Spring Studio Tour

Spring Studio Tour

My studio was open last weekend for the spring studio tour, here is my front porch ready for customers.

It was a lovely weekend for an open studio, many of my customers remarked on how much they enjoyed driving through our pastoral landscape, as well as finding new artists to follow.

The open studio is a big commitment for me, art to finish, mats and frames to order, garden and yard cleanup as well as mulching all the beds, the actual studio has to stop being a workshop and turn into a small shop that can accommodate visitors in small groups. That means Tina has to cart in all the messy piles of paint rags, boxes of frames unused and assorted reference files of drawings and photos.

I learn something new each time I do it. When to mail the invitation, and how important the photos on the website are, as well as my studio description that exists online as a preview. My website, facebook pages, and countryside artisans website page all need updating. This year I am committed to blogging as an additional means of communicating with people interested in my art.

So I wear a lot of ‘hats’. By the time the candles are lit, the lights are on, the guestbook is out and my ‘squareup’ and calculator are setting next to the cigar box/cash box, I am exhausted and happy. So relieved to be past all the tasks on my to do list, and happy to see the art projects that were on the easel or drawing tables for months, now on the wall in a mat, frame or just hung as they are against the cream colored, freshly painted walls.

Sometimes there is a flurry of activity at the start of each open studio day, and sometimes I just sit and look about, centering myself so that I am able to talk about my art in a balanced way, not saying too much and not evading the questions.

Then there is the pricing….. So hard to do, because how do you price one piece of art and reflect the hours invested or the numerous failed attempts that preceded this one small framed piece of art? I have to stand back, outside of my head and see the art as a stranger might, then consider the framing and matting costs and the strength of the art, and try really hard to price it as reasonably as I can. It is hard and often there are pieces whose price is in my head all day but never made it to the wall next to the art, someone asks me: How much is it? I have to commit to my decision and speak the price, it is hard.

Often the art that I love, has taken months or years to finish and sign off on. So this final step in the studio tour process is the hardest.

Later I will write about how tired I am and how nice it is to be in the 3 days following studio tour, as opposed to the 3 days leading up to it.

New Art for Spring Studio Tour

Watercolor and Pastel

Watercolor and Pastel

Just finished this large watercolor/pastel piece for my spring studio tour, next Friday.  I love the color and feel of this art, it captures the experience of apple picking at an orchard.  Growing up in Missouri, we did this in Illinois at Eckerts Apple Orchard.  That is the experience I drew from when creating this art.

These days I don’t have to go far to find an apple or peach orchard.  I live in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve, local orchards take me back to the days with my family at Eckerts Orchard.

Pine view from my kitchen window

Pine view from my kitchen window

I love this late winter/early spring weather.
I maybe one of a few who do, but the differences in temperature and sunlight alters the colors of the landscape surrounding the mountain.
As soon as spring really arrives the trees will leaf out and I will lose this uninterrupted view of Sugarloaf.  I imagine if I had it all year round, it might not feel like such a gift.  So these last days of winter, when trees are in bud and their leaves haven’t unfurled, are a gift that won’t last.
This mixed media drawing was done over the last couple of months, and I struggled to find the colors and shapes that captured the pine clumps and the mountain beyond.  These are the sorts of things that fill my days, what color is the mountain today?  How do I capture it?  Is is pencil, ink, watercolor, color pencil,  on what paper and what scale.
Not sure if it is enough to write about.  It is more than enough to occupy me.