Friday, March 30, 2007

Little Race Horse Paintings

race horse pulling upOkay, you know I'm a lousy photographer but here are three little paintings that I did on some 8"x10" canvases Michael stretched for me ages ago. He put them in the frames before I got them shot. I created them to have some lower priced pieces in my upcoming exhibit at Gallery Central in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

racehorse warming upIncredibly, it was really difficult for me to paint this small after all the gigantic canvases. I don't even have any bristle brushes smaller than a #6 and I had to search around for a brush I received as a bonus for buying something or other. I think it's a #3. It doesn't hold much paint, that much I can say. Fussy, fussy, fussy.

racing horse
So there won't be many of these mini's on canvas. I'll end up having an anxiety attack. At least with the small acrylics and gold leaf I painted I was able to use sables and they were on smooth panels, not canvas.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Arts Day in Tallahassee

I'm home early from Tallahassee after attending a dinner and informational networking session with the Florida Association of Local Arts Agencies. Michael and I have too much work to stay longer even though that was the original plan. I'm one artist blessed to be busy but it's tempting to get involved in the political arena of lobbying and fund-raising.

I attended as an observer. Michael represented the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission. We met representatives of various arts councils and agencies from several different counties. The ideas flowed. We also heard from two lobbyists, a couple of senators including Gwen Margolis, freshman representative Will Weatherford, and the executive chairwoman of the Florida Arts Council, Katharine Dickenson. The keynote speaker was Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning who loves and supports the arts. Sherron Long, the Chief Operating Officer of FALAA is a true dynamo and passionately involved in all causes art-related. What an inspiration to be in attendance with all these advocates for us artists!

My impressions are modestly humble. The experience was fascinating on all levels. Overall, everyone loves the arts until it's time to financially support them. The Florida House of Representatives would like to slash the arts budget, the Senate would leave the funding status quo. Michael is empowered by information to help the local arts groups and Sherron Long most graciously offered to personally help him. We must all be united on a local level to promote strength, respect and power in numbers.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Alyson Stanfield's Workshop

Spent yesterday in Bradenton at the Art Center Manatee attending Alyson Stanfield's workshop entitled "Shameless Self-Promotion for Artists". I jumped on the marketing bandwagon last year as a result of attending a Bruce Baker workshop. I loved Alyson's style - friendly yet no-nonsense. Some of the points she made relating to where I am in my career endeavors are:
  • Create a "deadline" calendar. Ah, never thought of this obvious tool.
  • Languaging - here's one I really need to work on. This includes defining my work to enable people to connect to it easier. She stresses using "colorful, meaningful and effective language". And here's the one that hit home for me: Define yourself before someone else does it for you. Wow.
  • Alyson emphasized compiling and using an extensive mailing list. This is something I've made a weak attempt at. No more.
  • Branding - which included a long list of effective marketing material. We've been discussing branding extensively in our salon.
  • Ways to create a "buzz". This was particularly interesting as our salon is evolving into something powerful and electric. The buzz is beginning with very little effort even before we launch. Just imagine...
  • Strategic Alliances. Getting out of the studio to network for a myriad of reasons. Alyson urges artists to organize a salon group and I emphasize that advice whole heartedly!
  • Blogging. The Art Biz Blog and Newsletter available on Alyson's website is absolutely priceless. There's very little marketing information available specifically for artists so I urge you all to take advantage.
I also realized some mistakes I'm making with my website and business cards. The jury's still out on the business cards, however as a lot of people appreciate that Michael is on the back. As far as blogging is concerned, interesting, dynamic content is always what we should be striving for. But Alyson said a cute photo of your kitten now and then is okay...I present to you the infamous "Babush"!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Shameless Self-Promotion Workshop

Heavens. The time goes by. I'm so grateful for my busyness yet I'm concerned about all that does not get accomplished. Take this blog for instance. Now, to get caught up!

I'm looking forward to attending Alyson B. Stanfield's marketing workshop this coming Sunday, March 25th in Bradenton, Florida. Here's the pertinent information for attending which I was supposed to post last weekend. My apologies to Alyson who I consider an "art marketeer extraordinaire"!

Alyson B. Stanfield is flying in from Colorado next week to share self-promotion secrets with artists in Central Florida.

Artists should make plans to attend the Shameless Self-Promotion for Artists workshop on March 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Art Center Manatee in Bradenton. If you roll out of bed early that Sunday, you’ll learn:

  • Nine things every artist needs for promoting their work.
  • Why the process of writing your artist statement is critical to your marketing (and how to make it pain-free).
  • How to build a network of people who are essential to your success.
  • Creative ideas for marketing your art.
  • What promotional materials you’ll need and the rules to follow when creating them.

The workshop is $75 and includes lunch. Get registration details on the Art Center Manatee website or by calling 941-746-2862.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Show at the Steeplechase

horses racing at steeplechaseAnother fun and fantastic day at the Little Everglades Steeplechase! This year we exhibited as a vendor and am I ever glad! In prior years we exhibited in "Art on the Hill" which was only accessible to the high-end subscribers and sponsors. In Vendor Village, we had volumes more people including all the tailgaters. I did three times the amount of business. Yeah!

<span class=This is the first time we've used this old Craft Hut exhibit tent. We bought it a couple of years ago and my artist friend Moe Hahn has been using it. Thankfully, she set up next to us and helped with the initial assemblage.

We haven't participated in a show like this in ages, so I was a bit rusty with my display and design. I needed to get this first one done, now I know what to do for the next one. I had two tables packed with merchandise and I think it was a bit crowded. I'm concerned that viewers are able to stand back and look at the artwork and in a 10'x10' space that's a challenge. I kept the two tables to one side and they poked out in front a bit which was okay, but it presents another issue of blasting sunlight washing out the colors on the merchandise. The tent comes with a canopy which none of us can figure and I know Craft Hut has been bought out, so it's to the internet for research. Unless anyone knows how to use it?

The table held my mousepads, mugs, clocks, placemats, matted 8"x10" prints, t-shirts and in the corner was our knucklebuster, brochures, bags and paper for packaging, etc. You can see how the table extends beyond the tent. The day was so profitable that it cemented our plans to follow more of the steeplechase circuit up the east coast. Guess we'll figure things out as we go along. Oh, and we always listen to our Bruce Baker cd's on the way!

mounted deputiesMoe and I broke away for a few minutes while the races were running. I love this photo of the mounted deputies taking a break in the shade. It was an exhausting week getting ready and standing on my feet for ten hours yesterday has me whipped today. Lots more to tell later...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Little Everglades Steeplechase

I sent out an e-mail announcing my exhibit in Vendor Village this Sunday, March 11th, at the Little Everglades Steeplechase. Try as I might, I'm not techie enough to figure out how to transform an .html file into a .jpeg so that I could upload it here. Just know it was cool.

The event is sponsored by the Blanchard's, owners of Little Everglades Ranch. It's some of the most spectacular scenic property in all of Florida. Comprised of over 2000 acres, it's been put into a conservancy so it will remain as is forever. The event serves has the opening meet of the season for the steeplechase circuit throughout the east coast.

Here's an exhibition by the Southcreek Foxhounds. The fun and activities roll on all day and every year there's something new. If you've never attended I can promise you a day of color, sound, and non-stop amazement. Little Everglades is located in Dade City, Florida. Directions.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Pulp Fiction

I have succeeded in annoying Ocala's social elite with my determined requests to hand Travolta one of my business cards at tonight's "Wild Hogs" soire. Ha! How ironic that entire statement is. At least I had the moxie to ask. I'd rather meet Travolta (and I will) on businesslike terms where I can conduct myself as a professional instead of as a silly gushing fan.

So, I've been thinking about my favorite Travolta movie, Pulp Fiction, which reminded me of a book about pulp fiction cover illustrations that I purchased at a flea market years ago. Pulp paperbacks and magazines were popular during the depression and war years of the 30's, 40's and 50's. It was so named for the sub-standard wood pulp paper it was printed on. Did you know that the early work of Dashiell Hammet, H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury and Tennessee Williams graced the pulp pages?

The Conde Nast Publication, "The Shadow", with cover art by George Rozen. Some of these artists painted for pennies and some like Rozen went on to be in-demand illustrators.

Don't you love the color and action? This painting is by Norman Saunders for "Ace Detective", 1938. He created one of the most successful nonsports-card sets in history - "Mars Attacks", worth untold thousands in today's market.

Illustration for "Spicy Mystery Stories" by H. J. Ward, 1936. This series combined steamy sex with action and was the brainchild of Culture Productions, started by Harry Donenfeld and Frank Armer who continually dodged the censors who proclaimed violence and mutilation were okay, nipples were not.

One of the best fantasy artists, J. Allen St. John, known as the Edgar Rice Burroughs artist. He illustrated the Tarzan books and he was in great demand. Here is "Golden Blood" for Weird Tales, April 1933.

Dean of the Aviation Pulp Artists: Rudolph Belarski. Here's "Nazi Fury!" for Thrilling Adventures, October, 1940. Over 50,000 pulp illustrations were produced during the period and most tragically ended up in trash bins. Now highly collectible and sought after.

Some well known fine-art painters contributed to the pulps. John Stuart Curry, Rockwell Kent, and this guy, the great N. C. Wyeth. He also created a Tarzan cover or two. In my opinion, N.C. is one of the all time great illustrator/artists. He work is darkly compelling. Above is "Ambushed on the Trail" for All Around Magazine, March, 1916. (poor horse)