Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Art Meets Weddings - Robert Yaskovic

December 31, 2004, Oil on Panel, 12" x 18", ©2010 Jennie Traill Schaeffer, Collection of Owner of Yaskovic Wedding & Portrait

On this Wedding Wednesday, Robert Yaskovic, is my featured wedding professional in my series "Art meets Weddings."

About a year and a half ago, a woman came into my gallery inquiring about commissioning a Wedding Cake Portrait for her son-in-law and daughter's wedding anniversary. She said her daughter had seen one of my paintings in the window and kept talking about it. As I got to talking to the prospective client, I learned that her son-in-law was Robert Yaskovic, principal of Yaskovic Wedding & Portrait a local photographer, who I had hired that same week to shoot some photos of my son Joel who was around 10-months old. You can see the entire blog post with some of Joel's pictures here. The painting of the cake was a surprise, so the entire time Rob was shooting pics of Joel, I could say nothing. It was a fantastic secret to keep, and the cake, frosted with layers of coconut was a blast to paint.  It was also one of my first paintings where I included an aspect of the wedding gown.

Joel and Me, ©2009 Robert Yaskovic
That was the start of a great business relationship that is continuing today. Rob and I are well-connected on social media, supporting each others' endeavors, and referring business. Since we first met, Rob has made his way from a developing wedding photographer to shooting photos of food prepared by "blogcomplice," AndrĂ© de Waal, burgers gracing the cover of NJ Monthly magazine, images of Sussex County including Newton and the NJ State Fair, and all the while positioning himself as a niche contemporary, photo-journalistic wedding and portrait photographer with an artful eye. Most recently, Rob was in attendance at Project Self-Sufficiency's Open that Bottle Night where he captured one of my paintings as it sold at auction.

My painting, Jersey Blue, on the Auction Block, photo ©2011 Robert Yaskovic
An exhibit of his food photos was in the works for this month, but due to short time-constraints we decided to delay it. Hopefully Rob will get on the exhibit calendar at TraillWorks next year for a featured exhibit and collaboration. In the meantime, I look forward to more future artistic collaborations, wedding and non-wedding. Thanks, Rob, for all your support! Learn more about Robert Yaskovic and his artful photography on his web site: To see a gallery of Wedding Cake Portraits that I've painted, visit

Next Wedding Wednesday I hope to feature another wedding professional that I've worked with in my series of "Art meets Weddings".

Joel, ©2009 Robert Yaskovic

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Art Meets Weddings at TraillWorks on Wednesdays

May18, 2002, Oil on Linen, 16" x 24", ©2009 Jennie Traill Schaeffer, Private Collection

One of the many things I do at TraillWorks, in my spare time, is paint portraits of wedding cakes, aka, Wedding Cake Portraits. It's a great way for me to tie my love of painting with thick oil paints and edible sweets together! I often feel like I'm frosting the cake, in oil. The artistry involved in wedding cakes astounds me and it's an opportunity to create an homage of sorts to these wedding day icons. 

I've been doing this for about five years now, but offering it as a service for about three. Not only have these been presented as wedding gifts, but also as anniversary gifts from one spouse to another, or from parents to their children. In doing these portraits I've gained some awesome clients as well as met some interesting people in the wedding industry.

I was invited to become a member of a private online group, Northern New Jersey Wedding & Event Professionals, by one of the vendors I'm going to profile. Unfortunately due to time constraints with the many avenues my business has taken as well as family obligations with my 2 1/2 year old son, I sometimes feel like a fly on the wall and don't have the time to attend functions and develop more relationships. However, there are several wedding vendors that I have developed really great relationships with or am in the process of it now through this group and outside of it. So for the upcoming Wednesdays I'm going to profile them and write about how we have collaborated and developed business together, through weddings and art!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

TraillWorks Announces its First {Art Partner}

Several years ago I read something, somewhere, in such and such business magazine for artists about building partnerships with other businesses; one suggestion was to work with restaurants for receptions. Well, it's always been in the back of my mind and last week, Corrie, my associate, and I formulated a letter detailing the TraillWorks' "Art Partner" program. 

I'm thrilled to announce our first "Art Partner", Andre's Restaurant! You've probably seen me mention Andre's before. Most recently we partnered together to present the work of TraillWorks' guest artist, David Ohlerking, for a six-week long exhibit at the restaurant. Tracey and AndrĂ©, proprietors of Andre's, have worked with me in the past on many occasions, have also exhibited my artwork, and I've taught art lessons to both Tracey and their two children. 

photo ©2010 Robert Yaskovic, taken at Andre's Restaurant
I had the good fortune of a child-free weekend which allowed my husband and I to enjoy a savory dinner at Andre's this past Saturday. Yum! The twice-monthly changing menu always offers a fabulous assortment of dishes mostly inspired by European cuisines with an American twist. To start the evening, I ordered a cocktail made from ginger root beer - there's nothing like it anywhere! Then I ordered sauteed orata (a fish that pleasantly surprised me and never had) with fried artichoke and sun-dried tomato risotto. As soon as I see risotto on the menu, I'm sold. Dinner was topped off with a blackberry ice cream over a rich, brownie (hold the whipped cream for me)!

photo ©2010 Robert Yaskovic, taken at Andre's Restaurant
Now that I've whet your appetite, you've probably forgotten the entire point of this post, what is an "Art Partner"? Getting back to the matter at hand, Andre's has agreed to be TraillWorks' first "Art Partner" for the upcoming exhibit featuring artist, Karin Lowney-Seed opening on May 14th. As "Art Partner" for this two-month long show, Andre's will provide the food and drink for our reception on May 14th, in exchange for promotion of the restaurant throughout the duration of the exhibit! Additionally, I'm going to purchase a gift certificate to Andre's Restaurant to give away to a lucky guest in a random drawing the evening of the opening. 

Why am I doing this? Well, it makes a whole lot of sense; it's a great way to build partnerships in the community among businesses, it showcases all the different eateries in the area which my visitors may or may not know about, and it's another aspect of putting together an art exhibit that I don't have to think about. Usually a few days before an opening, I'm scrambling to Sam's or a local eatery to pick up last-minute food. Not time well-spent. There certainly was a lot of upfront work involved in putting this together, and we will have some extra work to do to promote each "Art Partner", but I see this as a "win-win" for both the gallery and the eatery who participates, hopefully expanding both of our audiences. I'll be sending out letters to area restaurants within the next week or so, if you're in the area and interested in this opportunity, send me an email or give me a call at 973-383-1307.

Please put May 14th on your calendar to meet artist, Karin Lowney-Seed, sample a taste of Andre's Restaurant, and most importantly, take in a feast for your eyes! Plus it's the Tour of Art kick-off event in Newton, with over twenty artists exhibiting at galleries, eateries, and boutiques on Spring Street. More info to come on details about Karin's exhibit, but in the meantime, thank you Tracey and Andre for signing on to be my first "Art Partner" at TraillWorks!