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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things: Think Small

Fishing for Inspiration

After completing over 20 paintings for my solo show in September, I was one tired painter.  I needed to get into the painting groove again, so I tried an old trick: paint something small and fun! I can't even remember how it came to me, but fishing lures seemed to be a fast and easy project. Ok, so they ended up being not so easy or fast - but isn't that the way it always is? The lures were definitely a challenge, but a good one. I quickly became obsessed.

Fishing lures come in an endless variety, and yes, they were so much fun to paint. Full of color (and you know how I love color) and easy to frame as painted them on oil-primed boards. They're on display at the Ann Arbor Art Center now until January 10.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bucket List: Solo Show, Check!

Post Show Reflections

I did it! The opening of A Closer Look at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center was September 11, 2015 - almost three months ago - and I still can't believe I pulled it off. That was a lot of planning, painting and panting. Walking into the gallery for the first time and seeing all my work hung on the walls was one scary, thrilling, surreal, and stunning moment. Relief set in. I had actually delivered what I promised: I filled an entire gallery with a solid collection of my best work. Better still was receiving enthusiastic feedback from gallery guests, and not just from my mom! I am grateful to those artists who took the time to email or call me to congratulate me and offer me their praise and positive feedback. It meant everything to me.

So, what would I do differently? As far as the work itself, I can say without hesitation I produced the best work I was capable of at this stage of my journey. And how can one do better than ones best? But there were plenty of promotional and logistical moments I wish I could do over.

Plan Your Postcards Early!
For starters, I would have planned my postcards much earlier and researched how to produce them. Many galleries take care of the promotional materials for the artist, but if you are doing it yourself, please plan ahead. I started only a few weeks before the show and rushed like mad to get them out. The quality of my imagery for my postcards would have been dramatically better if I had known about using CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) instead of RGB (red, green, blue) when printing cards. I couldn't have switched over to the CMYK version myself as I don't currently have Photoshop, but I have friends who would have happily made the adjustment for me. My postcards looked okay, but definitely not great because of the imagery.

Are The Labels on The Art Right? Do You Have an Artist Statement Displayed?
Moving on. I would have visited the show when the art was labeled to make sure the names and prices were correctly displayed. It was opening night when I discovered some four pieces had incorrect prices. Mistakes happen - no hard feelings. And shame on me for not getting myself out there to proof everything.

I also would have offered to pay/order a nice name graphic of the show name, along with my name displayed on the wall. I would have had my artist statement printed out as well.  Next time.

Post Show Let Down.
A seasoned mentor warned me that one experiences a "let down" after the opening, and I can confirm this is true. Preparing for a show of this scale is an enormous undertaking, and there were plenty of twelve hour days. When you're running on that level of adrenaline, it's almost like a "high." And then, cold-turkey, you STOP. It's the most unsettling feeling. I felt without a specific purpose. I knew that painting again was my only cure, but it was hard to start a new work. Where the heck did my drive and determination go? It's taken a while for me to feel like myself again. But I'm almost there! I'm even tossing ideas around in my head for my next show. It'll be spectacular!

Especially the postcards.