Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Application, the Jury, and the Decision

Two weeks ago on Saturday, I packed up my art dolls into their respective “coffins” for careful transporting. I also packed up four of my WhineStoppers and Whiney Hineys. Off we went to the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts to apply for membership in the Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh. That day was one of Pittsburgh’s finest, sunny, and warm…in April that is unheard of. We (soul mate and me) arrived early (of course, my M.O.) because the parkway east was under construction (for a change) and one never knows. It felt like a job interview. When the 2-D studio doors opened, I set up my “children” for the viewing and the judging by five jurors. $15. Reluctantly leaving them like on the first day of pre-school, we inched ourselves out the studio door to enjoy lunch and shopping in close-by Shadyside. Happily sated, we returned at 3pm and gathered my babies for the trip home. I was told that notification would come following week. I felt positive about it. That was April 10. I waited….and waited, checking email, checking snail mail…until today. I got an email from the guild and IGOT IN! Not only did I get in, my scores (over 122) also qualify me for automatic participation in the "Fair in the Park" in September! How cool is that?

I will now be scrambling to purchase a festival tent, display, signage, and increase my inventory to have enough for three days! To the studio I go…in the studio I will stay!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Right-brain artists usually hate the left brain stuff—like business, marketing, math…ugh. Unfortunately, unless one is lucky enough to have a full-time assistant (yeah, right) we have to find time for this. The list below contains the art business books in my library and that I refer to on a regular basis or when I need a kick in the pants!

• How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist, 5th ed.: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul ~Michels

• The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love ~Battenfield

• The Artist's Marketing and Action Plan Workbook ~Talbot

• I'd Rather Be in the Studio! ~Stanfield

• Art Festival Guide: The Artist's Guide to Selling in Art Festivals ~ Aranjo

Here's link for Regator - a great tool that gathers and organizes the world’s best blog posts
Each book has valuable information and I read them with a highlighter and sticky notes to mark the pages. Of course many other art business books are available, but this list is a great start and highly recommended. And all of them can be found in my favorite bookstore--Amazon! Happy studying!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

On the Road Again—For Art!

I am barely unpacked from Florida, but since I still have piles of clothes, I'll just pop them back into my suitcase!

Spring is especially inspirational and I get a big surge of creative energy, as do most artists. Particularly after this horrendous winter. In a few days, me and Annie (my BFF) are off to the yearly retreat/conference in Columbus, Ohio called Artiscape. This is a mixed media event that draws instructors in all medias. The artists who attend can choose from the large number of workshops that they offer. This time of year plays a key part for me, plus it's only a three-hour drive from Pittsburgh.

When Annie and I travel, nobody really knows what is in store, we laugh until tears run down our legs and the bitching and moaning keeps us sane. It's akin to a high school girl's sleep over. Last year was extremely fun because I made at least four good friend/artist connections, not to mention the fun we had after hours in the hotel bar with the Canadian rugby team--who were in kilts. The X-rated pics are excellent! Wooo Hooo! But, I digress.

The workshops I have signed up for this year: Journaling in Wax (Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch); Italian Boxed Set (Pat Osborne); Repujado Metal Embossing (Magdalena Muldoon); Collage with Moxie (Cory Celaya); By the Book (Carol Kimball); and Experimental Watercolor Media (Jacqueline Sullivan).

I have one workshop with Anne and then we are separated for most of the day only to reconvene at meals and evenings. We share our knowledge and compare notes. We drink wine. I also expect to get some time in for journaling. On the way home, we will make the obligatory stop at Dick Blick in Columbus to buy more art supplies as one can never have enough. Too bad they don't sell "time".

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Memoirs: Me and the Champ

Circa 1957. I was just five years old and visiting Chicago with my parents so Dad could attend the semi-annual furniture show at the American Furniture Mart. It sat at the south branch of the Chicago River and just a few blocks from the Lake Michigan shoreline and Chicago Navy Pier. We did some touristy things like shopping at Marshall Field, and visiting my cousins while Dad worked. It was fun for me as a kid to be in a different location and stay in a hotel.

One evening while waiting for a dinner table in the hotel restaurant, Dad led us into the bar. I followed along with Mom as children are expected to do. The bar was smoky and crowded and I stood there obediently, albeit annoyed and bored with loud, drinking adults flanking me on all sides. Glancing up at Dad, he’s now grinning ear to ear and swiftly walking over to some old guy who was seated at the bar. He shook his hand, “Hi Champ!” I just figured since Dad grew up in Chicago, he just knew this fellow, possibly an old friend who just by chance, happened to be sitting there. He then introduced my mother and me to Rocky. I shook the stranger’s hand while trying to hold on to my autograph doggy.

Rocky Marciano had retired the year before, 1956 as the World Boxing champion after defeating Joe Lewis. He was the only champion to retire undefeated. Dad loved boxing. He referred to them as Prizefights. That was back in the day. I watched with him on the black and white Zenith. Meeting Rocky Marciano didn't mean anything to a five year old until years later. In addition, it wasn’t until years later that I learned another earthy detail about that chance encounter with Champ.

Unbeknownst to me, in 1957 my mother Mille was 39 years old and extremely attractive. In other words, in today’s world she would be a “hot babe”. To me she was just good, ‘ol, overprotective Mom.

Back at the bar. We had just met Rocky, I was unimpressed, and we were still waiting for a table. Being five, I now had to go the bathroom—bad. Mom excuses us, (we were very polite in the 50s) takes my hand leading me back to our hotel room to do the deed—up the elevator and down the long hallway towards our room. I was turning blue trying not to explode when halfway down the hallway Mom realizes something and stops. What? She turned around to see that “guess who” was following us. Yep, Rocky. What? More correctly, he was following Mom who promptly yet politely spat “I think you better just please just turn around and go back downstairs!” So, it seems that Rocky Marciano was cold-tracking Mom like a coonhound diligently following a scent trail. Men. True story.

My mother is now 91 years old. She vividly (and proudly) remembers the story to which there is really no moral, but I still have his signature on that autograph doggy.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Salvaged Vacation and Lynn Whipple

Well, here I am finally after a vacation in sunny Orlando and not being able to enjoy it. Blah! When we landed last Saturday I had the sniffles. Just the generic kind, allergies maybe...or so I thought. By Sunday it was a full-blown sinus infection. So, off to the local Urgent Care pill pusher's office I went. Long story short, after mucho meds and a denied claim to my insurance I was able to salvage ONE day on Friday. The last day of vacation.

Due to the power of social networking I saw that artist extraordinaire, Lynn Whipple was painting in her backyard overlooking a lake in Winter Park, FL. This was just 30 minutes from where I was located. It sounded heavenly to me and my sorrowful head. Lynn and her husband John were opening their exhibition at the Lake Eustis Museum of Art that evening. HYPNOTIC ODDITIES from a WHIMSICAL UNIVERSE.
I could hardly contain myself at this opportunistic news! We jumped (well, actually sauntered cause remember, I'm dizzy) in the car and headed north to Winter Park to get a glimpse of their McRae Art Studio and then on to Eustis for the opening reception.

Just by chance, Donne Bitner was there working in her studio and graciously gave us an impromptu tour. I was thrilled to be in my element of working artists and felt better, instantly. Thanks again Donne!

As we walked into the Art Museum in Eustis, Lynn was standing at the door. We were then introducing ourselves, both shrieking at the power of social networking that was responsible for getting me there. Meeting Lynn and viewing their incredible art was the salvaging moment of this otherwise not-to-good trip. I was able to experience Winter Park, FL for a possible relocation of Purple Barn Studios, and I was able to make another live connection and real friend from a Facebook friend. This is a very good thing.