Art reality competition series. Sadly I think the artists themselves are becoming characatures of what most people think of as artists. They do have a couple of folks who have real talent but most of the rest are relying on a persona. It’s hard to explain but they just sorta stop being real and start becoming the tortured artist or the woman who complains about feeling violated and victimized by men’s desires and yet had a boob job (really bigguns) and gets nude for nearly every challenge.

Week 3: This week’s challenge was to create shocking art. You know like the Piss Christ by Andres Serrano. (Who BTW was also a guest judge) Not surprisingly most fell back on using sex as shocking which oddly enough is kinda one of the things most of us are really getting used to in mainstream life. I mean they use sex to sell everything from cars to brown rice. So really not so much shocking as just a little disgusting and totally pedestrian.

Lesson Learned: Apparently no matter what the challenge, taking nude photos of yourself in the bathroom IS the answer. Yeah I know it didn’t work all the other times but this time it did. So maybe the real lesson is to keep with it it until “it” succeeds.

Week 4: The challenge this week was take a drive in an Audi and use it for inspiration for your art. Um . . . really?

Lesson Learned: Big corporate sponsors get their own challenge dedicated to them. Nothing is really free in this world.

Week 5: This challenge was to create public art. The remaining 8 contestants (I hesitate to use the word artists) split into 2 teams and create a piece of work to go into a public setting. The *untrained guy pretty much got mauled by stripper girl and OCD guy (or as characterized on the show as the cool kids and the loner.) So no real surprise they tossed him out as the go home guy for this week.

Lesson Learned: Though your personality may be fierce you insecurity will make you vulnerable, especially when surrounded by wolves. Wolves always pick off the weak.

Note: I referred to him as untrained instead of self-taught because as self-taught he would have had to have developed an artistic voice. This guy was totally lost. He had an urge to create but had no real idea how to go about it. Hopefully this experience didn’t totally ruin art for him and he will still seek to express himself through art.

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