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Door County Plein Air, Day 4-5

Busy couple days, but finally ready for the show tomorrow night! It rained all day today, but I was able to finish a painting of a Venus-like statue at Edgewood Orchard Galleries. Last night, finished two paintings for the “Evening with the Artists” sunset reception. I did both a late afternoon/pre-sunset work and a really fun nocturne, both of which I hope to post tomorrow. My second Cavepoint painting below was painted yesterday, which was really productive!

Vault Gallery Small Works Show

During the holidays it’s common for galleries to have a small works show, to encourage the gifting of art as holiday gifts. I’ve seen many collectors start their collection with these shows.

The five paintings below are on their way to The Vault Gallery (Sonora) for their “Little Gifts” show, opening December 1st and closing Dec 31st.  A reception will be held Saturday, Dec 8 from 5-7PM.   I will attend the reception and paint in the area that weekend.  If you’re also there and would like to paint, let me know.

Virtual Open Studios Sale

It’s time to clean out my studio, and offer paintings at a discount for you holiday shoppers! November is apparently the largest retail month, so I’m going to join in with an online-only, unframed studio sale.

Starting November 1st, I will have web pages set up for this sale that will allow you to select a painting, pay online (using PayPal’s site) and enter your shipping address/information.

I am also going to experiment with online advertising, buying targeted ads on Facebook. (“Facebook Flyers”) For those of you that sell your art (probably the majority of my readers), I will let you know how that works out. If you have any online sales/advertising tips, please chime in with comments. I have noticed a wide variety of sales approaches by other artists, from eBay to specialized art sales sites. What works for you?

I am going for volume here, so these unframed prices are big discounts (hope this doesn’t hurt me later!):

$100 – 6×8
$150 – 8×10
$175 – 9×12
$250 – 11×14
$275 – 12×16
$500 – 16×20

SLO Plein Air ‘07, QuickDraw Event

We had perfect weather for today’s Quickdraw event at San Luis Obispo Plein Air.  As happens in many events like these, there was a mix of adult part-time, learning artists and collectors.  I gave away lots of cards, advice to early artists and set up a snow scene near my easel so passerby would see my finished work at a larger scale.  You know how paintings go through an “ugly stage” at the beginning (not unlike newborn babies…parents excepted :-)….I didn’t want a collector to see that and walk on. I think it worked.  I got lots of praise for “Thanksgiving Day Snow”, which I painted plein air last November.  But alas, no buyers.

I struggled with my painting of the mission for a while, and about half way through the two hours thought that I may not be able to pull it off. Panic.  After scraping a section that wasn’t working (and simplifying…always think about simplifying areas that aren’t coming together), was able to finish something I was very happy with.

Luckily, a wedding was held in the mission church that day, so given I painted a view of the door and steps–complete with wedding garland–I had a nice little bidding war for the piece. I sold for a respectable price to a member of the wedding party.

No luck later that night, however, at the reception’s silent auction. I’ve doubled my prices from last year, but don’t think that was the problem as paintings next to mine at 1/4 the price didn’t sell either.  Sales were terrible.  Following the auction, which didn’t seem nearly as successful as last year, someone mentioned “we’re definitely in a recession”. I don’t know if “The Fed” would agree, but let’s face, art’s one of the first things to go when you’re thinking about your mortgage payment going up and whether your job will be there if a recession does hit.

Oh well. I’m just honored to be here and meet so many talented artists and truly wonderful, giving people.

We’ll see, maybe sales tomorrrow, the last day of the show. I’m painting Morro Bay in the morning for the joy of it.  No competition or sales worries, just painting.

San Luis Obispo Plein Air 2008

I’m headed to San Luis Obispo tomorrow morning for their annual plein air event. The weather forecast looks terrific, so I shouldn’t be hampered by rain (like last year). There’s a great roster of artists attending, so it should be a terrific show! Hope to see you there. See below for show details.

A painting from last year’s show:

Marsh, San Luis Obispo – Oil on Linen – 16×20

FIRST PLACE, San Luis Obispo Plein Air 2006

Vahona Plein Air ‘06, and the winner is…

Hey, I won an Honorable Mention last night! Nice surprise. The show was judged by Sarah Besarra, of the Plein Air Scene. My personal favorite, “Trash Day” won the award. The funny thing is, Julia Seelos painted the same house from a different angle, and won an Honorable Mention as well.

Trash Day, Oil, 9x12
Trash Day, Oil, 9x12

My next plein air event isn’t until October (San Luis Obispo Plein Air), so I’m going to focus on my own projects the next couple of months, including my series of views from San Francisco’s Buena Vista park, as well as other studio work. Cheers!

Vahona Plein Air ‘06, Day 2

I gave the Epperson Gallery two paintings this morning: “Trash Day“, my personal favorite and “First Avenue“. I needed one more painting to meet my quota, so went for a drive in the hills to balance my two town paintings with a country.

Here’s my setup. I started with a 12×16 linen canvas toned with Yellow Ochre.

And the finished painting:

Carquinez Hills – Oil on Linen – 12×16″

Vahona Plein Air ‘06, Day 1

Vahona Plein Air is a short, three day paint-out for which I only need to paint 3 paintings. I did well today, painted two good ones. If I can get one more done tomorrow, I can skip Sunday (and just come to the reception at 4).

Both of these were painted on the same street, a half a block apart. Between the two I took a lunch break a drove around the area–only to return to the same street! I guess I am enjoying painting architecture lately, particularly doors/windows with plants, usually bougainvillea, which is in bloom everywhere in California.

“Trash Day” – Oil on Linen – 9×12″

The reds don’t look right in the photograph above. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need a new camera!

First Avenue (Crockett, CA) – Oil on Linen – 12×16″ (SOLD)

“Jewel By the Bay”, Wrap-up

I painted a couple of quick studies Saturday while selling my week’s work in Jackson Park.  The crowd was small, but appreciative. I did end up selling two paintings, so not bad.  Unfortunately, I really misjudged how much display space I would have, so ended up under-painting for the event.

Jackson Park Doorway Study, Oil on Linen, 8×6″ 

I hate to be negative (here it comes), but I think I’m getting burned out by these plein air shows.  In the beginning, they were a terrific way to get my name out there, meet other artists, and get basic experience selling, but lately, they seem like a chore.  I also feel I keep painting for show after show, constrained by the location I have to paint, which limits my creative choices. I want to work on a series of paintings of Buena Vista Park, or other ideas which I define and control.  So, I think I’m going to either stop doing these next year, or scale back considerably.

Is this a “step up”?  I’m not sure.  I hope the results show it is 🙂  Cheers!

“Jewel By the Bay”, Day 4

Just a couple of paintings to post that haven’t made up yet. The first painting below was done last night at the sunset “Quick Draw” event. I painted fellow artist Janan L. Shannon. This work will be part of the silent auction fund raiser.

Artist in the Shade – Oil on Linen – 10×8″ (SOLD)

I loved the light on this scene, later afternoon, my favorite time to paint (after a nap, of course 🙂 I was going for a simple, strong graphic-like design.

Red Box Cars – Oil on Linen – 12×16

“Jewel by the Bay”, Day 2

Painted two “industrial” scenes today, the USS Hornet and a couple of empty cargo containers. I wasn’t able to get a decent photo of the latter tonight, so will post tomorrow.

I’m happy with the painting of the USS Hornet. I wanted to convey the enormity of the ship. Most artists opted to paint form the deck. I checked it out up there, but didn’t find anything that struck me. This will do. I had fun interpreting the various gray, reflected light and shapes. The color of the water (and reflections there) was also complex and interesting. That’s the San Francisco skyline in the background, right.

USS Hornet – Oil on Canvas – 8×10″

The ship has an interesting history. Yes, it played a role in WWII, but I found the NASA history most interesting. Do you remember when the first Apollo mission that landed on the moon (11) fell to earth? The USS Hornet recovered the lunar capsules. I remember the tension at the time…would the ship get to the astronauts in time?  Would they drown?

When they brough the astronauts aboard, they had to endure 21 days of isolation. Do you remember that Airstream they put them in? It’s on the ship! I walked around inside. It had a meeting room, bunk beds, kitchen, bathroom–the works. That’s history. Oh, they had some large moon rocks too, but I just couldn’t get over the Airstream–a childhood memory come to life.

This photo is from the Boston Globe from 1969. Caption reads, “President Nixon greets astronauts in the Isolation Van.” From left to right, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin Jr.