Monday, November 29, 2010

Crown Candy Kitchen

On the way back home we stopped for lunch at a St. Louis icon - the oldest soda fountain in the city. It is not the Wilton Candy Kitchen - but the Crown.

At least the Crown was open ( when I to Wilton it seems that Thelma had injured her leg and the hours were reduced - always call ahead - and bring cash - Wilton doesn't take credit cards ) but Crown does!!

It was an awesome place to stop and eat and if you are just two people you can jump past some of the larger parties and sit in the center section of about ten double booths. ( You should now that the seat width is less than that of your average airplane seat - I don't know if people in 1913 when the shop opened were thinner -but it appears a century of eating the fabulous food and ice cream served here has caused our asses to be a little wider)
Judging by the constant crowd and lines to get everything at the shop the demand for the prints of the future painting will be good in the St. Louis area , and who knows even farther.
I'm back in the studio ( Finally) and I have stretched a couple of different shaped canvases. This weekend I will be getting some full sizers ready for the winter months ( It's nice to have a stack of blank ones for those cold winter weekends)

Back At Home

It was another hectic weekend of driving from state to state, but this time it wasn't an art show - so no big sales over the weekend. I did however get to spend some time with my Mother visiting relatives that I haven't seen for many years. ( My uncle is in failing health and I do need to visit him more often)

Growing up we always took our vacations at relatives houses - travelling along the same roads - stopping at the same places. That may be why I always want to find new places and other things to see along the way. My mom - as I found out this weekend - also likes the adventure, she is a little nervous about bigger cities - but she's a gamer.

The first thing that you find out about traveling with your parents is that your still the kid so you leave when they want - In my moms case that early in the morning - which turned out pretty good ,because it put us at our first destination right around lunch time.

Beale Street

We found a place to park and headed off down Beale Street - Taking a few photos along the way - but mainly looking for a place to eat - we settled for a nice little place with some pulled pork BBQ and live blues music. After we hiked down the road a ways to W. C. Handys house and then on to Sun Records. Along the way I snapped this photo for my friend


So after a nice long walk to Sun Records - Memphis blocks are like New York Avenues they are very -very long - not your typical city block. We made it back to the parking lot and continued our journey - but before I left I did get quite a few cool images for this winters painting projects - like this one of the

Orpheum Theater -
Can't wait to take The Woman down on some non-busy weekend to really check out the city!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Taking one for the team

As the holidays approach ones head fills with all the wonderful Norman Rockwellian images of turkey/family/shopping/and festivities. Somehow the visiting of relatives is an integral part of Thanksgiving, even if your relatives are not just "over the meadow and through the woods"

My Mother is coming over for Thanksgiving , which is no big deal since we live in the same town. The big deal is that somehow I have been elected to drive to Mississippi and back in the three days following the feast.

I haven't been to visit my southern relatives for probably twenty years , so I guess I'm due. The amazing part for me was how busy ever other potential driver or family member became when this idea arose.

Oh well - I plan on stopping along the way for some photos of things that I've wanted to get ( Sun Records and BB Kings in Memphis - and on the way back I just learned of the Crown Candy Kitchen and Ted Drewes in St. Louis) so I won't be in the studio this holiday weekend .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sort of worried

As I told The Woman about the elderly man who shot his wife of 70 years in the head and killed her to end her suffering with dementia.

She warned me that I shouldn't forget her tea in the morning or she might have to put me down also!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cape Girardeau

I spent the last weekend at the Southern Missouri Arts Council's Holiday Art & Craft Show. Let me tell you - It was a Craft Show . That said, it was well attended, indoors, only about 4 and a half hours from Peoria, and I met other artists that were also there.

Now don't take this the wrong way - there were only a few "real artists" there - I'm not saying that the crafters aren't clever or creative in the way that they hot glue or sew or assemble beads/stencil letters/cut out wood/ or whatever little niche that they have going. I'm just saying that 'real artists' know that we are slumming.

After the opening bell rush ( In which several hundred people were lined up to be the first to get to their favorite vendors before the selection of new snowman creations were sold out) the crowds were very steady - and the people were buying - even though I had a very limited selection of paintings of local interest.

I think the key to selling at an event of this type ( I'm not being derogatory - I am planning on going back next year) is to have items at a low price point. If your prints are too high - they are not going to buy. They are though thinking about gifts - and that is a good thing!

So after all that I give the Holiday Show in Cape Girardeau and three out of five stars. On the extreme range of what I would want to drive home on Sunday evening - but very nice venue ( Show Me Center - on campus of Southeast Missouri State ), well run show -nice artist break room, and I got to see old friends that came up from Memphis. (Thanks - Wayne and Lori for a wonderful evening - next year I will upgrade to the suite so you can stay the night and leave on Sunday)

But most of all I got to hang out with my wonderful assistant!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Art of Competition

Like it or not - we are in a competition

The lists on the previous post of shows are just some of the available venues for us to display and sell our art. What you all need to realize - very early on - is that myself and sometimes about 500 over artists are directly competing for the right to set up shop at that fair, on that weekend.

One of the major shows in this area that I have been privileged enough to attend the jury for is the Peoria Art Guilds fall Fine Art Festival. Every year, approximately 700 artists apply for 120 open spots.

Wait - Look at the numbers - over 80% of all applicants are - "rejected" . Does this mean that if you don't make the cut for ____________________ show (you fill in the blank) that your tossing all your work in the trash and getting a job as a greeter at Walmart. Man I hope not.

I've told other artists in the past and I will continue to tell all the others - If you not getting rejected - your not shooting high enough . How can you expect to get better if you are not pushing yourself to go higher.

Since I have quite a few baseball themed painting ( and attend a few game through the summer) I like to us baseball analogies - the very best hitters in professional baseball only get a hit at one third of their at bats.

While we are on this line of thought - rarely does a player start in the Major league - It could happen - it just doesn't very often. Most players learn the ropes over a few seasons in the Minor leagues. Does this mean that they are less talented - not necessarily - they just needed to develop there skill for a little bit longer.

Art can be the same way. There is not a set formula that will get you to the top. It is trial and error - and sometimes talent and technique can have little to do with it. Sometimes it is just blind luck.

So as you are picking out the shows that you want to attend .......know this an artist in their studio that has their eye on that very same prize....... so you better bring your

A Game.

I am
Making Another List

Since we are in the list making mode ( and I didn't have to teach a little workshop this past weekend " Preparing yourself and your art for outdoor shows' ) I will continue to share some of the things that - we - as artist need to deal with before, during , and after any of the shows on the previous list.

The first - The other day I received and e-mail from a new artist, that was asking for help putting an online application together. He was polite, but he needed it all - photos of his work, artist statement, and booth shot. After contacting him and talking, I found out that he had never done an outdoor show and was working on applying to a very exclusive show.

My advice was to start a little smaller - Try a a few local events like a farmers market - It is relatively easy to get into and gives you a chance at setting up your display and seeing what it's like to brave the elements. It also gives you a great opportunity for the "Booth Shot"

Here is some more things to think about before you pick out those shows one the previous list:

  • How to price your art and answer questions about your prices - Trust me this is a big issue, especially in today's economy - Myself I use a simple square foot fee, this keeps prices somewhat uniform and has nothing to do with time.

  • How to respond when people criticize your art - People will say what they think, and as your standing on the other side of your display and over hear their discourse on whatever they perceive to be the problem with what you are doing, you need to be ready.

  • How to display your art in ways that make it appealing to potential buyers - This is a very personal thing , I have seen all manner of displays - from the garish to the unique - consider this though (and it took a while for me to figure this out ) your display may be unique, but premium shows are looking for some uniformity in displays - standard white tents and professional display.

  • How to know when you have enough art and enough of a selection to start showing and selling. - It is important to have enough new merchandise to not have the same look at shows in the same area. You don't want people walking past saying " I've seen that stuff last year"

  • How to talk to the public about my art - Not everyone will "get" your art - so it is important to speak of your art in terms that the average Joe would understand. Let's face it - artists like to talk to other artists - we have a common passion - to create - don't expect the general art show public to " catch the feeling"

This will conclude my discourse for the day - I will be attending an indoor show in Missouri this weekend and hopefully will continue on this vent next week .

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Making a list

Seems to be the time of year for making lists - Santa's doing it !

Well the latest list that I've been working on is a show list. There are any number of local venues to show your art wares - but I've found that as in most things in life you get exactly what you pay for. I have put together a list of venues that are within a days drive of Peoria ( we artists are very fortunate to live in a central local that allows us to travel to some major venues ie: Chicago/St.Louis/Indianapolis/Madison/DesMoines - all of which are less than four hours away )
The shows listed below are not all the shows - they are just some of the shows. I listed them by approximate date of show show that if you have a free weekend that month - check out the shows that are available. Some of the shows I have not attended - some I have - I would be glad to share the ones that I would avoid - as well as the ones I won't miss!

If you are looking to apply to some of the early spring shows Hurry! some of the deadlines have passed and even more a quickly approaching.

Feel free to copy the list - I've tried to include a link to the show when possible - Let me know of any that I left off - This is just the first draft!

4/9/2011 Cool Art & Hot Jazz St.Louis MO Entry Thingy
5/1/2011 Elmhurst Art Festival Elmhurst IL Paper Application
5/7/2011 Art Fair at Laumeier St.Louis IL http:// Zapplication
5/8/2011 Peoria Heights Show Peoria Heights IL Paper Application
5/14/2011 Art on the Square Belleville IL http:// /call.htm Entry Thingy
5/14/2011 Broadripple` Indianapolis IN http:// /braf40/ Zapplication
5/14/2011 Old Capital Art Fair Springfield IL Entry Thingy
5/15/2011 Lakeview East Group Riverside IL http:// /
5/21/2011 Art Fair Wine Fest Washington MO
5/22/2011 East Lansing Art Festival East Lansing MI Zapplication
5/29/2011 Round The Fountain Lafayette IN http:// /
6/4/2011 Iowa Arts Festival Iowa City IA http:// Available Mid January
6/4/2011 Countryside Village Omaha NE http://
6/10/2011 Smoky Hill River Fest Salina KS ArtandCraftApp.cfm
6/10/2011 Central West End Art Fair St.Louis MO
6/10/2011 Monument Square Art Fair Racine WI
6/10/2011 Talbot Street Art Fair Indianapolis IN
6/12/2011 Wells Street Chicago IL
6/25/2011 Des Moines Art Festival Des Moines IA Zapplication
6/25/2011 The Other Show Des Moines IA Zapplication
7/10/2011 Sugar Creek Art Festival Normal IL
7/10/2011 Art Fair on the Square Madison WI Zapplication
7/11/2011 Krasl Art Fair St Joseph MI Zapplication
7/18/2011 Art Fair in Liberty Park Kenosha WI
8/9/2011 Art in Your Eye Batavia IL Must have won an award
8/14/2011 Washington Art Festival Washington IL Paper Application
8/21/2011 Champaign Arts Festival Champagne IL Paper Application
8/28/2011 Lincoln Art & Balloon Lincoln IL
9/3/2011 Art Splash Sioux City IA Zapplication
9/4/2011 Fourth Street Festival Bloomington IN Zapplication
9/11/2011 St Louis Art Fair Clayton MO
9/11/2011 Rees-Carilon Springfield IL Paper Application
9/11/2011 Wausau Festival Wausau WI Zapplication
9/13/2011 West End Art Festival La Grange IL
9/18/2011 Park Forest Art Fair Park Forest IL
9/18/2011 Riverwalk Art Fair Naperville IL
9/25/2011 Plaza Art Fair Kansas City MO Zapplication
9/25/2011 Art Fair at Meadows Lake St Louis MO
9/25/2011 Faust Fine Art St.Louis MO
9/25/2011 Un Plaza Art Fair Kansas City MO
9/25/2011 Fine Art Festival Peoria IL
10/1/2011 Longview Art & Music Lees Summit MO
10/1/2011 Art & Wine Walk St.Louis MO
10/1/2011 Art Fair West West Des Moines IA Zapplication
10/1/2011 Fall Avon Art Festival Avon IL
10/1/2011 Historic Shaw Show St.Louis MO Entry Thingy
11/26/2011 Belleville Arts & Crafts Belleville IL Kay Weber - 618-233-0940

Monday, November 08, 2010

Low Profile

I've been keeping a low profile in the art community lately - I don't think it is anything that I've planned - sometimes dates and times of events / openings / meetings and the like are just not meshing with other things on the family schedule.

This past week, Kristopher, our oldest son has been in the states ( He lives in the UK) It is always good to have him home -but things sort of revolve to his agenda while he is in town.

One of the major things was that I gave up my phone for the week - I don't live on the phone - It's not a fancy Blackberry - just an old flip phone - but being without I felt sort odd.

With the time change this past weekend and the cooler temps coming , I'm looking forward to the upcoming studio time and creating some new images for this next seasons shows - It looks like at this point in time there could be about 20 shows ( Yes that was Twenty) The Woman is up for it - and you have to make hay while the sun shines - so sign me up - I just hope I can make the money to cover the jury fees and entrance fees !! for twenty shows that could be upwards of $5000.00. ( The other adage is " I takes money to make money" )

Thursday, November 04, 2010


The hospital commissions have been delivered and now I'm off to customizing a painting for a customers retirement party.
Yes - being the Art Ho means you must give the patrons what they want.
I've also been finishing up the early applications for next year. Must get ready for the show in Cape Girardeau and then a holiday event at the Peoria Art Guild.

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