Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Let's see..... About half way through sample book hell at work, It's a terrible time when I have to actually get out in the warehouse and make room for new fabrics. It's easier on the computer ...just a few key strokes and done..... It's not that easy in the real world. But I am over half way so there is a light at the end of the tunnel at least.

This is also the prime application for the summer shows, I'm trying to get my list down so I can get a couple of good shows a month throughout the summer. This is somewhat difficult as they are on various sites and varied deadlines. Hoping some off the larger shows have a huge drop off of applicants due to the poor economic conditions. Then if I'm accepted all I have to do is pay for them.. Yippee!!

Because of the application process I've decided to have a workshop here at work to try to assist any artists that need a hand. Sent the e-mail out to the Bohemians yesterday and the Illinois Art League is including it in the newsletter next month.

Still working on Colonial Bread .

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

The weekend is over so it's off to work we go. But we are not sad cause our thoughts are filled with good times that we had with our friends. Although it would be nice if they were twice as long but we still need to fund the fun so - we work.

In addition to hanging out with The Woman and some friends I still managed to get some painting in and Colonial Bread is coming right along! We'll see how the week goes - but I could be finishing next weekend.

I need to go to Madison Wi to get some photos don't know when I could fit that in though. I want to do a painting of the Monona Terrace Fountain with the Capital Dome behind it . I don't even know if the fountain is on in the winter - It's OK I have lots of other things to paint too.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Now Back to Business

Now that the whole issue of trying to build and launch a web site is sort of behind me ( I still have to be somewhat diligent about keeping it updated ) I can focus on the paintings at hand. I have stated in previous posts that the whole creative thing is very cyclical, I have really high creative points were everything just flows into place and I can get lots done and then I'll have a valley where everything is a struggle.

Well I'm on an upswing and I hope I've not reached the top yet cause I really need to finish some new pieces before application deadlines. Worked on Colonial Bread last night and finished a little two somethings that The Woman needed done. Tweaked the web site a bit and watched North Carolina and Duke lose. All and all a very productive evening.

The web site finally when up this afternoon and I'm very glad as it has taken up some of my studio time, but I think it was worth the effort. Please feel free to look and leave your comments.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Still Waiting

As I have stated in previous posts I'm really trying to get this web site thing going. First so it doesn't cost too much, because "art" really doesn't sell well on the Internet. I get at least one "special offer" every week for some company to put my images on their site ( for a fee ) and they will do all the work. Do yourself a favor before you sign up for one of these find an artist that has signed up contact them and see what they have to say. One site claimed that they had connections with retailers and you couldn't help but make money - so I e-mailed one of the artists, who e-mailed me back and said I was the only person who had ever contacted her and she had made no sales. Needless to say she wasn't going to renew her one year commitment to the site. I don't have these aspirations of instant wealth, but I do need a way that people who have seen me art various art shows to quickly and easily contact our purchase things that they have already seen.

Secondly, I want to do it myself. I don't want to have to contact someone, send images, or wait for something to be done. Like I am now---waiting for my domain name to transferred. It's been 7 days and I'm really wanting to get this thing opened up. I'm calling after lunch to see what the holdup is. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Strange Partners

I got a call the other day from Jennifer Lee ( The former Director of the Peoria Art Guild ) and was talking with her about the need for some new artists to get a booth or group shot of their work so that they could apply at shows this summer.

This last year has been brutal on the arts, I've been at many shows and talked with artists of different forms and across the board it has been bleak. One artist husband was telling me that they lost 10,000.00 the first two months of 2009 and cancelled all their shows until the Peoria Riverfront Show in September. Lots of artists are literally just folding up tents and doing other things.

Anyway to address the conversation with Jennifer - I decided to put on my own workshop and hold a little seminar on how to apply on-line and to have a display area so artists could get the booth shot they need also. So I contacted Linda Freeburg - the President of the Illinois Art League and told her of my plans for the workshop and asked to borrow a few display boards for the event. In return I asked that she invite any interested members of the IAL to attend.

So in February the workshop may bring together some of the varied factions of the Peoria art community ( for at least a Saturday anyway) .

Will probably post something about the "Goodfellas" thing at some point this week.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Golden Globes

It amazes me that the entertainment and the music industry can create and award - Emmy, Golden Globe, Peoples Choice, and so on and so on. That people will mindlessly tune in and spend a major portion of their lives caring what someone wore or what someone said.

Mainly I'm just irritated that the music and film industries have managed to work out all these details so that the general public doesn't realize that they are watching a five hour commercial.

Also secretly jealous that I can't figure out a good way to do it for visual art.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Small Steps

As you may have read in previous posts I'm really wanting to get the web site thing going. After talking to Kristopher over the Christmas break I've sort of committed to a plan at Intuit. I've checked other artists sites for prices, thought about hiring it done ( but for those of you that know me well - the bottom line is I'm cheap - or at least frugal) . So now I am in the middle of the whole process.

I don't want to get too carried away with it, as I don't think the web site will some panacea and sales will just soar through the roof. However it is a great place for customers that see me at a show to look at my work a second or third time and be able to contact me easily. So they are an important aspect of business in this right.

They just take so much time to set up the way you want them. Resizing images, creating text boxes, layering, and about a half a million other things - for each page!!

So I'm going to pace myself, one page a night, if I can get one page near finished each evening than I will still have some time to paint. Last night was the Ballpark page - still need some more words ( words drive the search engines) but the images are the right size and that part looks great. Then I was off to Colonial Bread and spent a few hours painting - listening to the most boring basketball I think ever Michigan vs. Indiana.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Work Is A Wonderful Thing

Most of the time I have a pretty good handle on my job and really don't have to sweat too much about things that a swirling around. Twice a year though (in the winter and the summer - the latter is really not a good time for the artist part of me ) I have to get ready for the new spring and fall window fashion trends. It's that time of year when new fabric is arriving and old must make way for it and sample books must be made and shipped and most of all it must be shelved and put on the inventory.

This does not leave a lot of time for blogging or any personal stuff at work, but hey , it beats the alternative ... trying to live on an artists payroll .... that's why they call them starving artists. So work is a wonderful thing, especially mid February when the bulk of this will be over.

Tonight I should be able to get into the studio and paint again, if I can focus on that and not the web site I've been working on.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dinner Report

The dinner took about 40 minutes to prepare and when we definitely did like it, we could use less Portibellos as Kaleb didn't eat them at all. The salad was a huge hit, again everyone but the carnivore Kaleb loved it.

Had to fix some finials for a customer at work. Seems that the finish of the wood was different than the pole, a little distressing action and a quick wash of acrylic paint and they look much better. Hopefully we made a customer happy, and the way business is going that is a good thing.

Tried to get myself on to the web site thing but I kept getting nowhere then I look up and it's time for bed. Man I hate it when time rushes by like that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cooking with the Queen

I was listening to the radio the other day and a couple who have an afternoon time slot was talking about one of their New Years resolutions. Now I do not really get into the resolution thing but I do appreciate a good idea. This couple was going to learn a new recipe once a week a "cooking date night" if you will. I thought this was a great idea, so I thought The Woman who is always telling us that she is tired of fixing the same old things and hearing us complain about various dinner choices would love it.

Well.... It turns out that what I thought was a great idea needed some tweaking ... It seems that the words "Date Night" and "Cooking" should never be uttered together. The Woman was happy to spend time together learning new recipes, getting help in the kitchen, and generally anyone showing any interest in meal planning. Not with the whole calling it a date, it seems that after 30 some years of marriage I temporarily lost my mind.

So tonight we are making London Broil Portibello Sandwiches with a Spinach Apple Cider Salad courtesy of the food network web site. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Friday or Saturday evening I'll be taking The Woman to Sky Harbor for the best steaks in the area, as I've been reminded what a date night is ..... and I got the black eye by walking into a door... OK

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Update

Even though I did develop a slight head cold ( But thanks to The Woman nursing me back to health with breakfast in bed and allowing me to sleep till 11:oo AM - something that I never do) I think that the worst was avoided.

I did manage to squeeze so paint out and start Colonial Bread even though I was sort of out of it thanks to cold medicine. Lucky for me it didn't affect my painting style (or lack of it)

Spent Sunday at church and hanging out with this hot looking lady that I know. Racked snow off my Mom's roof and babysat some toddlers for the music pastors at the church. I'll get back to painting tonight - but it will have to be after a thing at One World for Nancy Davis.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Colonial Bread

The painting that I started last night is going to be great, a lot of the time I paint things that I think will be great, only not to like them so much when they are finished. This will not be the case with this on, it will be the "Smith Drugs" "Lucca Grill" "Spirit of Peoria" of this season.

The only problem is that I seem to getting a little head cold, which in my case has a large area to grow. This weekend promises to be very cold and windy. Great time to stay inside and paint. Isn't life grand.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Snow Day

Here in the beautiful mid-west we can always expect to have a few snow days. Everyone excited about the prospect of sleeping in and watching daytime TV cause it's way too cold and snowy to go to school.

Too bad they rarely cancel work. So as I got up and got underway, my mind went back to a snow day (more like a few days) in the past that was filled with a big pot of chili, dominoes, Harold, Mary, and of course The Woman.

As I continued to get ready for work..... I smiled!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

It All Comes Down to This

I was really fortunate to get to attend a "special" school in my youth. Someone at some point decided that we "special" kids should all be herded together and forced to go to the same school and be given the chance to learn together. This great scholastic initiative has given District 150 one of the premier schools in the area, but take it from one of the first class members, most of the time I wish I had just attended "regular" school.
They started Washington Grade School in the sixties - and staffed it with some of the best and brightest teachers in the area. We studied foreign language, algebra,chemistry, physics, debate, and my favorite art, all starting in the in the fourth grade.
As you may have guessed my favorite class was art, and the lucky teacher who got to come in and instruct these prodigies - none other than one young Don Kettleborough. It was in these art classes that I tried to soak up as much information as possible, and almost everything I do has it's roots in that class.
I said all that to get to this one point that I can still remember like it was yesterday, Mr. Kettleborough holding up a girls painting and expounding on the problems of being "finished". How do you know when to stop? When is the painting only going to be cluttered, muddied, or otherwise ruined by more effort?
Every painter wrestles with this problem at the final stages of every painting, when do you say when? It always comes down to this!

Tonight I will take before and after photos of the painting "Capital Reflection" to see if I make the right call. The painting of the Iowa State Capital could be finished - but I think I need to put on a bronze glaze over the windows to tone down the painting a bit. This is a dangerous this as I could ruin the whole piece, but Mr. K would say , only I can make that call.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


I have retrieved my van from the shop and took my camera inside the house to warm up(since I think the temperature in Central Illinois is colder than many parts of Alaska) I took Kristopher to the shuttle Sunday so he could start his journey back to London. Then went home and started painting, about the first palette cleaning ( I use an old Corel plate as my palette - it's white and acrylics don't stick to it too well and the flared up sides help hold in the fluid paints that I prefer) I noticed that The Woman was getting a little stir crazy ( One day I hope to make enough money at art to have a winter home somewhere warm for her) so we went out.

Besides the fact that winters can be brutal here in mid-America, there is also a lack of activities that one is able to do. No walking on the riverfront today - if you want to walk you have to go to the only place to do it and stay warm - the Mall ( cue the scary movie music)

I have never liked the Mall (music) I think it is because if you go there you have a tendency to want to buy something, and I have a reputation of being sort of tight with money. I have been more relaxed going there lately ( I used to go into some kind of fit - so I was told) It's a good thing cause it appears the older you get the more apt you are to hike around inside. You pass the same couples walking faster than most and with purpose - be careful they will knock you down. These in shape geriatrics are just looking for some young punk to trip up to make themselves look good. Maybe that's how they impress their ageing spouse. ( hey baby ... see how I cut that young guy off on the stairs ... come to me )

Anyway we survived our walk with only minimal buying, and since it was the last day of the Christmas break, it was a nice ending evening.

But I didn't finish my painting - I'm close - should be in the next few evenings - As long as some old guy doesn't trip me up.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Should Finish This Weekend

I started the first of the new canvases this week and even with all the Holiday festivities (many late nights and at least one early morning birthday party) I've managed to get a little painting in.

For the first painting I chose a reflection shot of the Iowa State Capital off an office building next to it. The glass gives it a distorted look that is really pretty cool. I'm down to the last two panel and then the grid work of the glass.

Next up and already sketched out is the Colonial Bread sign ,also in Des Moines. As you can tell perhaps I've been trying to focus on other venues for paintings and trying to expand my horizons. Living in the mid-west we are very lucky as artists to have a very vast amount of art shows that we can apply and possibly attend. I have chosen to elevate my game and apply at larger shows. This summer I'm hoping to be accepted at two shows in Des Moines and a new show that I'm looking at in Madison WI.

I should have an image maybe tomorrow of the Capital as I get my van out of the shop today and my camera is in the console.

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