Saturday, September 27, 2008

Graphite Peony Drawing - September VSD

Peony in vase
3" x 3.5" graphite in Moleskine
Stacy L. Rowan

Here is my submission for the September Virtual Sketch Date.

I knew I didn't have much time this week to work on my drawing so I decided to use my Moleskine sketchbook. That was a good decision. Since I was using the sketchbook, I decided to use graphite. That was not so good a decision.

Since the tones in the petals were subtle, I felt I had to lay in the dark background first to give me something to judge the lighter tones against. By the time I had layered on the darks in the background and the vase, my time and patience were running out. So I rushed the petals. As a result, this is not my favorite VSD entry - not bad, just not my favorite.

Of course, I wasn't loving last month's entry at this time either, and my cabbage definitely grew on me. I like it a lot better now. Maybe the lesson here is that I should refrain from passing judgement on my work until some time has passed.

Please visit the Virtual Sketch Date blog tomorrow and use the links to look at the other entries.

Note: I drew the whole entry and cropped the image after for posting here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

September Sketch Date Reference

The reference photo for the September Virtual Sketch date has been posted here. All entries are due Saturday, September 27th. If you want to participate this month, go to the Virtual Sketch Date blog and post a comment on the September reference post. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Preparing for an Art Fair - Part II

graphite sketches of people watching soccer game Sketches of people at a soccer game
graphite in small Moleskine

So now that I am done with my art fair, I have time to share the rest of my tips with you. If you missed part I of Preparing for an Art Fair, which dealt with managing the "stuff" needed for your booth space, you can find it here.

Part II deals with managing inventory and starts with making lists. I love making lists. Making lists makes me feel productive. So it's only logical that I chose to simplify my show prep by making this case, inventory lists.

I have an Excel spreadsheet for my note card and print inventory. In it I keep track of how many note card packs and prints are in inventory, maximum inventory levels and minimum inventory levels. The spreadsheet is set up to automatically calculate how many note cards and prints I need to make when I fall below the minimum inventory level for each specific image. It even has a column for production priority so I know what to make first. I swear, I could be a poster girl for Excel.

Now I know spreadsheets don't seem very creative and many people might be turned off by this tool, but I have to tell you it saves me loads of time. Before having the spreadsheet, I had to decide before every show how many note cards and prints I wanted to make. And of course, since it wasn't written down, I could never remember what I did for the last show. Plus it was too easy to get emotional about the whole decision. You know, thinking that this was going to be the show where hoards of people showed up all wanting the same print. Since I don't want to disappoint anyone or lose a sale it only made sense to make a few, or ten, or twenty extra prints of that image. Right?!??

With a spreadsheet the numbers are cut and dry, so I don't have to worry about being under-, or over- prepared.

I also have a handwritten list detailing the amount of each cash denomination that I take to a fair for making change. It makes a trip to the bank for rolled coins super easy. And it gives me a way to double check my receipts at the end of the day since I know exactly how much money I started with.

All the lists save me time by eliminating the repetition of figuring out how much of everything I need for every show. But, perhaps equally as important, they also give me confidence because I know I am well prepared.

In an ideal world I also mat and frame my paintings as soon as they are done so I don't need to have a framing marathon the week before a fair. The same is true for printing and packing note cards. I replace them as soon as I fall below my minimum inventory levels so I'm not making 30 or 40 packs all at once. Unfortunately I don't live in an ideal world, so sometimes this is more of a goal then a reality.

At the end of a fair, part of my wrap up when I get home is restocking bags (for putting purchases in) and business cards and returning the cash bag to its beginning values. That way I know everything is ready to go for next time.

Using this system I've had much better luck avoiding the pre-show stress-ball stage. I've also been able to take advantage of opportunities that showed up without much lead time. Best of all, I don't have to give up painting for a month leading up to a fair date, and my family has stopped avoiding me during that time as well.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Art Fair Today - Nazareth, PA

green coffee mug with Oreos in watercolor and graphite
Coffee Break
approx. 4" x 3" watercolor and graphite
Stacy L. Rowan

Just a post for people in my area to announce that I will be showing my art this afternoon and evening at Nazareth Evening on Main Steet in Nazareth , PA. The event starts at 3pm and runs until 8pm. The art show is taking place in the square at Main and Center Streets. Also local businesses along Main Street will be open for the evening and there will be entertainment in the street and square.

If you are in the area, I'd love for you to stop by and say hi!

I created the above image for the postcard I sent to my mailing list announcing this event. If anyone is interested in how I make and print my own postcards, leave a comment and I'll be happy to share. Notecards with this image are also available.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thank You!

I would like to extend a big thank you to fellow artist and blogger Michael Brinkley! Michael's blog focuses on pencil drawing and in it he gives detailed information for creating pencil portraits. In fact, Michael recently changed the name of his blog to Pencil Portrait Lessons to reflect this focus. He has made other changes in addition to the name change, including deciding to feature a different artist every Wednesday.

This week I am honored to be Michael's featured artist. Please go here if you would like to read my responses to Michael's interview questions.

Thanks again Michael!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Preparing for an Art Fair - Part I

green pear with cranberries watercolor Familiar Blush
3.5" x 2.5" watercolor on paper
Stacy L. Rowan

I am currently preparing for an art fair that is taking place this Saturday evening in Nazareth, PA. While I'm in the middle of the process, I thought I'd share some tips that make show prep a little easier for me.

My first few art fairs included a mad scramble of preparation which took up all of my art time for the few weeks leading up to the fair. As much as I like doing fairs, I hated being away from my paints for so long and my family hated the stressed out, frantic person I turned into.

The solution - move as much of the prep work out of the weeks leading up to the fair.

This first post will deal with managing the "stuff" required for an art fair. By stuff I mean the canopy, lights, table, extension cords, print rack...everything that is not art.

After my first couple of art fairs, I realized that I needed the same stuff for every fair, and with a few fairs under my belt I had a pretty good idea of what it was. So months before I had any shows scheduled, I sat down and made a list of all the stuff I wanted to take with me. Now I will admit that I over pack for every occasion, so my list is quite long. I included everything I thought I might possibly ever need. And I mean everything. Big things like my canopy and chair and display racks and little things like zip ties, scissors and tissues.

Once the list was done I put it in a safe place. For me that place is in my bin of office supplies (receipt books, stapler, pens, calculator, business cards) that I take to every fair. It would also be a good idea to have a back-up copy somewhere, say on my computer.

Next I chose a spot in our basement to store all the stuff that I don't need to unpack between shows. This saves time when I am gathering everything together for my husband to load into the van. It also makes it easy for me to point my art fair stuff out to my family. So when I say "Don't touch Mommy's art fair stuff!" they know exactly what "stuff" I am referring to. Lastly, having everything together in one area makes it harder, though not impossible, to lose or forget something.

In my next post I will give some tips for managing inventory.

About the painting: I love the little blush of red that sometimes appears on green pears. I had the idea that cranberries would "pair" nicely with one of these blushing pears because of the common color and similar shapes. So I tried the combination on my kitchen table and a painting was born.