Monday, May 30, 2011

Two New Galleries

I am happy to announce that there will be two more galleries showing my work! The first gallery is Forre Fine Art, in Aspen, Colorado. They will be receiving 8 of my paintings this week to be part of an 'introductions" show this summer. The second gallery is the JoAnne Artman Gallery in Laguna Beach, California. They will have 5 of my paintings by this weekend and I will be a featured artist in October. I feel so lucky to have to have two more galleries believe in my work enough to show it in their establishment.

On a different note... Micah LeBrun, curator at 111 Minna Gallery, suggested that I paint the sides of my panels a dark brown. The theory is that this will make my work "pop" off the walls so that even on a white wall, my work will look good. I have been having a harder time selling my work to people with white walls. Since there is so much white in my work, and the raw umber is muted, my paintings tend to blend in with the walls they are hanging on. I took Micah's advice to heart and have started painting the sides of my paintings. I have to say that I like the way they look! The pieces look more "finished" and they do stand out a little more. Judge for yourself:

I am still working on my monkey bar painting, but now that I have to prepare all these paintings to be shipped, I don't know if I'll have enough time to finish it before I head off to Provincetown for the encaustic conference I am presenting at. Hell, I haven't even had time to get my presentation together (although I have been thinking about what I will say a lot). I've got a few more days to get everything together so of course, I woke up this morning feeling sick. I don't have time to be sick. There is way too much to do by Friday!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Painting, Updated Work

I waxed one of my paintings today. I usually wait until I have at least three or four paintings done and wax all at the same time, but I am hoping to use it for an ad for open studios this Fall. All the art is due soon so I had to get waxing on this one.
"Three by the Pool", 30"x30", oil and encaustic wax on panel

I am still working on the monkey bar painting. It started out as a diptych but the first panel wasn't turning out the way I wanted it. The figures were blurry and didn't have much contrast. They were looking cartoony, so instead of having a weak panel in this diptych, I decided to get rid of the first panel and just keep the second. The second one works well on it's own and is fun. My art assistant loves the fact that there's a girl with no head in the painting. I think it makes for an interesting composition.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Let My Summer Begin!

At the moment, I am sitting in an almost empty classroom with only one student re-taking a final exam (it's a long story better left for another day). I am minutes away from being done with the school year and finally able to call myself just a painter again, rather than painter/ pre-calculus teacher. Freedom is so close that I can taste it, and let me tell you, it's pretty sweet!

My current painting...They are hanging upside down on some monkey bars.
As I sit here trying to make myself look busy, I am thinking about all that I have to do this summer. It will not be a summer of lazing around, catching up on my sleep and reading. I will be pretty busy and I am super thankful for that  since it means many opportunities are brewing.

Next week I will be leaving for Provincetown, MA where I will be presenting at the Fifth Annual International Encaustic Conference. It will be a weekend of all things encaustics: demos, lectures, presentations, networking, and socializing with fellow artists.That will be followed by a short stay at one of my favorite artist, and good friend, Robin Luciano Beaty's studio, where I will be able to preview her work before her June 11th open studios. If you are in the area, it's an event that you don't want to miss. From there I will be heading off to New York with my wonderful husband, where I will be eating my way through the city while exploring some of my favorite museums and galleries. It's going to be a great time, and that's only the first two weeks of my summer!

When I get back, I will be in major painting mode with two shows coming up, one during the summer, and one in October. This will be in addition to getting work ready for open studios in the Fall, which always seems to coincide with a major show that I have to get ready for. In addition, I will be taking a 4 day intensive workshop with Noah Buchannon where I will be focusing on drawing the human torso. I hear his classes are pretty intense and I am looking forward to it.

It will be a busy, but great, summer. Stay tuned for updates on all of the work I am sure to create during this time.

Friday, May 20, 2011

When it's Time to Jump Ship

There are many books out there for artists, describing how to market yourself and your work, with the ultimate goal of getting your art into a gallery. They usually describe how to write your artist's statement, how to make a presentation package, the importance of networking, etc. What they usually don't discuss, at least I have yet to find a book that does, is what happens once your work IS in a gallery.  Things like, what happens when you want to change the style of your work but your galleries like your previous style, isn't ever discussed, or, what  you should look for in a contract before you sign it, or should you even have one versus a consignment form. Another good topic would be what you should do when the gallery that represents you is less than desirable for a multitude of reasons. If I had more experience, I would write that book since I think these topics, along with others that arise once you are represented, are important things that artists should know and I am sure are wondering about. But  since I don't have enough experience YET, for now, all I can do is write about my experiences as they happen and hope that these narratives will help others avoid some of the things that have happened to me.

My latest experiences deal with working with a less than desirable gallery and what to do when you don't see eye to eye. Last year I was randomly contacted by a gallery that not only had I never contacted, but also had never heard of. I was sent an email that simply stated "I saw your work on another gallery's website and love it! Please contact  me for representation." At first I thought it had to be a scam. It couldn't be this easy, right? But after some research, it turns out it was a legitimate gallery and they did in fact want to show my work. This happened last year around October. I have since then had some experiences that lead me to pull my work out of the gallery. Here's a list of what happened:

1. The gallery sent out a "press release" to their clients announcing that I, along with 3 other artists, were now represented by the gallery. Normally this is great, BUT I hadn't agreed to the arrangement yet, and had not actually talked to the director. I got her initial email and I had sent her one saying I was interested in learning more and we had set up a time to talk, but hadn't when the email was sent out to her clients. I found out about the announcement through an artist friend who received the email. Now, this isn't a major thing, but when you read on, you'll see that this was a red flag.

2. The first check that was sent to me in January, bounced. After talking to another artist who also shows at this gallery, I learned that her check had also bounced. I talked to the director, who seemed embarressed by this, and she assured me that the check was now good, please re-deposit it and she would reimburse me for the bounced check fees, which to this day, I have yet to receive.

3. I was scheduled to have a group show in mid June. The reception was scheduled and I was excited to make the 7 hour drive to attend. My family, who lives an hour away from the gallery, was going to join me. I recently learned through anouther source, that the gallery decided they weren't going to have a reception after all. The gallery never notified me even though they knew I was making the trip.

4. A couple of weeks ago I received another check. At first I was extremely excited to get a check randomly in the mail for $750 (although they said they would always call me within 24 hours to notify me of a sale), but then I looked and noticed that the check was for a painting that was retailed at $2,185! If you do the math, the gallery had sold the painting for 31% off WITHOUT notifying me of the large discount. When I talked to the director, she said that she was going to sell my work for whatever the client was willing to pay for it and didn't feel the need to notify me or ask for permission to do so. WHAT??? Had this been our arrangement or had she discussed with me this policy when I agreed to send her my work, this would have been okay (although still appalling that a gallery would sell new work at such a huge discount), but she hadn't. The first time I had heard about her policy was AFTER she made the sale and I questioned her about it. Now, you are probably thinking "what does the contract say?" Well, this gallery doesn't like to use contracts. They work mainly by consignment forms and nowhere on the form is their sales policy stated. I would have not agreed to send them my work had I read that the gallery would be able to sell my work at whatever priece the client was willing to pay.

I have been talking to other artists that are/were represented by this gallery, and also to other artists in the area that know this gallery's reputation or had friends represented by them. I keep hearing some pretty bad things (more than I listed here in this blog post) that made me very uncomfortable. I decided that I needed to pull my work out of the gallery and would not be shipping them any new work for the June show. I didn't like having to do this after commiting to the upcoming show (which I had already sent announcements for) but I didn't want this gallery to have access to more of my work, not knowing what they would sell my work for.

So, I pulled out and had a friend who lived in the area pick up my work. He had contacted the gallery and told them which day he would stop by. He gave them at least 5 days notice so that they could wrap up 7 paintings, 6 of which were pretty small. He was told that they didn't have time to wrap up my work and he would have to do it himself AND bring his own bubble wrap since they didn't have any (How does a gallery not have ANYTHING to wrap artwork in??). What was even worse though, was that their inventory list did not match my inventory list. When I went to visit the gallery in November, we had physically signed an inventory list that had an accurate count of my work. I sent my friend this list, minus the two paintings that sold. Their list, which should have been the same as mine, had two less paintings on it. Had I not provided my friend with a list, the gallery would have kept two of my pieces. I have to question HOW two of my paintings suddenly were not on the inventory list when they were on it originally when we both signed the consignment form. After hearing this, I was confident in my decision to not have my work shown at this gallery.

We, as artists, need to look out for ouselves, and out for each other. You need to contact other artists represented by your gallery to make sure their experience is good. Do your homework and research any gallery that contacts you. I know it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of having a gallery represent you that sometimes things are overlooked. But some things just can't be overlooked. Having a gallery that has some shady dealings represent you just isn't worth it, no matter how much the gallery tries to make you feel like they are doing YOU the favor by representing you. It's no favor. There are too many good galleries out there that there's no need to deal with galleries who's policies make you uncomfortable.

On a good note, since pulling my work out of this gallery, I have been contacted by two other galleries and will hopefully be announcing some new representation soon! yay!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Headlands Center for the Arts Benefit Auction

I am honored to be asked to participate in the Headlands Center for the Arts auction again this year, which will be held June 1st at the Herbst Pavillion. My painting sold for a great price last year and I am hoping to do even better this year. It retails for $2,100 and bidding will start at $840, but you can buy it now for $3,150 and support a great program. Here is their mission statement:

By facilitating artists' research and supporting the creative process, Headlands Center for the Arts fosters a unique environment from which new ideas emerge that can change the way we see the world.

Headlands provides emerging and established artists with the valuable resources of time and space for open-ended investigation, experimentation and collaboration. By not requiring artists to showcase their work at the end of their residencies, Headlands gives artists the opportunity to push the boundaries of their own practice - free from the usual imperative to create a finished product.

By supporting local, national, and international artists from a wide range of disciplines - including visual artists, dancers, choreographers, musicians, composers, writers, and curators - Headlands sparks collaborations that promote new approaches to environmental stewardship, foster community building and provide a catalyst for social change.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Men as Objects

 After putting my last large diptych on hold, I started this painting yesterday. It is my entry for the Women Causcus in Art show, "Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze" to be held at SoMarts Gallery in San Francisco in November. I'm pretty happy with my choice of image and the way it is working out after only one day of working on this. The entry is due by May 20th so I hoping to get the bulk of the work done, and ready to wax, by the end of this weekend. The painting is 30"x30". Wish me luck on getting in the show!

After working on the larger diptychs, 30"x30" seems so small. It always seemed HUGE before now. I used to work primarily with 12"x12" being the smallest painting and 24"x24" being my usual size. Now that I've worked larger, I kinda don't want to work smaller than 24"x24". It's weird how our perspective of what large is changes. I am enjoying working on the larger paintings!

There is where the painting is at after working on it today. Underpainting is done!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Two New Pieces and a Diptych Started

Two new pieces have been waxed and are ready to be shipped to my next show at Madison Gallery. Here they are:
"The Photographer", 30"x24", oil and encaustic wax on panel

"Radio Interview", 24"x54" diptych, oil and encaustic wax on panel

"Radio Interview" detail 1, 24"x30"

"Radio Interview" detail 2, 24"x24"

I haven't had much time to work on my very large diptych. It measures 30"x70" in total and has an image of some kids on monkey bars. I started it, but it looks like it may have to go on the back burner for a week. I want to paint an entry for the "Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze" show being put on by the Women's Caucus for Art. The show is about reversing the role as "muse" and having men be objectified, rather than women, in art. I have a great image of three men in bathing suits that I think would be perfect for the show. I just need to paint it by the 20th. No problem, right? 

Here's what I've started on the diptych that will have to wait until later to be completed. It's SUPER rough but you can get an idea of what I'm going for. I don't know if you can see the teenage boy and girl hanging upside down on the second panel. It's a pretty cool image.

Friday, May 6, 2011

111 Minna Gallery Reception for "Absence of Presence"

Last night's opening was incredible! The artwork looked great and the crowd was fun...the margaritas were pretty tasty too. All three of the other artists had strong work that complemented each other really well. Micah LeBrun did a great job of curating the show!

 Rockford Orvin (pictured above), a Southern Utah artists, was here for the opening, along with a large amount of his family and friends that flew out for the reception. He does incredible acrylic and prismacolor photo-realistic pieces on thick panels he makes himself. He was a lot of fun to talk to (I could see us being friends) and we are hoping to do another show together soon. I don't know if you can see his necklace, but it's a gold paintbrush!

Sergio Navarro-Duran is one of those artists who, when you look at his work, you think "Damn! That guy must be super patient!". Why would I say that? All of his pieces are done in BALL POINT ink! These aren't tiny pieces either. The piece pictured above is easily, probably (since I didn't think to remember the measurements) 70"x30". When I told him he must be a very patient guy, he said "Well, yes. That's cause I'm married." Seeing as how I have only been married since September, I don't think I would have the patience to do what does quite yet. It is stunning though.

Tim Schafer does intricate graphite drawings using just the figure and a lot of white space. Sound familiar? His drawings are so soft and beautiful. Another artist and I were amazed at how clean his paper was. No smudges or eraser marks. To me, that's an impressive skill. Add in that the guy can actually draw, and you have some great work.

And now for some installation views of my work:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Update on the Latest Painting

My paintings were delivered today to 111 Minna Gallery and I have one more deadline, this one for my Madison Gallery show in June.  I'm trying to finish my current piece, in addition to at least one more large painting before shipping the work. I think it's completely doable... Here's the latest update on my current painting. It is about 80% done.

"The Photographer", 30"x24"

Don't forget to come to the "Presence of Absence" reception at 111 Minna Gallery this Thursday, starting at 5pm. I will be there so stop by and say "hi".

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Painting and Update

I started a new painting yesterday after finishing my large (for me) diptych. It's nice to alternate between working large and small. I am hoping to work on an even larger diptych after this smaller, 30"x24" painting.

For those of you who are wondering how my sister is doing...She is being released from the hospital today and is in stable condition. She is able to have a conversation without slurring, which is great news. We don't know yet how permanent the rest of the damage is, only time will tell. But my sister is a strong-willed woman who is not about to let a stroke or an aneurism keep her down so I'm sure she'll be back to bossing people around soon. Thank you to everyone who has emailed or commented about sending good/ healing thoughts her way. She has a long road ahead of her and could use any positive thoughts directed towards her.