Friday, March 28, 2008

New Painting

I know, it's been awhile since I painted during my month-long residency in January. After returning home in February I've spent two months playing catch up, renting a new studio space and renovating it, and finding time in between to enter a juried show with a new painting, apply to a gallery, redesign all of my marketing materials and complete some commissioned works. Whew!

So, here's the work titled, Kitchen Altarpiece, finished on Tuesday and one of three entries into the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council's, Annual Skylands Juried Show. Last year I wasn't selected, the year before I won two awards. I'll let you know in mid-April the results of the jury process.

Kitchen Altarpiece (Triptych), 35" x 16 1/8", Oil on Panel, © Jennie Traill Schaeffer, 2008

I generated the idea for this work while at Peters Valley and had three panels which initially were going to be devoted to separate works, when I realized one of the panels was wider than the rest. Instead I thought to combine them in a triptych (three panels to make one painting), originally used widely in the creation of altarpieces in Europe. Continuing my iconization of kitchen wares I used a similar format to represent a grouping of tools from the 1940s.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Exhibit at Wine Boutique

George's Wine Boutique & Spirits Gallery is a classy, upscale, unstuffy shop in Branchville, NJ that features hard to find wines from smaller vintners, gourmet cheeses and other stuff. Owners, George and Frances Delgado, inaugurated a rotating exhibit of local artists with my paintings and the photos of Agnes Rizzo. George is a certified sommelier and a nationally recognized spirits expert with an approachable personality; Frances is a terrific host and baker.

The exhibit opened on March 15th in conjunction with a wine tasting. A great crowd attended to taste wines, sample cheeses, and buy art.

The exhibit is a great opportunity because of their clientele and the natural pairing of their products and my artwork. What I discovered however is that most of the people who attended were there for Agnes and could not decipher the difference between my paintings and her photos. Ultimately, although I think our work does work together because of similar themes, I don't think I would exhibit again with a photographer.

The exhibit will be up indefinitely until I move into my studio. So if you're in the area, stop by George's. You're certainly going to enjoy the experience and the spirits.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Meet the Artists

If you spent the month of January following my experience at Peters Valley Craft Center for an artist residency, now is your chance to see my work and that of the other artists in person. An exhibit has been curated to show a sampling of work by 50 artists who participated in the program over the past three years. It poses to be a stunning show with a variety of fine crafts and art.

Opening Reception - Saturday, March 29th, 4 - 7pm
Peters Valley Gallery
Kuhn Road & County Route 615
Layton, NJ

If you're thinking, why would I want to drive all the way out to Layton, NJ? Well, in addition to walking around Peters Valley, you can spend the afternoon walking around the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, have lunch or dinner at the Walpack Inn, or visit Millbrook Village.

Hope to see you on Saturday.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I've Complied

Well, not in a bad way. In order to open a business in the Town of Newton, or anywhere in NJ, a certificate of compliance must be given. But, it is not something just "given", one sometimes has to jump through hoops. I'm finding opening a business to be a bit trickier due to the lack of information provided by the town.

Newton just received a Main Street designation which will be great for the town and hopefully my new studio. It's a label given to towns who show potential and community unity in improving. With it comes access to special grants for development and an executive director to pull together volunteers to move forward and bring businesses to revitalize the town.

While I got in on the "ground floor" so to speak, the town has yet to streamline their procedures and make it easy for entrepreneurs. So, I found out from the town that I needed to apply for a certificate of compliance, basically a form that then permits the building inspector to tour my space and make certain I've done nothing illegal and it's safe for customers/clients. This certainly makes sense. However, after I filled out my form, the town called and told me that my building use code suggests a change of use and I would have to have my architect fax information to the town.

Well, at that point, my heart was palpitating and I didn't know who to turn to. My husband was on a business trip and I wasn't certain this was a question for the lawyer (and I didn't want to pay an additional fee). I thought long and hard and starting calling some of the local women business owners I've come to know - Kathy Millici of 24 Karat Designs, Kristie Becker of Cheddar Alley, Linda Hirsch of SCA&HC and Joan Salvas of Gallery by the Green. It was amazing how they all wanted to help me. Ultimately, after talking to Joan she suggested that maybe I had used the wrong term to denote my gallery aspect of my studio. On the application I listed my business as gallery, studio and lessons. What I didn't know, was that by stating gallery, the state in its building codes considers a gallery as a space for entertainment only and requires special building features such as sprinklers! All I needed to do was change the term gallery to retail of art.

Joan was right, that was the problem. Unfortunately, the definitions of codes are not provided by the town nor do they mention considering how you define your business. I was being very literal, but by doing so they interpreted the term as something very different than my intent. Ultimately it was all semantics. I've since received my certificate of compliance and we are painting the studio.

I'm hoping in the future the town through Main Street Newton, Inc. will give business owners a checklist with requirements to open a business and maybe a list of resources to look into. All in all I'm moving forward and I've heard much worse stories -- this only delayed my progress about half a week.

This shows the importance of networking and building a coalition of business owners with whom you can lean on for suggestions and resources. Without them, I might still be fumbling around.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Lunch Summit

from left, Jennie, Valerie Ellen Magro, Kathy Morawski, Renie Garlick (founder)

As an emerging artist, it's essential to network and get the support of other artists. Last year, three other artists and myself decided to start meeting monthly for lunch to help each other out with concerns and struggles of an artist. Coined by one of the artists, Renie Garlick, "Lunch Summit" we started meeting at local restaurants for hour-long lunches. It quickly turned into 4-hour long, three course meals, accompanied by wine at each other's homes.

Each of us has grown from the networking. Even more importantly we have become very good friends. We are all very different from each other through the media we work in, to our personalities, which is why we all get along so well. These gals have been integral in making the move to a new studio and developing my work.

Every emerging artist should have a lunch summit.