August 23, 2008

Summer Art Festivals

Well, I'm back! I finished preparing for and attending the CAG
Clothesline Sale and the Silverton Fine Arts Festival and so have stopped painting and started cleaning. It's amazing how every pile and mess amasses to it's maximum proportion when you're busy trying to make deadlines. I have to remember next year to have my paintings completed way ahead of time and not drive myself crazy before these art events. Unfortunately, I love to start artwork but find it really difficult to complete a piece unless some horrible deadline is hanging over me. These sales force me to finish the ten or so paintings in progress that are so close, but not quite there. But often I call them finished, varnish them but later go back and make changes......I just can't force a painting to completion. If I am very persistent it usually resolves itself eventually but, for me, it takes a lot of thinking and experimenting with layers of paint.

The Clothesline Sale in Corvallis was great. I sold lots of artwork and reconnected with lots of old friends and acquaintances. I also received lots of compliments for my work from other artists, which feels pretty good as well.

The Silverton Fine Arts Festival was good in some ways but the sales were disappointing. I felt most people were just looking for inexpensive items and as a painter, I felt out of place. Most of the booths featured crafts, despite the title of the festival, jury process and entry fee. Many people told me I should show at the Corvallis Fall Festival, suggesting this wasn't really the right venue for my work. But there were some positives as well. The park setting under the tall evergreens was lovely and I met lots of nice people and enjoyed talking with them about art. My booth neighbors were very nice and shared lots of good advice about marketing. They had all been in lots of outdoor art shows and said it was nearly impossible to predict when one would have good or mediocre sales.

I did come away from both festivals determined to focus more on small paintings. People of course love the diminutive price but I also think they don't worry so much about where they are going to put it when they get home. I've heard "I love your work but don't have any wall space left in my house" about a hundred times. Personally, I never let that stop me from buying a painting I love. I just bought a gorgeous piece from a new artist (to me)....Delana Bettoli in Silverton.

Here are a couple of the paintings (Petite Narratives) I sold at the Clothesline Sale. "A Mother's Dilemma" addresses the age-old conflict of caring for your child and working to create a better world for your child. "I Could Fly" is a childhood memory of loving, loving, loving airplane rides which really does let you fly when you are little. You just need a strong "big person" to propel you through the air. I wish I still could fly like that!

"A Mother's Dilemma" by Barbara Levine copyright 2008
"I Could Fly" by Barbara Levine copyright 2008

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