Further Notes On Juneteenth in OTown

Continuing with the theme of my last post about having been asked to showcase my art at a local Juneteenth event, I managed to get two other paintings done in time to show along with the first, “Beautiful Son”. It’s always gratifying to be acknowledged as an artist, and this is especially so.

The second painting I did, I simply call, “Story Time”. It depicts a young father reading to his baby. Here are some photos of it, and the process of creating this piece. As you can see in the second photo, I drew up a sketch of what I had in mind. In the second, I filled in the background shape of a map of the USA, and began working on the figures. I continued from there, adding color and finishing up the figures to my liking. Once the painting was dry, I gave it a thin coat of acrylic gloss medium. This serves two purposes, it helps to protect the painting, as well as to highlight and maintain the bright colors. This is quite a bit smaller than the first painting, “Beautiful Boy”, for a few reasons, mostly concerning time constraints and having to use what I had on hand. It’s still a good size at 16″x 12″.

“Story Time”

The last piece I call, “Grace Under Pressure”. I didn’t get as many photos of the process of this as I was short on time, but I used basically the same process. I did a few quick sketches, (sorry they’re very light, but you get the idea.) From there, I then drew up an approximate sketch on the canvas, arranging, and changing features as I worked on it.

“Grace Under Pressure”

I hope it doesn’t sound egotistical, or worse, silly ( heheh), but I tend to fall in love with my paintings and these are no exception. I think I have even more so, because I feel that I have gotten to a place with my work where I feel more confident about it, as well as am able to create what I envision at a quicker pace. Not that that is important in and of itself. But for me as an artist, it is, as I feel these representations wanting out of my cranium, and am compelled to create them, to get them on the canvas. And now being at a point where I can do so more readily, makes it more of a joy and less tedious. I’m thinking that, in my next post, I may go over some of the tools I use, and give some pointers on my own process. Let me know if any of you think that you might like that, or not. (I’ll still probably do it. 😉

I wish everyone joy, and to stay safe, and I hope you join me next time!

Moving Forward

As I continue with my plan to basically see where my art takes me, I am finding that it is slowly coalescing into a “thing”. Even though I’m not really admitting it to myself consciously, or at least as loudly in my own mind speak as other topics. I know that, for me to stick with one idea, form, or subject for my art, is nearly impossible. I’m too easily swayed by the bright lights and excitement of a new idea. I tell myself, that’s because I’m an Aries, heheh. Whether true or not, this fact of my nature is absolutely true. It’s a wonder that I’ve actually finished as much work as I have.

So to have given myself permission to simply see where it goes, following each whim, seems to be having the opposite effect. Yes, I am enjoying the process in a more relaxed way than normal. As I usually have a goal, or a deadline. But it does seem to be heading toward something. I do tend to be slightly superstitious so won’t say much more about that lest I stop it in it’s tracks. Just saying that much gives me a feeling like; ‘oh no, will this cause me to falter?’. Is this how other creative types, artists, or craftspeople feel?

Unless you are an artist, or writer, etc., you may not know the hellish amount of pressure we put upon ourselves. Pressure to produce, create, invent. To come up with a new version of something. Then to bring it to life, to be satisfied, no excited about the finished work. It’s exhausting. And the competition to find a following is astronomical. To some who don’t live this lifestyle, and make no mistake that’s what it is, it may seem like it must be all joy and colors. And it can be. But it’s also tedious, frustrating, sometimes disappointing, and often maddening. Why do it then? You may ask. For me, it has been more than an obsession, it has been part of who I am my entire life. And it’s not always easy, not for me, or those I love. At times it could be stressful for everyone if it’s not going well. And there are those who feel you should always be making money with it. Which of course we’d all like, but when not, I will still be painting, or sketching. And those same people do not get it. And at the end of the day, what they get or don’t get, doesn’t matter.

Some may say, “well, do it for yourself, that’s what matters”. And as much as I do agree with this, it is important for me to sell my art. Art needs to be seen, to be loved and shared. It’s not meant for the dark. And there’s nothing more heartening than knowing that someone likes your work enough to buy it. I try very hard not to compare myself to others, but I do remind myself that there were many many (now referred to) as “great artists” who during their lifetime, were never able to sell any of their work. Not that I consider myself at their level in any way, but it is heartening that I have sold many pieces, and for a while had a following of repeat customers. Although recently this has not been the case, due to many factors. I am not exactly at ground zero, yet it does sometimes feel like starting over.

This brings me to what my next post might be, maybe something about my feelings about pieces that I have not sold. Well something to that effect or other. I guess I’ll have to see how it goes. 😉

Thank you for following my blog, I hope you and yours are safe and well. See you next time!

Preliminary Sketches For…?

A few months back, I decided that I would like to participate as an artist at a Comic Con that takes place a few hours from where I am. It’s usually around March. In order to do this, I will need to have enough art pieces in various sizes to warrant paying the price of the booth area. After taking some time away from drawing, I did feel somewhat refreshed, and thought that this goal might be a good place to jump back into the “paint” so to speak. I decided to go with a favorite super hero of mine, The Flash. (I do have a few other art works almost ready for this Con, but that’s another blog.) Not being an official expert on The Flash, I of course have to go with what I am into. And that happens to be the most recent incarnation on TV. I like the characters, the actors, and the overall look of the series. (Everything except the most recent version of The Flash’s outfit. I’m sorry, but good grief. They seriously need to go back to the season four costume). I meander. Anyway I’ve begun by doing some simple preliminary sketches. (With the season four costume).

For the title of this post, I left it a bit ambiguous for the simple fact that, although, I have my subject, I haven’t quite nailed down the exact form I’d like these to take.

I haven’t had an art booth in some time. And have never don a Con. But I’ve been to a few, and I know what I have personally been drawn to.

Personally, I enjoy the whole experience, from the cos players, (sometimes myself included), to the panels, and of course the many related items to purchase.

It’s always interesting to see all of the artists. They are as varied in their art, as in their separate approaches to selling it. Many work as a team with another artist. Some are more approachable than others. There are those who reach out to people wandering around. This can be a good thing or a bad one. If it’s done in an easy going friendly way, it’s usually OK. But of course there are always those venders who just have too much of a desperate vibe. It can be awkward, and is usually a turn off.

But for the most part, I have found the venders to be friendly, interesting and fun. Many of the venders spend their time there, working on more pieces. This is always interesting to see. The artwork ranges from simple to unbelievably detailed and excellent work. But whatever the case, they have put their hearts and energy into it, so it’s important to respect that.

Getting back to the question mark in my title. It also covers the how and how much to charge per item, aspect. Another thing that seems to be a good idea, is to have a few different price point items. I know that whenever I go, I like to get a few small things, sort of as souvenirs. For example I almost always get a few Lego super hero or Star Wars figures. Many times these have been refined or modified by the seller. I also like to get a few small art pieces, or hand done comic books. On occasion there may be something that really catches my eye, and I may be willing to make a bigger purchase.

I’m guessing a lot of people think this way. Unless they are hardcore collectors, most people are there for a good time, and may get a few little things. But It’s also a good place to display your more expensive pieces. People may not be interested or able to get something there and then, but might consider it for a later date, or as a future gift. The question here is, how many, and what kind of small items I should have on hand, as well as larger pieces, some small hand outs, business cards, and maybe some written items that explain my process, or a little about me? People do seem to like to know something about the artists. More importantly, I feel that the venders should be relaxed, and enjoy the venue as well. Those are the ones that I like to talk with. I don’t feel pressured, and neither do they. I’m more likely to purchase something from them as well. But if I don’t that’s cool too.

As a side note, there was a young woman at one of these venues, who had written and self published some comic style books. She was asking a reasonable price. It was late in the day, and the second time we came around and had decided to get one, she gave it to us for free! As fellow artists who know what has to go into this sort of thing, (after our first shocked delight), we just felt that we couldn’t accept that, and insisted that she take payment. See, relaxed and happy, and generous. We practically begged her to take our money!

If you are an artist, writer or musician who is selling your work, here’s hoping someone begs you to take their money!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and see you next time!

Day Tripping: Discovering Obscure Art Exhibits, Curiosities, and “Getting Out Of Dodge”.

My Dad used to joke when my mother was in a slump, that all he had to do was “shake the car keys over her head, and she’d be ready to go”. I guess I must have inherited some of that from my mother. It may have to do with some innate need. But whatever it is, as an artist and “creative” (to use a recently popular term), it is also necessary to recharge and get a fresh perspective. And sometimes it’s just nice to “get out of Dodge” as my son says.

An economical, and often more convenient way to accomplish this, is to go on day trips. This is a personal favorite, as it gives me that new perspective, without breaking the bank, but also without all the trappings that go along with a longer trip. I come home refreshed and hopefully a little inspired.

Recently on one such day trip, we headed out to a small village about an hour away from us called Cherry Valley. After an online search we had found an announcement about a “Sculpture Trail” there.

After a pleasant drive over hill and dale, we arrived in the pretty little village of Cherry Valley. We normally visit there about once a year. There are some neat places there to visit, but first we wanted to check out the trail. We spotted it almost immediately upon entering the village. We both thought the same thing, “This is really small” Heheh. (We soon realized that this was just part of the “trail”, and later discovered other pieces throughout the village.) The above photo shows an archway built for the “trail”, so we were in the right place, and the arch was beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the placard with the artist’s name. But if you’re in the area, I hope you get a chance to check it out. It runs through October 8th 2019.

I particularly liked this piece titled; “Eventual Artifact” by Devra Freelander and Gracelee Lawrence. ( At the top there is a hand holding a smart phone.) What will future generations think of the things we will leave behind?

This piece is by Marc-Anthony Polizzi. It kind of reminds me of skyscrapers rising over the landscape.

This small piece had no placard, and is also located in the same small garden area adjacent to the Cherry Branch Gallery.

The two pieces above, are located on the lawn of a local bank. I really liked the concentric circles on the one on the right, and the shadows created from the one on the left.

This piece titled “Red Waterfall” was on the lawn of the Post Office. It has a bit of a “steampunk vibe”.

There is also a gallery that had some very intriguing sculptures in the windows, but sadly were closed when we were there. But I did get some photos through the windows of these beautiful pieces.

The above objects were found in a local antique store. As my daughter says these skulls/skeletons “have a very oddity-esk feel to them.” We also stopped at a cute building housing a used book store that is like the Tardis, bigger on the inside, heheh.

I definitely got a “different perspective”, seeing all of these fantastic works of art, and talking with the people working there. And we got back in time for me to do a little painting of my own, some figurative abstract. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little “day trip” and get a chance to head out on some of your own. Thanks for stopping by. See you next time!