Thursday, July 24, 2008

My First Major Art Show...and a play date invitation for you

Two weeks ago I found out that one of my mixed media canvas assemblages had been accepted into the 2008 Sooke Fine Arts Show in Sooke, B.C.. The show runs from July 26 to August 4. and attracts up to 7,500 people each year from Vancouver Island, Western Canada and the U.S.. It is one of the premier juried art shows and sales in British Columbia. Needless to say, when I received my acceptance letter, I was absolutely thrilled to bits. Many artists that I know have tried for years to get in and have yet to be accepted. It was my first "crack" at getting into the show and I made it!

Friday night is the Artist and Sponsor Reception. I am so excited, I could just burst! My husband and I are going to dinner beforehand at a lovely wharf side restaurant in Sooke with my friend Marianna , her husband and another couple. One of Marianna's photographs taken at the Louvre in Paris was accepted into the show. Marianna does absolutely awesome photography and has had her work accepted in a number of shows over the past few years. She has another talent which is equally as impressive. Her charcoal and pastel drawings of small children are wonderfully charming. I absolutely love them! Hmmm... I wonder if I could sweet talk her into posting one of them for you to see? Let me work on that one!

Artists accepted into the Sooke show are given the opportunity to sell art cards.. I usually have a large stack of them ready to go. However I sold quite a few of them in the private show I was in a few months ago as well as to folks who know I make them and call me up to find out what new ones I have on hand. Currently "my stock" is way down... I thought I had more cards left than I did. Turns out there were only three in the card box... and the art show wanted at least 25! YIKES.

Because of other commitments on my time, I decided not to drive myself nuts attempting to get some done in a rush just for the sake of having some there. I don't do my best art work under pressure. Art for me is about freedom, choice and fun not about working to deadlines, feeling pressured, blah, blah, blah! I decided at the time not to participate.

A lesson about card making I have learnt over the years is that some folks who buy handmade art cards at art fairs, etc. balk at the price and have been known to make comments such as: "Oh I could make that for a lot less!" Not terribly polite in front of an artist (I'm being nice right now and not jumping on my bandwagon LOL) but hey from what I have heard it happens to most artists at some time in their "art journey".

I usually offer to tell them how to make it themselves. Old teachers never die you know, they just wipe the slate clean and start from the beginning! However, I usually lose them when they start adding up how much the supplies will cost them! But I now have a better way to deal with this. From here on in, I am going to take the cue from a woman in one of my art groups. She came up with a great idea and solution. She had a sign made up for her sales table at an art fair that read: "I know you could make it yourself but will you?" What a brilliant, clever idea. One of those "Now why didn't I think of that?" moments stopped by for a visit when I read that!

It has been my experience that many buyers have no idea how long it takes to make even the simpliest card. First you have to acquire all the supplies (i.e. tape, stamps, fancy scissors, paper, cardstock, watercolour paper, glues, paint.. need I go any further?) Once you factor in the cost of supplies for the card itself (including the envelope and nice sleeves everyone wants them in), the commision to the show (if your cards are sold there) plus your time to put it all together, you, the artist, are doing it not for profit but simply because it is a pleasurable experience and hope like the dickens you break even. Moral of the story: If it isn't a whole bunch of fun making cards or you are short on time ... exercise your right to say no!

A couple of nights ago, Marianna (who is an old pro at this show) and I were chatting about getting ready for it. She mentioned that I didn't really need 25 cards to participate. "Listen to your big sister now. Just give them what you have on hand Sharon. You make some wonderful cards and better seen and sold than sitting in a drawer."

She's right of course. Art should not sit in a drawer. The truth is, I'd rather make a few cards than watch T.V. at the best of times. I took the next few hours to put a couple together. Rifling through my mounds of pretty papers, pre-printed graphics and raiding my "stash" for embellishments proved fruitful. There was "stuff" in there I had forgotten I had made that I could use! I didn't have to start "designing" from scratch.

One of the things I found were black and white art nouveau prints I made on pellon months ago. My thinking, at the time was to put them on some black cards. Yep, you guessed it... the next project came along and the prints landed in one of my many embellishment boxes!

Seeing them again the other night reminded me of the fun I had experimenting with pellon. I had purchased a good yard of it at the store to play with and went to town trying out different mediums with it. I had a great time. Want to find out what I did? Let's have a play date next Tuesday.

You're invited to come play with me in my "artsy fartsy" sandbox. I'll share my experiments on dying pellon with Color Mists (available from A-leen at Outside the Margins) and/or Moon Glow Shadow Mist (available at Lindy's Stamp Gang ). You'll love all the colours you can get!! I'll tell you how to prepare your dyed "fabric" for use in a laser printer and give you some other tips and ideas about using this heavy interfacing, available for (just about) pennies, in your local fabric store. So drop in on Tuesday to get the scoop!

In the meantime, here's a photo of one of the cards I made using the pellon embellishment. I happen to love black & white on black and I think the black "swirlie" die cut makes a great edition to this card.

See you Tuesday. Have a fun "arty" weekend... I know I sure will!