Wednesday, May 24, 2017

East Lansing Art Festival

East Lansing Art Festival was my first out of state show this season - on May 20, 21, 2017. I was invited back to this show as an award winner from last year. I decided to go back to this show in spite of the really traumatic experience of having a bunch of my paintings stolen last year. I was overwhelmed by the support of the community, the sheer number of people who reached out to me, shared the stolen pieces on social media, the efforts of the ELPD to recover them and the art fest. I was really hoping for a more positive experience this year. 

I had sent out 20 postcards to collectors & fans from last year to promote the show. I was also a featured artist on their social media & one of my pieces was shown on a TV ad airing in the area. I was excited to show off my new style of mandala paintings & I was also bringing another large elephant piece! I have a new line of florals I started creating in 2017 I was excited about showing in East Lansing.


We got there around 7 pm on Friday night for set-up. I had paid for a corner booth, way back in January. But on arriving we found that we did not have a corner as planned. It was very disappointing as I had brought inventory & planned for the lay out of my booth based on having a corner. Similar to Elmhurst, we were able to set up only the tent on Friday. We didn't want to leave any inventory in the booth overnight. We stayed in a nearby airbnb for the weekend and it was ok. 


The weather was also iffy this weekend with a little bit of rain on both days. However people came out and bought! My biggest sellers were the prints on Michigan state & the Spartans logo. I also sold quite a bit of the Block M prints :) I was thrilled to see so many people remembering us from last year & more than 5 people who signed up for my email list were already on it! 

There was an awards session along with dinner on Saturday evening. We were so exhausted from the drive, set-up & long day in the wind & rain that we went to bed at 8.30 and slept for a solid 10 hours. The take-down on Sunday went by quick & the load out was easy. I was also able to drive the van to my booth on Saturday & Sunday mornings to hang the paintings. 

We only sold a single original small 6"x6" painting, while we were closing up on Sunday. It was a little disappointing to not sell any originals, but at least we sold enough small items to make it a decent show. 

The director was apologetic about messing my corner location & I am not sure if having a corner would have made any difference in sales. We were home by 10pm on Sunday and though I wish we had done better, I don't have any complaints. Only regret was not being able to purchase an art piece from another artist that I liked - hopefully I will see them in another show where I make enough sales so I can choose to buy art too!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Elmhurst Art in Wilder Park

Elmhurst Art in Wilder Park, on May 6, 7 was my first outdoor show of the season for 2017! This is the third year I am doing the show & it is always an exciting one as we get to see so many of our artist friends after the winter break. This year we had the added bonus of having Miranda (http://www.mirandameyer.com/) & Stephen stay with us for the show. 

Our plan was to do the set-up for the show on Friday evening, we got to the venue around 5.30pm. Finding parking was not an issue, but my booth location had moved from the previous years due to rain & the ground being soggy in some places. We had to move the van again to get to a closer parking and dolly everything to our booth.

It's amazing how rusty we had gotten over the winter & it took forever, with a slew of amateur mistakes before we could set up the booth. Luckily we hadn't forgotten any part for the set-up like last year. It was also super-cold. Weather is always iffy at this show, given it is very early in the season. This year I had to pack all my winter gear including hand warmers for the show. We only managed to put the booth up & decided to hang the paintings the next morning. Just the tent & walls took more than 2.5 hours to get done!


We got there early around 8.30 on Saturday morning to finish the booth. I love having a corner booth at this show and it allows me to have more of my work out. Saturday was painfully slow and I had only 7 sales, not even making what I paid for the booth fee in sales. I had even run a facebook ad for the past 4 days promoting the show & my works. Shankar had taken back the front wall to close the booth home by mistake, so, I had to make an extra trip home before we could close up for the day. The highlight of the day was going to a nice Indian restaurant for dinner with friends & family!


Sales on Sunday was even worse than Saturday. The sun started coming out later in the day, though the temperature did not rise. Highlight of the day was quite a few friends stopping by & it was also nice to see a few of my collectors from the years before.


I didn't sell any original paintings & the sales of prints hardly made up for my expenses. A few other artist friends did not even make what I did. This show is the closest in distance & time to where we live. The location is great & so is the promoter. Unfortunately this is the second year I am not making any money doing this show & we have to seriously think about it for next year. I had such a great show the first year I was here and the weather is the biggest factor in determining the crowd & sales. Hoping the upcoming shows make up for this one!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Arts Alive

Last week I did a workshop for kids through a program called Arts Alive, funded by the Addison Center for the Arts. The class was at the local Junior High School and 5 students had signed up for my Mandala Designs class. I had three 6th graders and a couple of 8th graders. The class was in 2 sessions for about 2 hours each.

On the first day, all the kids prepared 2 canvases with the background colors they liked. The time went by really fast! It was a little surprising for me to learn that middle school kids have not used a compass to draw circles before. So it was interesting to teach them basic geometry before starting  to paint.


In the second session, they got to play with 3 dimensional fabric paint - a.k.a. puffy paint. They were painting mandalas similar to how I paint them and it was fun to teach this way of playing with paint to the kids.


One of the kids might soon get much better at this than me :) 
Check out how she is free-handing the pattern with fabric paint. 

video

There were a couple of times when I had to remind some of the kids to be respectful of the class & focus, but overall it was a fun and satisfying experience, and may be, I think I would be more open to working with kids again than I have been in the past. of course, it was also great to be part of a program that brings more art opportunities to kids who wouldn't otherwise get to explore things outside their regular class stuff. So proud of these budding artists :) 


Monday, February 27, 2017

Puppy Woes

I haven't worked on a floral in a long time and inspired by a couple of artists on social media, decided to give it a try for a new series for 2017. I also wanted the flowers to be based on my mandalas, but more organic. So, I started this piece on a nice, large 24" x 30" canvas on the beginning of this month. The first image below is the progress I had made on the end of day 2. Most of day 1 was working on the background and getting an idea of the layout & the colors. I had to take a day in between to travel for family stuff, but got back to the painting skipping doing fun stuff with the family. Second image below was end of progress on day 3 on working on this piece. 



Decided to take a break and go out for dinner with the visiting family and when I got back to the studio, the painting which was drying on top of my table, was half on the chair, covered in paint! Cue our adorable & anxiety laden puppy Kalai! She decided having mommy home for almost all day and having me step outside a bit was too much to handle. She had jumped all over the studio, unscrewed a bottle of paint and emptied on top of the painting and in jumping off sent the whole thing down to the chair and dripping paint on the floor. She also destroyed a pin cushion and managed to get all the pins out without hurting herself. I attempted to wash the excess paint off the piece in the bath tub and managed to get most of it out, but also some of what I wanted to stay.


I had to have my husband hide the piece, given how angry it made me and the frustration of not being able to do anything about it. After 2 days I started a very similar piece (below) and worked on it for another 3 days. I took it to get critiqued at one of my local art leagues and everyone loved it. Given the positive feedback, I finished another one for my show Dots & Lines at the Addison Center for the Arts.


This week, after a friend suggested it was a collaborative piece with Kalai, I finally managed to go back to the damaged one and work on it. Here is the finished piece, completing a series of 5 floral paintings. Two of them are already in a show and I am hanging another one in a new show starting tomorrow. I will be entering the fourth piece in a member show at an art league later this month. The story of a series 😏