Monday, September 27, 2010

Art Shows Are Done

Both art shows are finished, I picked up the remaining paintings from the 29 Palms show today, and now it's time to do some reflectin'.

Unbeknownst to me, my #1 art collector purchased two small paintings during the run of the 29 Palms show. (He also bought three pieces before the shows even began). So that means I sold four items at the 29 Palms show, plus two paintings at the other (San Dimas), for a total of six paintings between the two shows and three paintings directly to the collector. Grand total = nine paintings!

Thankfully, after commissions I should receive enough funds to replace the shocks and tires on my Toyota p/u truck, which should enhance the safety and reliability of our vehicle considerably.

On another note, The Wiffee and I had dinner with some potter friends last night. As we often do, we talked about issues like the art business and surviving this depression. Their experiences with recent shows indicate California, especially southern California, has a -zero- art market these days. The potters felt shows in Montana and Colorado were much more profitable for them, although they encountered more expenses with the far-away shows. My own research suggests Texas, the South and the Eastern seaboard are more likely receptive to the type of painting I do (but not necessarily southwestern themes, except for TX). All far away. Si-i-g-g-h-h-h...

So...I think my continuing strategy will be to focus on selling via my Website and do everything I can to make it more visible and search-engine friendly. For now, shows (other than the two I just finished) are too expensive to enter and too risky to try, and I really can't afford to spend money on a lot of frames right now, either. I'll paint small pieces with the idea of making them the absolute best I'm capable of, and spending less time painting and more time computing.

We'll see how it plays out. When the depression ends, maybe I can turn to the usual venues again. But for now, I gotta guard our money carefully.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Dino Is Done!

If you happened to read my blog post dated 3 Sep entitled "Playing," you would have seen the black-on-white outline of a dinosaur that I included with the text.

And here's the finished painting!

This is a Utahraptor whose fossils were found in southeastern Utah. It stood 6'-7'/2m high and is more likely what was featured in the Jurassic Park movies (velociraptors were actually 3'-4'/1m). Although this region of Utah is quite desert-y today, during the Cretaceous period when these things lived, the habitat was more tropical.

I've often toyed with the idea of making a few dinosaur paintings, and I don't know that this genre would ever take over the landscapes I do now. But it's fun to do something a little different once in a while. Dinos are also more difficult to do that I first thought; after all, there are no living specimens to study and/or photograph, yet dinosaurs need be anatomically correct nevertheless as far as the fossils are concerned.

But it was fun to do, it's a small-scale painting (8" x 10"/20cm x 25cm) and I even think of it as a bit of a self-portrait. Sometimes I feel like I've been around since the time when dinosaurs ruled the earth!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More Sales?

It's getting close to the time when I'll be heading back out to San Dimas to do the second weekend of the art show (see previous posts for details).

Last Friday, two small paintings sold (not that I was some great salesman -- the customers bought the pieces without, as far as I remember, even talking with me first). Attendance seemed OK to me, but the docents and staff felt there were fewer people than usual. Problem: the Los Angeles County Fair is going on this month, and it's not that far away. Apparently, businesses in San Dimas suffer when the fair is running its course. One local shop I stopped at was closed -- an hour early!

Saturday night, a few people showed up, but things were pretty slow.

So, both this show and the show in Twentynine Palms have produced two sales each. I'll get enough to buy a new set of tires I badly need. Four more sales, and I'll be able to buy a new set of shocks, as well. Even more sales, and maybe we'll be able to pay bills and/or have other repairs made. Let's hope for more sales!

Just this weekend to go, and then the San Dimas show is finished. Then I face a different challenge: I received a jury summons, and if I actually need to appear, it'll be next Monday.

Oh, brother!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Art Shows in San Dimas

I'll be making some valiant efforts at trying to sell paintings the next two weekends in San Dimas, CA at an upstairs gallery space in a historic house. A restaurant operates on the first floor, and in theory, anyway, people eat dinner and then wander upstairs to look at and (hopefully) buy art!

So-o-o-o ... I'm hopeful I'll be able to add to our bank account so we can survive a bit longer, if not a LOT longer.

On Tuesday, I hung the paintings, adjusted the lighting and took care of all those details that go with doing a show like this. Following are some pix of the two rooms I have all to myself:

Wish me luck! I'm still looking forward to taking a painting break and see if I can overcome some of this burnout I've been experiencing. (Some sales might even help that -- but we'll see!)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Today's Artist Reception

Ahhh ... survived today's artist's reception, with ME as the artist. Three hours of standing, schmoozing, nibbling on goodies, and staying inside trying to keep cool. (It's still HOT here in the desert!)

But it was fun, and it got me out of the house -- being a full-time artist has turned me into a hermit who needs to be in the studio and, to a lesser extent, near the computer. So events like this encourage me to keep my social skills polished.

So far, we've sold two small paintings -- one sold on the day I delivered the paintings to the gallery, and the other sold today. Let's hope this trend continues!

The photos show the room containing my paintings and some of the people who came to check out my stuff. Some of these guys are artists themselves. Networking is always a good idea, even for artists.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I thought I should try painting something a little different.

Other than the fact that, as far as I'm concerned, I'm still on a painting vacation, I've been wanting to take a shot at painting a dinosaur. If this is an area I might want to do more often, I'd probably still paint landscapes, but they'd contain ancient kinds of plants, and I'd have dinos instead of deer or bunnies roaming around.

The big challenge is: I have a certain casual knowledge of dinos as well as plants from the Jurassic amd Cretaceous epochs. But I'm not an expert. Going into this genre would require me to learn a lot more about ancient life forms than I know now.

And on a pragmatic level, I honestly don't know what the market is for dino paintings. Like any other subject, I'm sure I'd do better if I could afford to make inexpensive prints that parents could buy for their kids -- or even for themselves. But who knows -- I've seen a lot of dino art that is intended to show, as accurately as possible, the flora and fauna of distant times past. NO impressionism, NO semi-abstract: just detailed images that are sharp from edge to edge and top to bottom, running afoul of some of the conventions of classical realism.

So, my approach for now is to play around with a few dinosaur paintings, and we'll see where it all leads!

The image above is the painted outline of my first-ever dinosaur: it's a Utahraptor, found in southeastern Utah. They stood about 7'/2m high and thus were the size of the "velociraptors" in Jurassic Park (velociraptors were actually 3'-4'/1m high). The painting size is 8" x 10"/20cm x 25cm.