Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nice Surprise, from a month ago...

I mentioned that I had a nice surprise at the Patriot News Artsfest show on Saturday morning. Here it is!!

My "Passionflowers" painting made the cover of The Patriot News' Go! section of May 27's paper (before the show).

You can click the image to see it full size.

A lady came up to my booth first thing Saturday morning and congratulated me... I had no clue what she meant. She pointed to the "Passionflowers" painting and said, "Your painting there was in the newspaper last week. On the cover!!" I laughed a little and said, "Oh... uh... no... I don't think that was me. They are using a picture of pottery to promote this year's show."

(Besides, why would they pick my random passionflowers picture to use on anything? Especially after my "Spring Lilies" had just been used in September to promote Kipona!)

No. Of course not!

She shrugged and said "Well....... maybe it was someone's photograph? But I'm pretty sure it was THAT picture. On the cover of Go!." I thanked her because it was still a compliment, and she left.

As the day went on, more and more people kept mentioning it... so of course my curiosity was getting the better of me. I hadn't looked at any papers all week since I was busy getting ready for the show. Finally one of my artist friends, Brownyn, showed up at my booth and confirmed that it was definitely, DEFINITELY my painting on the cover.

However, no one had a copy with them to show me, of course. It was driving me a little crazy that everyone had seen it but ME! Eventually a super, super, super nice friend of mine who I met at a show last year told me that her son would be at Artsfest the following day and she'd send her copy of it with him. And sure enough on Sunday he came in with it... lo and behold, there it was! (The pottery picture they used this year was inside, right on the official Artsfest Guide that people can take out of the Go! section and bring with them.)

I still found it pretty random that this bright colorful picture of a totally non-native plant was used to promote an art show all the way up here in PA... but I can't complain! :) I wonder who saw it and picked it?

I haz the warm fuzzies....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Art in honor of NATIONAL POLLINATOR WEEK! and a story.

 This one is done! Except not signed yet in this photo.

I've been working on my caterpillar triptych a lot the last couple of days and managed to finish this one about an hour ago!

Last night I worked on the little flower buds while watching "The Wedding Singer." I hadn't seen that movie in YEARS and it's such a good one! I was so thrilled to find it on (and they even showed it twice in a row)!

The paintings are also a great distraction from obsessing over house hunting / endless thoughts of decor and my imagination running wild / realizing that packing suuhhh-hucks and I need to just go buy a bunch of packing tape already and stop putting it off (but I hate to leave paintings halfway done for weeks/months on end..........)

 Um...  I guess from that paragraph you can tell how scatterbrained I am at the moment.

So scatterbrained this whole week, in fact, that I missed an allergy-shot appointment on Wednesday so I had to reschedule. They fit me in this morning at 9, and of course I was running late (I was trying to finish up the black on the caterpillar!). I wasn't speeding or going crazy because of running late, just feeling frazzled.

I accidentally went through a left-turn-yield-on-green light, following the car in front of me, not paying as much attention as I should have been- I totally admit. I guess one plus side is it wasn't like I just ran through it in the middle of the green-light cycle, that would probably have been worse. But then again had no one been in front of me, I would probably have paid a lot more attention to what was going on in the intersection. Since I ran through it when it must have *just*changed, the cars across from me hadn't started moving yet. But wouldn't you know it, right in front was a cop who saw me and honked at me and then pulled me over.
I was so embarrassed.
I never do things like that. I HATE when people run red lights, hell, I am all for red-light photo enforcement. I'm sure since I followed the person in front of me, it looked like I was saying "SCREW YOOOUUU!" to the folks across whose light had just changed to green.

So the cop asks me if I know what I did. I responded with "I thought I still had a green arrow.... but I guess I didn't."
"NOOOOO!... you DIDN'T and you almost took off the front of my car!"
Ok... that was an exaggeration because if I had looked up when he honked and seen his car thisclose to me, I may have literally peed in my pants. Instead I looked up and my first reaction was annoyance... not panic.
I get that what I did looked like a dick move, but both cops were standing there by my car and kind of making wise-cracks the whole time. They were really laying in to me, and I deserved it, I know, but it seemed like it was getting to be a bit much. I was on the verge of tears, and stuff like that doesn't make me cry. Why were they treating me like this??
It dawned on me later that maybe... it was because of.... my car. (Is that like pulling the race card? I don't know.)
They saw the obnoxious fluorescent color, tinted windows, and I'm sure assumed I was just some young punk who habitually drives like an @$$hole. All I needed was a big loud muffler. I am pretty sure that they saw the car and formed an opinion instantly and jumped at the chance to rip apart one of those drivers.
I don't blame them. I would love to do the same.

But I still wasn't a fan of feeling judged. Maybe they would have treated me the same if I had been driving a station wagon or minivan. I have my doubts.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I am falling more and more in love...

With house hunting.

With the idea that soon my husband and I will have our first home, a place to truly make ours.

The first place we lived in together was a house we rented from my grandparents, so technically we probably could have done whatever we wanted to it (with permission). It needed tons of love and TLC though, and we chose to save our money for our eventual own place... however far off that was... rather than investing in a house we would move out of soon.

Our first (rented) dwelling... flower bed on the right is incomplete.

We did go crazy with the outside and the landscaping though! :)

 One of the many flower beds we added!
AND Look at all that bamboo!
I want bamboo in every house in which I live.

So we've seen 6 houses together, he's seen a few on his own, and tomorrow we're seeing 4 more.
I know I've mentioned here and there on this blog that we'll be moving, to the Northern Virginia area, to be exact. I had hopes and dreams of returning to Florida, where a bunch of my best friends live, in Jacksonville. After a recent visit, I think I'm okay with moving to the DC area. I prefer to do my running outside and unless I did it at 5am every day... it's just too damn hot in Florida most of the year.

For buying our first home, everything seems to be in our favor right now. According to this article, mortgage rates just hit an all-time low today:

And properties in NoVA are moving fast. If we miss something, another great house pops up right around the corner!

I'm also having a great time scouring the internet for decor ideas, although that may be a little premature. But I can't help it....

Starting with the outside, some of the houses on our "favorites" list have fantastic interiors but the exteriors are just meh. Looks like all they need is a fresh coat of paint though, so even if I have to be stealthy and super sneaky and do it when my husband is away on travel (heh... I'm kidding... sort of) I am dying- DYING!!!- to paint our house yellow. Not bright fluorescent yellow like my car or anything. But a pretty pale yellow with nice white trim... (if I can't live at the beach, I can pretend, right? A cute little beachy looking cottage. In the DC metro area. It's cool.)

One of the contenders....  Imagine this house painted YELLOW!! 
with a total makeover of the yard.
Hardy banana tree, yuccas, ferns, hostas, daylilies, pachysandra, rhododendrons, bee balm, coneflower, sweet bay magnolia tree, bamboo, milkweed .... 

And then some pretty potted plants by the front door. Maybe in terra cotta pots- that never goes out of style. I'm thinking red geraniums, too, since that's what my grandmother always had by her door.

What's funny is while I was bouncing around amongst decorating blogs, I happened to find this one a few minutes ago. Gorgeous. And look.... a beautiful yellow house. Imagine that!

The last few times I've taken my dog for a walk, we've gone all through one of my favorite little local neighborhoods so I can gawk and gaze and drool over the little tiny gardens and many flower pots that adorn the doorways of the cute rowhouses in Shipoke and I take many mental notes.

Of course I already have about a billion ideas for the landscaping. Last year I missed my gardens so much I wrote a Squidoo lens all about Tropical-Style Gardening in the Mid-Atlantic so I didn't forget all my ideas when I moved!!

I AM OBSESSED WITH PLANTS.... STOP ME.... OR HOLD ME.... I have over 70 house plants. Help!

The other night I dreamed about a magnolia tree, so I'd like to add one of those. One of those things I always wanted since I was a kid, but never allowed to have? And when my family moved into a house with a HUGE one they immediately knocked it down? :( (in preparation to add on to the house BUT STILL, I was devastated.) Not sure if I'll do a regular one or settle for the Sweet Bay Magnolia that I posted about recently... but I would love to have one.

Ok, I am done rambling for now. Because I could write a whole other post JUST on my ideas for the office/art studio! You bet your ass I already have a folder full of inspirational photos for it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

3rd Down & Forever

How often do you get a chance to see one of your best friends on the news (not for committing a crime) and on the big screen? This weekend I got to do BOTH in the same day!

An artist friend of mine from college premiered his documentary film "3rd Down & Forever" in Jacksonville and I was lucky enough that I could make the trip to Florida to see it! Even though I'm not a football fan by any means, I'm obviously a fan of my friends (and their projects), so after hearing about this film for the last couple of years, I was really excited to see the results of his training and hard work come together.

It's the story of an average guy (an elementary school art teacher) who is determined to become an NFL prospect. Everyone's watched a football game and heard those guys who exclaim, "EVEN I COULD HAVE CAUGHT THAT!!!" and my friend Jason decided to find out, Could an average guy have made that catch?

If the trailer above doesn't work, you can watch it here:

What he found out is that the NFL players are immensely talented athletes. You have to run at full speed, while being able to look behind you and still go in a relatively straight line, and catch a ball, and anticipate possibly being tackled by some HUGE dudes throughout the entire process. I never really thought about that. Sure if you're just standing with someone in a field throwing a ball around, it's easy to make that catch. Throw in all those other factors and it becomes something else entirely.

The film runs about 30 minutes long and DVDs are only $5 plus shipping. I picked up a few to give to family members who are football fans and remember Jason from when we were in school together.

It would make a great gift for any fan of football, whether they've played before or not. One viewer even commented that she thought it was a highly motivational film to show to high school or college kids. A lot of kids play football thinking they're going to make the NFL and Jason goes into some of the stats in his movie about just how hard it is. (In other words... it's probably good to have a back up plan!)

You can go here for more information or to order one (I highly recommend it!)


Since I am usually painting or something when football is on the TV, I don't pay much attention to it. But after seeing this film, I will look at football players in a whole new way and maybe even pay attention once in a while.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Poop On Taxes

(Poop on the figuring out part. Not the paying. I'm totally cool with paying them.)

I was filling out my expense spreadsheets tonight and as I do so, I always update my annual tax spreadsheet. Then next February or March, everything is right there and organized and ready to be categorized and added up! ...Except that never happens. I sit there in mid-March, staring blankly at the 1040 Schedule-C, probably drooling a little, clicking back and forth between the form and the instructions, trying to translate IRS-speak into non-business-person-dummy-speak, and figure out how the hell I categorized my expenses. My accountant said *generally* as long as you include eeeevvvvvvverrryyyything, the categories themselves aren't that big of a deal.

Still, it seems silly to go through all the trouble and not do it right.

So I zone out looking at the numbers and the various colors (because I color-code all the categories to make them easier to visualize and then add, since I have absolutely no clue how to tell Appleworks, "total this shit up" and I still do it by hand; no not with an abacus but one step up from that). And then it gets to be 2 in the morning and my husband has told me he wants to send the taxes in THE NEXT DAY so I just start plugging in numbers and adding them up so I can get to bed.

And every time I say, Next year will be different. When I have time, I will research exactly what all these categories mean so I can file properly and know exactly where the numbers came from when I look at them the following year.

But do I? Noooooo!!

Tonight became that day! Yay! I decided as I updated my taxes spreadsheet that it would probably be a good idea to go over all the categories NOW, when I have time and when I'm not in a sleep-deprived-stupor.

I think I've got them all straight. I'm not sure if this helps anyone else, but since there are like 4 categories for "supplies" I thought I'd summarize what I found tonight.

On Form 1040 Schedule C (Profit & Loss From Bidness):
Part 2  Expenses
Line 18: Office Expense. So like, office supplies and crap. Tape, staples, pens, whatever. This also includes Postage! Did you know that? Cause it doesn't say on the form. You have to look in the instructions to find it!
Line 22: Supplies (not included in Part 3): Well WTF other kind of supplies are there? Now I have to jump ahead all the way to section 3 and figure out what doesn't fit in there (or in Line 18 as office supplies)? What IS this? According to the instructions, it's "supplies" that you would consume in a year. "Books, professional instruments, equipment" are examples given. But that's confusing because most books or equipment last longer than a year, so you go into depreciation?? I have no idea. Maybe that's why they include the text "not included in part 3" because they don't even know. And they couldn't come out and say, "Uhhh... whatever.. doesn't fit... anywhere else. Put it here. Yeah that sounds good."

Part 3 Cost Of Goods Sold
Line 36: Purchases less cost of items withdrawn for personal use. Geez. So obviously items for personal use don't belong on your taxes, duh, so if you leave out the part of this category written by Captain Obvious, you have... Purchases. Ok, still, what? Through a bunch of internets-super-sleuthing, I found out that this means: Things you buy to sell. I *believe* this refers to something such as a print bag. You aren't doing anything special to it, just slipping your print into it to sell. Same with a frame, or a mat. You're buying the item to technically resell it. If I'm wrong on this please let me know- I'll correct this post so no one makes the same mistake as I'm going to be making ;)
Line 38: Materials and Supplies. Hello, could you be any more vague? Through even more exhaustive research than line 36 I found out this is stuff like materials you use to make a finished product. So if you make your own frames then the wood and stain and whatever hardware you use would be included here. And I suppose the ink and paper you use to produce prints that you're selling would be included here, too. And paint. And canvas. Orrrrr maybe canvas fits into the above category!?

Whatever. As long as you're consistent I guess.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Native Sweetbay Magnolia

I am SO excited! I just accidentally stumbled upon a blog that told me exactly what the tree is that I've been admiring at the park where I've been doing my open-water-swim training:


The tree is a Sweetbay Magnolia!
(and the blog post above is REALLY interesting and informative and you should totally go read it. It's about native plants and... my favorite... BUGS!!)

There are two of these trees planted near the Pinchot park facilities and they always smell so, sooo good. (Except when the entire park smells like dead decaying flesh.) But the flowers are magnificent and relatively small, compared to the magnolias with which most people are familiar; however, you can absolutely tell it's a member of the magnolia family.

The other really cool thing about this tree is it's a native species of the southeast! That means if I get a yard when we move and get to plant one, which I totally plan to now that I know what it is, I'll be supplying the native insects with food that they can actually use! YAY!

According to the map on Wikipedia, DC seems to be right on the line of where these babies can survive. But I figure if they can survive up here in PA, they can survive down there, too.

I am so excited to start planning a garden again....

Picture from WIkiCommons:
Photo by and (c)2008 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) and the Chanticleer Garden.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ned Smith Center Nature and Arts Festival!

I am very excited that I've been invited to exhibit (and sell, of course, hehe) my art at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art 17th Annual Nature and Arts Festival in Millersburg, PA! (Only about 40 minutes from Harrisburg!)

None other than the Mothman himself wandered into my booth at the Patriot News Artsfest a couple of weekends ago and overheard me talking to a friend about the caterpillar painting I'm currently working on. Naturally hearing "caterpillars" his ears perked up, and when he introduced himself as someone whose life has been amongst moths MY ears perked up.

I was so excited to ask him all about moths, and he was so excited to tell me all about the Nature and Arts festival. It's just a one day show on July 31st, but it sounded like a lot of fun and is very close to where I live.

Since we've started the house-hunting process, there is a chance that that weekend could be pretty busy or hectic, depending on when we find a house and when our move will take place. Since it's just one day, and hopefully my husband and I do a better job than last time of getting all our sh#t packed up on time, I could probably free myself up that day regardless.

I'm pretty excited about the show and have a swarm of ideas buzzing around in my head of some drawings (and paintings) I might like to try and get done in time for this show specifically... we'll see. I've spent a couple hours today on the caterpillar paintings and hope I'll be able to get the leaves all finished, and then I can start the milkweed flowers and finally finish up with the stars of the painting.... the caterpillars themselves!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Am I Sabotaging Myself?

You are always hearing, "Follow your dreams and they will come true" and "hard work pays off." Seems simple enough. If I want to make a living as an artist- the kind that paints and draws, not the kind I currently am that sits behind a computer and does boring stuff (but at least doesn't totally suck at it and once in a while does get an opportunity to inject a teeny, tiny bit of creative flair), all I have to do is keep my dreams at the forefront (dream = make enough selling art to pay the bills and I'm not talking platinum diamond encrusted toilet seats here) and then work hard to achieve said dreams.

Seems like a realistic formula for success, no?

Yet I think I might be sabotaging it. I do.

I'm not sure why. Maybe because if I keep the job I have now, and continue to work for the man rather than myself, there's sooooo much less pressure. I know what's expected of me. I get up and do my work for X amount of hours and then I go on a website and log my hours and I get a paycheck every 2 weeks. 

If I go into business for myself, it's alllllllll up to me. I will have to constantly actively look for opportunities and take the ones that let me have a chance. And maybe even out of those, only a couple will be successful. Art shows for example. I may apply to many. I may get into a few. I may make a profit at ONE.

Not such good odds when going into business.

Right now I'm Eric Cartman. Someone wants a picture done in light, mellow colors and I scream, "Wha-Evah! Wha-EVAH!! ...I do what I WANT!" I paint what I want when I want how I want. I will keep painting in bright, obnoxious colors because that's what I do.  Once in a while if there is an ungodly demand for a certain subject matter (like poppies or sunflowers), I will paint it, even if it doesn't particularly interest me.

If I want to be successful, I'll probably at least have to start out doing paintings of things other people like. Like lighthouses and boats and barns. I have been avoiding that for as long as possible and will continue to do so until I am about to go bankrupt. I am not THAT much of a whore.

I am scared to death of the phone and email. I'm not one of those people that (in business matters) composes a simple email, quickly checks for spelling/grammar errors and sends it away. No, I sit there and analyze each and every sentence. Do I sound mean? Do I sound demanding? I am neither of those things, and have had some pretty bad experiences through letters and art associations in the past (I was on the receiving end) and the last thing I want is any sort of miscommunication. So I put off emailing people (art-related) almost indefinitely.
I am scared.

At art shows I have this terrible habit of "how bout you call me." It's awful, I know. If someone is interested in a certain size print that I don't have available, instead of taking an order and giving them a price and taking a deposit and then fulfilling said order (which is the easiest part), I give them a business card and sometimes write on the card what it was they wanted, to remind them, and then ask them to email me and we can work out the details of the order. UGH, DUMBASS!!! That is NOT the way it's done! Why have I not learned by now!
(Answer: Because I'm so unsure of myself that I'm absolutely positive that if I take the order and deposit, by the time I get home, I'll have received a phone call or email saying the customer changed his or her mind and wishes to cancel the order and get their deposit back because my art isn't worth it. OR even worse I'll forget to do it and then the person is pissed and thinking I ripped them off, which technically I would have not totally not on purpose, I am human. I am SO scared of that happening! But of course I'd go out of my way to rush the stuff to them as soon as possible...)

So I'm putting it all out there.... some of you who read this are artists. Do you find yourself sabotaging your efforts, too?

I am scared of failure.
I'm scared of trying really hard to do something I love and then finding out... it won't work.
I'm scared of investing more money into this business since it takes money to make money, and coming up short, and not carrying my fair share of the load since my dear husband already makes way more than I do, and no matter what job I'm doing I won't ever even come close. But I would like to contribute a significant amount of money to the household rather than just wasting time and money on a hobby.
I'm scared of someone buying an expensive piece of my art and getting it home and changing their mind and having to face rejection.... because that would be way worse than someone just not wanting it in the first place.
I am scared if I DO become successful, my art might actually be in demand (a little) and I won't be able to fulfill someone's order quickly enough, leaving them disappointed in me.
Or that I'll get an order for a few prints and that day my printer will decide to blow its load on my last few remaining sheets of sugar cane paper and I will have to order more paper and then when the paper comes the print heads have dried out and now I have to do 45 head cleanings and go through a bunch of ink that I don't have so then I have to order that too and wait for it to come and 2 weeks later I finally might get to make one print.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Where Is My Mind?

(that's the name of a pretty cool Pixies song by the way.)

If you're following my blog, you probably noticed I haven't been posting as much lately since I was spending soooo much of my time training for a triathlon. My first one has come and gone (and I had a blast) and I'm doing another one on Saturday, but by now I've sort of settled into the routine of being able to do at least one activity (swimming, biking, or running, some strength training) daily and also finding ways to squeeze in a normal life as well (working, dog walking, cooking and eating like a normal person, preparing for a move in a couple months, etc.)

But where's the art?

That seems to be the one aspect that's been difficult to fit in.

I mean, it's there. In my head. It always is! I even started a few new little paintings a month ago. (Or maybe more, I don't know, but I blogged about it.) And then this past weekend I had my first art show of the year, which reminded me how much I do like creating art and I found a lot of inspiration looking at all the other artists' wonderful work and meeting new people who seem to enjoy mine.

So I've got ideas and I like creating art-- jump in! Hop to it!

Unfortunately for about 12 hours a day, the inside of my head looks something like this:

This is..... when I'm working. When I'm walking the dog. When I'm watching TV (due to certain current living arrangements there will be less of that). When I'm driving. When I'm taking a shower. When I'm eating cereal. When I'm working. When I'm having my coffee. When I'm in the grocery store looking at all the beautiful colorful produce. When I'm working.
Did I mention when I'm working??? Staring at a computer for a lot of the day thinking about what I'd rather be doing.

I guess by the time I actually HAVE time for the art, I've been thinking about it so much it already feels like I've been doing it, so it's a little hard to get motivated.

And when I have a million+ things on my mind related to the art, sometimes it's tough to know where to begin!!!

I should lay this mental mess out in an organized list.
We all just loooove lists, don't we?? We have our list for groceries, errands we need to run, bills we need to pay. Sometimes our lists have sub-lists. And... sometimes we lose our list and aimlessly mill around WalMart like a zombie, walking soooooo sloooooowly right in the middle of the damn aisle, taking up the entire walkway, completely oblivious to those around us... We forgot we just went in for toothpaste and envelopes and end up walking out out somehow having spent $159.74.

And no toothpaste or envelopes.


But here's how the list should look, if I did lay it all out. Somehow.
- Enter receipts into tax document
- Enter receipts and income from gallery & art show into business spreadsheet
- Contact the nice people who were interested in ordering some of my work at the art show
- Start the commission piece a friend (who I don't get to see too often) requested from me a while ago (he said there was no hurry)
- Start the commission piece a friend asked me to do for his or her spouse's upcoming birthday
- Start the piece I've been wanting to do as a gift for a friend
- Take the recycling to the drop-off center, or at least down to the garage, since it's taking up a ton of room in the office/studio
- Finish painting some of those bug boxes I was creating
- Finish painting the frames I salvaged from my mom's house
- Fill said frames
- List some of the bug boxes and little framed art on Etsy, open my store again.
- Finish my caterpillars triptych!
- Scan in my sunflowers painting
- After I figure out which bug(s) I'm going to put on it, and where- I'm thinking a lady bug and/or a grasshopper?
- Make prints of the sunflowers painting
- Go to Staples and restock on cards, I'm sold out of like half my designs
- Drop off my old computer monitor at Staples for donation
- Restock my ink and order more mats
- Order some of ProPanels' hanging hooks so I don't have to damage my panels anymore
- Frame some more of my original 30 bugs in 30 days

And of course, ideas for new art:
- Leaves with white or very pale blue backgrounds
- Hibiscus
- More butterfly drawings....

Ummm. As you can see, not only does this list require a lot of time, but also money. Which I don't have. Or maybe I do, but I don't want to spend it. I know it takes money to make money, and if I'm ever going to be successful with my art I need to take it seriously which includes occasional investments in it. Plus I shouldn't feel guilty about ordering a few things that I NEED because my family gave me $ for my birthday last year to order art-show-display-stuff and guess what? I never ordered it. But now that I'm working less, I have a lot of guilt about spending money if I don't need something, which is another reason a lot of the art stuff has slid to the back burner.

It's so hard finding a balance!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Patriot-News Artsfest review, sorta

Artsfest this weekend was a lot of fun and definitely a worthwhile show! It was really nice not to have to rent a car or hotel room for the weekend to do the show either, since it's about 10 blocks away. I also got some really cool news on Saturday morning, related to my art, but I have to scan in an image before I can post it.

This post is mainly a review of my experience at this year's Patriot News Artsfest here in Harrisburg. It's as much for other readers as for myself, since I'd like to write up my mental notes while they're still fresh in my mind.... I've already been saying the show went well enough that I'll apply to do this show again next year if I can find a friend to stay up here with (since by then I'll be living down in DC and admittedly still don't make enough at *most* shows to cover hotel expenses).

This show was in Riverfront Park, same as Kipona (but further north, I believe). It was much much better for me than Kipona in that I made up my show fees (jury fee, booth fee, bathroom pass WTF fee) the first day. The 2nd day wasn't as great and the 3rd day (Monday, Memorial day) was by far the worst. Which was funny because a lot of artists had been saying Monday was supposed to be the best day! I didn't have high expectations, thank goodness.

At this show it seemed like the patrons were mostly interested in the smaller inexpensive items. I didn't sell any of my 11"x14" matted to 16"x20" prints. I didn't really see anyone carrying around bags with BIG art in them until Monday, when they must've had a chance to see everything they wanted to see and make their final decisions on what to take home. New for this show I made little 5"x7" prints of my "30 Bugs in 30 Days" ACEOs with colored borders. People really seemed to like those, I sold a whole bunch! I also sold a lot of greeting cards (they are 5"x7" and as so they can be framed, they just aren't archival) and mousepads (they're made from recycled tire rubber). Things for me to keep in mind next year- I don't need to go crazy making inventory of my bigger prints.

There was a dinner for the artists on Sunday night which was super, super, super nice of them. I've only been to one other show that did that- Portsmouth's Seawall Show. At both shows my husband and I got to sit and eat with other artists, all of whom were extreeeeemely nice. Have I ever mentioned before that 99.999% of the artists at these shows are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet? I stand firmly behind that statement :)

This was also the first year they've charged admission to the show. (Hooray! I say.) I heard from many artists who had done the show before, and some volunteers, that attendance was way, waaaayyy down from other years- likely because of the new fee. However, I also heard multiple patrons walking by saying things like "If I had to pay to come in here, I HAVE to walk out with something to make up for it!" I'm not sure I get that logic... but as a vendor, I didn't mind that mentality. I'm not sure how many people think that way- if you pay a fee to get into an art show or something like that, would you be sure to bring home something to make sure it was worth your money to get in?

One weird thing about this show was the bathroom situation. On Saturday morning some folks pulling a wagon with beverages in it walked by yelling, "Orange juice? Water? Coffee? Bathroom passes?"
Of course since I can't just pop a squat and go to the bathroom in the corner of my tent, my ears perked up. I hadn't thought to look for bathrooms but I had seen port-a-potties a block or so away from my booth and just assumed those were for everyone. After asking a couple of the other artists and volunteers at the show, I was enlightened: The outhouses were available to us artists, but there were people who would 'man' them and keep them [relatively] clean and pump soap into your hands for you and give you paper towels at the handwashing station. And of course they do it for tips. Ok... fine, whatever. Also a church, a block away in the opposite direction of the outhouses, was selling bathroom passes for use of their bathrooms. They had two bathrooms, each one was private, it was [relatively] air-conditioned and clean and... well... private and clean. Bathroom passes from the church cost $10 (for the 3 day weekend) and the money went to the church. I'm not a church person at all but cleanliness + privacy > outhouse every single time, so I went for that option. Plus I figured after tipping the folks at the outhouses, I would've easily gone through $10 by the end of the weekend anyway. I have to say though, it was a little bit of a shock to not have bathrooms just provided to the artists as part of our booth fee, since we had to pay $300+ for a spot. I've never been to a show where bathrooms weren't provided for the artists. (Then again at other art shows, food isn't provided, water isn't provided, a place to sleep and shower isn't provided, so why should I assume bathrooms would be?) I'd almost rather pay an extra $10 or $20 for my booth that would go directly to whoever is providing bathrooms/keeping them clean, just to not have to worry about figuring out the bathroom situation when I'm there or making sure I have a dollar on me every time. Maybe I'll invest in a chamber pot and not have to worry about this again.

The other slight inconvenience of this show (that is completely unpreventable and no fault of the show, just something to keep in mind if you're an artist considering it) is that it's friggin DUSTY. I wasn't even on the side of the park where the grass/dirt is (but I did have the back of my tent open on the last day) and my stuff is still covered in dust. I remember things being really dusty after Kipona, but I was also right in the middle of dirt and dust where everyone was walking. This year I was on the street. I thought about dusting things off for the last hour of the show on Monday, before pack up time, but that wouldn't have done any good because the most dust is kicked up by the artists ourselves as we pack everything up- kicking heavy containers around, shaking out our tents and tent walls, fluffing out packing materials, etc. My car is still loaded full of my crap and I plan to dust everything off before putting it away in the garage! Not saying at all that this is anything bad about the show, just something in my mental notes that I need to make sure I remember for next year.