Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Evelyn Margaret...commissioned portrait

...Evelyn Margaret...
Commissioned Portrait
Carbon and Graphite on Fine Art Paper

The Story Behind The Image: This is part of a commission I did sometime ago. Just thought I would share it with you. Evelyn, 14 at the time, is serene and at peace with her guitar, (which I cropped out). The photo references (seen below) were a revelation to her Grandmother. She realized that at nearly 15 Evelyn's confident and regal demeanor revealed a serious passion about her music. Grandma said that Evelyn was very smart and independent, yet had a playful side that she adored.

I used three reference photos for this portrait. Grandma and I felt the first one was the photo that best personified the attributes she saw in her granddaughter. I to felt the photo was perfect and the subject was beautiful...a true pleasure to draw. I've included all three photo references to better enable you to see the person I saw while working on this commission.

I wanted to make sure that the finished portrait portrayed the serene peaceful young woman that Grandma saw in that moment. As I look at Evelyn's portrait today, I believe you can see the confident passion in her eyes.

I book my commissions in the summer months... scheduling them for completion during the fall and winter. I'm so busy with shows during the summer that I have very little time to work on any drawing...not even for myself. By the time I'm finished in September with my shows, I am really suffering from withdraw! I look forward to my commissioned pieces and begin to plan my new works for the next year. My drawing table is "burning up" with activity.

I hope you enjoyed viewing the reference photos along with the finished portrait. I will try to post more like this in the future. You can follow the link below to "grandma's special present" to learn more about this commission and why it was so special.


Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques
Grandma's Special Present

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment

Monday, June 23, 2008

Danville Arts in the Park...First Place in Drawing and Graphics

The set up for this art fair is great. You can drive right up to your tent to unload and don't have to move your van until you are ready to leave which is perfect if weather is threatening...which it was the entire two days.

If you recall I said this was an odd layout for an art fair...tents are set-up in squares, leaving two open sides, one as the front and another to use as you wish. I chose to work out of the second side as I usually do with a back opening. I did hang my portrait examples there where I could easily talk to people about commissions...I booked one for sure and perhaps a second. There was no one next to me this year so I actually could have hung work on the back of the tent also but it was threatening rain and did so each day the back wall of my tent was down most of the time.

The second photo is of the children's area again...this is Ian Clemmons intensely working on his painting of flowers. It was windy and he had to work to hold his paper down. I always enjoy this area when art fair organizers offer it. I think it's a wonderful thing for children. For some this is their only introduction to art...who knows Ian may be a famous artist someday and just think, you were one of the first to see his work!

My tent was the last tent at the far end. I thought this would be a bad location but as it worked out I was located by the main parking for visitors so it worked out well. And I had lots of open space beside the tent under a shade tree to store my crates. In this first picture the sun was shining and it looked to be a nice day but shortly after it clouded up and we had a short thunderstorm.

There are lots of shade here so my booth can be a little dark inside even with the sides up and the and the translucent section in the roof top. But on a hot day, the shade trees really keep the temperature down. The one bad thing about all the trees is that if you notice in the photos all the shade makes for very little grass in places...which equals to MUD when it does rain very much!...and it has at times. When this happens they are good to put down straw which really helps.

The next sequence of photos are of the inside of my booth...thought you might like to see how my work looks when it's hanging. The larger "custom framed pieces" are Open and LE prints...while the narrow framed pieces with cream mats are all originals. I don't carry many originals as they don't seem to sell well at the art fairs I do...but my prints usually sell quite well, and I offer several sizes, both matted and unmated. The last photo is from the outside, showing my work and "sales" area...speaking of which were good this weekend.

(Notice the Blue Ribbon!)

Sales are always a "relative" subject...relative to what your expectations are! My attitude is this...If I stayed home I would make nothing, so if I see $$$ over and above my expenses...I HAVE MADE MONEY. If I break even...I simply chalk it up as "ADVERTISING"...and tell myself that hundreds of people saw and admired my art. Who knows, they could contact me in the future for a commissioned piece.

If I go in the hole...I strongly consider whether I will go back. I have returned to an art fair that previously had poor sales and done quite well...this weekend was a perfect example of just that. My sales weren't great this year, (as in over the top), but they were quite good...much better than I had expected and I sold some of everything that I carry (no originals). This always makes lugging and packing all those prints seem worthwhile and receiving and award that pays $$$ is just gravy!

Now for the BAD PART...As it turned out, about half way through the take down a thunder storm came through with hail...a considerable amount of hail. Thankfully all my art was in my van as was all the other stuff that could have been damaged by the water. My that's a very wet situation. We dried it off using the two supper absormant towels I purchased in the automotive department and carried around for three years...but it is still too wet to lay folded until next weekend...even in air conditioning. So that is my next project...unpacking the van. I have someone coming over to help me spread it out this afternoon. THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT I WANT TO DO...the day after an art fair!! But I am thankful for small blessings...everything else is dry...I made money...and I am home safe and sound.

I go to Quincy, Illinois next weekend. This is my first time here so don't know what to expect. First time art fairs are always a little unnerving. I've heard good things about this one, so we'll see. They have had a lot of flooding around this will have to see. If you're in the area please stop by and see me.

This is it...have to go unpack the van, restock my crates, get ready for next weekend and lets see, what else?...oh yes, TAKE A NAP!!

Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment

Friday, June 20, 2008

Weekend Chat Line...Busy, Busy, Busy!!

Well, I'm heading out for another Art Fair Weekend. It seems like I just got home! When I have successive art fairs like this my body just doesn't have much time to recover before I head out again. I'm going to Danville, Illinois this childhood stomping ground. It has never been great as sales go, but I have always received an award ($$) and enjoy visiting with family and friends that make it a point to look me up.

Danville's Arts in the Park borderlines on a "festival" which is good for crafters but bad for artists. ( Photo was taken at the children's art tent...isn't she into her painting?)

The weather last year was not the dumped several inches of rain on Saturday night and they had to put straw down on Sunday to combat the mud...this did however pretty much take care of the problem. We also had more rain again on Sunday but people still came out.

They have a continuous stage and talent show during the art fair each parents and relatives come out to see the children perform. This is why it's called "Arts" in the park!

The current forecast for the Danville area is again scattered thunder storms both here I go packing again preparing for rain...but I usually am. It just isn't worth the risk to not be prepared. My brother who lives in Champaign, about 30 minuets away, is going to help me set up and I'll be going back to Champaign to spend the night...saving me the added expense of two nights in a hotel.

You can't tell from the second photo but Danville sets their tents up in a square (I'll try for a better photo this weekend). I personally think this is a terrible set-up. You have one side and the front open to the where to put things you need access to and no where for you as the artist to sit, (discretely), without being in the customers face. I've always felt that when you sit where the customer enters, it can discourage some that would otherwise come in and browse. I usually sit in the back opening, where I can be seen and interact but not be obtrusive to the customer.

Back to my original groaning statement...these successive art fairs are exhausting, and I have another next week in Quincy, Ill. Then I have a couple of weeks at home. When I feel tired...this thought brings me peace. If all I had to do was my art, things would be much different. But I come home on Sunday night, late...Monday I unpack the van, replenish my prints, pick up my dog Alexis and do laundry. I work at my real job on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday...pack up the van "again" on Thursday evening , work for awhile on Friday and leave by 12:00 noon for the next art fair. No wonder I'm made me tired just reading this! My rational has always been..."this is only for a short time". Then there will be time to rest.

So I ask: How do you know when you are "just two busy"? Where do you find that extra surge of energy during stressful busy times? What are your tactics for time management?
The "Chat Line" is open...I'm not sure I'll have access to a computer over the weekend, so your comments may not be posted until Monday. Please feel free to comment on what others have to say.

Have a dry weekend and I'll give you an up-date Monday sometime...hopefully with photos.


Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hinsdale Art Fair Report

This is a beautiful setting, on grass in Burlington Park across from the train station. The city of Hinsdale is upscale and beautiful and the load in is really convenient. This was my third year to show here...the first year was good enough to make me want to come back. The second year was terrible, I didn't even cover my expenses.

This year a SEVERE STORM came through Sunday morning around 7:00 AM with high straight line winds and nickel size hail. It took down nine tents...and destroyed a lot of art. I was in my car watching as TENTS BECAME KITES. All the severely damaged tents were EASY UPs (brand)...a few others suffered some damage but survived. One man lost all his oil paintings, they were flying in the air along with his tent. Another fabric artist came in to find all her beautiful things laying soaked in the mud and her tent over to the side looking like an erector set!!

There was an empty space across from me on Saturday and after the storm hit on Sunday there was a tent setting in that space on it's side crumpled up. It had tumbled or flown across from the other side of the park (an Easy Up with 4 gallon jugs tied to it for weights). I saw it fly into my tent and was sure I would have damage to my front or perhaps the roof...but luckily, I had left my awning frame up and the wayward tent hit the awning frame instead of my tent walls. There were trees down all over town.

I know I promised you photos and believe me I should have taken some of the damage! Perhaps it would instill a visual in your minds the next time you set up your EASY UP or any other tent at an art fair and don't properly and adequately weight and steak it down.

After the rain quit enough to get my camera out I was more concerned with whether I was going to try to get set up for the day or call my brother to come and help me take down. There was another Severe Storm Front expected in the early afternoon...forecasted to arrive around 3:00 and after what I had just witnessed...I DIDN'T WANT TO BE THERE WHEN IT CAME.

It takes me around an hour to pack up my art and get it into the van...and another hour and a half to get my tent down and in the van. My art had been packed away for the night so that part was done. I just couldn't see pulling it all out and hanging it for a couple of hours...because I was definitely going to be out of there before this second storm front came in!! So I went ahead and broke down early...not showing Sunday at all. Had Sunday been a good day, the show could have paid off. There was a fairly good crowd there as I was breaking down.

We took our time taking down letting the tent dry some. It was around 1:30 when I pulled out of town and when I got a ways out I could see the clouds building. This is the first time I've ever left a show early...but you have to weigh the circumstances. I went through some of the worst rain and wind I've ever driven in on the way home. So I know they were hit. I only hope everyone had ample notice and got their things packed up in time.

Some advise and please, please listen...for the safety of your tent and your art as well as the safety of others. This past weekend, other properly staked and weighted tents were damaged by the ones the wind took. When you don't use good sense everyone pays! I've seen it happen time and time again...and the weather doesn't have to be as bad as it was this weekend.

Take into consideration the weight of your tent. My tent (Trimline by the Flourish Company) is one of the heavier out there. The polls are all steal, not aluminum. If you can get "stay bars" for your tent, do it...they do wonders to stabilize your tent...even for an Easy Up. THINK about what you are using as weights and stakes.

Cylinder Weights are useless hanging from the corners of your tent...absolutely useless. Think about it, the wind starts to sway your tent and these cylinder weights sway with it...actually working with the wind. (Lay them on the ground, figure out some way to attach a rope in the center of the weight so when the tent shifts it will be pulling up on the entire weight of the cylinder not just one end.)

When I can't use stakes I use six (6) forty pound weight bags filled with attached to the lower leg joints at each corner and the other two are attached to the stay-bars on the sides. They lay on the ground so the wind has to "lift" them up along with the weight of the tent. I still worry, but it's all that will fit into my fact, I do very few art fairs where I can't use stakes.

Tent Stakes...The ones I see used most often (and the ones provided with my tent) are about 10-12 inches long and usually pounded straight into holes in the foot plate of each leg. These will keep the tent leg from moving sideways but will not hold your tent to the ground in even a small storm. When the tent pulls upwards the stakes will come right out.

Screw in Stakes...(sometimes referred to as dog tie outs) work pretty good, certainly better than the ones mentioned above. You can then use a ratchet tie down attached to the roof frame and anchor each corner to the ground. The problem I ran into was trying to get them in when the ground was hard from no rain...or in rocky soil. You just can't get them in the ground. I've even had a man try and he broke it off in the ground.

Custom Stakes...I guess you would have to say this is what I have. I saw a "metal artist" pounding in a two(2) foot stake one time and ask where he got it...smiling, he said he made it. I immediately ordered a set of four. They're about an inch in diameter and have an "eye" at the top where you can hook a "pull bar" to get them out. I've never felt so secure. I pound them in at an angle on all four corners and attach ratchet tie downs.
Lastly...simply pay attention to the weather. Check out the forecast before you leave or have someone at home doing it for you. When I know storms are expected I always have someone keeping an eye on the weather channel and they call me...I know to prepare and batten things down.

Protect your art. Don't leave it hanging when storms are in the forecast. My smaller framed art and loose prints are in crates with locking handles and taped shut...for added security, and the larger framed pieces are put in the "Stiffy Bags" I spoke of in my last post. My originals are taken to the van each night. I don't leave anything to chance and so far I've been very fortunate.

I know this has been a long post...but it is something I'm passionate about. Most of what I said is just common sense and I hope I didn't offend.

I'll keep you updated about my future art next one is this weekend in Danville, Ill...scattered thunder storms are in the forecast for Friday and Saturday again. I'm hoping this changes by the time the weekend gets here. I promise I will make a special effort to have pictures this time.

Thanks to everyone who said that "special prayer" for may not have kept the severe weather away but certainly kept me and my art work safe.

Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment

Friday, June 13, 2008

Weekend Chat Line...Hinsdale Art Fair (packed and preparing for rain)

I don't know about you but I am always prepared for fact the crate just inside the passenger side door is ALL rain stuff! It has tarps, rolls of lighter weight plastic, rain coats for my self and my helpers, plastic bags ranging in size from small to large heavy weight carpenter bags, a change of clothes, rubber thongs, regular tent stakes to hold down tarps and paper towels and extra absorbent towels to wipe off tent. (Ops...forgot there are two fans in there also) I can cool down after the rain!!

This sounds like the weekend that I could use it all. The forecast is for severe weather on Friday (for set up) and storms again on Saturday, with highs in the low to mid 80's and HUMID. My tent has survived before when others went down (I have a Trimline), and I stake all four corners with "two foot stakes" special made by a metal artist...but I will still worry. I almost have to set up Friday afternoon as it's the only time I will have help. I would never make it in time if I wait until Saturday am...and the weather doesn't sound much better then.

EVERYTHING is either in plastic or in a covered crate except my desk and chair. I will probably leave them in the car...along with my framed originals...but the rest of the stuff (at least my thought for now) I pan to put in the tent on Friday, rain or shine. I've carted stuff in the rain before and would rather do it the day before the art fair than the day of least it doesn't matter what you look like then. I won't hang my art and everything will be setting "low" to the case the tent does go in an overnight storm. PRAY!

As you can see my van is packed like a puzzle and everything has a place or it wont fit...which means the packing is always my job and my preference. I carry so much stuff that in the beginning I used to make a list of to where everything went! Trust me, I did refer to it.

The last image is the view from the passenger seat out the rear window. I try to keep it so I can see out the back using the rear view mirror. I hate it when I can't see out the back...but there have been times when I couldn't. Even now, with well laid plans...things never go back in exactly as they were and the only place for it to go is up.

I have to work in the salon for awhile Friday morning (6-10 am) and hope to be on the road by 11am...with road construction it will be around a three hour drive. By the way, those silver "packages" are the "STIFFY BAGS" I spoke of in my greatest find ever!! A little expensive but with care should last several years. They've made such a difference in my packing my framed pieces,...they are padded, reflect the sun, and protect from moisture. "Perfect for this weekend."

I'll be staying in with my brother in Grays Lake...and will try to monitor and post your comments from his computer...otherwise it will be Monday before they will be up for others to read. So if you don't see them right away, please check back the first of the week.

So I ask: Have you ever set up for a show in the rain? Do you do any special preparations for bad weather? How do you travel, do you leave your work up all night or pack it away, what advise to you have for others? Pass on your "special finds", packing and display tips.
The "Chat Line" is open...I'm anxious to here what you have to say. And as always, please feel free to comment on what others have to say.

Have a dry weekend and I'll give you an up-date Monday sometime...hopefully with photos.


Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment

Monday, June 9, 2008

Call, Raise, or Fold...carbon pencil

...Call, Raise, or Fold...
Carbon Pencil on paper...7x9, double matted,
prints available

The Story Behind The Image: This was a fun drawing to do. Getting the shadow and light the way I wanted on such a small subject was a challenge but the drawing itself was fairly straight forward. I will admit that the cards were a tad tedious! I drew an uneven line for the card edge and smudged it. I also applied carbon directly to the paper in the darkest areas for the poker chips and blended into the lighter areas using a stump. Call, Raise, or Fold has been quite popular as a print.

The drawing "Call, Raise, or Fold" is on cream toned fine art paper, presented in a double mat, This piece is also offered as an Open Edition print...check my Portfolio for availability of the Original and prices.

Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques
"Call, Raise, or Fold"...learn more

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Weekend Chat Line..."Technical Difficulties"?

I haven't been incapacitated nor have I taken an extended vacation!!

My postings have been somewhat intermittent of late because my internet service has been "somewhat intermittent"! I can be working along and suddenly my connection is gone...sometimes for days at a time. According to "Varizon", I am having "Technical Difficulties".

Actually, I guess I've been fortunate
...for the most part everything has run smoothly for quite awhile. But when it starts seems like everything goes. Along with internet issues I've had both my printers go down. Just try finding a real person to talk to...then try to find one that speaks English well enough that you can understand what they are saying!!!

Having Said this
...thought I would share these pictures sent to me by Lois Primeau a few weeks ago. She too had been having "Technical Difficulties".

Ladies and Gentlemen...this is India...where your overseas "technical support" comes from. Do you wonder why you can't get through or get cut off? What these companies call "technical support" can make one positively unchristian!!

So I ask you: What do you do when you reach a 'technical support" person you can't understand? Do you think it does any good to complain to the company? How do you handle your frustrations?
The "Chat Line" is open...I'm anxious to here what you have to say. And as always, please feel free to comment on what others have to say.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

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