Monday, July 10, 2017

Last Lavender Festival

Well, that was a busy weekend! A lot packed into July this year.  Friday afternoon I was setting up my tent for the festival, followed by a reception at Imagine Gallery that evening. I'm doing a group show there for the month of July with two other local artists, a potter and a glass blower.  The display is fabulous-I'll post a pic later.'s hard to describe how huge and wonderful the Lavender Festival is.  For two days thousands came to this little working farm to pick lavender, shop with about 30 vendors, sample lavender ice cream and lemonade, and take in the perfumed atmosphere.  And there really were thousands. They came from Buffalo, Rochester, Geneva, Ithaca, Syracuse, Binghamton, and our own locals from Skaneateles.  Traffic was backed up for miles, cars were parking in weeds when the plowed fields could hold no more.  Lines to pick lavender were long, but people patiently waited their turn to select a beautiful purply fragrant bunch.
Still more waited in another line just to get into the barn that sold lavender products produced at the farm.
And they shopped. We have all been preparing our wares for months to have enough product for this hugely successful event.  My booth was filled for two days with people buying my original art, prints and notecards. Saturday night saw me hurriedly packing more inventory and matting more originals for the next day as I was already running low.
Those also sold the next day.
As wonderful as it was, it was also bittersweet to watch everyone, from tiny children to seniors with walkers contentedly wandering the fields and selecting their lavender bouquets.  For this was to be the last year.  It has truly grown too large for the owners to handle and I don't blame them at all.  It's time for them to rest and settle into a more normal life and stay healthy.  For 10 years they have spent every waking moment getting ready for this event, as well as tending the farm and sheep and a full time job outside the farm.
I need to thank them, somehow, for giving me this gift of being a vendor at their event.  It was here that I first started showing my art, starting with just a few framed paintings and some notecards in Ziploc bags, and steadily adding prints, and matted originals in proper packaging.  I learned a lot about painting and merchandising, and enjoyed this chance to see people's reactions to the work. I've gained a following doing this show and I'll be forever grateful. Doing outdoor shows also tests your mettle, as weather can range from high heat and humidity to rain, wind, bugs, etc.  One time I had a case of shingles that stripped me of all energy but still hung in there, thanks to my friends pitching in to help.

You need strength, energy and patience to set up a tent shop for the weekend; found out I can handle it!
Thank you Gary and Karen for the opportunity to grow as an artist. Please rest and enjoy your freedom!
At the top you can see the stream of people arriving at the farm.

I was tickled to discover that in this photo, someone is carrying one of my prints!
It's the orange foxes in the beginning of the front row.

Me and my devoted friend/sherpa/agent/merchandiser.  
She loves helping and knows how to sell!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Westcott Art Trail

Last minute entry into the Westcott Art Trail this weekend June 3-4-my first time participating-it's a wonderful springtime walk into artsy neighborhoods at various artists' homes. I'll reach into my stash of prints, notecards and paintings and have a tent with some other artist buds from Gallery 54 and the Wrens Den. It'll be a fun time!
I'm at #6 on the Trail Map-click the link to get all the info

Monday, May 22, 2017

Beginners Watercolor Workshop

These are some beginning watercolor exercises I had people do in a recent 3 hour workshop.  The students were pretty much rank beginners or had never tried watercolor before.  It was set up in a local library as part of their learning series with student grade paper and paint supplied, and it worked fine for an introductory class. I emphasized that if they really want to continue to learn to paint watercolors, it's important to get artist grade paper and paints and a few good brushes.  The right tools for a trade make a huge difference!
Below are samples of what I demonstrated on good paper. 

Started with washes to learn properties of watercolor and how it acts on paper, letting two colors fuse together.

I demonstrated four ways to use the washes; clockwise from top-negative painting, salt and cling wrap for texture, dragging spattered paint our from a central puddle, and masking off.

I painted some bachelor button flowers and a feather incorporating some of the techniques- wash, cling wrap and splatter.

Everybody had fun including me! Sorry I don't have pictures of everyone and their work; the time went fast and before I knew it they were packed up and leaving, and hopefully inspired to give it a try another time.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spring Flower Practice

Time to rev up the flower painting practice for a couple demos this weekend at Dickman Farms Garden Show. What a great time of year for us Northeasters to get a blast of color!
I really did need to practice as I spent this winter experimenting with other techniques and materials like liquid acrylics, monoprinting, and urban sketching. More about that later.
I always like to see how other artists handle flowers, and I have a few favorites that inspire me like Jean Haines, and Helen Dealtry who does fabric design. Andrew Geeson has some nice videos on Youtube. In the end you just have to get the paints out and spend a few hours here and there to get comfortable with your own style and let the pigments do their thing. Try color combos and washes and write down your favorites. Be patient and let things dry. Become aware of pigment/water ratios for different effects. Most of all give yourself a break from trying to create a perfect finished painting and just play, and play some more. And have fun!  The scraps of wonderful color can always be cut up for little cards, gift tags and collage and origami.  Hmmm, maybe that will be another post.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

VaVa Bloom Garden Show coming soon

Getting ready for this spring show in all its glory at Dickman Farms in April.
Click the link on the right sidebar for all the glorious info.
Winter's been long, but soon to be gone!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Christmas is Coming

Busy getting ready for the Plowshares Art Fair Dec. 3-4. I tried to make each day in October count for doing some original paintings to have ready, along with prints and notecards. This fall had a theme of pumpkins (of course) and feathers. So many beautiful feathers seemed to float my way-blue jays, peacocks and turkeys from a local farm, and delicate little loon feathers in the Adirondacks. Then I just had to make some fantasy feathers too!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Evolution of a Bluejay Painting

I love painting birds-little calligraphic marks sometimes make a wonderful little painting in a few seconds. For a full size more accurate image I really take my time-sketching to get the markings and beak and body right, and color studies, and wash swatches to stay loose and let the paint do its thing.

 Lightly outlined in pencil to get the shape, then I erase some marks so I'm not "coloring in the lines". Then I can start with the eye and first washes.
 Putting in just enough marks to identify his distinctive feathers and face
His tail is added. A few loose swishes then little marks when dry. And then-arrgh!- I never composed what he was going to be perched on. How to finish this.  Decisions decisions. I didn't want to ruin or take much away from his image by getting all branchy. His tummy needed defining. And what direction should a branch go in? I didn't want to cut him in half and lines are very powerful in a painting. They take your eyes either to or away from your subject and can be distracting if not placed correctly.

I got out my trusty little piece of acetate to place over the bird, and experimented.  This gave me peace of mind to create a "just enough" branch to finish him on. Next time I'll prepare a little more so I don't have to struggle so much, but this worked out okay.

I might add some more smudges to the background but will let this guy-and me-rest and see if he's done. A mat may be all that's needed.
What do you think?