Tales from the Field #2

Here’s an icebreaker I’ve been using for years – finally thought to take the picture to go with it, and found a willing victim in Boulder City yesterday.

oddshoesSomeone walks by, or walks in with a ‘boot’ on.  I’ll sneak up to them and ask “Don’t you just hate it…….when you go somewhere nice……….and when you get there, you realize………..you’re wearing odd shoes?”

This lady was with her husband, so I then asked her whether she sustained the injury because she kicked him for snoring.  She had a great come-back.  “No, but I can now!”

April one year I had that conversation then asked the lady what she’d done.  She said she’d had a new ankle the prior July, but it had broken again.  Oh, I asked – is it still under warranty?

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Starting somewhere.

Mixed media painting

#1266, City Dawn. Mixed media on panel, 12×12″. Lives with Melissa in Palo Alto.

One of my sales at Palo Alto last weekend was to a young lady wanting to start an art collection, though not having much of a place of her own to put it.  I’m going to share an article in the Atlanta Magazine a few months back, that encourages the beginning collector and takes some of the fear out of it.

One thing they mentioned was “Gallerists are people too.” Talking to gallerists – and artists at art fairs and receptions – is not scary!  There aren’t really any stupid questions, though there are some with obvious answers, but it’s ok – we’ve heard them before and we’re happy to answer the anyway as a way to start talking to you about things you’d like to understand about the work in question.  After all, you wouldn’t buy a car or house without asking a lot of questions.  And the art might stay longer in your life than either of those.

Tales from the field #1.

I’ve been thinking for some time that I’ll add a ‘Tales from the Field’ thread to my blog because funny stuff does happen out there.  But this weekend just gone I had quite an experience with my airbnb location, which is something I can’t contain!  One of those things that you’ll laugh at later…..or in some cases, at the time….

So having taken an inadvisable “short”cut in the high desert, I ended up arriving at the Bay Area airbnb in the dark, which made arriving particularly difficult because I couldn’t see the map sufficiently in the dark and was on the wrong street at one point, thinking that the house didn’t exist.

When I did find it, it was one of those airbnb-only houses, a monster tract home with five bedrooms, all rented out, and an unused space which would normally be the dining room part of the kitchen, with a sofabed and a couple (flimsy) room dividers. I’ve done the “corner-cupboard” kind of set-up before and the price is right.  Before I continue, I have to point out that all the others in the place (I figure there were up to 9) were nice respectful people who didn’t make a lot of noise, play loud music etc. and it was all quite clean.

However the communal area – a large living room that was set up as a work area, the dining and kitchen areas, were all laminate floors and my sofa was the only soft furnishing.  It was an echo chamber.  And open plan, so if the light was on anywhere, it lit the whole place.

So I settled in to sleep.  Or try to.  Then realizing no one was downstairs I got up and turned off the light.  The fridge was unreasonably noisy and never seemed to cycle off.

Oh and the house is right on a flight path to an airport.

Later, the nice couple in the downstairs bedroom had their friends over.  They left the light on in the communal area and I got up and turned it off.  They chatted in the downstairs bedroom.  Not loudly, just normally, and the other good part was they weren’t speaking English, so it was a little easier to try to ignore, but even with their door shut, it’s still an echo chamber.  People crept in quietly and left the light on and twice more I got up to turn it out.  At 12:30am someone got up from the chatty group and chopped fruit in the kitchen for a snack.  They finally went to bed about 2am and realizing I finally had silence, I relaxed enough to sleep.

I had to get up at 3:30am to go to the show. 🙂 What’s the emoticon for zombie, again?

Saturday night I walked out to go to a nearby restaurant, which was fine, and with 1 hours sleep in the last 40 and two glasses of wine, I slept.  The fact that the house was silent that night I guess helped.  A few people came in late, crept in, turned off the light.  Yaay, I slept like the body laid out in the corner of the morgue.

Sunday night was also pretty quiet, and the guy who was working late at the downstairs work area was kind enough to turn off the light when he went to bed shortly after I did – about 10pm.

Around midnight, a couple guys came in the kitchen to cook.  Again, they weren’t noisy, and they weren’t speaking English – an Indian language by the sound of it.  They had no idea I was there.  During the proceedings, one of them needed to cuss.  I don’t know if it was about the conversation or the cooking, but this was in English.  However beautiful other languages are, I figure you just can’t beat that good old Anglo Saxon F-bomb to put an exclamation point in the conversation.

The incongruity of the casual ‘Oh ****’ in the middle of the conversation was a surprise that changed my whole attitude to the event – I don’t know how I managed to suppress audible laughter, but a pillow was involved.

They took their delicious smelling food upstairs to eat, and now I know how the dog feels when you cook and don’t give him any.

Children and art

Sometimes it is difficult to take kids to art fairs as they always want to touch.  I’m always happy to point out to parents that my work is pretty kid proof and if they poke at it, I won’t have to cut their hands off 🙂 which usually is a relief as it’s often too late at that point.

I follow the Red Dot blog of Jason Horejs of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.  He covers a lot of interesting topics (though sadly he doesn’t transmit on WordPress).  I was really interested in his blog of August 9th about kids looking at art in museums and galleries.

From what he says about children appreciating museum/gallery art, it seems like art fairs are a little more interesting for little ones – for a start there’s frequently something hung at their eye level in a booth, some of it (like the one below) would be ideal for a child’s room, and there aren’t quite such strict rules about running between displays.  Occasionally I will get a youngster who comes back to subsequent shows with enthusiasm – and I know that I can’t be the only artist who enjoys this phenomenon, so here and there, future collectors are being created.

1271nightwatch_inplace_w

#1271 Night Watch.  Mixed media on panel (refractured watercolor, poetry, acrylic). 14×24″.

Another sonnet.

Sometimes it gets quiet at art fairs.  There is often a bit of a lull around lunch time.  If I’m sitting at the back of the booth at the desk, I’ll often use the time to work on my bucket list item of more Shakesperean sonnets than Shakespeare.  Flagstaff was productive and I was able to write a sonnet each of the three days.  I sometimes have to search around for inspiration, Saturday’s inspiration was the nest of sparrows within tweeting distance.

Sparrows

The sparrow has more color than you’d think

(but painters know burnt umber, wine, ecru)

and though they seem to flit off in a wink

the observer sees the little things they do.

Sometimes they’ll dust in patches of soft sand

and often in a puddle from the rain

with wriggling bodies, wings aflutter, and

the knowledge that they’ll soon feel fresh again.

The well-trained ear can spot each different call –

the black-throat’s glockenspiel and house’s cheep

the white-crowned sparrow’s sweet melodious trill

and common to them all, the young chick’s tweet.

So if you ever thought sparrows were plain

Take another look and listen, think again!

Money laundering…

As a person concerned with the drought, I will usually take home unused water in my reusable water cups from shows to use in places like the kettle, plants etc.  So out of habit I did this even though ‘home’ this weekend is Econolodge.  As it was a bitterly cold day, I hadn’t consumed all the water and a full cup remained in the cooler.  As the show is on streets, I not only took home my planner but also the little bag of change plus money from some cash sales.  All these are jammed into the now-almost-empty cooler, so that the remaining water cup doesn’t tip over in the cooler.

On the turn into the driveway at Econolodge, the entire cooler tipped over in the footwell.  The planner escaped the flood, but the money bag didn’t.  So when I got to my room, the money had all been nicely laundered for me.  Cool wash, no soap, short cycle. It’s not a great concern though – money dries out pretty quickly, especially when laid on top of the heater above the sign that says ‘Do not lay anything on top of the heater to dry’.  I’m just glad at this point it’s Econolodge and I don’t have to ‘splain anything to room service.

Money drying in motel

It does look a little wrinkly though, perhaps I should iron it.  Don’t get excited though, there are a lot of singles in there.

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