The accumulation phase of my life seems to have passed. There is little "stuff" I feel the burning desire to own, reserving the exception of art supplies or art books. With those, the question of how much do you need, can easily be answered by "just one more than I have now".
What I seek is knowledge, understanding and new skills. Yep, I LOVE learning; painting techniques, marketing insights and getting a toe hold on using the connecting power of the ever changing world of technology.
Someone who has helped me along the way is Alyson Stanfield, Art Biz Coach. I first followed her art blog, then took some of the online classes she offered. Impressed with what I was learning about the business of art, I brought her to Winthrop to put on a workshop for the artists here. That was a productive day - over 40 artists soaking in what could easily have been a week long seminar about promoting your art. My copy of her book "I'd rather be in the studio!" currently has 16 post-it markers in it, so I can get to those always used passages easily.
If you have an artist on your gift list, or as an artist, would like to give your business a boost for 2012, I can recommend her classes and/or her book. The links are provided below. And with full disclosure, yes, I'm an affiliate of Alyson and will make a small amount if you purchase using the links, but I know firsthand the value of what she has to offer. I use it daily. How many holiday gifts can do that?
I'd rather be in the studio! book:
Our volunteer firemen will torch off a large training fire this Saturday. With the fall leaves gone from the cottonwoods, my living room window will offer a first rate view of the heated destruction of Emy Hallowell's former home. During my 35 years living here, it has been a landmark, cherished for it's interesting history, but mostly for it former owner, Emy. Caring and kindness should be her middle name.
A couple of years ago, Emy sold and the new owners have looked at every way possible to use the home with remodel. From first hand experience, I know that sometimes the only way to make a project work is to start from scratch or ground up. Not an easy decision when there is small town attachment to a building. Following the ashes of Saturday's fire, construction of a new B & B will grace the river view site, welcoming people as they come into Winthrop. The owners will have a room dedicated as Emy's suite with reminders of the structure's past lives.
Our local methownet.com internet provider has a terrific link Methow Grist, for the really good local stories. They have featured a wonderful one, by local author Karen West, interviewing Emy, telling the home's history, including a watercolor painting I did several years ago. Interestly I painted it as "Emmy's B & B". So glad I didn't put off the creating of that work and I'm looking forward to capturing the new hospitality site once it's built.Comment on or Share this Article →
Tony Couch demo
Blissfully unaware of whatever financial market dramas that played out last week, I was investing in a small company - Paula Christen Watercolors. The excitement wasn't on Wall Street, but focused just off Poly Avenue, on the campus of Montana State University in Billings. Tony Couch, one of the top watercolor painters in the US, was teaching a 5 day workshop.
Early in my painting days, Tony's book " WATERCOLOR, You Can Do It!" was one of the first ones I purchased. Constant use of it is evident; dog-eared and paint splattered pages show examples of how watercolor says fresh and light as no other medium. Past schedules, finances or life never seemed to jive with his workshop dates. And they didn't this time either, but the opportunity to just absorb maybe 10% of what this man knows will make me a better painter, paying dividends for the rest of my life. Can't say that I've ever felt this good about any other shareholder investment!
Here are 2 of his workshop paintings:
Art buyers sketch
Remember those late summer days - 90 degrees, heat waves rising off the pavement and not a breeze to be found? It never failed that before leaving the house for an adventure, Mom would ask if you had a jacket. Awwww, Mom! No one else will be dragging around some ol' dumb jacket.
Fast forward to yesterday. Car's packed with art, gear, lunch, biz materials and I'm leaving on schedule. As I'm pulling away from the studio on my way to Tsillian Winery/Guild B art show, there's that voice nagging me to throw in a coat. Calm, still morning is only showing a slight overcast. The promise of strolling wine tasters enjoying a golden fall afternoon amid the arts, was my vision. Still, I did a U turn to snag the fleece hanging by the front door. It's official; I've now become my mother.
Two hours later, with the show set up, I'm shivering in low 60 degree temps and 20 mile an hour down lake winds. That extra layer saved my frozen bacon! From 11 am to 5 pm, only the hearty wine tasters trotted by in shorts, tank tops and sandals. They didn't stop long; staying warm by keeping those flip flops on the move. (Guess they didn't get the jacket lecture from their Mom.) My fleece never came off all day. Sketching kept my fingers from freezing, with the occassional hop up to catch flying business cards.
Big thanks to the Guild B Lake Chelan Community Hospital host volunteers who helped the artists unload, had hot coffee ready and gave us breaks. They stuck it out there with the rest of us for the duration of the show.Comment on or Share this Article →
Sage Hens Studio - Winthrop, WA
Like ice cream cones on a summer's day, galleries are disappearing from the business landscape in today's economic climate. Even with that dire outlook, 2 fellow artists have done just the opposite; opened a new art space"Sage Hens" on the main street of Winthrop.
Now I use "art space" rather than gallery because the two women, Becky Lavergne and Kathy Meyers went at this with a different order of priorities.
Acrylic artist, Kathy and oil painter, Becky decided that their strategic plan was to:
1. Establish a working studio away from home to increase painting time
2. Create the opportunity for more public interaction
3. Receive more of the financial rewards (interesting - this is last on their list)
Catching Kathy at studio break
Let me admit that I have a small case of location envy; quaint building, riverside deck, big shade tree and walls bathed in natural light, covered with their fantastic originals. When I dropped in to visit Saturday morning, Kathy was in the studio. She's painted over 50 canvases since moving in this spring!
There is no regular schedule of hours. Kathy likes to paint early in the day and Becky prefers the afternoons. The studio is open if someone is there. Sales have been beyond their expectations and commissions have also been contracted. Seems like they are meeting all 3 goals.
Sage Hens was a perfect name choice - they are 2 smart chicks who took a chance doing the contrary thing. I encourage you to stop by.Comment on or Share this Article →
(L to R) Roxie, Sally, Ardis & Chris
Look out - girls in the studio!
Creating art, is pretty much a solo experience; just you, the materials, an idea and hope. (Lots of hope.)
However this Friday the studio lights were on bright with the space full of laughs and the questions of "what next?" or "how big a puddle?". Four of my friends/neighbors, Roxie, Chris, Ardis and Sally came to take part in a "Make a Splash" watercolor lesson.
Their experience in painting varied, but each one's enthusiasm was 100 percent. After four hours of demos and practice, all paintings were complete.
Time to mat our work and kick back with a wine and appetizer fueled "critique". Of course, it was all good but the gals did inform me that I had the order of the lesson wrong... I needed to provide the wine first, then painting techniques.
Ladies, thank you for such a fun afternoon and for setting me straight. Encore anyone?Comment on or Share this Article →
Hard working students
Enjoyed a terrific 5 days last week teaching beginning watercolor to Velma and Barb from Olympia. These two friends were having a girls week in Winthrop. Along with plans for a scenic balloon ride and cruising the boardwalk shops, they spent afternoons practicing that day's techniques.
Weather didn't favor outside painting, so we inhabited the studio 4 out of the 5 days. Now, I normally try to keep each session to no more than 4 hours. That way you don't suffer from information overload. Velma and Barb blew right through those 4 hours and kept working, determined to finish their paintings. I just loved it!Comment on or Share this Article →
A warm weather kick off - the Summer Cocktails series now on display, Winthrop Gallery
Giving paintings titles sometimes comes easy, sometimes not. Imagine you have hundreds of children that need names. Yikes! You want them to be unique, give people a clue to their personalities. With this series, I was inspired by the memory of the deck gatherings every night after sundown. Each of the surrounding cottages would host a cocktail party. It was simple, just a drink or two, snacks and the catching up converstation of old friends. For some this is the only time of year they get together. After an hour or two, everyone heads off to their own kitchens for dinner or out for reservations. The parting shout "Who's deck tomorrow"? So each painting received its title from the name of a cocktail in honor of those warm evenings during the vacation.
Great attendance opening night, despite the rain. Guests were treated to some very delicious offerings prepared by my friend and food expert, Cathy Stern. She agreed to team up with me by paring each painting's namesake cocktail with one of her speciality appetizers. I displayed both the painting and the recipes. It's a package offering; a treat for eyes and tastebuds. You can view all 8 (and their stories) from the Artwork selection on the left hand side menu or stop in the Winthrop Gallery from 11 am to 6 pm. Cheers!Comment on or Share this Article →
Multi snow storms over the past week, left shivering Robins huddled in my tree tops, complaining loudly. Being somewhat afraid of heights and not wishing to scare the neighbors, I resisted the urge to join them. With some quiet muttering from me, the walk was shoveled yet again.
There haven't been enough signs of spring, so I decided to create my own on Saturday, while sitting at the Winthrop Co-op Gallery.
Window boxes are no used enough. Bursting with blooms, they lift your spirit whether viewed from inside the house or as a passerby in the neighbood. The boxes say a visual "hello" to anyone who sees them. Thanks to you gardeners who still hold up the tradition.
And a special thanks to Ben, (my new best 5 year old friend) who, with his parents watched as I was painting on Cottage Color said "Wow, you're an expert!" Artists can never hear that enough.Comment on or Share this Article →
Winthrop Balloon Round-Up
This weekend you can say Winthrop, WA is just full of hot air.
It's the annual Balloon Round Up. This was the view from my deck this morning as 17 were launched into a brilliant sun filled March morning. Who else sipped their coffee and watched this kind of display dance along the cup brim?Comment on or Share this Article →