Friday, August 5, 2016

No sooner I touch down...

Crazy life

As the story goes, I was driving back from Bellevue Washington and vowing to take 5 years off this crazy life when...ding! Message from Tempe Festival of the Arts in Arizona, letting me know that the very next day the invites for the 2016 Fall show would be sent. 
Tempe is a staple in my show schedule, a very well attended show with many avid collectors attending from the huge Phoenix valley. So I'm very tired and I still feel the tingle...where will I request a booth? where will I stay this time? single or double booth? ay ay ay...
And so the next day, I boot up my sleepy computer and, as I lick my Bellevue wounds and bruises, already itching to get my notice...

Going to Tempe!

Yay! By the time the email hit my mailbox I had chosen a booth, looked at hotels nearby and decided on a 10x20, double booth. Why not, only 4 festivals this year and none! scheduled for next year. I need to regroup in 2017.

Still a ways off, December 2-4, 2016 normal hours finally! 10am - 5:30pm daily.
Here is the link:

Last time I was in Tempe
double booth on 7th just off Mill Avenue
Info from the website:

"December 2-4 2016
Downtown Tempe along Mill Avenue
The Tempe Festival of the Arts is a well loved community event that showcases over 300 artists from around the country.  This year is the 48th annual Fall Festival and we have an exceptional event planned for you.
Look for a few changes to this upcoming festival.  Check out 6th & Mill Makers, a local Makers section curated by local artists.  Next we have added entertainment stages on 5th Street East of Mill Avenue and in Hayden Amphitheater, tripling the stages at the event.  Bringing the family?  You won't want to miss Kidz Row, where kids can see works by their peers and do some projects of their own.
And while you are at the festival, take a break from the crowds and check out some of our downtown restaurants, pubs, breweries and shops.   You'll find great spots that will keep you coming downtown all year long."

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Some Festival Trivia

The Festival Life for Me


As the story goes, I had a real job once! Armed with a Masters in Exercise Physiology and a lot of energy, I managed health education programs for a large insurance company and later for a rehabilitation facility. Then I started making art seriously and found myself enamored with the process of creating something from nothing. I struggled to take the leap into full time art because I liked helping people fix their aching backs, quit smoking, lose weight and manage lifestyle diseases. But I eventually couldn't stop myself from diving head first into the art world.

Once in art, I found that the "art scene" wasn't really my cup of tea so I kept finding ways to make myself fit in. Calls for entries helped build a nice resume of exhibits both in US and abroad; groups kept me motivated and involved with other printmakers. Then one fateful day, I entered into an art festival, a small local affair. I showed my artwork on clunky easels made with plywood; I shaded myself with an umbrella; I didn't sell hardly anything...but I was hopelessly hooked.
My "brag-wall" with mementos and awards from festivals

That was 1998, fast forward to now and I am planning a 1000-mile drive to Bellevue, Washington to participate in one of the most coveted art festivals in the West US. I have an indoor and outdoor setup, a modified truck to carry my wares and a trailer just in case I take off on a blissful two-festival run sometime again. The "good" festivals are few and far between and are competitive to enter so I am happy to travel wherever the collectors like to shop.
Kings Mountain Festival, California, they let you camp in your booth!

  • Thus far I have participated in some 200 festivals
  • Longest drive to a festival was 1300 miles one-way
  • Income lowest was $142, highest $12K
  • Longest festival 7 straight days, 10 hours each day
  • Worst experience in Scottsdale, Arizona, festival cut short one day, overcome by rain and wind, got caught in a desert flash flood on the return trip
  • Best experience in Colorado, a two-festival trip (Breckenridge and Castle Rock); between the festivals I stayed in a State Park campground where I was the sole happy camper aside from deer, elk, bunnies, birds and other forest dwellers

Sleepy booths in Fountain Hills Arizona

The Road Awaits

One of my favorite things about the chaotic festival life is traveling and seeing the great scenery go by. Desert, forest, mountains, farms, cities, rivers and railroad tracks...I become mesmerized by the getting there and the variety of things and people along the way. The first anxiety of a festival is getting to the destination in one piece with all my artwork and setup intact. Road travel is like a meditation, I love driving; I marvel at the fact that there is pavement between almost any two points in this vast country.
For my European friends, Vegas to Bellevue is about the distance from Barcelona, Spain to Hamburg, Germany, give or take a click.
Bellevue, Washington, here I come!
I took my Mami to a show and we took this pic in Nevada


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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Work Between Festivals and BAM! Bellevue Here I Come!!

Bellevue Arts Museum

First thing is first, here is the official announcement:

And Now More Work...

One of the "bad" things about having a good festival is that I have to mat and frame more and more between events. And as my hubby likes to say "are you bragging or complaining?" Weeeellll...a bit of both I suppose (she says with a smirk).

Anyhow, upcoming is a first for me, the Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM) Art Festival and I am told it is a good one. I applied with figurative works so I have been working my fingers to the bone trying to fill my empty art containers (I'm just bragging now). 
But seriously! Usually I need a week of rest right after a festival to allow the bruises to heal, catch up on my sleep and generally go on "hermit mode" to make up for all that socializing. 

Some of the works going with me:
Baila, baila


The web

All Those Details

Not this time, I am on full production mode and am about 3/4 of the way back to having a full truck. I also had to find indoor poles and lights and such minutia. The festival is not exactly indoors but under the protective roof of a parking garage so my indoor setup is the appropriate one. Which reminds me of the time I forgot my legs...well, not MY legs but the canopy legs! Yikes! I had to make do with some short poles cut off with a hacksaw at the last moment as the replacement for the bottom section of the leg poles. Sigh. 

All my indoor track lights got new LED bulbs to have more light with less heat and less amperage. Awesome. Indoor curtains (required division between neighbors) got a freshening up, as did my carpet floor covering. Business license for Washington...check! Extension cords...check! Reservations for halfway points (1200 miles one-way)...check! New banner and signage...check!
And the list goes you know where I've been. Here's my new banner:

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Wandering Off to Utah Arts Festival

Prep time!

That time of the year again, June 23-26 Utah Arts Festival upcoming faster than I can say "yipeeee!". This massive event is held at Washington/Library Square in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. The setting is glorious, a huge grassy area adjacent to the Library and along the fountains and walkways of the library itself. I'm on grass, under a tree again. I love festivals on grass, much more suited to my taste. Look for me in booth #76, corner end of a row in the thick of things.

This week I made some sketches of my booth setup (I always forget them), double checked my hotel reservation, serviced and tinted windows of the truck, made a list of things to do and padded my inventory. Festival hours are noon to 11:00 pm each day for four days! Long days for sure but the evening crowd is so energetic we don't have time to get tired. I'm looking forward to the mayhem once more.

I have the advantage that my inventory was still full from the Tucson Festival which I had to skip due to illness. Someone asked me what happens when you miss a festival? Nothing. Nothing happens; you miss a festival and that's that. Collectors sometimes are disappointed but there are another 300 artists to buy from. Nobody misses you, there are no refunds, there are no do-overs, no compensation, no pity. The art festival world is as delightful as it is harsh. One festival on top of the world, the next down and out. Exhilarating and humbling all at once. Keeps us festival artists working hard and expecting nothing. Life is always a reward that way, new blessings each day.
Bring me a beer, I'll tell you some stories...


bread and butter, tiny woodcuts

The Tabernacle

The Temple

My booth last year

New offerings this year

Almost have mat bin full

All my art containers full

Everything on wheels!

Tinted and ready for action, the faithful steed

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Nothing to see here...spring cleaning!


Don't miss this year's Utah Arts Festival! massive event coming up on June 23-26
Utah Arts Festival
Washington/Library Square
Salt Lake City, Utah

I will be in a corner booth on the grass again, under the shade of a beautiful big tree I hope. Funny how I'm looking forward to it even though, as I recall, the hours are long (12:00 to 11:00PM daily) and the weather is hot. Fortunately the beer is cold and the food is just amazing! 

Training? or just spring cleaning?

A bit of both I guess. I have been gardening, rearranging the earth (gardening), and finishing some long due house projects. 
Aside from plotting my latest artworks (a few smaller "bread and butter" works for Utah and a few balloon-themed small color works for Albuquerque in October), I've been spring cleaning. Really I should say 3-year cleaning. I just filled up a 23 cubic yard container with godknowswhat. Stuff, mostly. Some stuff in boxes I hadn't opened in so many years I didn't even bother to break the tape...DUMP! Some stuff that I just can't believe I was keeping. Some stuff too big to fit in a standard trash can. Feels good, I'm in great shape and our house is so much lighter now, ha!

Enjoy the rest of spring, summer's coming! Festivals around the corner:

June 23-26
Utah Arts Festival
Washington/Library Square
Salt Lake City, Utah

July 29-31
Bellevue Washington
Bellevue Square, downtown by the Museum

September 30 - Oct 2
& October 7-9
Rio Grande Balloon Fiesta Show
EXPO New Mexico Fairgrounds
Albuquerque, New Mexico

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