I am usually headed south about this time of year for the winter and spring shows in Florida. Unfortunately, this year I will not be able to make it due to medical reasons. My online Store, however, will be open and I will be adding new items as soon as possible.
There is still time to dress up your table for the Holidays. My Holiday designs work great as a plant or candle holder, tray, serving plate or centerpiece for hot dishes. The Poinsettia, Ornament, and Peppermint designs also make great gifts....including the traditional Fruitcake Table Saver. And this one you don't actually have to eat!
All items have been marked down for the holiday season and are being offered at my reduced "Show Prices", approximately 20% less than my regular internet prices. I am also offering Free Shipping on all orders of $75 or more.
See a few of the holiday designs below and the Products and Store sections for other holiday ideas.
A lot of folks have asked me recently if I had a dragonfly image in my product line. Although I had thought about it many times I had not yet painted a dragonfly so I decided to try my hand at it recently. It was an interesting challenge: the iridescent body and transparent wings, the amazing large eyes and the stained glass like wings. It was also interesting to paint this "symbol of change" as I used a few new techniques in the painting. I will have the image available on placemats, trivets and coasters in Dover, New Hampshire this weekend at the Apple Harvest (October 5). If you are in the area please stop by Booth #80 on Central Avenue. Hope to see you there.
One of the reasons I started writing these blog notes was to chronicle some of my experiences in selling my craft. This weekend I had a chance to do a show on the beautiful historic property at the Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine (www.HistoricNewEngland.org) and it has been a pleasure. Since I set up on Friday night I was able to get there early on Saturday morning before things started and walk around the property a bit. The walk down to the show in the early morning, dew still on the ground, was beautiful...and full of promise. I actually saw a bald eagle fly overhead! What a way to start the day!
I explored other parts of the estate...all before 10 AM!
Although the craft show itself got off to a slower start than expected it was certainly a good day for looking on the sunny side.
9/19/13 Common Ground. Unity, Maine. Show set up for MOFGA....Maine Organic Farm Growers Association. I have looked forward to this show since last September! This year promises to be a sunny weekend so come on out to Common Ground if you are in the area.I'm in the Maine Marketplace area. I'll post more notes from the show in the days ahead. Cheers. http://www.mofga.org/theFair
As a vendor at the show you have to get there pretty early in the morning to have a chance to walk around to see the other exhibits and the grounds. On Friday morning I walked through the gardens and envied the neat little rows of veggies. This is my self portrait photo, "Lettuce Head", showing me being very grounded! Friday and Saturday turned out to be gorgeous days and thousands of people showed up decked out in their best CG attire! The roads to the show were packed and I think some folks had to walk to the show!
Sunday, however, brought on a nasty storm and fewer people. I was almost picked up off the ground trying to hold down my booth that took sail in a gust of wind! Everything survived OK in the end and the loon Table Saver looked "swimingly" covered with water.
But things cleared up by mid-day and we were all rewarded with a beautiful sunset for breakdown.
For additional info and photos of the show check out, http://www.mofga.org/
On the craft show circuit in New England the summer of 2013 has definitely been a season of extremes and we have had more than our fair share of heat and rain! Doing business outside under these conditions has been challenging, including dealing with all the talk about the weather. So at the risk of sounding a little sanctimonious I offer a simple observation. We all fall somewhere on the optimism-pessimism continuum on how we face what nature delivers us each day. When it is approaching 100 degrees, for example, it is a pleasure to see some people put aside an obsession with the negative aspects of the weather a bit and take on a more positive and optimistic attitude. So it was a pleasure at the Yarmouth Clam Festival a few weeks ago to see some great examples of this positive spirit in action. Four sweaty guys strolling by my booth smiling and singing barbershop, high schoolers marching in the parade, and bikers racing on as scheduled.... all in 95-100 degree temperatures. While we can't control natures events we can control how we react to them.
And today, as the United Maine Craftsmen show in Cumberland, ME was closed early due to severe rain and wind some folks went out with a smile, keeping the faith that the sun will come out tomorrow! They will be back I'm sure.
If you are up in Maine this weekend (July 19-21) stop by the Yarmouth Clam Festival (http://www.clamfestival.com/home.php). I will be showing my new painting of a lobster trap and rope photographed with a live lobster laying on the painting! The image will be available on trivets, placemats, coasters, floor mats and prints. Hope to see you there!
Its hard to say when winter ends and "Spring" begins in Florida. I kept hearing people tell me that "winter" was over and that the flora and fauna were acting very "Spring-like".
Compared to "ice out" and 10 feet of snow melting in Maine it all seemed pretty subtle to me. The only sure sign that it is spring in Florida is when Spring Training starts and the "snowbirds" begin to go home.
The Spring Shows
This year I did quite a few craft shows in the Sarasota area (Siesta Key, Coquina, and Lido Beach), a few more in the Villages (Sumter and Brownwood), St. Pete Beach and Dunedin. The shows were good and not a single "rainout" in 3 months!
One of my favorite shows turned out to be in Brooksville, Florida. It was a well established fine art & craft show north of Tampa attended mostly by local folk. It had an "old Florida" feel to it. I felt fortunate to be there and to my surprise I won an Honorable Mention Award in the Crafts category. There's something about winning an award for your work that makes the ride home all the more enjoyable.
I wasn't expecting to sell many of my new loon items in the south but it turns out that most of the folks at the craft shows in Florida this time of year are the from the mid-west...states like Minnesota and Michigan where loons are common.
Most of the items I sell at craft shows use my original watercolor paintings. The trivets, placemats and coasters are all reproductions of my original artwork or photographs on wood. But when I talk to people at shows some are surprised that most of the items actually start with an original painting and they want to know more about how it is done. So here's a brief example of some of the steps I followed in a wine motif painting I did in Florida. (The printing of the final painting on to the wood trivets, etc. is a separate process).
I used a sunny patio to stage a still life using materials I had at hand or could purchase locally..... wine, glasses, a marble table, begonia plant, etc. After I set up a still life to get a better idea of the composition I wanted I worked on the color pallet, using blossoms from the begonia plant and fresh grapes to see their true colors. And I found a big ceramic pot with green mold on it.... just the colors I was looking for. After doing a sketch using photos of the still life I "blocked" off the areas that would be the whitest with art masking fluid. With watercolor painting you can't go back and add white over a darker color. These lighter areas are the last to be worked on with the whitest areas having little or no paint at all.
Here's a few photos of some of the steps in the process:
Exploring the West Coast of Florida
The Pinellas Bike Trail runs from St. Petersburg up to Tarpon Springs on the west coast of Florida and I tried to get out there as much as possible when I was not painting or doing shows. I had some great rides with family and with old and new friends. Exploring the beaches and trails in the Tampa Bay area, kayaking the inland waterways of Homasassa, finding new subjects to paint (like the baby great horned owl at Honeymoon Island) kept me busy and entertained. I also had a chance to get out to LA to see my son, catch a Dodgers game, bike on the beach trail, check out a few art museums and spend a very happy birthday with family and friends. Can't wait to go back!
The trip back to Maine
I packed up the Jeep the last week in April and headed back to Maine but I still had one more show on the way home....The Great American Pie Festival...in Celebration, FL, near Disney World. I was told to expect about 50,000 people coming to taste the biggest selection of pies on the planet! And of course to buy stuff from a few "select vendors" that sell food related items....like PIE TRIVETS! How could you go wrong with those odds? So I printed up a lot of my cherry, pumpkin, apple and lemon tart trivets and set out for Celebration, FL. The weather was great. The people were nice. But in the end I don't think I'll have to print up any more pie trivets for the shows this fall! I've got a few left on hand!
I finally made it back to my cabin and studio in Rangeley during the first week of May. There was still a little snow in the shady spots down by the lake but the tulips were up! I got the garden tilled, the grass mowed and tested out a kayak that I might get. And in a few days I will be headed to Meredith, NH for Memorial Day Weekend. It will be the first show of the summer! Already! Check out the rest of the Shows coming up this summer.
Its been over a month now since leaving winter behind in New England. The Florida shows in The Villages, Venice, Punta Gorda, St. Pete Beach, and Sarasota have been good and are now in the books. Getting ready now for Siesta Key this weekend.
Hanging out in the Clearwater area has been great.... the Pineallis Bike Trail, the farmer's markets, and the natural foods stores with free cooking classes (e.g. Nature's Patch) are all fantastic. Up the trail in Dunedin is the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays! Just got tickets for some Red Sox games! Can't wait.
Check out the schedule for the rest of the Florida shows! I've got some new items and hope to see you if you are down this way.
FYI, the cockatoo, Sydney, flew into my booth at the St. Pete Beach show. He was a real crowd pleaser!
I've never really liked the term "Snowbird" but when I left my camp and studio in Rangleley, ME yesterday for Florida thats pretty much what I felt like. I had just fed the chickadees and the nuthatches, turned off the water and the power in the camp and shoveled out. I had a wonderful holiday season in Rangeley with family and friends.... but after 4 feet of snow I was ready to head south.
First stop...MA. I only got to Andover, MA yesterday... greeted warmly by friends...and by another foot of snow!
But I got out this morning, inching south listening to Pete Townshend's "Who I AM"... hoping to get to PA before dark. I made it OK and now it looks like it will be clear flying south on the Atlantic Flyway.
FYI, I've just finished up some new paintings to introduce in Florida!
Here's a few of the new designs and the Florida Show Schedule:
If you are on the west coast of Florida this winter check out these shows. Hope to see you there:
2013 Winter & Spring Shows
1/5-1/6 12th Annual The Villages Craft Festival (Spanish Springs Town Square)
1/12-1/13 6th Annual Downtown Venice Craft Festival (Venice, FL)
1/19-1/20 16th Annual Punta Gorda Sullivan Street Craft Festival (Punta Gorda, FL)
1/26-1/27 19th Annual St. Pete Beach Corey Area Craft Festival (St. Pete Beach, FL)
2/3-2/4 19th Annual WinterFest at the Mansion (Sarasota, FL)
2/9-2/10 19th Annual Siesta Key Craft Festival (Sarasota, FL)
2/16-2/17 21st Annual Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival (Dunedin, FL)
2/23-2/24 4th Annual The Villages Craft Festival (Lake Sumter)
3/2-3/3 17th Annual Coquina Tides Arts & Crafts Show (Bradenton Beach, FL)
3/16-3/17 Lido Beach Springfest Arts & Crafts Show (Sarasota, FL)
3/23-3/24 11th Annual Downtown Sarasota Art & Craft Festival (Sarasota, FL)
3/30-3/31 17th Annual The Villages Craft Festival (Brownwood Paddock Square)
4/6-4/7 10th Annual St. Pete Beach Corey Area Craft Festival (St. Pete Beach, FL)
4/13-4/14 35th Annual Siesta Fiesta (Sarasota, FL)