Sunday, November 26, 2017

Support Your Local Artists---Buy Art!

I have many artist friends who are busy this time of year setting up their booth displays at various craft and art shows.  Holiday sales are important and can often help artists make it through the slower months at the beginning of a new year.  It is so important for people to shop locally and support small businesses and independent artists that are trying to make a living in the community.  

I don't do too many booth type shows but choose instead to have my work in galleries.  I believe I have been a consignment artist at The Artist's Shop in Missoula, Montana since 2011 and I have had a couple of solo exhibitions there.  I have shown at numerous other galleries over the years and that is my preferred way to sell my work.  I also have work in a small gallery in Brooklyn, NY called Brigid's Well and hope to get my work better known in that part of the country.

I admire the tenacity and dedication of artists who haul their work and their booth set-up all over the place and spend several days trying to make a profit and have something to show for their efforts.  They pay show entry and booth fees and of course have to pay gas and sometimes lodging costs to attend shows.  It is a lot of physical work to set up/take down and requires stamina to smile and greet people for three days!  They get to keep all their sales though and hopefully they have the right mix of artwork to get the sales they need.  

I, on other hand, drop off or send my work to a gallery and they hang it for me and take a sizeable commission on the sales.  I get to stay home and make more art while they attempt to sell my work for me.  

There are advantages and disadvantages to both efforts---and some people do both.  I have a son in high school and that keeps me close to home for now.  I enjoy interacting with potential customers and talking with them about my art and that is the one reason I do the occasional booth event or studio tour.  It is a real boost to the fragile artist ego to have people admire what you create and even want to buy it.  Unfortunately gallery personnel don't have time to call you every day and tell you what someone said about your work!  Sometimes we have to get ourselves out in front of the public to find out for ourselves.

That is also a good thing about doing solo exhibitions once in a while where you have an opening reception and can interact with your audience and see what pieces they spend time looking at and comment about.  It is very enlightening and usually a positive experience.  I have had more than 10 gallery openings for my work and never regretted spending the time to be there all evening and talk to whoever was interested.  I am always grateful that there ARE people who are interested!

So when you are looking for that unique Christmas gift or gift for any occasion don't forget to consider buying something from a local artist at a craft/art show or gallery in  your "neighborhood".  Be assured they will be grateful and honored that you chose to purchase their work.  Every sale matters no matter how small and if you share the purchase with someone else as a gift or display it in your home that artist is getting some promotion and exposure thanks to you.  

Look for my work at The Artist's Shop on Higgins downtown in Missoula, Montana.  There are many wonderful artists who show their work at this artist co-op.  I am honored that they let me share the space with them! 
The Artist's Shop 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Find Balance In Art and Life

"Capture The Sunrise"  (Sold)
 Why do we find ourselves so busy all the time no matter what our circumstances?  Kids, no kids, working, retired---we are all busy!  I find it hard to schedule a group to get together because everyone is going in many directions and setting their priorities differently.  And it doesn't seem to matter what time of year it is, everyone has an abundance of commitments on their calenders! 

I am certainly no exception. I have a very active teenage son and a husband and a house to care for. I have an aging father who lives on his own---perfectly capable but still can use a hand on occasion. I am involved in numerous groups that mostly relate to my art walk.  And I have all the business and creative aspects of my art. I also like to read or peruse recipes on-line and in cookbooks and cook or bake from scratch. It all takes time.

Image result for images of balanced scales I believe the most important thing in creating good art is balance and that of all the principles of art, balance is the one that is most key to success in a composition.  And in life.  We should all seek balance in what we do whether in creative endeavors or in other aspects of our life.  I have always believed in "all things in moderation" which works as a philosophy about eating or dieting as well as in most other aspects of our lives.  When we obsess or overreact or feel out of control it is probably because things are out of balance.

So, how do we find balance?  In art, balance is created by having equal weight of elements of a piece.  "Weight" refers to the actual size, weight or dimension of the elements as well as the "visual weight" which might be in the color value, texture, contrast with other elements, or placement on the field.  Simplified, you balance a large single element in one corner with a group of smaller elements in the opposite corner.  There are many ways to achieve the balance and artists find their own unique way as part of their creative process and style.  I think this can translate to life.  For example, if you have a big event coming up that requires lots of preparation you might need to dial back your participation in other activities to accommodate it.  If you are having health issues with doctor appointments and tests, you might want make sure you take time to read or watch a movie or exercise---something that might take you out of yourself and ease your worried mind.  Or have lunch with a friend who makes you laugh. Balance the inevitable difficult or negative aspects of your life with more positive, energizing/relaxing and fun things!

The biggest thing we juggle in life in order to achieve balance is TIME.  We set personal priorities in order to use our time wisely.  Sometimes we have control of our time and other times we have commitments that use our time.  I tend to not use my time wisely if I don't have deadlines or commitments to meet. I procrastinate and do things that are not really in line with my goals or priorities because they are easier or relaxing or just great methods of avoidance!  When I should be in my studio figuring out the next project and getting started on it, I am perusing Pinterest or playing a word game on my Ipad!  Not that there is anything wrong with doing those things because we do find them enjoyable.  But doing them at the wrong time or for too long creates an imbalance for me because I don't meet my creative goals which I consider a priority.  

"Bubbles In The Candlelight" $300

Procrastination.  Nasty bugger.  My husband is always lecturing my teenage son about procrastinating things.  He always wants to do something "later" instead of now.   We say, just get it done and then you won't have to worry about it.  He says, you'll just find something else for me to do!  OK, you've got us there.  Ever had a job where you were so efficient and productive that they gave you more to do?  I have and without added compensation and/or recognition that is a particularly annoying situation and feels unfair.  This develops an attitude of just do what you must to accomplish the task without putting any extra effort into it.  Good enough is good enough.  

But is it?  Do we want to live mediocre lives where we just get along, or do we find it rewarding to be successful and have that success recognized?   We need to balance our time between the things we have decided are our priorities that mean a lot to us and those things we tend to fall back into it because they are easy.  The balance comes when we feel good about how we are using our time.  Maybe your goal is to spend half of your day working on your creative process and then balance the other half between reading a good book and getting dinner and chores accomplished.  Maybe you want to work all day Tuesday on your creative endeavors and then take Wednesday off to read, take a walk and watch a movie.  If you feel like your time is well spent and you don't have a nagging feeling that you should be doing something else you have found balance.  You lucky dog!
"Chain Reaction" (Sold)

Most of us never really feel like our lives are truly balanced.  There is always something you think you should be doing that you aren't.  Or that you shouldn't be doing and are!  But, when you feel off-center and don't know what your problem is lately you should analyze your days and see what it is you are doing that is not giving you the balance you deserve and need.  Sometimes we are so busy we don't have time to do this---or if we do, we feel like we don't even have time to do those things that will allow us to be more balanced.  Keep in mind what in your life makes you feel accomplished, satisfied or successful and refocus your time.

Take 5 minutes to breathe or watch nature or hug a child/puppy/partner.  Just 5 minutes.  No matter what your schedule and commitments you can take 5 minutes.  Don't procrastinate this.  It is important.  Wherever you are in your life it is important to have balance.  So when something tips your scale too far, take a step back and figure out how to even it out.  

Take care of yourself!  
Image result for images of balanced scales

Stuffed Turkey Thigh/Legs

Disclaimer: This is a cooking post not an art post!  But I will say that there is an art to boning, stuffing and baking this recipe--and it ...