Friday, November 19, 2010

handy dandy

I've been feeling handy the last day or so. Okay, maybe not "handy," about "handy-ish"? I'm not one who is generally comfortable with tools, but I'm working on changing that, thanks to Lee from Five Rivers. Let me explain: about a week and a half ago, I stopped into the Five Rivers Arts Alliance office to drop off my membership renewal and my fee to participate in this year's Arts Downtown and All Around festival. While I was there, I asked Harriet and Lee if they knew anyone who had display racks for sale or rent (the ADAA group show takes place in an area where we cannot use wall space to hang work). They said no, but Lee mentioned that she had been trying to figure out how she was going to display her work for that show as well...then she started thinking out loud and described a setup that she would probably construct herself. She tried to explain how she would do it and what type of material she would use, but I just wasn't following her. Then she cheerfully said, "Well, once I do it, I can show you how to make one." I was excited and intimidated at the same time. I said that the idea sounded great, but that I would need a lot of help since I am pretty clueless about this sort of thing. We agreed to check in with each other in a day or two and go from there.

Sure enough, I heard from Lee the next day. She told me about the material she had just purchased to make her racks, but that she was just too tired to start working on the project tonight (which worked out well for me because my day was crazier than I had anticipated). She also told me that their office neighbors had a large wooden display unit that they were willing to let me use for free! It would need to be cleaned up and repainted, but it was mine for the asking. I told her that everything sounded great and that I would come by after the weekend to check things out.

Two days ago, I stopped by Five Rivers and looked at the wooden display. It looked good to me, but it was really big. "This will never fit in my little car," I said, feeling a bit deflated. Lee said, "Oh, don't worry, I'll throw it in my truck and bring it over to the show for you." That got me excited again, and I decided I would stop by the next day with some paint to clean it up. Lee started telling me about the display units she built, and when it was obvious I wasn't following what she was saying, she drew a diagram...much clearer, but not completely understandable to me. Then she said, "Well, what are you doing right now? Let's take a ride over to my house and you can see exactly how I built them." I followed her and I really liked what I saw. The units were large (so a lot of work would be able to fit on each one) and they seemed pretty sturdy. I started asking questions about the process, and when Lee saw how nervous I was getting, she sat me down and wrote out clear, step-by-step instructions that someone as inexperienced as myself could understand. She took some photos of the units so I could have them as a reference, she reassured me that I would be able to handle it, and told me to feel free to call her in case I got stuck.

I bought the supplies the next day (after spending two hours removing nails from and repainting the free wooden display), laid everything out that night, and started the construction process today...and I have to say that so far, I feel pretty good about things. I'm not done yet, but that's just because I had a bunch of other stuff I had to do today. I don't want to jinx myself since something can always go awry, but I think I might actually be able to handle this. Don't worry, though: I have both of Lee's phone numbers right in my purse!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

weekend update

What a great weekend it was! I had so much fun at Blue and at the Gorham Art Fair. My sister Addie, her husband Marc, and their daughters, Hayley and Ella, made the trip up from Boston so they could attend both shows. My friends Heather and Rebecca made it to Blue on Friday (I think Heather may be tied with Terry for most appearances at my openings!). The three of us enjoyed some wine and split a Mediterranean Plate (hummus, bread, olives, stuffed grape leaves: YUM) before they left to check out the rest of the art walk. My sister and her family arrived shortly after Heather and Rebecca left. We hung out for a bit longer, and then headed up the street to Dogfish Cafe for dinner and live jazz (they have a kids' menu that appealed to my nieces). Blue is such a beautful venue to have artwork on display. I thought it looked good while I was hanging during the afternoon on Tuesday, but the atmosphere after hours is even better. I am really excited to have my work there for the month.

The Gorham Art Fair was even better than it had been the year before, and last year was better than the previous year. I got a lot of very positive feedback from other artists and fair goers alike (which is always nice to hear), and not only did I sell two paintings, but I sold two collages to a woman who had bought a collage from me last year! My friends Sabrina and Jeremy had a lot of success with their booths ( and, and my friend Jen had an extremely busy day of Tarot readings ( Terry stopped by after he got out of work and it was great to have him there for moral support as well. Breaking down my booth and packing up was considerably easier than usual: I had a bunch of helpers who were willing and able to assist me!

After the fair was over, I was ready for some relaxation. My family and I headed back to Brunswick to enjoy a fabulous dinner and excellent drinks at El Camino (my favorite restaurant). After dinner, we walked over to the historic pedestrian swinging bridge for some stargazing (Addie and I were both lucky enough to see shooting stars). I feel so fortunate to have so many people in my life who are supportive of me and my work, and last weekend was chock-full of reminders of that fact. Thank you to everyone!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

hanging out

I hung my solo show at Blue today! I am really glad I asked Anna Low about her experience at Blue because her feedback made choosing my work a lot easier. I had initially considered having both paintings and collages on display, but when Anna mentioned that large pieces worked better in that space than small pieces, I decided to stick with just paintings. I ended up hanging 9 pieces (8 along the long wall next to the performance space, and one on a little wall "bump" across the room and above a table), all of which were either 16" x 20" or 18" x 24". I brought along two small paintings just in case, but after trying them in a couple of different spots, I decided to save them for the Gorham Art Fair this weekend.

The hanging process itself went pretty quickly; in fact, Terez said I was able to put my work up faster than anyone has in the past. The setup at Blue is different from any other place I've ever shown, and I really liked it. Rather than having artists put holes in the wall that will need to be spackled and painted over and over again, they have a long metal rack mounted along the wall, close to the ceiling. This rack has a series of movable S-hooks; each S-hook has a long piece of framing wire suspended from it with a picture hook attached at the bottom. The painting hangs on the picture hook, and this allows the artwork to be displayed without holes, nails, or pushpins. A little fun-tak helps unruly pieces stay in place...thankfully Terez had plenty on hand so I could do just that and still hang my tags and my artist's statement. I did forget one tag, though, so I will need to make sure I have it ready to go on Friday. All in all, it was a smooth process...I even managed to score a parking spot right across the street, and the meter still had about 40 minutes left on it! Woo-hoo!