Wow! August is just going to be amazing! I have a solo exhibition at the Dare County Arts Council and am the featured artist for the New World Arts Festival in that same town. The best part is we got accommodations at a lovely B & B that is "Pet Friendly" so Rusty and Raven will be with us.
The Steel Pier Classic and Surf Art Expo.
The shows are firing up and I am stoked to be getting in gear. Lot's going on in may with so many shows already and sometimes two openings and one show in one day in three different cities. That's a lot of activity.
I already had the show at the Suffolk Art Gallery for the Tidewater Arts Alliance Portfolio exhibition which was amazing and I plan to get more involved with that group. I had another opening that same day in Norfolk at the Norfolk Academy show as well as doing the Plain Air Artists event in East Beach. Busy day!
I also got an honorable mention at the Artists Gallery show this week, The Palette of Spring for one of those plain air pieces. This weekend is the Art Of Saving the River and "Fringe Fest" at the VIBE in Virginia Beach sponsored by the Lynnhaven River Now folks. It's two or three festivals in one and lots of work to do!
Next weekend is the Stockley Gardens art festival in Norfolk and then the surf art expo in Va. Bch. on the boardwalk the following weekend. I will also be delivering and picking up work at the hampton roads convention center for this years juried Halls Of Art show. Busy busy!
Just wrapped up the Sensational Spring Show at the Fred Heute Center in Norfolk, VA and it was a real blast, rain and all! Prior to that Erin Bonilla, a local photographer captured me in action at the Botanical Gardens in Norfolk and took some amazing shots of me at the office. Pretty nice office!
After the rainy Saturday we had to do what we always do after a rainy show, air out and dry the tent and all the gear that got wet. We are always prepared with plastic bins for the work, lots of tarps and straps to transport the delicate and expensive originals to the vehicle safely. We also put all the shrink wrapped prints into sized cardboard boxes and cover them with tarps to get them put away properly. That was a good thing because we had some pretty wild wind and rain that night taking down everything. I highly recommend that all artists wipe down their tent walls (the vinyl outside parts) with a sham wow or soft rag to remove that water. I found that just overnight, it can grow that nasty black mold pretty fast. We moved the vehicles out of the garage and spread the tarps out and dried them all off on both sides and then folded them up for the next show. We also aired out and dried off the carpet we use as flooring for the next show. The last thing you want to do is procrastinate about cleaning up your equipment after a rainy show and then set it up for the next show only to find you have black mold growing all over it! Not pretty. You can get it off but it's a whole lot more work after it gets nasty.
This week is going to be very exciting doing Plein Air for the CHKD charity event at East Beach in Norfolk. I also have two art openings, one at Norfolk Academy and one in Suffolk in the evenings the days I am doing the Plain air event.
I will have a week to catch up after this weekend and then will be doing the Art Of Saving The River sponsored by the Lynnhaven River Now organization in our very own VIBE Arts District. They are a great group doing great things to save the Lynnhaven River so I'm all in on that. I will be marking off the spaces for that event the Thursday before it starts. After that I set up my tent without the art and then go to Norfolk Academy to pick up my art and then on to an opening in Suffolk for the CBAA. Friday morning I will be hanging my art and filling my print bins at dawn and then will be greeting the artists as they arrive with their packets and information for the show and showing them their spaces. Lots of questions of course but this business is all about doing a lot in a very short period of time and staying positive. There will be a reception in the large tent from 5-8pm Friday. Saturday and sunday the show goes on.
The following two weekends I will be at the Stockley Gardens show in Norfolk and then the Surf Art Expo and Steel Pier Classic in Va. Bch. This year the Surf Art Expo is using one of my paintings of the jetty as their official poster for the event. Soooo....with that in mind, C Ya at Da Shows!
In addition to having my solo exhibition at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens this year March thru April 2017, I have also had the honor to have my art work chosen for three major events as their featured artist! I can't yet reveal all the details but two of them are juried fine art festivals and the other a major sporting event!
I have also figured out my problem with getting up on my board and have removed the "mind block" that was inhibiting me! It seems that Guy Takayama was a very smart guy in terms of decal placement. My difficulty catching waves was finding that "sweet spot" on the board to paddle and then get to your feet. That spot is just beneath my chin at the logo on the board. A few inches forward and you pearl, a few inches back and you don't catch the wave. I also kept looking where I was instead of where I wanted to be! Now when I paddle I look far down the line to where I want to be and my feet just fly out from under me and I am up and running! Had a great surf session today and looking forward to many more. Another issue is that I have been too busy doing art shows and not surfing enough! Time to fix that. My friends at Freedom Surf, especially David, knew my problem all too well and how to solve it. Thanks guys!
I will have a great show this weekend at the Seashore Arts Festival off of shore drive. Looking forward to seeing everyone and having a great time. Thank you all for your amazing support!
I noticed lately that it takes a whole lot longer to get to my feet on my board at the rip old age of 65, soon to be 66 in June 1! I probably love the water and the surfing experience way more than most in the water these days even though I am able to catch a lot less waves for whatever reason. I thought I would share this awesome article that reflects on that very issue and how many surfers are still into their 80's and 90's and surfing or using the SUP boards.
I'm still riding my 9'2" and my 6'-4" but may have to go to a SUP eventually just to stay stoked! We shall see what the warmer weather brings this spring but after surfing at Jupiter, FL and still having issues getting to my feet, the time may have come for a change in equipment.
As far as I'm concerned, anything that gets me in the water, boogie board, fins and a camera, longboard, shortboard, kayak, sup, it's all good. I totally embrace being an older surfer and am happier in the water than I have ever been but I also realize that as time marches on, one needs to adjust your activity to maintain the stoke.
On another note, the show season has just ramped up this year and I have about 25 outdoor shows on my agenda, as well as a lot of museum and gallery exhibitions, which brings the total to around 35-40!!!! Yea, about that retirement thing....but it is just incredibly fun to have so much to do and to be able to make a difference in so many ways. I'm looking forward to sharing with you all that happens along the show circuit this year and of course, will pass along any helpful tips and hints to showing outdoors to all of you.
Many of you have asked me where I get my prints made and who shoots my work. The very best local source for that is my good friend Jeff Diener, 757-635-7136. You can find him via his phone number or look him up on Facebook. He will sit down with you after shooting your work using the very latest Pantone Color matching system and edit your work in Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. Once he runs a proof, he can print you as many or as few as you like at a cost per square inch which is amazingly affordable! Jeff can also be found at his studio at d'Art Center in Norfolk.
October is really one of the best months for shows and this year was no exception! With a show every single weekend of the month and the potential for Hurricanes and big swells, the month was full of excitement and wonder. The Stockley Gardens show is always a favorite and some of my best sales ever have been at this show. Sadly, the biggest disappointment was the weekend for the Port Warwick Arts Festival in Newport News. Hurricane Mathew was supposed to miss us but unexpectedly rolled right over us just shortly after that festival started Saturday afternoon. Thanks to the on the ball surf forecasters that I listen to, I chose to cancel even though the calm before the storm Friday and Saturday was misleading weather wise. Of course our weather man locally had it all so wrong big time. By 3PM the storms hit and we had waist deep water in our cul-desac in a short period of time. Had I done that festival when the wild winds and rains arrived I would never have gotten home to my dogs. This brings to mind the importance of knowing when to commit and when to ditch. No one ever wants to bail but sometimes you have to make the proper choice. Glad I did in this case.
The Dismal Swamp show came shortly after this and after a month of record rains the mosquitos were in full swing! Armed with an arsenal of bug spray and a positive attitude and fantastic festival support staff, we surged on and had a festival that at first was great fun as always but no so fun in regards to sales. As of Sunday I had sold no originals and only two $25.00 prints. I always stay positive in times like this and tell other artists that doing outdoor arts shows and festivals is like playing the lottery. If you buy only one or two tickets or do one or two shows a year, the chances of success are very small. I do around 30-40 shows a year so even though I have some with zero sales and minimal sales the odds are very good that some of these shows will have good or even epic sales like this year.
I find it fascinating to see my fellow artists at the end of the shows always be in such a hurry to leave. I have checked my square sales reports and at nearly every show, my biggest and most frequent sales are on the last hour of the last day of every show I have done. This year was no exception and the very last minute of the very last hour of the show I sold three very nice sized paintings to two clients, one new, and one returning. Visitors to shows like to look around and shop around at these events and purchase at the very end so packing up and rushing out discourages potential buyers from picking up on your work. Would you buy from someone who appears to be packing up in a hurry and makes no visual or verbal contact with you? The lesson here is pretty clear to me, take your time taking down, stay calm and relaxed and all will go much better. If you still have zero sales just remember what I said about playing the lottery. You have to do a lot of shows to increase your odds!
Taken with my GoPro Hero 4 Silver using a KNEKT Trigger at Kitty Hawk. Epic day with some neck breaking barrels!
Attached is the new ECSC T Shirt which is based on my original painting purchased by D. Nachnani at Coastal Edge this year. My original painting was inspired by the photography of Brad Styron and I transformed it into my own version of Bogue Inlet. I gave D. permission to transform my painting to include the channel marker and jetty on the horizon to suit the needs of the ECSC design and gave him full rights to alter the colors as well. As you can see they are both very different yet very successful designs and I am very proud to have collaborated with Brad, coastal edge, and so many others to have my work put on their posters, media and T Shirts this year. I have and always will be about collaboration, since it opens the doors to new opportunities and experiences and helps you grow in ways you could not do alone.
My connection to the ECSC goes back pretty far when I was working with the ESA as a judging coordinator with Paul West and Harry Purkey back in the early 80's. I also broke my ankle in the finals of the surf contest back then and it turned my entire life around and made me focus on my art work very seriously since I could not surf for an entire year. The docs said I would never surf again but they were wrong and one year later I went to Puerto Escondido with Tony Lighthart and friends and surfed some of the craziest waves of my life!
I can actually say that the ECSC has helped shaped what I am today and am very proud to be a part of it. Thanks! They did a video shoot this week on my story which will be aired soon. Once I get the link to that I will post it for ya.
What an amazing spring and early summer I have had! The shows are like roller coasters with highs and lows and there were certainly a lot of "highs" this time around. After having participated in the MOCA Va. Boardwalk Art Show on and off since 1978 and never having won any prices or selected for judging I was finally chosen. Much to my surprise, at the awards ceremony I was casually talking with friends after most of the awards were called out. When they got to the last top three awards I stopped paying attention because clearly, I would not be winning any of those! Amazingly I received the Thomas A. Felton Jr. Award Of Distinction for Fine Art! I am so humbled and thankful for that recognition after all these years of effort.
The very next day after the boardwalk art show we did the "Under the Oaks" show at Whalehead in Corolla, NC. I was able to get some terrific shots for future paintings at the Inn At Corolla Light and of course, our dogs were able to stay in the comfy AC while I worked the show. The day after that show we did the Knotts Island Peach festival and had a great time with the great folks down there and a lot of my fellow artists joined us. I saw plenty of former and new clients at that one and am looking forward to the month of July to regroup, surf, and relax.
As I reflect on this years shows so far, I have learned a lot. As always, if sales are slow, don't blame others, the promoter, the weather, fellow artists, etc. It all falls on you in the end and so often it is just pure luck in regards to encountering that very special person who connects to your work. I had many shows this year that were just like that and the boardwalk was the exception. That was one for the record books! It all comes down to simple math. You have to do a lot of shows to make income and be realistic because at many of them you just won't have the sales to match the investment in time. Try to remember the good times you are having meeting other artists and sharing ideas and developing relationships with new and returning clients.
I also figured out how to keep those pesky horizontal bars on my showoff canopy from sliding off their positions. I used a simple zip tie to hold them in place.
Also earlier this spring at the Gosport Arts Festival I won the Award of Distinction for Fine Art Painting which was a very pleasant surprise! I support EDMARC hospice for children so much and that award was very special to me. It was not so much for specific piece of work, rather, it was for the body of work.
In spite of the usual spring slump in sales between Jan. thru March, I am so thankful for being accepted to so many shows and of course, being waitlisted and not invited to so many others was another story all together. I am cutting my show circuit down somewhat from last years art show marathon and looking forward to so many new ones too! It was a pleasant surprise to win best in show at the CBAA members show at the Suffolk Cultural Arts Center!
The biggest surprise this year was winning the 2016 Boardwalk Art Show Poster contest and becoming their featured artist for the event. I have tried so hard for so many years to achieve this personal goal and for most of us, it will never happen. It's like one of those goals made of "unobtainium", the ethereal substance that one never achieves but strives for. I am humbled beyond words and very grateful. Thanks to all of you who supported me during the process and voted for my work! Dreams can come true after all.
Kris and I journeyed to Panama in March and I did four paintings in some of the most grueling weather ever. Think extreme heat, wind, and truly intense conditions and you can get the idea. My new lightweight aluminum Plein Air easel worked awesome as did my little Pochade box made of wood. It sure was nice having a lightweight option to take on the plane!
April will be very busy with the Sensational Spring Festival in Norfolk, the Plein air Escape on East Beach in Norfolk, The Atmospheric Impressions show at the Artists Gallery, The Art Speaks on the Bay show at Bay School Community arts and a host of other events!
May will fire up with the Gosport Arts show with proceeds going to the EDMARC foundation. I have been wait listed for Stockley so I will have to see how that pans out but I will be doing the Surf Art Expo the end of May. I would say I am off to a great start for 2016! Look for me at 30th street at the boardwalk art show just north of the King Neptune Statue at the VIP Tent.
Had an amazing show at ArtisGras in Palm Beach to fire up the year. It's always wonderful to leave the dead of winter and arrive in Florida to what appears to be spring break type of weather. I got to see some long lost friends in Melbourne and Cocoa Beach and reunite. Great to see you Bill and Molly!
The show was amazing as always but not without some issues. At the very end of the show as I was taking down, we had a lot of wind an rain in the dark and a tornado warning. Surprisingly, 30 minutes into takedown I sold over $200 worth of art. This happens more often than not which is why I am never in any big hurry pack up at the end a show. There are always people floating around that want something special and you just may be it. Stop everything and engage with them and you may be surprised by a quick sale! I usually am.
Chilling out at my booth at ArtisGras. Had a great time painting on location and demonstrating in the demo tent.
While I sit here wondering what I may have forgotten to load up in the van and trailer, this post comes to mind by a friend and it is well worth the read. Can't wait to get on the road again and get the show scene rolling! The excitement and adrenaline rush of doing outdoor shows is just incredible! In the meantime, give this one a look over. It's a great article by a great artist and really hits close to home of the professional artist.
I have been struggling with hanging my art work at shows for years and my thick canvas walls are very difficult to put the drapery hooks into to secure my paintings to the walls. After several years of pinching and stabbing myself with them, I finally took the plunge and got an amazing new hanging system of cables and grips from propanels.com that is phenomenal, easy to use and store, and looks very professional.
If you already have pro panels you won't need these hooks from Rubbermaid but I do since the 1" hooks won't go over the top of the canvas wrapped in 1 1/2" pipe. There is a perfect hole to put the hooks into and the part that goes over the canvas is padded in black so the canvas won't get damaged from the hook.
What's really amazing is that the cable caddy rolls up into a neat roll that takes up very minimal space, yet stores those very long cables for you when needed later without having them turn into a birds nest from some fishing rod nightmare where the line just blows up on a cast on the reel. This system is not for everyone but its right for me. You can get the cables and grips from: http://www.propanels.com/hanging-systems/. The cables cost around $16.00 each and it takes at least six cables per booth side to hold your work. It's not for the faint of wallet but it sure does make your display look professional and speeds up the hanging process.
I've been asked a lot lately about how much it costs to do an art business and just how one goes about pricing their work. These tips should be helpful to those that are interested. Art has never been a "hobby" with me and even as a teacher for 34 years I maintained my business license and practiced my art every day, as well as enter shows outdoors and in galleries. A hobbyist is one who pursues their art at their leisure for pleasure or entertainment. An artist as a business person/professional pursues their work seriously every day, has a business license, and shows regularly. This article is pretty much spot on in regards to merging from "hobbyist", to "amateur", and on to being a Professional Artist:
Pricing Your Work
Those who know me know I work at a madman pace and don't stop until the job is done. The not so simple answer is I researched a lot over the years and have come up with a formula for "Sizes" that fits much better than the "hourly rate". It's a good thing I don't charge like my lawyer does at $175.00 per hour or no one could afford my work. After seeing what other artists charge for specific sizes for similar amounts of detail, I have come up with a variety of sizes and prices that I keep very consistent.
Sizes and prices:
•8" X 10" is between $150.00 and $175.00
•12" X 16" is $250.00
•18" X 24" is $650.00-$700.00
•24" X 36" is $1,100.00-$1,200.00
•30" X 40" is between $1,500.00 and $2000.00 depending on the details involved
•36 X 48" is $2,500.00
• 36" X 60" and 40" X 60" run around $3,000.00 to $3,500.00
I hope this better helps you understand how artists price their work and can give you a better appreciation for what we do. There are tons of other costs involved that would take too much time to discuss here but I think you get the idea that my work is fairly priced for original art and I am committed to the highest level of quality in all that I do. I also provide shipping and free delivery locally in my area. You also have to consider what galleries charge per piece as well, with most taking 50% of the sale. If people buy directly from artists like me they save a considerable amount of money. That is why I do so many shows and so few galleries any more. I meet people directly and sell in person to them, developing long lasting relationships through personal contacts with the actual art buyers.
Related costs to art as a business:
•Legal fees, including annual LLC fee to accountant and city, business license
•Sales tax monthly to VA and quarterly to other out of state show departments of taxation
•Federal quarterly income tax on all art income
•Rents and show fees
•Frames, Matts, and boards, hardware for frames, chop saw, matt cutter w/blades
•Various tapes including acid free artists tape, double sided sticky tape
•Shrink wrap machine and shrink wrap materials
•Photography and printing costs
•Miscellaneous costs for business
•Canvas, Cleaners, Paints, brushes, varnishes, and all materials involved with the painting process
•Bags and containers for transporting and selling the work (at least 3 different sized clear bags small, med. And large.
•Packing materials for the transporting of art works to shows
•Exhibition materials including a professional tent, reinforcement stablizeer bars for tent, tent bags, tool box with assorted pliers, hammer, sledge hammer, wire cutters, hole punch, twist ties, etc., weights, dolly, boxes and containers, bungies, ratchet straps, shrink wrap, jack for trailer, assorted locks for trailer, marine battery, inverter for battery, lighting system and racks, hanging tools, equipment and materials, print racks, ladder, chairs, two different sized tables with professional custom fit cloths, framed artists statement, assorted tarps for inclement weather, boxes for extra inventory, table easels, portable shrink wrap, white duct tape, sectional black foam flooring, indoor out door carpet for when on grass with stabilizer hooks that go into carpet and grass, heavy duty clips to hold tarps to walls top and bottom (at least 8 per side=24 clips).
•Plein Air set up that includes all paints, brushes, paint box, water supply, umbrella with stand, extra canvas primed, drawn and ready to paint, backpack, easel, palette.
•Up to date computer (must be replaced every 4-5 years) with the latest software from Adobe, Apple, and Quicken.
•iPhone and iPad with square app and hardware for business (replace every 1-2 years)
•Epson printer, inks and papers
•Marketing materials including flyers, business cards, calendars, show notices, etc.
•Mobile phone fees for phone and internet usage
•Internet fees for web site hosting and business name
•Art Insurance (I use USAA’s RLI insurance company)
•Digital camera (point and shoot type)
•Go Pro camera with KNEKT trigger system for water shots
•Pentax water camera for video and stills
•Surfing equipment to get the water shots to include surfboards, fins, wetsuits, boogie board, vests, leashes, and various other related water equipment to shoot waves for subject matter.
•Any and all software related to the business to edit photos of paintings
•Monthly fees to galleries
•Postage and shipping
•Travel expenses including air fare, lodging, gas, food, rental car
•Boarding of pets while at shows
•Property taxes on art supplies and equipment, trailer, and van
•Dues for professional memberships in organizations and publications
This has been a marathon year for art shows with so many surprises and learning experiences at every one. I just did the June shows starting with the Artist's Gallery show indoors and then on to the Va. Bch. Boardwalk show.
It's always an incredible honor to get into the boardwalk show and this year was no exception. The judges were incredibly polite and informative and genuinely showed an appreciation for "your obvious uniqueness, dedication to laborious painting technique, and passion for your art". It was really nice to actually hear that for a change when so often I feel like a Klingon with my cloaking device activated as they go by without a word. These folks were genuinely concerned about each and every artist. The heat was unbearable for many but we persevered and sold quite well. This was in fact my very best boardwalk show ever thanks to some local supporters and several small paintings that I did in the 8" X 10" range with deep canvas edges in the $175.00 price range. This strategy worked very well and it also filled the gaps between the bigger pieces. Finding the right sizes for your booth is one of the more complicated things in this business but once you figure it out, sales go much better and so does the load in and out with the display.
The very next day after my five grueling days on the boardwalk was in North Carolina at the annual Under the Oaks Show at Whalehead, Corolla. This was by far the hottest show I have ever done which is not unusual this time of year. I nearly passed out the first day while painting because of the heat. This was a Plein Aire test unlike anything I have ever done. The paint dries so fast in this kind of heat. The promoters treated us very nicely and my accommodations were well worth the cost at the Inn at Corolla Light. I plan on doing a whole series of paintings of that place soon based on my photos. They are also very dog friendly and that made for a good time for all even though it rained during one of the two days. It was great having an air conditioned place to keep Rusty and Raven during the show.
I was truly appreciative of my sale of one of the OBX series of paintings I did this year during the final minute, of the final day of the show. I was literally packing up when a customer fell in love with the OBX piece. Thank you!
Today, the very day after the whale head show I am setting up on Knotts Island, NC for the Peach Festival. This turned out to be a real winner for me last year inspire of its remote location.
I have learned so much this year about doing art shows and of course, always want to pass on information to the "Newbies" who are trying to "figure it out". Keeping a cleaner and less cluttered booth along with unifying the sizes and frames of the work is really a big step forward. It just makes the overall presentation better and increases sales while impressing the judges.
I also got a lot more "waitlisted" notices this year. Unlike many artists who apply to several shows the same weekend and then choose the one they want, I apply to only one and if I don't get in then I have an open weekend to surf or paint which is just fine by me. I really don't see the point of paying to board the dogs, a hotel room, and then showing up at some bizarre hour of the morning for a "maybe I can get in" situation. I just can't afford to do business like that. The hotel room and the boarding are nonrefundable and if I don't get in the show that's a huge waste of money! I know a lot of fellow artists and juror/board members out there will disagree with me on this but I refuse to be someone else's puppet in this life. I plan on making a difference through my actions and good deeds and will not be a slave to bad vibes that get tossed my way. With that in mind, I encourage all of you to continue on showing your work, applying to shows, and learn along the way to improve yourself and not be manipulated by others and their narrow perspectives on this business. Stay positive and open minded to new ways of doing things and all will be just fine.