Saturday, August 21, 2010

Art Walk Featured Artist

Well, last night was the Third Friday Art Walk in beautiful downtown Siler City (NC) and I was the featured artist at the Raleigh Street Gallery.  I have to admit that it sounds a little more impressive than it actually was but maybe my experience will help others who do a public demonstration of their art.

Siler City is a small town to begin with and the only restaurant usually open in downtown during the Art Walk closed its doors this past week.  I didn't realize it would have that big an impact but there were very few people out last night.  At the last Art Walk there were large crowds and it was one of the hottest evenings on record so I was expecting at least a crowd that large since last night was somewhat cooler and less humid.

Ok, so the crowd was disappointing but it was still sorta, kinda fun to be painting in a public place.  I think I was more comfortable doing it since there weren't many people watching me.  There were a few people who did stop by to watch and everyone was very complimentary so that also helped.

But, I want to tell you artists more about the process than the results so you might be better prepared than I was.  The gallery owner had said to have at least a start on whatever I was going to work on so I put in the background and eyes of the beautiful Rottie that I was going to paint.  I didn't want to have too much done but I needn't have worried about that - I barely got started before it was time to leave.  Not only that but I got it to the "ugly" stage about the time people actually started to come in.  So, I advise you to get your painting to a recognizable stage then work on the details at the demonstration.

Another thing that bothered me and hindered me in working was the fact that I was given a table and chair as my work area.  I'm told that artists are less intimidating and more approachable if they're sitting down so that was good.  But, I normally work standing up at a cabinet-height work table.  I do this so I can step back and get a better overall view of what I've done.  Sitting down sort of skewed my perception of where I needed to go with the painting.  Not a huge problem but it was a bit unsettling since I was already nervous.  It might be a good idea for you to practice working in a setting similar to what will be provided at the demo area.

All in all, it was good experience and I think I'd do it again.  I'm grateful for a terrific band last night as I was seated next to the area where they were performing.  They were playing some good oldies songs but they weren't blasting me out of the gallery.  The band was called Nitro Express and they were wonderful to listen to.  If you have need of a band to perform at some function for you, I'd recommend them.

In conclusion, I got a decent start on Crissy, shown above.  She's being painted on Ampersand PastelBord with various brands of pastels and pastel pencils.  The Ampersand is one of my favorite supports anyway but I specifically chose it because it is a board and it's just easier for me to deal with in this kind of situation.  In fact, I was amazed at how little I had to pack up and carry to the gallery for the demo.  Another plus for this medium!


sue said...

Well done Jan, sounds as though you really enjoyed the experience which is the biggest bonus (well with the exception of making a sale of course) :o)

I hate to draw in public but have just decided to draw a local art group in November to help me overcome this obstacle - they meet once a fortnight so no big commitment.

Some great tips here - thanks.

Jan said...

Thanks for the comment, Sue. Well, you know I'm such a hermit that just getting out was a treat of sorts! lol

Although people did stop by, it didn't bother me too much as they asked intelligent questions and were generally very complimentary. It would have been an awful experience if they'd told me my work sucked, I'm sure!

Well, the sales weren't up to me, thank heavens, but a few people did take business cards and maybe they'll commission a portrait in the future. I didn't know what was expected or how much room I'd have or I would have had a little display with some kind of portrait promotional on it. Next time.

"JeanneG" said...

Good job and glad you got to experience something new. I really like the picture of Cici. Nice that you looked beyond the "beauty" when picking her. She looks very sweet. I just adore my two dogs and they have been a great comfort to me this past 5 months.

Jan said...

Thanks, Jeanne. We knew CiCi was for us right from the start. Nothing she did - she was quite aloof and didn't really pick us. It was just a deep inside feeling that she belonged with us, "warts" and all! lol

I can imagine the comfort you receive from your two babies. As much of a hermit as I am, living totally alone without her would be untenable. Give them lots of hugs and kisses from C and me!