Creating gardens for pollinators and art

Fall is here with so many things to do.

My memories of Summer days spent digging in the dirt, planting seeds and watching my garden come to life are fading.  I loved all the bumblebees, swallowtails, pearl crescents, frittilaries, clearwing hummingbird moths, hummingbirds and wasps in varieties I hadn’t seen before tumble, crawl and fly around the garden.

A garden for pollinators, an artist and other wild visitors

A garden for pollinators, an artist and other wild visitors

Now my days are spent cutting back the Lobelia cardinalis flower stalks, finishing up the art that began in my sketchbook and cleaning up the studio and gardens for the Countryside Artisans Fall Studio Tour visitors.

I am enchanted by the seasonal changes, and love capturing some of it in my sketchbooks and then in that art hanging on the walls.

Hopefully all the many tasks associated with the upcoming Fall Studio Tour will still allow me to watch the Monarch Butterflies and other visitors to my garden.   Right now I am living in the moment, sunsets, fall color, and the good life as an artist in the agricultural reserve.

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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.