Last weekend a total of 33 retailers, restaurants and other businesses in downtown Concord, MA, displayed the artworks of over 30 artists on August 11, 2018. In Albright Art, a local oil painter, Sonya Walters, worked on a still life painting. My work was on display at Revolutionary Concord and I gave a talk regarding my series of watercolors and pastels on the Old North Bridge.
When the date was planned, there was no idea that it would occur the same weekend as the MA Tax Free weekend. Obviously because it was a tax free weekend the normal flow of customers was a bit slower as many would be going to larger stores in the morning looking for great deals on televisions, computers, and furniture as an example.
There were a few times a good flow of people came to view the works on display. I think working on a live piece for Sonya was a good idea. From my vantage point, it seemed like a nice group came to see what she was working on during her four hours at the store.
I was a bit worried that my talk would not have anyone attend. As I began my talk, I believe it was just myself and the person filming the video for Facebook. Luckily, a few people came in as I was speaking. I was happy people came in as it did make it easier to speak to a real person and not just the iPhone filming.
I’m hoping other Art Walk artists enjoyed their time. I didn’t have a chance to walk around during the actual Art Walk event so I’m not sure if Artists gave talks, worked on live pieces or just were available for questions. I was able to see a few of the works before the event began, which was nice to view.
Listen to Sonya speak about her work as well as see my talk about my pastel and watercolor series on the Old North Bridge.
Next spring, I have an opportunity to exhibit my pastels at a nearby library. I met with one of the volunteers who selects exhibiting artists. The work I showed her was from my Journey through Open Spaces exhibit (August–September 2017). I’ll continue with the theme of landscapes but realized it would be nice to include new work. I am finishing one pastel and have ideas for two more. Since this exhibit will not happen until late March/early April of 2019, I have time to work on a number of pieces.
In addition to this exhibit, I submitted work to be considered for two other exhibits. One exhibition was originally scheduled for June 2018, which I had submitted a few pastels back in March. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the exhibit was rescheduled to late summer/early fall. I’m thinking by September I should hear if any of my pastels were selected for this exhibit. The second opportunity is with another library. The committee is reviewing all submissions and will contact approved artists within the next few weeks. They are selecting artists for their October 2018–October 2019 art exhibition schedule.
1. Sell it
2. Display it
3. Pack it away
4. Toss it
If you are able to and want to sell your work then by all means sell it. Some artists sell their work to friends or have it purchased by an admirer after it is viewed in a local exhibit. It’s not always an easy process but a person can try selling their work.
Some artists may chose to keep their art. If you keep it, what could you do with it? One option is for the artist to display their artworks at home or in the homes of family members. Unfortunately there’s only so much wall space at home. It’s at this point you pack away the framed pieces and stack up the individual pieces. Perhaps you can display it another day by rearranging and packing away other pieces that previously hung on the wall. Clearly something will be packed up and stored. If you feel the artwork was only an exercise having no emotional connection to the piece you could toss it in the trash.
The third and forth options are not difficult for the artist but for those hearing those options were chosen. I, myself, have on many occasions stacked up and packed away artworks after an exhibit. When I told someone I packed up my artworks after a recent exhibit, this person was surprised and questioned why I did it. I felt as though I had to defend the reason for doing it. Not every artist is able to sell their work or sell it right away. While you can actively exhibit your work, there will be times you are not selected to display your work or there may be weeks or more between exhibits.
Tossing an artwork seems to be another taboo. At the end of a recent class one participant tossed out a piece she completed during the day. Another person was cleaning the tables and noticed the paper in the trash bin. “Who threw out their artwork?” rang out in the studio. A number of participants looked shocked that a piece of art was in the trash. The person replied she had placed it in the trash—she didn’t need or want it as it was only an exercise in her opinion. She turned to me and said she had no emotional connection to it and no longer wanted it. It was completely her decision to do whatever she chose with her piece even though many others were surprised by her action.
The exhibit has been on display for a few weeks. I visited it a few days after it was hung but noticed a piece or two stilled needed to be displayed. I went back the other day noticing the addition of a few pieces. The display now includes small sculptures (portraits) and stained glass. It was nice to view the complete exhibit
There are a few weeks left to this exhibit to check it out.
In my first blog for the new year I mentioned a few Exhibit opportunities I would try.
I entered into a members juried exhibit. As with any juried exhibit you never know if your work will be selected. The pastels I entered were not selected for the exhibit.
I entered another juried exhibit. Over a week ago I found out my work was selected for a Pop-Up Exhibit. It’s my first time in a Pop-Up Exhibit. I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I dropped off my artwork expecting to be on location to help display my work. The person in charge told me I didn’t need to stay. When I was selected, I was told the artists would help clean the space and hang their artworks during 10 am – 2 pm on Saturday afternoon. I arrived at 10 but by the time I left only one other artist delivered their artwork.
I’m not sure if the others realized the delivery time was 10 am with a displaying time frame of 10 am – 2 pm. Granted it all depends on what the artists were told.
I checked out the exhibit on Saturday night. Since less than half the artworks were displayed, the lights to the exhibit were turned off. When I checked again Sunday night more artworks were displayed and the lights were turned on.
Happy New Year!! I hope everyone enjoyed the first day of 2018 and everyone looks forward to the coming year.
I’ll continue to work on my pastels honing the skills I learned during my classes in 2017. I plan to review class notes evaluating areas I did well and where I need to continue to improve. I know I should create more notans and small sketches to determine the best composition for a piece.
In regards to exhibition opportunities, I am looking into a few possibilities in the next month or so (submitting artwork to be juried for acceptance to an exhibit). Another opportunity has presented itself but I’ll say more about it once I have finalized what needs to be done.
Finally, I have signed up for a pastel class in March. I took workshops with Shelly Eager in late 2015 and early 2016. When I saw a chance to sign up for a workshop, I did because classes and workshops at this Association go quickly. I also signed up for an online watercolor sketching class. I know when I did the 30 Day Challenge of creating a watercolor each day, my paintings became better over the course the challenge. I’ve seen this artist’s work online and thought it would be an interesting class. I’ll learn more about watercolor plus sketching on location with pen, ink and watercolor.
I thought I’d share the working process of my recent textured pastel.
After creating the first textured pastel in class, I wanted to try it at home. I used a Gessobord instead of cutting a foam/gator board to a specific size then applying gesso to it. I created an underpainting of the scene then I dripped acrylic paint to the areas where I wanted more texture to appear. One classmate worked on her textured pastel at home as she wasn’t in class for the application process of the acrylic paint. She specifically used different colors for drippings depending on their location in the image. Many of us liked that idea and I thought I would try it on this one. When the acrylic paint was dried, I applied the acrylic ground so the pastels could adhere to the toothy surface.
I started on the background and slowly moved to the middle ground. After a while, I started working on all parts of the pastel but soon realized I had a problem. The colors started becoming muddy looking especially in the trees. At this point I thought I’d try what my teacher once suggested—if it’s not working, wash off the pastels and start again.
I had done it once before and thought I’d try it again. I washed off the textured gessobord and let it dry.
Looking at the artwork, I decided more texture was needed. Once I washed off as much of the pastels I could, I let it dry then dripped more acrylic paint in some areas.
I started applying the pastels again after a few days break. This time it was working and I really liked how the trees were looking.
Once the trees were set, I worked on the remaining sections. The middle was coming along nicely but I wasn’t happy with the stream and reeds in the foreground. My teacher had recently sent an email about her new blog entry. She discussed how she washed off a section of a pastel that wasn’t working the way she had hoped.
While I had all pastels matted and framed by Sunday night, there were few small things that I needed to complete. I updated my biography and artist statement, created gallery tags for each piece, and finalized a price list.
I arrived half an hour or so after the library opened to hang my pastels. I met with a library staff member who helped me get the hook over plain rods for each pastel. Many gallery spaces uses these rods so that no nail marks are made in the wall. I was informed the gallery tags I created could not be taped to the wall. I hadn’t received any specific documentation about exhibit guidelines so it was a good thing she mentioned it to me.
Assemble Pastels into Groups
I laid out the pastels on the floor getting an idea which areas had the greatest amount of space allowing pastels to stay within a specific group. I have a number of pastels on a few National Parks, some pastels based upon a national wildlife refuge, other historical local areas, and land from a botanical garden
Once I had the space planned out, I began hanging each piece. Luckily I had help from a family member, which made hanging the exhibit even easier. Overall, from the time I arrived to the time I left the library, it took only a little more than 2 hours.
The experience of hanging an exhibit wouldn’t be complete without realizing I had forgotten something. I forgot the postcards I created and a guest book. Later in the afternoon, I came back with the postcards and guest book.
Forgot Something Again
When I dropped off the guest book, I added the exhibit title and dates to the book. What I didn’t realize was that I forgot to leave the pen I brought with me for everyone to use. Fortunately for me, a friend came to the exhibit and left a pen.
Let the week countdown to the 7-week exhibition begin. Last week I mentioned 23 pieces were matted and framed. Now there are 25 pieces framed and ready for the exhibit. I finalized the piece I was doing last week so it brings the total number of artworks to 26.
When I mentioned to my classmates I have an upcoming exhibit,they asked me how many pieces I would display. I responded by saying 24 pieces. They were all surprised by the amount of work I have ready to display. Another friend was surprised at the amount of pastels. I don’t see it being a huge amount; I’ve been working on pastels since September 2015.
I’ve always been inspired by landscapes so whenever I’m in a class my main subject matter has been landscapes. Last year when I knew I would have an exhibit in Stow, I made the conscious decision to have all those pastels connected by imagery of open spaces such as National Parks, National Refuges, and Botanical Gardens. I continued that imagery as I took classes or worked on pastels on my own.
As I was speaking with a friend today, I said I had two other pastels I could include but I hadn’t thought of framing the pieces. She thought I could and should include them. My brother thought the same thing. He said it’s better to have too many pieces when I go to hang the exhibit then to think to myself, “I wish I had framed those pieces as there’s still space to display work.” Also, it’s much easier to bring home a piece if there’s no room then to rush around matting and framing an artwork at the last minute.
In two weeks, I’ll be hanging my pastels for a 7-week exhibition. I’m feeling pretty good about how parpared I am for this exhibit.
Last week I mailed postcards to family, friends and a few artists I know. I placed a few postcards on a table at work and will keep a few for the library.
During the past two weeks I’ve also worked on matting and framing a number of my pastels. At this moment I have 23 pastels matted and framed. There are 2 pastels I still need to frame and mat. I may also include another pastel that I am working on currently. I haven’t finalized it but it’s very close to completion.