Posts Tagged ‘artfairs’

Okay a year ago my gallery computer crashed and my home laptop was swept into service. As such my blogging came to an end since I had no real way of keeping up with it.

Lots of changes in the past year as well as coming up in the new year. I’ll get into that as it happens. So for today I’ll just do a start to finish on a piece I created this summer as a demo piece.

It’s called Dairy Queens and the original painting has sold but I do have paper prints, canvas prints and note cards available in my etsy store. 

Paper Prints of Cowgirls

 Canvas Prints

Cowgirls 5×7 inch blank Note cards

A goal for me this year was to get 400 listings in my etsy by the end of the year. I’m close and would probably have made it except we are having a scary chill down with highs in the -9 or so so I’m not leaving the farm for nothing until the 2nd.

The photo reference comes from an artist reference site which specifically asks not to be mentioned. The funny story though attached to this painting is one of the last events I did this year there was an artist 3 booths down with the same painting. Hanging in the same place that I has hung mine. So yes loads of commentary about it at the event. From what I’m told the other artist was rather put out by itg. I didn’t exactly like it part it’s just part of the deal when using public reference photos.



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So it’s been forever and I’m sorry,

No really, I am.

But if not for an email from a reader saying they missed me here I probably wouldn’t have written even now. I kinda bit off more than I can chew this year, so things like facebook and the particularly the blog tended to get swept under the rug.

In this instance, I decided to be a vendor at the Iowa State Fair. This was a monumental undertaking for me since I didn’t cut any of my usual events. I quite literally worked 7 days a week anywhere from 10-16 hour days for 6 weeks in preparation and the event lasted 2 weeks. And I’m still working that schedule for at least another month. But it’s all good. Nothing a whole lotta sleep and a really good cry won’t fix.

I survived
I was told repeatedly that I wouldn’t be able to do it alone.

I’d burn out.

It’d be too much.

Which if ya’ll know me I’m like “Hell Yea, I can too do it all by myself!”

And so I did.

And frankly it was exhausting running on 5-6 hours sleep each night and getting up and being to the building at 7am all the while bearing in mind that no matter how crabby I felt, stabbing people was wrong! When the building closed at 9 pm, I’d head back and shower and crash. Rinse and repeat.

It was okay sales wise. I was hoping for more though I’m not sure if that’s not always the case. I made some great contacts, took lots of photos and in general thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Yes, I will do it again and at least this time I’ll know what to expect. The bulk of my stress was not knowing anything about the event, the crowds, the buying patterns, parking etc etc.

I do tend to update on facebook more because it’s not the process I go through uploading photos and such. For those who’d like to see more photos and some horse videos and a work in progress piece that I demonstrated with, check out my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WildFacesGallery



The Folks Who Made Me Look Good

So as much as I’d like to pretend I’m Wonder Woman the truth is there was a whole slew of people helping me out in various ways.

Barb McGee. She saved my butt my bringing a load of inventory down for me as well as helped with set up. Not to mention got me a place to stay with family 15 minutes from the fairgrounds. This was so huge! I can’t express how much both mentally and physically and financially this helped. Thank you dear one.

Amanda and family for opening their home to a complete stranger for 2 weeks.

Louise and Bill Shimon for being my plan B on all fronts and just always being there for me.

Connie Braunschweig (in photo above with me) who helped me navigate the chaos of doing this monumental undertaking, told me I could do it and helped introduce me to the walnut center arts family. Hugs to you. I never felt alone because you were here at my side.

Inee & Diane neighbor artists who I often found Manning my booth and making sales when I’d run off when the allure of horse flesh just outside the building doors got too great. And Bill too. 🙂 You all kept me laughing.

All the folks at the Walnut Center who checked on me, offered help, rides, breaks and support. So happy to be welcomed into the family.

And lastly those at home who made it possible for me to leave for 2 weeks knowing my fur babies are taken care of. Gordon, Cheryl Hawk and Mike.

I am mightily blessed to have such great friends. Thank you.


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Oh yes, I have been sick. I’m not sure if it was bad art fair food/fast food at my last event (which was not the one pictured above) or just the bug that I’ve heard is going around. I haven’t had the flu in over 12 years so this was a real shocker. But as of today I’ve kept my breakfast down and I feel pretty close to normal, a little weak but other than that I’m pretty sure nothing is going to explode out of one end of me or the other. Which is good because tomorrow I leave for yet another art event.

So the two events I’ve done so far have been below normal in sales which is disappointing of course. But as artists we are generally optimists. I mean really have to be don’t we? At Artsplash I got a nice award with a nice check so that helped make up for it. Also on the plus side the weather has been stellar. This is not the most flattering booth shot but I had to showcase the award. 🙂

The weather report for Riverssance is …

This weekend I head to Daveport, IA for Riverssance, It’s supposed to rain tomorrow morning, then clear off during the day which means hopefully we get to drive into the park to set up the booth. (Lord know I hate slepping my booth and artwork across a water soaked park by the tiny cart full.) After that the rain resumes Friday night into early Sat. Morning. And then … nothing but unicorn rainbows and butterfly wishes … er … sunny and beautiful. So here’s hoping the buying crowds come out.

If you’re in the area I’m booth 72. Pop in and say hi!

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click for larger image

DC Comics Wonder Woman Colorful Pop Art Panty for women (Medium)

So lots has happened recently that I plan to blog about but am in a whirlwind of events and pretty much just crash at the end of each day. “Cowgirls” is up and running, I have finished the calf that is photographed below so expect a start to finish on her at some point and well … this

That’s right this is way bigger than just needing Big Girl Panties

So in the next four weeks I’m doing four art fairs. This has kinda been the norm for me for the past several years but as the month of September approaches there is always some trepidation.

As a single woman running a business on her own I have quite a bit of stress to deal with. Mostly normal stuff but there’s something about having no one to fall back on, no one to tell me everything will be alright that I, at times, wish I had.

In most of my high stress situations I often say something like “Time to put on my big girl panties.” But as my September art fair stint is now here I need to step it up even more which means breaking out and putting on, my wonder woman Underoos.

Art fairs are so much work and the possibility for something bad to happen is rather high.

Something bad you say? Like what?

Ooh let me let my fears run amok for a moment …

  • Storms, lightening and or high winds.
  • Torrential down pour ruining my work
  • Flooding. Yup when the torrential downpour literally overruns whatever scenic water way the art fair is adjacent to. This has happened but I always managed to pack up and skip town before the flood exodus begins.
  • Temps exceeding 95 degrees. I’ve done 100 or more many many times over the years. In fact it was 101 on pavement just 2 years ago at the event I did last week.
  • which leads me to … Getting sick. So far has never happened. I spend a lot of time outdoors making sure I’m comfortable working hard in hot weather. And keeping myself physically strong enough to move 1000 pounds of stuff several times over the course of a few days.
  • Hurting myself in some way where I am unable to work. As a working artist it means that if I don’t work I don’t eat.
  • Van breaking down and being stranded far, far from home.
  • Car accident. There’s nothing that says “squished like a bug” than rear-ending a solid object and having 1000 pounds of art stuffs slide forward and push me into my engine block.
  • Getting mugged. Most of the events I do are pretty safe. Still there is one or two where I am downtown in a major city well after dark.

Now you might have thought no sales would have made the list … but no.

First of all that almost never ever happens. At this point I have done most of my events long enough to know about what I’ll come home with and if something happens like getting stormed out … well that’s what my gallery is for.

Art fairs are what got my hobby to business status, but as the gallery does better and better and produces a steady stream of work, art fairs have been cut. It’s still an important income stream not to mention all the other benefits they bring, but losing out on an event here or there is a bummer for sure, but not something that keeps me up at night.

So if you see me somewhere in the next few weeks you may well wonder what is giving me the courage to smile and be conversational while internally I am all chaos.

And now … you know.

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Flying Without A Net

Recently when discussing all things art with a group of fellow artists there was a moment when I was talking about my fears regarding sales for next year. I have sold more original works than I produced for the past several years. This has left my inventory quite depleted. Yes this is a good problem to have … it is none-the-less a “real” problem. Having my own gallery is awesome. It’s also stressful and exhausting. The only way my tiny gallery, in my tiny town keeps my lights on and my belly full is by juggling half a dozen different art related income streams. I gotta keep all the balls in the air to make it work. Drop one … say like loss of original artwork sales for a year … and it could potentially be financially serious. I’m single so it’s all on me to keep the cash flow … well … flowing.

So when trying to broach the subject with my art group I was met with jeers about “Oh poor you, selling too much art.” And I know it was in good fun. These are in fact a group of artists that I have known and consider some of my best friends for 10-15 years. They have been there and supported me during many of life’s trials. So to be clear I was not hurt by it, but it did in fact shame me just a little bit and thus put me on a bit on an introspective path.

I mean did it sound like I was bragging? Did I not include enough hand wringing to be clear it was in fact “not” about that. Or was I just over sharing?

Even now I feel compelled to place a disclaimer “Well, I am not a prolific artist so my outselling what I produce isn’t as impressive as it sounds.” 

When did it become shameful to talk about money?

Money Talk

After spending a summer talking openly about sales with fellow art fair artists I forget sometimes that not everyone is comfortable with this kind of conversation. Many of my art fair artist friends discuss money and sales openly because the exchange of this type of information is invaluable. Speaking vaguely serves no one. My idea of what makes a successful event, and your idea and the guy down the street, will be all very different.

When talking with my art fair friends talking real monetary numbers and whether an event was successful isn’t usually seen as bragging. Merely a sharing of information. therefor shaming at least in my circles, doesn’t occur. But when talking with other artist friends, celebrating one’s success “too much” can be seen as an abundance of ego.

All this got me to thinking and curious what you guys think. As professional artists … do you talk openly about your successes or sales (successful or otherwise) with other artists?

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Bring On The Sales!

Here I am all smiles for so early in the morning. I couldn’t have asked for much more outta my last art fair of the season. The weather was stellar, sales were small but brisk and I got away without being hit by a truck.

I am always happy when the season is over and also sad. I really do enjoy doing art fairs (as long as you don’t ask me how much in the wee hours of a frosty morning or when I’m packing up in a heavy downpour.) I like meeting people, hearing their critter stories and well … making money. I usually come away feeling very motivated to create which is huge.

So thank you to all who purchased from me this past season. Not only does it help me keep myself and my critters fed, the lights on at home and the gallery but it also motivates me to continue to do what I love to do, make more critter art.


In case you’re wondering yes, I am wearing a fanny pack. I realize they are oh so trendy but I like to keep my cash on my body. I can make change easily and never have to worry about my cash box when taking a bathroom break.

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The season is already about over for me (I’m not planning on doing any holiday events this year) and I didn’t really even mention them on the blog as I did them this year. This is in part because there has a bit of chaos keeping me rather preoccupied and partly because I’ve pretty much done all the same events I usually do and so there just wasn’t much to talk about about..

It’s All A Crapshoot

The above photo was from Riverssance held in the Quad-cities of Iowa and was where I was last weekend. As you can see by the photo there were just no people. This normally booming event usually boasts great crowds which like to buy. This year was slow. (mind numbingly soul sucking slow) I did half of my usual. Sadly, this meant I was one of the high earners among the artists I talked to. There were 101 talented artists, live music, wine tasting and fun foods. I don’t know why it was so poor this year. It threatened rain but for a small sprinkling Saturday morning, didn’t.

At any rate, events this year for the most part were better than expected, so on the whole I’d say things are looking up for the economy. Many of the events I did, I sold original work as well as prints which is certainly not the case most years. So I am rather optimistic about the art business.

The Last Hurrah.

This weekend I’ll be in Ames, Iowa doing the Octagon event. I wasn’t there last year as it conflicted with Riverssance. So hopefully that means good things sale-wise this year. Wish me luck and if you happen to be in the area come say “Hello” I am booth 109 which is somewhere in the center (sort of.)

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ChrisCakes So recently the transmission went out on my art fair gallery van “again.” As in I just got it replaced … oh … about 9000 miles ago. And yes, it was out of warranty … just barely.

While the cost of the tranny alone is depressing the fact that it happened literally on the eve of me doing 4 events in 5 weeks was enough to put me in a tizzy. Loss of art fair income at a time when I need to pay for work on my gallery roof was not an option.

Note The Similarities Between My Gallery Building And The Truck. After calling half a dozen car rental places to no avail I tried someone with whom I’ve had business relations for, well … as long as I’ve been in business. Chris Cakes is no longer housed in my gallery building in Rolfe and even though I’ve owned the building for many many years, I just never quite got around to taking down the sign.

He was a doll and generously let me use the truck not once but twice keeping it set aside for me. I can’t express how much this meant to me. At any rate while cruisin’ this bad boy I learned two things about people.

  1. People love cake! And when I explained that Chris Cakes is actually “pancakes” well …
  2. People love pancakes! Pretty much the same reaction. Folks were following me around like the pied piper.

So thank you Gregg. You were truly a life saver. A big hug to you for being there when no one else was able to. You really saved my booty.

To learn more about some of the best damn pancakes anywhere visit the Chris Cakes website.

In Case You’re Wondering While I did get a discount on the new transmission it was minor and now it takes all my willpower not to mutter “Those bastards!” every time I think about it.

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Insert angelic chorus here.

So I did my last art fair of the season. Riverssance turned out to be a gorgeous weekend but the crowds were light. Go figure. In the end it was good. Not great but good. Of the artists polled this was exactly what around 20 or so others said.

But Dick Blick had a booth and also gave out free swag of tote bag and sketch journal to all artists. They told a good story of deep discounts and a promised land filled with 90% scratch and dent deals enough to make even the most cynical old artist drool.

When I spoke with another artist about maybe going even though it was out of the way, she waxed poetic about the deals she had gotten and testified that she made a great pilgrimage to the outlet store a couple of times a year. (Can I get an “Amen!”)

So I went.

The Fault Lies Not In Our Stars

I bought a few pencils. Yup. Thaaaat’s right.

But the problem my friends lies not in art nirvana but in myself. I am, in the end a one trick pony. So my needs are limited. If I were say an artist of more varied skills I’m sure I would have found something.

Well, actually I did find something. A flat file which I would desperately love for the gallery. Unfortunately I would have left my artwork behind in order to get it home.

So I left nirvana not having found the promised land. But if you happen to be near Galesburg, IL pull in. The place is packed with everything from office furniture and easels, to matcutters and boards to frames and art supplies of all sorts.

Perhaps my dear friend it will be the spiritual experience you are looking for.

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Inseparable – Wolf Duo
Oil Pastel On Museum Board
Image Size 14×16 inches

You are hereby forewarned. This post is choppy and disjointed. Mostly because most of the stuff I’m talking about didn’t really feel like it could stand on it’s own.

So I did Rockbrook in Omaha the second weekend in September. Again is was a blistering hot event at 96, 94 degrees respectively for Sat & Sunday. But it was so worth it.

Sales were really good despite the weather and the above original painting went home with a “be-back” from the previous year. Cool!

That was then, this is now

This weekend past I went and did a giclee print consultation with an artist and as I was driving there I turned the heat on in my car.

I know right … THE HEAT!

Today is cold wet and rainy with temps not hitting 70 and overnights in the 40’s so bizarre. Last week had summer written all over it. This week is screaming Fall. Even the leaves on the walnut trees are dropping. Truth is I love Fall. My favorite time of year. So it’s all good.

Weekend Forecast for Riverssance

Supposed to rain everyday up until the event. Then Sunny and 70 both days with 0% chance of rain. At least that’s what they’re saying now.

My booth is #98 and I’m in the inner circle facing the bandstage.

Hope to see you there

So I guess they were right and I was wrong. Yay! We both win.

The above painting was sitting in my gallery backroom for years unfinished. After the upteenth person saying …

“Oooh …I want a print of that painting.” Pointing at wolves.

ME: It’s not done.

THEM: “What’s left to do?”

ME: Uummmmm.

So despite not really feeling like it was finished I just framed it up and well … sold it.  Both wolf pieces went this year. So now I’m all … what new wolf piece can I do? I’m weird that way. I kinda have to sell the critters originals that I have before I do more. Horses are really the only critter exempt from this internally imposed rule.


UPDATED: After chatting with a dear artist friend, she asked why hadn’t I made prints of this piece. So since it wasn’t clear, prints are available check out my WFG website for detail.

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