Monday, December 16, 2013

Onward and upward (again)!

The building we're renting for our gallery/living quarters has been sold. We're moving on and the feelings are bittersweet. There's great energy here: history, ghosts, the spirit of many ethnic groups who have stamped their presence on the neighborhood to infiltrate our milieu. Ah, but change is good and we'll look forward to new opportunities.

The art biz has changed so much in the past few years. Is it due to the recession? Or the way our clients purchase art? Or that we as artists have had to take on the role of self-promotion that wasn't required a mere few years ago? More than likely a combination of all of the above. Remember the days when we hooked up with a prestigious gallery that sold our work for us, freeing us to joyously create?

With that said, we won't be searching out a new gallery space. I've been working this career a long, long time and the majority of my business is repeat customers who contact me via phone or email. I also reap the benefits of internet marketing from my website and a bit from (dare I say) social media. I also have a mailing list that I've honed and cultivated to represent those who have either purchased from me or very likely will purchase. Included are those who are sincere fans who may or may not purchase yet hopefully endorse and recommend my artwork. When we put the pencil to paper to determine the profit ratio of the gallery space...well, the numbers didn't justify.

So, as I assess the past two years here in the so-called Historic Arts District on Beekman Street, I will say that our participation in the entity has been a disappointment. 'Nuf said. There are some individuals and organizations who have worked tirelessly to promote Saratoga Springs as an arts destination. God bless them. A tourist town is a tourist town and those six weeks in the summer prove it. Another curious factoid for the business minded here in Saratoga: if you're not located on Broadway - you're screwed. Just my opinion.

If you'd like to see all my original paintings in one place, make haste. We'll be moving at the end of December and my artwork will be designated to places afar. Also, my dear friend Robert Stebleton is sticking with me to the end. I'm extremely honored to have his nationally renown paintings in my gallery. The chance to savor his artwork is reason enough for you to visit the gallery in the next few weeks.

The gallery/studio in pretty times.
Working on yet another new business plan,

Thursday, December 05, 2013

WARNING - Nude Drawings

One of the requirements in art school is attendance at life drawing classes. It's a discipline of the ages and practiced by the masters for hundreds of years. Throughout my career, I've joined artists groups whenever available that offer life drawing. It's sound practice to maintain drawing skills. Some of these classes have been arranged by a group of artists chipping in for a model and some are hosted by art centers/organizations. All are's the nature of the study.
During my time in California, artist's models formed a union and received a decent union wage. Most are well paid for an unusual task. Sometimes we can talk family members and friends into modeling for us. I tie old reins around a doorknob and ask Michael to lean back and pose extreme jockey hands. Make 'em white knuckled and gnarly, please. In fact, almost all of the hands in my racing paintings are his.
To be an artist's model, one must sit still for long periods of time while vulnerably naked. We do our best to keep them comfortably warm and not insist on any poses that would cause cramping.
The model above is holding a doll that had been modified into a creepy "Chucky" character. Another artist created this cottage industry of doll customization to make extra money. It was Halloween and an absolute hoot to pose the female model with the demon doll. When creatives get together, imaginations run rampant!
The models will often fall asleep as the one above. Or they have an itch and never put their hands back into the same position. Or they put themselves into an uncomfortable pose and fidget. Most of us do our best to remain patient and professional, after all, it's not an easy job.
Some models are innovative and will show up in costume. Some have a sense of humor that we artists thrive on. Yes, we do have our favorites. One time a very plump girl posed with a bridal veil and beautiful white silk gloves up to her elbows and of course, nothing else. Some models are naturally graceful and slip into elegant poses. The model above was eight months pregnant and announced that this was her last gig until the baby was born. It was a beautiful and sensual session.
There are some instances where an artist won't find a model inspiring. No one's fault, just one of those vague energy things. Then we turn to studying body parts, as above.

It's a classic,