Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September is Over

September has been to date my busiest month, and very productive ( the word that I like to use instead of busy). Three weekend art shows, two finished paintings, a workshop taught, and many prints.

My plan to relax for a few weeks is already coming under fire. I was just contacted by a local group (the Peoria Riverfront Association) about an event this Sunday that they would like me to have a display at. It's only for a few hours on Sunday ( 2 to 5) but I am reluctant to participate. Although I do have a couple who are interested in a specific painting that will be there, and if I happen to bring that piece to the event there is a very good chance it will sell.

I also have a little event at the Hoerr Nursery on the 10th and 11th. It sounds weird to be at a nursery but I usually do well there. Then the baseball event at the Peoria Riverplex on November 2, a one day show that I will be the only artist. ( what better place to show off baseball paintings than at a baseball show)

As for now though I relaxed last night and watched a movie ( I don't do that very often) and tonight I promised to clean out the garage. ( I have to get ready for the creation of Leg Lamp II ) then tomorrow night in need to straighten up my studio. Oh well no rest for the wicked and I must be pretty bad.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Art Show Over

The Peoria Art Guild's Fine Art Festival is now history, as a rookie at the event I was amazed at the service that the volunteers provide. The first day I packed up my supplies to get me through the day ( I actually forgot to bring the cooler The Woman brought it later) but I really didn't need it. The artist break room ( yes an actual room - with a staff of people manning it) had all types of drinks (Starbucks Coffee) and snacks. The snacks varied through the day from breakfast to lunch type. Most awesome - I didn't even bring coffee to the show the next day - that says it all - cause I don't go anywhere without coffee!! But it was there whenever I wanted it!

The sales were good and I do appreciate that, but more important in the big scheme of things is the fact that my stock in the Peoria art scene rose dramatically by being in the show. Many contacts and people who had seen my painting about, finally getting to see me in person.

Looking forward to taking a few weeks off to just hang out. Although I do have some more events, they are small.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Court House Square

Last evening I managed to finish "Court House Square" for the upcoming Fine Art Fair. Luckily for me the Cubs were on playing an extra inning affair in New York that gave me plenty of time to work. Also readied some of the new paintings with hangers on the back.

That just leaves me with some prints to churn out. I'm going to try to get some done tonight, but I also have the Bohemian meeting at 7:00 to go to. Hopefully not many people will show up and I can skip out early and get back to business. I need to make at least 30 prints of Spirit of Peoria as it is at the Riverfront were the show is taking place. Also need some of the Sister City Clock, Court House Square, and of course St. Marys. It will be a busy evening and The Woman and I both have tomorrow off to get some things done in the morning.

I'm really going to try to remain calm through this whole process, I think I'll just have to pretend I'm at work - I can't loose control there - so I have to just be the calming influence - So far so good.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Getting Ready

It was a good thing that I at least had the foresight to get some paintings and prints done for the Fine Art Fair. I should finish "Courthouse Square" this evening and then all I have to do is ready the peripheral things. Parts of my booth panels could be touched up (putting them up and down all summer does cause wear) of course I always am in need of more prints (Mitchell says-"You can't sell from an empty shelf") and I'll need the required artist statement signage with a sign for "reproduction". (the Art Guild will not let you call them prints)

All told I'm thinking that I'm in good shape. Thanks to "Ike" the crowds were down at Morton and left me with plenty of product (prints) - It may have also contributed to the open spot in the show, as the river flooded it's banks. I could pick up some paintings like "Tom's Restaurant" at Exhibit A Gallery or "Meters" and "No Parking" at the winery but I should be OK with the ones I have ready. If I do by chance sell some the first day I could always get some from other places Saturday evening for Sunday. I only hope that is a problem!

Six years ago I had a brand new tent and paintings and tried to get into this show, I was so naive. The tent spent the summer by the pool and I just kept painting along. This year I finally had to replace the old tent with a new one and it gets to do the duty at the show.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Booth #19

Shortly after the post yesterday my cell phone rang and I was asked if I wanted to take a spot that had just opened up for the Peoria Art Guilds Fine Art Fair.......... Duh.........Yes!!!!

So after dropping everything I was doing at work and calling The Woman at school to tell her the news, I ran (drove) down to the Art Guild and signed up. I gladly paid my $250.00 booth rental fee and was welcomed into the show.

If you have never applied at a big show it is hard to understand the excitement of getting in, in a sports analogy it would be like getting called up to the Majors - and playing for your favorite team. Granted I'm just taking someones place on the Injured Reserve List - but I'm still in the game.

The river is slowly receding and I've been asked to submit a painting for the Preview Party on Friday ( I won't be going to this as tickets are $75.00 and I'm just a replacement player) I will be at the Embassy Suites that Friday at a benefit for the Neighborhood House, hey I'm an art whore what can I say.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Class Over - Pool Closed

This Saturday got up and went to teach the workshop, it turned out alright. We painted a still life of flowers - something that I never paint - The Woman likes the little painting that I brought home to her. Each of the students also pretty much finished each of theirs, so they had something to show for the day.

We went to the Oktoberfest on the flooded riverfront Saturday evening - It is a big German festival - lots of beer and brats. The whole riverfront is flooded up to and over Water Street, and I mainly wanted to see how bad it was as the Fine Art Festival is this next weekend. It has got to go down quite a bit to not alter the show. As of this morning, the entrance to the Gateway Building ( the main entrance to the park were the art fair is held ) is still under a foot of water. After looking at the map of the event that was in the local paper Sunday many of the booths will have to be moved if the water doesn't go down quickly. Even then there will be the nasty stench of receding river waste on the sidewalks and the grass areas will be soup.

I don't know why I'm worried - I'm still waiting on the list. I hate waiting - I like to have all my plans firmed up. It is hard to prepare for maybe. People are constantly asking me "are you in yet?" I have already went through this with the Cubs call up for the Seventh Inning Stretch competition - I hope this doesn't turn out the same way. When I see the finalist on the TV and then I know I didn't make the cut.

Sunday The Woman and I closed the pool for the winter, it is always a little sad, because you know that Summer is over and Winter is coming. There is always next year though and at least it was a very good summer for the pool. Lots of clear water and fun - hope for more of the same next season.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Class This Weekend

This weekend I will yet again be teaching a one day workshop at the ICC Dogwood Center. This will definitely be the last time, as I really don't like teaching a workshop. I have to come up with lesson plans and hope that I'm somewhat interesting an informative to the people taking the class. Lots of pressure that I don't need. I'd rather just paint in my own studio.

Even though, at the Galesburg show, some guy ( I believe he was another artist at the show) was reprimanding me for painting on site - at least I think that's what he was talking about - He had an almost intelligible French accent. Like I'm going to park myself at the base of the Chrysler Building and paint for a week- He was going on about the joy and happy accidents of people bumping into you or your easel - I'd rather teach classes

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Went to the ArtsPartners annual meeting last evening and retrieved my paintings that were on loan for the event. The meetings aren't too terribly long just under two hours and got to see a few art friends. Met the President of the Peoria Historical Society and she Dr. Peter Couri were remarking on the painting "GAR Hall", I shared the desire to get some photos of the interior especially of the stained glass window. Then later that evening I got an email containing three views, one of which I'm sure to be able to use.

While down at the riverfront it was clearly on the rise - the river is expected to crest this weekend at something like 29 feet. It is already over portions of Water Street by the Riverfront Park and even if it recedes next week it is going to be a mess at the art fair. Wouldn't you know that the first year I have a shot a getting in we have a September flood.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ArtsPartners Meeting

Tonight is the ArtsPartners annual meeting at the Waterhouse on Water Street in Peoria. I dropped off some paintings for the soiree yesterday at lunch and will pick them up tonight after the meeting.
I should be home and painting by 7:30 and this is good as the "Courthouse Square" is taking shape. I should have this painting finished easily for the Riverfront show. I still have not been notified of any cancellations, but I'm still holding out hope.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sister City Clock

Here is the latest painting as I finally have the image on my computer. I will be painting as soon as I post this.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wet Weekend

In central Illinois we are usually safe from tropical weather, but this weekend as Ike slammed into Texas and rolled up the middle of America, not so lucky. Now we don't really have to worry about a tidal surge or 100 plus mile an hour winds, we just go the mundane rain. It literally rained for a week and at times very hard, 107% humidity (how is that possible - if it is over 100% isn't that water)

Of course it couldn't be on a weekend that I didn't have an outside show. The Morton Pumpkin Festival was a mud pit, even with the torrential rains the faithful came out. The crowds were smaller, regulars there estimated that only a third of the usual attendance. But a third is still about 5000 people slogging on the wet grass turning it to a brown oozing mess.

Sales were also beat down by the weather as people real didn't want to buy things to carry around to get wet. I'll be back next year though as the price of the event and proximity to home make it hard to pass up.

I'm still on the wait list for the upcoming Peoria Art Guild Riverfront Show. With the hurricane rising gas price prices I might get lucky and someone decide not to come all the way to Peoria and I'll get a call up. I am currently working on the last piece that I wanted to finish for that show " Courthouse Square" and it is moving along nicely and should be finished by show time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wrigley Field Prints

With the Cubs doing so well this season , Ive noticed that there has been search activity about the Cubs and the Famous scoreboard. I would like to say in the blog that if anyone is looking for items - Limited Edition Prints are available for these icons .

Wrigley (shown at left) is a giclee print of the friendly confines as seen from home plate foul pole to foul pole, the famous 355 in the ivy , Budwieser house top, and all the rooftop seats each print is signed and matted - mat size 10" by 38" and comes in a clear protective sleeve Price of the two piece set is only $45.00

Gate F - shows the famous Welcome to Wrigley Marquee - the price of this matted and signed Limited Edition Print is $35.00 - mat size is 10" x 19" and also comes in a clear protective sleeve
Both of these would be a great edition to any Cub Fan collection and are available by contacting me at tomgross.artist@gmail.com
Framing is also available for a $60.00 up charge.
Some of the other ballparks available - Yankee Stadium - Busch ( both old and new ) - U S Cellular - coming soon Fenway
Finished Sister City Clock

Just outside the door to the Peoria City Hall is a large clock that is dedicated to Peoria's Sister City. The painting that I just finished is of the doorway and the clock. Now it is on to the Court House Square and a memorial to Civil War Soldiers that stands in the southeast corner of the plaza. I am trying to get some Peoria images finished in hopes of getting called off the wait list for the Riverfront Show in two weeks. Time is running out both for the call up and the paintings, I may stop by the Art Guild Friday to beg my way in.

This weekend I will be at the Morton Pumpkin Festival, it is mostly a craft event but they have huge crowds. That is if the weather cooperates - the forecast is for rain - but there is a 30% chance for sun - lets hope.

Next weekend not only is it Kalebs 15th birthday ( wow our baby is going to be 15 ) but I will have to teach a class at the ICC Dogwood Center for the Illinois Art League. September is a very busy month with lots of shows and other opportunities, lets hope I do well - cause my baby needs for surgery. Still no word on the Illinois Artisans grant yet that 7000.00 would help to facilitate a lot of things.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Weekend in Galesburg

Spent Saturday in Galesburg at the Art in the Park, it was OK , not great just OK. Sales were weak in this city as many of the jobs have moved to various locales other that Galesburg. I fared better than most of my other artists at the show but still not a stellar weekend.

Sunday after church, The Woman and I went to the Pekin Marigold Festival to check it out and see what was going on there. It is a three day fall festival held at the central park with over a hundred vendors. These were by in large craft people - wood things, plaques, sweatshirts, any thing on a stick you could imagine. I did run into a few real artists and they said that the crowds were huge. ( I really don't like to get into money or sales with other artists - just like to know if the show was worth their time)

This weekend I will be at my own craft event, the Morton Pumpkin Festival. I attended last year and it was packed with people. The single day attendance total has to be around 10,000 people going through, it was so packed you just had to go with the flow of people. After talking to some of the artists there I decided to participate this year. If it is a success then maybe the Marigold would be a better venue than Galesburg.

I'll let you know next Monday.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Retrieved Antique Mall

Last evening I retrieved "Antique Mall" from the Kickapoo Winery and also made some prints of it for the upcoming Art in the Park show in Galesburg. After dinner I began painting but quickly slid into the relaxing mode as it had been a long day and it was already 9:00PM. Some evening it is just tough to get going on the painting early enough to get a lot done.

Load up for Galesburg tonight and hopefully a good show on Saturday.

Sunday I want to drop some paintings off at the Morton Art Guild's Fine Art Show to run along with the Pumpkin Festival. Such a deal $4.00 an entry and each with a chance at up to $80.00 in prize money. Hey it's not much but it all goes into the big pot, I still have to pay for some plastic surgery.

Oh and the Gary Coleman t-shirt was a big success - the boy felt good about himself and his friends thought it was cool!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sometimes You Just Have to Do Other Things

After dinner last evening I settled in to work on the clock in the current painting. The Woman had gone on a walk and I was in my studio working away... that's when Kaleb our youngest son came in and started telling me about his great idea to make his own t-shirts for school .... something about Gary Coleman or Whoopi Goldberg .. anyway.. I told him we had all the tools to get that done in the studio, we just needed some transfer paper and t-shirts.

Since The Woman had gone on a walk and wasn't available to run to the store to get the items, we headed off to pick her up and start the project. I set the painting aside and spent the rest of the evening creating the first and only Gary Coleman "Thuggin" t-shirt. The boy was happy and I'll get the full report of how it went over at school this evening. I can always paint later, he's only going to want my help for a little while.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Paint- Paint-Paint

I got my wish again and got to paint last evening - tonight I hope to move on to the clock that stands on the left hand side of the painting , which should give it lots of depth. Then on to the sidewalks and shadows then it's finished.
I have to make arrangements to pick-up Antique Mall at the winery tomorrow evening for the Galesburg Art in the Park that is this weekend. Got to stay up on this wave as September is a very busy - and hopefully productive month.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Labor Day

Since I had taken the boy stilt walking the day before The Woman took him the final day to walk in the parade. I got to do exactly what I wanted to do all day - paint. I started the new painting of the Peoria City Hall doorway with the Sister City Clock. It was a very good day I painted from about 9:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night, with a few breaks but mainly painting. The painting is looking very good and I may be able to finish with the next few evenings. Hopefully tonight - at least that is my goal.
At the Delavan Fair though the walleye guy was open - and The Woman didn't even get me one - Oh well - I got to paint all day.
No Walleye on Sunday

It was my turn to take the boy (Kaleb) to Delavan for stilt walking on Sunday. It was OK with me as I knew that a walleye sandwich was ahead. To my dismay when I arrived and got the boy dressed and underway- the walleye wagon was closed! So after he was finished (three hours of walking around and passing out as many balloons as I could fill up ) we settled for a pork sandwich and called it a day.
After that it was time to relax by the pool with friends and adult beverages and soundly defeat the women in every card game that they could think up - man my partner is awesome.

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