Party Time Notes
It’s party time tomorrow. This has been a very busy week. Two classes at the studio, lots of busy work and my to do list has been endless. I love a studio party. I never know if anyone will come or how many, but I always have fun as long as at least one person comes. I consider the parties to be my thanks to students and collectors who do so much to support my career. They are a huge amount of work. Lots of cooking a few days before and a total gut of the space the day before. My studio looks so much bigger tonight without all the tables and I put the chairs in an oval right in the middle of the room. I want free space for visitors to stroll and see paintings. I use my three easels to place paintings on the shelf and the bottom legs, two per easel. I’m a country painter, and I live in the woods. My studio is old with concrete floors. There are no frills at my parties. I have little time to prepare, so a good dusting and sweep out is as far as I get. I cover the work bench with brown craft paper to make the food table. Paper plates, canned drinks, bottled water. They come for the food and conversation, not high roller style. The studio is full of art, and I will have my fun art puzzles, cards, and art pins available too.
I never expect parties to produce big sales, though I have had that good fortune. I think parties are more about fun and adventure. Folks come out and walk the trail, sometimes they bring friends or spouses, so I enjoy meeting new friends. Sending out post card invitations reminds people that I am still around. Any time you can get people to look at your paintings is a winning idea. I have found that my affluent friends love it out in the country. They don’t mind that I live in an old place with no landscaping and a swamp behind my studio. I know many painters who are afraid to have home studio parties because they don’t live in mcmansions. They shouldn’t worry. True friends and supporters don’t much care about how you live, they are interested in you.
I have me three parties each year and that is just about right. After tomorrow, I’ll start thinking about the next one in May. My cake party is always the Saturday before Mother’s Day. It is my most popular party. Who doesn’t love homemade cake?
More to come…..
I am done with this over-scheduled month. Since I returned from Bird Island, I’ve taught a workshop baked cakes and hid art supplies in closets, and cleaned my studio for my annual Cake Party, this year at my Country Studio. It has always been my most popular studio party, so there is always the hope folks will make the drive out into the wilderness to have homemade cake and buy a painting. It is always risky to have the parties so far from town, really only a 20 minute drive, but they are so much nicer there with room to spread out and walk the trail and to see the art featured without distractions. It means a complete redo of the studio, to make it look as good as an old concrete building with concrete floors can look, but I really enjoy the party. Last winter the Chili Party was a good success. The cake party was the last party for the summer. I’ll be doing a Hot Dog Party in September for my students to have a show on my feature wall at Paddiwhack.
The Cake Party was very successful for sales. It is interesting that few people come out to the woods but those that do, support me with purchases so I consider that a success. I believe that in a true art setting, people take the time to really look at the art. There are no distractions from other items. There is a good reason that art galleries and museums have a minimal environment. Everything is designed to feature the art. When I have a studio party I put everything except the art away. I remove easels, tables, supplies, etc and hide them away. The floor is bare, there are only paintings on the walls and browse bins around the room. I place chairs in the middle of the room, so that guests can walk around and see all paintings. The walls are salon stacked, with framed paintings from floor to ceiling. I have printed price lists hung around the room so there are no tags on the paintings. At one end, I have the food on a table with a cloth. In the smaller viewing room I have a small desk with my square card reader, tissue paper, craft paper and tape so that my assistant Carolyn can handle any sales. I am free to enjoy time with my guests. They are more important than anything else.
Today I’ll be putting my studio back to its working self. Being done with lots of events feels good. I have decided it is time to get back to my practice on waves. It’s been about 6 months since I worked on the waves, so it is time again. I love practicing the waves. I’ll never be a master, living away from the coast. I don’t get over there often enough to develop a real understanding, but I do love painting them in my studio from reference photos. Life is wonderful for me.
My annual chili party was wonderful this year. I had a good crowd who came in a few at a time and I had good sales, always a plus! Several folks walked Deer Woods Trail and I so enjoyed the camaraderie with old friends and new. I lucked out with beautiful sunny weather, though cold. The Chili was the best thing I could have served. I had guests from 5 to 75 years old. henry wanted to come so bad. He got lots of attention in his play pen, and in the house. I’m very pleased and grateful to all who came to support me. I am especially grateful to my assistant Carolyn and my sis Becky for making it easy for me. I put two of my easels outside the door with large paintings on them. It was a great entry into the studio for visitors.
Now I must get my studio put back together and get ready to paint again. I have a small commission to get done in the next three weeks, and I have my next rotation paintings project to begin.
I also need to get my lesson plans ready for the February Brushwork Workshop on the 20th. I am making progress on that and am looking forward to painting with my friends again. I’m almost ready for next month’s classes at Michaels as well. It will be interesting to see if my open studio class at night continues to be crowded. If so, I will need to figure out a way to add another class. I could do that on a Wednesday night.
Then it will be time to pack for my trip to Vero beach the second week of March. I’m looking forward to that adventure as well. Never a dull day for me.