At the show over the weekend, a nice lady (with impeccable taste, of course) asked me to paint a little green apple to accompany her pomegranate and orange paintings. (I mean the painting is little – not to be confused with the Roger Miller song!) I was eager to begin, so I went to the local market and bought a Granny Smith. That was the only variety, which eliminated an unnecessary decision. Morning light is better for still life photography at my house, so this a.m. I took the apple outside. As I hunkered down with my camera on the very cold porch, Perkins wanted to know what I was doing.
Having just finished another weekend show and sale, I’ve been thinking about the truism “presentation is everything”. During set-up, I was done quickly so I had time to help Ginny Wilson, photographer extraordinaire. She brings so much inventory to shows that it takes 2 vehicles to transport all her support materials and the merchandise. Together, we hauled tables, scooted display screens, unpacked boxes, and constantly discussed which pieces should go where – both the display pieces and the photographs. There was a great deal of adjusting and stepping back to survey the scene from a visitor’s point of view. Her space looked bright and inviting, and a side effect was that I brought lights for my own area the next day.
On Friday, my fellow artisans told me that they had been studying my work and decided the ice cream cone (called “Worth It!”) was in the wrong frame AND should be displayed at “lickable” height! I pulled it from the frame and replaced it with the wreath painting. BOOM, the wreath sold!
On Saturday, I rearranged my paintings. This time, instead of isolating the bright little fruit/vegetable/leaf squares onto one screen, I clustered them in groups and used them to surround some of the scenery. This is how it looked partway through the day:
Those bright little squares began selling themselves. I rearranged several times, trying different groupings. My hope, of course, was to sell scenery AND little squares, but sales are sales. If people want those little pieces of fruit, I want them to have those little pieces of fruit. There is no photo at the end of the day because I hadn’t planned on writing this post and the screens looked too bare to bother photographing. Bottom line: presentation is everything. There is no One Right Way, but there is definitely something to that arranging thing that causes people to notice and be drawn in.
Janene lives in Three Rivers and makes all this wonderful natural skin care stuff.
Nikki is a Master Weaver who also makes soy candles – and she draws beautifully too!
Marn sold poppy seeds for the Three Rivers Arts Alliance.
Wendy is a versatile artist with a terrific studio/art shop in Three Rivers called Colors.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Three Rivers Arts Center
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Here is a look at the building and some of the vendors and merchandise:
some of Ginny Wilson’s photography (it will make you want to travel!)
Sam McKinney’s Gourd Art (you should see her miniature ornaments!)
We pierced women can always use another pair of earrings from Tina!
The painting of the wreath sold but there are plenty of other items from which to choose!
I’m thankful for more than I can list but here I go in random order anyway:
- Living in Three Rivers where there are wild turkeys, quail, and yes, even thankful for bears and deer and raccoons and skunks (but not opossums or wood rats)
- My good husband
- My Mom, sisters and their families
- Technology like this blog where I can express myself
- Cats, even Zeke the Terrible
- Knowing God
- American freedoms and abundance
- Not having to fly anywhere any time soon
- More authentic friends than any human being deserves
- Painting, drawing, teaching drawing lessons, my students, people who read my blog and people who buy my art
- KNITTING! (deep calming breaths, don’t get overly excited)
- My friend Dave who deep-pits my turkey every year
Shows take a ton of work: gather the work, package it, price it, load it, unload it, set it up, and THEN sit there for a day hoping people come, hoping they buy, hoping they buy lots of things and mostly big things.
It rained hard the day of the Senior League Bazaar. There were hardy vendors who set up outside the Memorial Building with canopies. My space was dry inside the building, this year near the windows for better lighting (and a beautiful view of the Chinese pistache trees). Some neighbors of mine had no canopy for their outside space, so I squished my stuff and myself over. Who knows if it enhanced the visitation to both our spaces or if it diminished each of us?? I just know they needed to be dry in order to sell their wares. (Where is that dad-gum crystal ball???)
The show seemed crowded and noisy, always a good sign. It is always a bit surprising that I can walk great distances at a fast pace and feel fine but talking and listening in a noisy room for a day wipes me out. Felt as if I talked and listened to a ton of people but wasn’t selling much. When it was time to pack up, it seemed as if I was taking the same amount of merchandise back to the studio that I brought. Funny thing is that I made money – an average amount for a 1 day show. Go figure! And, I picked up a commission and perhaps another drawing student. Shows are about marketing, exposure, and public relations just as much as they are about sales.
Holiday Arts and Crafts Bazaar
Saturday, November 20, 9 AM – 4 PM
Three Rivers Memorial Building
2 comments I hear from people over and over are “I’m out of wall space” and “I’m trying to be careful with money”. Here are my responses to the first: “You can rotate your art” or “Look! Small paintings on little easels look nice on a bookshelf, lamp table or fireplace mantel!” To the second, “Look at these little bitty paintings, hand-painted ornaments and packages of cards – all $20 or less!”
Here are a few more 4×6 oranges in progress – they sit on easels and are $30 each
And these little bitty paintings are $15 each:
So are these ornaments:
It is Show Season – one per weekend through December 11! This is what it looks like to prepare for a show after doing 2 already (or was it one and just feels like 2?) Packaging prints and cards, pricing everything, getting the right mix of merchandise for the crowd (anyone have a crystal ball I can borrow??), remembering all the little hooks, hangers, bits and pieces of the display systems. . . you’d think I would have this all figured out. The truth is that every single show is different. Repeat shows also feel brand new each time because sometimes we are placed in new locations and merchandise varies from year to year. I am a bit spoiled since doing more Three Rivers shows than any other town. If I forget something, I race back to the studio and get it!
Stop laughing – Visalia is a city to me. Remember, I grew up outside of Ivanhoe, lived in Lemon Cove for 11 years and have lived in Three Rivers for 12. When I left for college, Visalia had a mere 35,000 people. Now it has over 100,000 and not one, but two (count ’em – one, two!) parking garages! I couldn’t decide whether the stairs or the elevator posed the least danger (cities are scary and parking garages are really scary – all those chases on cop shows!) The amount of porkadelia I was hauling to the gallery caused me to choose the elevator, but next time it will be the stairs. Anyway, here is the view from the parking garage:
Doesn’t that look like a city to you? Oh hush!
It was an interesting time at Main Gallery with lots and lots of people passing through. They were friendly, interested, and interesting. Met a guy from New Orleans, a woman from Alaska, quite a few artists, and lots of people who said “Visalia needs this!” Very encouraging, very positive feedback. If you haven’t yet stopped by, here is the link for the address and hours: http://www.maingalleryvisalia.blogspot.com/