Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rennick Award

I don't know why, but this award means so much to me.

Every year the Peoria Historical Society has a show at the Library. The Society was formed to preserve the history of Peoria, and so it's show features art that depicts the rich history of Central Illinois. Needless to say this is not necessarily the case. I've seen all types of subject matter and styles and thoroughly peeved when I get beat buy a pumpkin still life. ( yes it really happen)
The award is named after a gentleman who was at one time instrumental in founding the society and worked hard to preserve Peoria's past. I even when to the Scottish Rite Cathedral and sat in his seat ( it has an engraved plate with his name on it) The award has no cash associated with it and rarely does anyone ( other that the competing artists ) even know who has won. But it is a competition and I want to win. After all as Ricky Bobby would say "Second place is the first loser"
So the drop off is today at lunch and I should know soon how I did. The other competition - the Riverfront Show - will announce tomorrow the judges verdicts, so keep your fingers crossed, or if your Lisa in the late innings when you need a rally lie on the coach and cross everything - legs, arms, fingers, toes, even eyes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I have said in earlier posts that I love the fact that I can now create some (not all ) of my own prints for shows. This allows me to have a more economical package at shows for the cost conscience Mid West shoppers. In the past I have only single matted the prints and placed them in clear sleeves, this the accepted approach by most artists and I will continue to offer those at fair prices.
There are some prints that sell very well though, and those I have been going the extra step to frame them. This gives me a two fold problem, the extra time and expense of framing, and transporting framed glass pieces without damage.
The latter I have sort of addressed as I have purchased plastic totes and wrap them in a thin foam. The time and money part is harder, although I buy in bulk frames still cost money and all must be cleaned and assembled, mats cut to fit. I did manage to finish eight last night, man I hope these sell at a show cause I'll be out a lot of money if I'm guessing wrong.

On another note I received my first order from the Clubs at Rivercity where The Woman had me go and work on my display. A Yankee Stadium print......and of course they want it framed.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bishop Hill

This weekend I tried to get caught up on the art biz. Friday evening The Woman and I attended an opening for a fellow artists show at the Foster Center. Cheryl Dean photography of water and sky on a recent trip to Hawaii. After we had hoped to go to a Peoria Chiefs game but the weather turned cold and rainy so we ended up just going to dinner.

The next day I was off delivering two of the recently finished 8 x 8's to the Art Guild

"Fieldhouse" is a view of the old basketball venue for the Bradley Braves. It recently has began the process of demolition to make way for new buildings and should fetch some bids at the show from alumni wanting a piece of Bradley history.

"Horse Head" is a stone feature on a carriage house at the corner of High Street
and Moss Avenue. I don't know if this will have the same drawing power as the field house but I thought it was interesting.

Speaking of bids, I was just reminded that after dinner on Friday The Woman and I came home and I turned the TV on just in time to catch one of the donated prints "Day" being broadcast on the WTVP Public Television auction. To my amazement the print sold for an over bid ( they bid more than they could have bought it for) so my prices must be good. I was told that both prints that I submitted went for over bids.

After dropping off the paintings I when to Kickapoo Winery to finally drop off some prints there. The paintings looked great hanging in a long hallway between the tasting room ( a very quaint bar area that could be rented for private parties ) and the banquet hall. With all that has been going on I had to apologize for the delay.

Then it was off to Bishop Hill ....... I had no idea how far off it was......... I had given a painting "Antique Mall" to a fellow artist Jeffery Gourd who had taken over a gallery and was needing large pieces to fill it. Well it has been over a year and there is a competition coming up in Galesburg so I needed to get the piece back. After calling and getting directions I set out from the winery. About 50 miles later down long desolate stretches of country roads ( Illinois is flat and full of cornfields ) with a 35 mile an hour cross wind, I arrived at Bishop Hill "population 150". I asked myself with gas prices the way they are how can a gallery attract many people when it is literally in the middle of nowhere. Bishop Hill is 50 miles from everywhere. Jeffery was pleasant and showed me the Gallery space ( it really was a nice space 12 foot high ceilings and lots of natural light ) but I kept thinking who would come all this way to see a show. He pulled my painting out of storage as he was hanging another show at the time, and there was bird poop on it!! I didn't point it out but it was there. I brought it home, cleaned it up, and shot it for submission. I don't think anything else will need to be picked up from there.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Cloud is Moving

Since the last post a cloud has hung over everything. I went to the jury session at the Peoria Art Guild for the Fine Art Festival and had to leave a little early to address a sewer problem at my house. It was a strange transition for the "artsy fartsy" world to running a sewer snake, quite humbling.
If that was the last of the trouble that I had to deal with I would have been happy, but last Thursday The Woman was driving to her sisters and the car just died. Being the cheapskate that I am, I spent the weekend trying to determine what the problem was and fix it. My knowledge of Cadillac electrical systems is severely lacking and I had to call the dealer.
After a few days and a few calls from Mike the service technician ( each call raised my price a few hundred dollars ) the car was ready for pick-up. We drove to the dealer and paid for the car, over a thousand dollars, and we got two "sweet deal" candy bars. ( I could have got those at Cub Foods for 33 cents) and drove home. At that point I notice that the rear tire was low, and after filling it with air discovered the hole in the sidewall.
Called the tire shop who told me I was too late to get it replaced as they just closed. My daughter, Chelsea, came out to inform me that her computer had crashed. It was almost too much to take. With the stress of the day job ( in the same week I had to layoff one of our employees, and several other measures where put in place -like shortened work weeks for some departments) and all the problems at home , I have had better weeks.
Even with all the turmoil I did manage to finish two of the 8"x 8" pieces for the Art Guild and drop off some prints for the WTVP auction that is going on now. The first one sold for above the regular price at a show which is good. Still no word on the Riverfront show, but I have been accepted at Sugar Creek in Normal. Hopefully things will be back to a normal pace and I can get back to finishing other tasks in the art world.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Day

Since I mainly end up owing money to the government, I wait until it's due to send it in. That day was yesterday, so I'll hopefully be back to trying to make money again in the studio tonight.

The weather is finally starting to fell sort of springlike, although it is still a little brisk. The Woman is still down with a cold and I hope she soon feels better. ( I always know where to find her because I can follow the trail of tissues ) Even though she is under the weather, Little Martha, still manages to keep the house running, something men can't seem to do. If a guy gets sick, he doesn't do a thing. Well maybe lay in the recliner and moan. Women are much tougher than guys.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fine Art Fair Jury

Saturday was the Fine Art Fair jury for the Peoria Art Guild Riverfront Show in September. Some 525 artists from all over the world have submitted for the show. There are only 133 open spots so the competition is intense. I don't know if I'm in but I like my chances as the applications are down this year. Usually there is over 700 applicants, so instead of 20% getting in the top 25% get in. Also one of the jurors, the patron, has been renting my paintings for his office for the past six months. So maybe he likes my style.
The other jurors were four past award winners and two professors of art all had MFA's. So not only were the artists applying of the highest caliber but the judges were also.
Now all this said, that doesn't mean that there is still going to be some manipulation of the raw scores. There were 97 jewelry, 70 photography, and 68 ceramics: so lets say that 50 jewelers finish with excellent ratings. A final committee has to balance the show with a appropriate number allocated to each medium.
What that all boils down to for myself is that 20 to 25 spots will be filled with painting (the category had 58 applicants) so my chances are like 50/50. Wish me luck, I'll let you know how it all works out.

Friday, April 11, 2008


As I have stated in a previous post I decided (The Woman told me I had to) to go to The Clubs at Rivercity and spruce up my display. The display looks great and have received some feedback from Dan O'Connell, the owner, that it is drawing lots of admirers.

I had a diptych painting "Night" hanging in the lobby, so when I remodeled I brought it home.

Since it has been hanging in various places for a few years, I never got the chance to shoot it so I could begin the print process. Well, yesterday evening I got the chance.

The photos that I took actually turned out too well, as I can see every flaw in the painting. I spent an hour in Photoshop fixing some of the areas, just to get booted out and loose all the work. I got angry and just printed out a copy, The Woman says it looks fine but wish it looked better.

It seems that it is good timing to be thinking of prints as I received a call as I was working from the local Public TV station soliciting art for their upcoming auction. Everybody wants free art !! I must get a letter a week asking for donations for anything from benefits at the VFW to black tie dinners at the Packard Plaza. I had cut them off last year( WTVP) but this year since I am making more of my own prints I'll get them some.

This whole donation thing is really sort of irritating. I wrote to my Congressmen and encouraged them to support a bill (the bill is currently just in committee - but it doesn't hurt to be proactive - especially since one of them Obama - is running for president) The bill would allow artist to deduct the full amount of the "thing" that is donated. Under the current law if I donate a painting I am only allowed to deduct the price of the materials ie: paint/canvas/frame -not the actual selling price of the painting. Sort of makes you want to donate that 2000.00 piece so you can get that 100.00 deduction. I've got some nice correspondence from most of them - Obama sent an e-mail - Ray Lahood a very nice letter- on congressional stationary .

Oh well, it's pizza Friday and I'm going to get somethings done at lunch. Drop off at WTVP/ go and have blood drawn so that they can take more Sunday ( seems that I have to have a sample tested for white blood cells as they don't do that on Sunday? )

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Still Plodding Along

I have found with my painting I tend to go through periods of great productivity followed by periods of forcing myself to produce. It seems that I am in the latter.
It has been a struggle this past few weeks to get into the mood to paint. It could be the dreary weather that is in a holding pattern of cold drizzly days, the busy evening schedules that have just recently arrived, or that my mind just to recharge.
At any rate I still try to make it to the studio to put some paint on canvas, but it is at times torturous and definitely not my best work.
I have sketched out the small 8 x 8 canvases and maybe by starting the small series of paintings ( that should be finished rather quickly ) I can jump start the creative process.
The jury for the Fine Art Fair is this weekend on Saturday and the Red Cross has again got me for another platelet letting two hour stint on Sunday. So maybe, lets hope, I can rally and get something finished by next week.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

First Monday / IAL Meeting

The first Monday of the month is always the Illinois Art League meeting, so The Woman and I attended. Even though I had opening night Peoria Chiefs tickets and the NCAA championship game was on. It was somewhat eventful, as plans were set out to have a show in November of this year at the East Peoria Event Center.
The rejection letters are evidently out because I've been getting e-mail questions about the jury process and at least one person has told me that they received one. I did take time to write the opinion section of the Peoria Journal Star and describe the process and to try to preempt the hate mail that they may be soon getting.
Hope to be painting tonight as I have to get things going again.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Lazy weekend

As stated in the last post I was looking forward to a lazy weekend and pretty much it was. Slept in Saturday (although a freak power outage made it hard to get coffee) worked for a while on Loris II . Applied to the Peoria Art Guild Riverfront show ( even though the Internet is still acting very weird, now the router may be messed up ) Went for a walk with my girlfriend (The Woman) played some video games with Kaleb. I even took a nap, after lunch Sunday, in my recliner. Not so productive ......... but man it felt good!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Spirit is a winner

This weekend is the Illinois Art Leagues membership show at the Northwoods Mall in Peoria. Last evening I had signed The Woman and I too work the show, so we spent a slow Thursday sitting in the middle of the mall.
I took three paintings to the show, Diner, Chrysler Building, and Spirit of Peoria(all have been previewed in the blog) Diner and Chrysler won Honorable Mentions (although I have always hated the award-because it always seemed like something they give to people because they really aren't good enough for the other awards-until The Woman told me "Hey a lot of people don't even get those") Spirit Of Peoria won first place, so three entries three ribbons.
The pick-up is Saturday so I will try to work something out with Kickapoo Creek Winery to maybe drop off some paintings for the show that Lynne is putting together there.
It has been a long work week for the "day job" and the "art gig" so I am looking forward to taking it easy this weekend.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Darn, I missed the April Fools Day post!

Since the last blog on Monday it has been a whirl of activity. Not only am I being stretched to the limit at my day job, but I have also been very active at the art biz.

Sunday afternoon The Woman and I went to check out some space at the Kickapoo Creek Winery that is being offered for six week shows. I was honored that they asked me to be first, but since I try to also represent all my Bohemian friends, I also encouraged them to select the next participants from the web site ( ) On our way home The Woman sort of scolded me about the neglect of a previously acquired space, the Clubs at Rivercity.

To rectify the problem she advised me that I should go out there and revamp my display and you should send an e-mail out and tell anyone else who would like to come to join you. So I did. Man, The Woman is smart! We spent a couple of hours moving and rehanging thing, putting out cards, and even made some new contacts. The place looks great and because of the new section with contact information I might even make some money there.

Dropped some paintings off at the Northwoods Mall / Illinois Art Leagues membership show and The Woman and I have signed up to man the area tonight from 6:00 to 9:00. Picking up paintings from the Art Guild to put together a collection for the winery. Man, this art stuff is getting to be like a job.

Web Counter