Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New Coffee Hour Drawing

This is my latest coffee hour drawing from which I began a painting today. The drawing is a view of a vineyard from Il Castello di Verrazzano. The lighting is truly spectacular in Chianti and the drawing depicts the strong contrasts and rolling hills. Just wait until you see the color in the painting! Though not owned by Il Castello di Verrazzano, it was a remarkable view from the winery.

Il Castello di Verrazzano was originally owned by the Verrazzano family of Italy. Giovanni da Verrazzano, owner of the vineyard, was the first European to enter the Bay of New York, hence the Verrazano Bridge named for him. As I discovered, the Verrazano Bridge is missing a "z" because it was named for the 15th century spelling of Verrazzano. According to the guide who took us on a tour of the winery, New York City gave the castle stones that were used in the building of the bridge and are now displayed outside the house.

We spent several hours touring the grounds and then eating an eight course meal with a sampling of all of their wines, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Next month I will be involved in two outdoor art shows; the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival and the Downtown Bethlehem Fine Arts & Crafts Fair. I am in the process of upgrading my display tent so that my presentation is more along the level of my work. A phenomenal collage artist from Wantage, NJ, Carolyn Dubiel, sold me her professional art panels for display. Additionally, I invested in a real print display rack, a director's chair, and a professionally printed banner.

But, I'm stuck on doing one thing and I would appreciate any suggestions that you may have. I'm learning an emerging artist needs to ask for help rather than try to do everything by herself. Although these shows are in the daylight hours, a booth still needs electric lighting to properly show the work and to attract people to their location. Neither show offers an electrical source. I've read about people using marine batteries and power packs. I know nothing about them, how to use them, what to look for, how much to spend. If you have any sound advice please email me or direct comments below the post. Thanks in advance for your support!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Glimpse of an Artist's Studio

Space for an artist is usually very intrinsic to their work. I've recently been toying with the idea of renting a studio space in the near future. However, as an emerging artist, I don't want the additional overhead costs of renting a location.
The size of my current studio limits the scale of work I'm able to produce. I recently painted a 48" x 24" canvas. Because the space is small, I had no way to get far enough away from the work to check what I'm painting. So, most of my work is small at the moment, which I'm more able to store, transport, and create better works.

For now and the past year and a half my 11' x 8' studio has been more than adequate. I have a huge Ikea book shelf that was used by my husband in his studio apartment when we first met. It's not in great shape, but it sufficiently stores my art books, magazines, and supplies. It's also a great organizer because it is made up of twenty sections.

I am currently teaching five students private lessons at the laminate table given to us by my mother-in-law. In the corner, I work at my easel and set my paints and brushes on a corner table Lee and I made for one of our old apartments. We retrofitted it with a second shelf where I can place tiles to dry.

Additionally, not pictured is a small area behind the door where I photograph my work. I've covered the wall with a black cloth and there are places around that area to position my tungsten lights (important for taking slides).

There is one window that faces North, which is ideal lighting in a studio; it's the most constant light all day. To supplement light, I rigged a track light that I use outdoors to my bookshelf. Plus I have an easel lamp clamped to my easel to give even lighting while I'm painting.

Eventually, I will need a bigger space, a space that is more public, accessible from the first floor. I don't have adequate storage for paintings and large paper, boards. Right now I have them stacked against the wall in my office.

My studio is a refreshing place with reference pictures, drawings, paintings covering the walls. The floor boards are painted a warm, olive green, the walls are white and the wood trim stained a rich Jacobean.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Coffee Hour Drawing

I'm not certain of the church depicted in this drawing. Lee and I were walking along the Arno River headed west, in parts of Florence I had never been before. As we got out of the busy city center, the area along the Arno becomes much more residential and park like. At this point in the river there is a dam, depicted in the drawing. I draw and paint Italy because of my strong memories for the place, it's wonderful light and color, and textural surfaces. There is serenity there for me. I completed this drawing on Friday. There is no title yet.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Coffee Hour Drawing

Completed yesterday, this is yet another subject matter to be included in the twelve, 6" x 12" canvases I will be painting for next month's shows. This is a water soluble graphite pencil drawing of a display of gelato. I found this gelateria on the Ponte Vecchio and was astounded by the way the gelato is sculpted into a form. They almost appear to be fish heads with pouty lips. It's actually ice cream.

This photo of the drawing is not 100% accurate in its color. I use a 3.1 mega pixel digital camera to photograph a lot of my stuff for the blog, but I've never had great success with color matching and lighting in my studio with that camera. This is something an emerging artist must learn as digital media is overtaking the profession. The actual drawing is on a creamy white Arches paper, with darker pencil tones - this photo is too yellowy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Coffee Hour Drawing

Completed yesterday, this drawing is a small study for the 1st of a series of 12" x 6" gallery wrap canvases. I ordered the canvas early this week and am awaiting its arrival any day. Gallery wrap canvas is designed in such a way that the canvas is neatly folded and hidden in the back of the stretcher. It's a very clean, contemporary finish that does not need a frame, with 1 1/2" deep stretchers that can be painted.

Next month I am participating in two juried outdoor art fairs: Hoboken Art & Music Festival and the Bethlehem Fine Arts & Craft Fair. I did a few outdoor fairs last year without much success. They were great promotional venues, but did not generate huge profits. Last year I bought a tent so I decided to attempt another couple of fairs, higher end and hopefully more selective. The art fair scene is odd, each show very different in scope and each town also very different in its clientele. I don't plan on spending all year at art shows such as this, but hopefully I can find a few to fill in my gallery sales and get the opportunity to meet the clients personally which I always enjoy.

I plan in the next couple of weeks to paint 12 canvases with moments of Italy that I either photographed or remained in my mind. I have seen other artists successful at such shows because the works are smaller, the client can frame it how they wish or not, and they are a more affordable price point. I will keep you posted on how this emerging artist succeeds in sales of these works!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Blogging Again

It's been a busy few weeks since returning from Italy and I've had a difficult time sitting down to blog. So, I'm back since last writing on March 28th. You may be asking what has been keeping me. Well, mostly volunteering. I have been involved as a volunteer for the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council since I moved to Newton in '05. It's been a wonderful organization for exhibition purposes, education, networking, and to build some very amazing friendships. Being a member and volunteer of this organization I feel has been integral for me and would be an important step for any emerging artist.

I am the co-chair of the Skylands Juried Art Show and have been for the past two years. This year however, the show was planned with adequate time to properly plan it and thus it has taken a bit of a toll on my personal/studio time over the past couple of weeks. I spent most of this week designing the 32- page program and poster. It took much longer than anticipated.

It is finally completed and despite the frustration and interruption to my schedule, I managed to get a lot of my own work done this week. No, I haven't been disciplined with my Coffee Hour Drawings, but I got to a lot of goals that have been on my to-do list for weeks.
  • I sold a painting to a new customer through the assistance of my new "matchmaker". I will go into this in a later post.
  • I completed and shipped a set of four painted coasters to customers in Colorado. (Top right image - Bakery Display)
  • I framed three recently painted tiles for my friend's daughter's nursery. (Next three images - Pecora sul Roma, Pecore in Toscana, Pecore in Corinaldo)
  • I ordered supplies for new paintings and lessons.
  • I took on a fifth student for lessons.
  • I contacted prospective customers about work.
  • I went to an opening in Milford, PA to celebrate the first publication of BUZZ, a regional arts directory
  • I designed a banner for display in my tent at outdoor art fairs in May.
  • I started a painting of Newton's historic downtown.
  • I paid bills -- blah.
So, I guess I had a pretty successful couple of weeks despite the blip with Skylands. I'm glad to volunteer for such an important organization and it's fulfilling to know that my efforts are helping to develop the reputation of the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council. Plus the experience has taught me a lot about juried shows and putting together a large event. I'm glad the design process is complete and next week I can devote my time to painting again. I've ordered 12, 6" x 12" canvases with the intent of painting scenes inspired by my recent trip to Italy. Stay tuned!