Narragansett Arts Guild

 

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I will begin my conversation on weekly art festivals with these photos of me from above.  A fellow artist came by and took a bunch of pics.  I pretended to be a tiger, to walk down some fake stairs, a serious Lolita face… It was all about laughing and being silly.  That’s the cool part of being with a group of artists.

The other part is that it is TOUGH, EXHAUSTING, GRUELING, WORK.

I just never realized how tough it could be.

In a matter of a few hours you have to:

1.Gut your car

2.Load a tent, walls, weights and about ten crates of items to sell.

3. Get to festival site. Unload tent, walls, weights and ten crates of artwork.

4. Set up booth and make it look as beautiful as you possibly can in 40 minutes.

5. Smile, be friendly and talk about yourself and your artwork for 4 hours.

6. Pack up entire booth in pitch darkness.

7. Load tent, walls, weights and ten crates of art materials back into car.

8. Drive home at 9:30pm and Unload tent, wall, weights and ten crates so you can use your car again in the morning to ferry your kids :)

I am telling you selling your wares, in a booth, at a weekly festival,  is TOUGH, EXHAUSTING and GRUELING WORK.

What makes it do-able.  LAUGHTER! LAUGHTER! LAUGHTER!

I simply crack jokes.  Find something – anything – to engage and talk to passers-by.

Being completely silly with the artists to my left and to my right. That’s how I get through the grueling work.

Here were some photos from my booth.  mind you it was dusk under a tent, so they aren’t the best, but you can catch a glimpse of some of the things I was selling.

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Ask me if I’d do it again?

Today I’d tell you – HECK NO!

Ask me in February and I’ll say “oh yeah, that was really funny…I could do that again…”

It happens every year.  Winter amnesia.

If I’m being serious.  I have two thoughts about it.

  1. There has to be a better way to get my art out to people without it having to take such a physical toll on my mind and on my body.
  2. If I did it again, I’d REALLY have to go through my books, figure out what sold the most and streamline what I bring.  I brought too much every week and it almost killed me!

At the moment, I am philosophising on -THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY.

I am going to find it darn it.  Just you watch!

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CATCH UP

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Time is flying!

From the day of my first festival, it’s been non-stop!

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This weekly festival I am doing is awesome.  I have a fantastic ocean view and everyone that stumbles by is in a “I’m on vacation” groovy kind of mood. Great vibes. Cool breeze.

Things are good :)

I was away on my family vacation last week. I have some fun artsy-fartsy projects we accomplished on our rain days… and there were a few of those. I’ll post in the next day or so.

I hope everyone is enjoyed nature and the great outdoors. Carpe the Diem out of this awesome season!

Narragansett Art Festival

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OK.  I am going to be honest.  As an artist, this years festival was NOT good.

Here’s the truth of the matter:

The weather was just too darn nice.

The first amazing weekend of the summer and guess where everyone was?

The Narragansett Art Festival?    – Ummm… no.

They were at the beach.  The Narragansett Art Festival 2016 was a ghost town…

It was sooooo hot.  HOT. HOT. HOT.  It was sweltering.  I am telling you I had eyeball sweat!  It was definitely not the kind of weather for strolling through an art festival.

So #1 complaint.  Good weather = Bad show.  No people = No one to show your art to.

Ok. Now let me turn this around and tell you some good things.

I was floored.  Someone who reads my blog traveled quite a distance to introduce herself and invest in a piece of my artwork.  I don’t care if I had actually sold thousands of dollars at the best attended art festival in my area – that them there was the most touching thing I’ve ever experienced as an artist!  First of all, someone I don’t know actually reads my blog???  And my words and images have connected with another human being???  That allows me to see; I can have a positive impact on the world.  I can connect with other human beings through my art.  PERIOD.  Simply-amazingly-awesome!  I met and talked to a lot of wonderful people in the last two days.

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The next good thing is a friend.

16 hours of a poorly attended festival is enough to sugar myself and stick my head in an ant hill!

Artist Karen Stackow of Signs of Fire shares a booth with me.  We do not make similar artwork which allows us to perfectly compliment one another.  But really, the best part is cursing under our breath, laughing out loud, spitting cherry pits and having one another to keep each other company.

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What’s more?

Having someone to grab a margarita with to celebrate it being over!!!!

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My Affordable Art Frenzy!

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The Narragansett Art Festival is coming up this weekend.

I’ve been sort of drifting for months in abstract painting la-la land, but about a week ago, I snapped out of it and started to work my butt off!

This art festival is right off the beach.  It’s a bit of an informal gathering.  People in flip-flops and sun hats.  I have found the average price point for sales during the event to be $250  or significantly lower.  This means don’t bring your giant formal work because you’ll be sitting there for 8 hours a day not selling anything!

With this in mind, I decided to embrace it and why not celebrate it?   How cool would it be if you could come home from an art festival with an original work of art for around $50 bucks?

So I snatched up about 20 mini frames ranging in size from 4×6 to 5×7 and I’ve been painting, painting, painting….

  My husband came up with the idea of $55 per painting or 2 for $100.  Here are some of the mini-paintings I will be selling during the event:

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It’s actually been a great exercise in painting.  I use a large brush, I try to work quickly and minimally.  It’s allowing me to practice acquiring an impressionistic style which in the age of photography is something I greatly value.

I have lots more to share.  I will try to photograph them as I scramble to get everything ready for this Saturday.

It’s feeling good :)

Hmm…My thoughts on Craft Shows

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Well I made it through!

Generally, I am sick as a dog at this point but instead I’m cool as a cucumber. Doing holiday bazaars has put me through an entire range of emotions.  Each show I did was an entirely different experience.

At my first show I was positioned right next to the chocolate popcorn lady.  Very quickly, I realized this was about what people who attended this show wanted to invest in! Popcorn was flying out the door and I was wondering what I had gotten myself into!   There was one saving grace.  There was one silver lining and that was my friends.  This first show was also the closest to my home and so many wonderful people stopped by to give me a hug, invest in some of my work and keep me smiling.  I will not forget their kindness.

The second show was a complete dud for me!  It was completely overwhelming.  There were over 70 vendors, yet not too artsy, it was primarily knitted Afghans, Tupperware and more of that chocolate popcorn!!!  There were 4 of us vendors tucked into a corner that was completely bypassed by traffic.  This was incredibly frustrating.  I made my investment back, but the day very much felt like I was selling used cars rather than something I feel very strongly about.

The third show was just the right fit.  The photos above were of me setting up for this event.  The biggest difference was that my first two shows were school affiliated events and the final show was at an art center.  The Jamestown Art Center.  The venue was small.  Only about 20 vendors and mostly artists.  There were printmakers, painters, potters, clothing designers and overall very unique artisans.  It took place in their gallery so the lighting was beautiful.  The final wonderful attribute was the clientele.  I’ve never met such an enthusiastic and curious bunch of people.  Too many to count would come up and engage in conversation about my process, my interests and where I was from.  Oh man, does that make the time fly!  And many people bought some of my work and would tell me who it was being gifted to and how excited they were to give something hand-made.  WOW.  Is that the difference?  Finding shows with like-minded people?

Your thinking BIG DUH …right?

If only it was that easy!  Apparently you have to kiss a few toads before you find your prince show!

Overall, I thought for sure I was going to swear up and down that I’d never do this again! But, in the end, I stayed calm (well not really – as calm as I could!), I didn’t take it personally and I absorbed it all as a learning experience.  That them there means growth I believe!

I leave you with some photos I took during the events while trying to keep myself occupied.  There were definitely some characters.  Life would be so boring without them!

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The Festival

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This is Karen Stackow of Signs of Fire.

She’s a local artist who some time in February asked if I’d like to share a booth with her at the Narragansett Art Festival.

And so I did:

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I made the ceramic fish for the event and luckily I took photos because half of them sold!

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I had two that cracked during the firing process:

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Which means the cobbler gets to bring them home and stick them in her garden :)

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Well, long story short, I didn’t sell anything on day two.  Nor did anyone else. The festival is right on the water and as all the artists were sleeping rain and 40 mph winds were up to no good.  Many artists went home with nothing. Hours, weeks, months of work destroyed.  Investments in booths, collapsed.  It was a horrible sight.

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But that Karen Stackow, the universe was kind to her.

All of the tents on all 4 sides were destroyed but the orange tent-o-fire was left completely intact.  (Not to mention we emptied the tent before the storm.)

So, I guess that’s what they call a wash. <- horrible pun intended.

I did learn a lot.  I got a good feel for the events price point and I got to observe what people were buying.  Karen got me to sign up for SQUARE which now enables me to accept credit cards. And thanks to her, I didn’t have to sit in a booth alone for 8 hours.  Boy we had some good laughs!

Before it was all washed away, I also really appreciated the art talent.  It was great to see what everyone was creating.  It simply amazes me how different each and every artists vision can be.

I was honored to be among them :)

Thank you. Plain and Simple. Thank you.

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Reporting from the art front, I am pretty sure I can officially declare myself –exhausted!

I am still trying to catch my breath from my amazing art show Saturday. As you can see, I am only now getting all of the photographs loaded and finding that quiet moment to reflect.

Gratitude.

That is the word. That is the emotion I am feeling, GRATITUDE.

Now of course there was the tremendous amount of art…

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And there was beautiful flowers and food….

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But really, what made the show beautiful, WERE THE PEOPLE!

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My gorgeous girlfriend Elisa Lucia, staged props throughout the entire venue from her home-staging business.  Pretty vignettes that look like the very things I love to paint, were interspersed throughout my work.

My Aunt & Uncle and cousins came to support me even thought they already showed their support at my New York show!

I had other cousins with newborn children who set the date and came to see my show. Even though that had to be quite difficult for them and quite a distance to travel.

Then there’s my local friends and family here in RI, that POWER BLASTED Facebook for me.  They invited their friends to come and join and spread the word in the most creative ways. I am so very lucky to have these people in my life.

My biggest thank you goes to my mother.  Her energy and boundless creativity put me to shame!  My mom framed, hung both shows and promoted her heart out with not one single complaint.  Hours and hours of work went into these art shows and she was with me every step of the way. To nurture me and also to push me out of the nest.  There are no words to describe how lucky I am to have her.

I had over a hundred people come visit Saturday.  Each person followed me through the entire journey, they watched day after day, night after night, cheering me on and letting me know that they were there.

What one might consider a lonely experience was actually anything but…

I know it sounds crazy, maybe even a bit cliché, but truly, what will I take from this entire 365 experience?

The people, the gathering, the community, the positivity, the nurturing, the enthusiasm, the support.

For if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?

I can create and create and create, but if I have no one to share it with…

There’d simply be no joy.

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What to Wear? What to Wear?

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My art show is tomorrow!  I’m finding it hard to sleep…nerves are kicking in.

So of course there’s always one more worry…WHAT TO WEAR?

Do I go classy & sophisticated?  …nah, people wouldn’t recognize me?

Do I go simple and understated?   …nah, I’d probably actually get picked on!

No, I need something bright, possibly borderline obnoxious.  You know, that person who loves color so much she just can’t stop at the brightly colored dress?  You know, that woman who loves sparkle so much she needs something dangling from every single appendage?  And why would you stop accessorizing there, when you could add a headband and floral shoes to boot?

Yes, this seems fittin’

Those who’ve grown to know me and even kind of love me will understand.

I just can’t help it!

http://www.becreativemary.com

MY FIRST ART SHOW -BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS

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The soul wants what the soul wants.

My soul wants to be an artist.  I knew this as a child, but somewhere between the ages of 13 and 30 I stopped listening.  I still knew this to be true, but I didn’t act on it.

Now.  In my 40th year, I can say I am following my soul’s path.  This weekend I had my first art show.  I showed up. I stood in front of my work, and I shared it with the world.

…and it was awesome!

Of course there was the art.

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It took 365 days to create and 5 months to frame.

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There was my mother’s  Framing Gallery which turned 40 years old and has never looked prettier.

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But 100% for me, the day was all about the people.

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Oh man the amazing amount of people who came out to root me on!  I paused an extra 15 seconds to soak up each and every hug.  I have never felt as much love as I did when I looked around that room.  There were people who love art, people who love The Framing Gallery, and people who love me.

I felt it with all my heart.

That was my biggest wish, that people would come, and they did.  Thank you, I am so eternally grateful!

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But there’s more…

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I ACTUALLY SOLD ART!!! WAHOO!!!

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If you don’t mind, I just wanted to take this moment to thank my mother (and my Aunt Mary and Aunt Judy – they are all woven from the same cloth!)

She always believes in me unconditionally.

She is my biggest cheerleader.

She buys the first ticket to whatever cockamamie adventure I have dreamt up (and signs her two sisters up too!)

She will be honest with me when I really need to hear the truth.

and she does everything with a smile.

Thank you Mom.

Spending the last couple weeks with you, working our tails off, laughing and enjoying this entire venture made this experience absolutely worthwhile.

I am so thankful to have such an amazing force in my life. truly.

Thank you again everyone, for reading, following, showing up, supporting and pushing me forward.  It took many hands to make this dream come true!

Thank you.

Be Creative Mary