November 1st, 2012


State of the Studio

It's been a bit since I've done this, and from the point of view of an artist trying to maintain a blog related to artistic undertakings, this is... not so productive. An art blog need not be updated daily (though some of the artists I know do update theirs daily), yet it should indeed be updated on a regular schedule of some sort. This predictability, consistency is important to build a relationship with those who read it, who are interested in the art.

I could plead I've been busy making art, or making 'product' (prints, matted and sleeved or matted and framed), or simply with life and the Day Job. Could be true, could be false, and in any event is no excuse for the lack of an entry. After all, again, that's the purpose of the blog, to keep people interested in the art, the artistic endeavours, involved with a regularly posted description of how busy the Art Work, the Day Job, or Life is. Some sort of balance between the three is part of it. A bit of Life makes the artist a real person. The Day Job pays the bills and granted it is nice if the Art Work is what pays the bills, in reality there is usually a more consistently paying Day Job other than the Art Work.


Day Job involves Hospital and the Ranch. Both are 'day jobs' for me. Hospital takes up a bit less of my time these days, what with completing that Magic 30 Years and starting the Confused Years of Hospital pays me to Go There, and also pays me Not To Go There. It's that second part that allows the decrease in the amount of time I sell to Hospital these days. One of the benefits of selling them a minimum of 40 hours each week for 30 years. Regular readers will know I don't often go into a lot of details about Hospital (including the Name of Hospital) because, well, Patient Confidentiality as a professional attribute got pounded into me long before any sort of legal aspect (H.I.P.P.A.) came along. Even telling you Name of Hospital could potentially compromise confidentiality. So... I'm still selling 30 hours a week to Hospital, more or less, and it is nice to not be commuting that distance more days out of a week than doing so.

The Ranch, now, while being a Day Job involves both less commuting (usually) and less pay. We're bringing in more funding through things we generate here on the Ranch these days, and that's primarily due to Herself and her perseverance going to two different Farmers Markets each week. I've found using other Social Media more beneficial there. Facebook (for example) provides a quicker means to connect to people who are actively supporting us by purchasing meat, goat milk, goat milk cheese, free range eggs, garden produce in season, and such.

I did take some time recently to do some concentrated Ranch work. In my sick and twisted humour outlook, several of our livestock 'retired' recently. It is a cold retirement, sub-zero in fact, by most measures. Tasty, however, for those who consume meat. And there occurred some fence repairs, and a few other chores needing doing that waited for some concentrated Not Going To Hospital time.


On the Art Front, we've been pursuing the increased Goal. Last year, cycling up on the long term plan of getting my Art out there into the world, I set a goal of Three Shows. Do Three Shows, with or without (preferably with) sales, and see what I learned about doing them as well as did any income head my way as a result. We squeezed in the three shows sort of just barely by the fact that the third show took place last year December. And, delightfully, I did make a sale at each show. Even more delightfully, I made another sale as a result, but not at, one of those shows. Less delightfully, those four sales hardly paid for the year. Lesson: Not Time to Quit the Day Job Yet.

I decided early last year, though, that if the Goal of Three Shows were to be met, then the goal needed to be increased. So, with the start of 2012 I set a Goal of Six Shows (doubled) with potential Two More Lagniappe. Now, this isn't really a true use of that word, there, lagniappe. Technically, lagniappe is something given to a customer, a wee bit extra when things are purchased. As in, Herself tosses in an extra green pepper, or some herbs fresh from the garden, when someone purchases our produce. Or, maybe, I toss in a bookmark, say, when someone purchases a print.

So telling myself that if I complete six shows, an extra two shows would be lagniappe isn't really quite the term. But it's the one I used, so I use it here as well.

At this point in the year, we've (because Herself came along to a few, selling her jewelry and her photographic prints) completed:

MarsCon in Williamsburg, VA. I sent along eight prints. None sold. Good practice, figuring out how to ship art and seeing what happens, and the old saw that if I didn't send anything there's no way I could sell anything applies.

Kanapaha Spring Garden Festival, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Gainesville, FL. Two day show, set up the booth, survived some inclement weather, received a lot of comments, figured out some things weren't working as well as could and others working quite well. No sales. Expensive lesson, considering booth fees.

Annual Zucchini Festival, Windsor, FL. A one day show, set up the booth, really nice weather, co-worked the festival with our friends not on Blogs Meg & Bry. They are our partners in some of the Farmers Markets as well, since Meg raises the dairy goats that provide the goat milk, and the same milk that Herself makes into cheese and also, so does Meg now. At any rate, between the two of us (Herself and I) we made the Studio 318 booth fee for this event, and Herself and Meg both received ribbon awards in the zucchini cook-off for some interesting items made using zucchini. The event helps the community of Windsor fund their volunteer fire department. Good cause. We figure we'll get into this one next year, eh.

Did not do the Yulee Days event in Archer, FL this year because the folks who organised it chose not to do so this year. Oh well.

Did do the First Annual (well, we'll see about that part next year) Bronson FL Fourth of July Festival. One day event, on July Fourth, found out about it only a few weeks beforehand. Set up the booth(s) for both Studio 318 and Kumas Playpen Ranch (included Meg and Caprihaven Dairy Goats). No sales, a good bit of publicity. Free fireworks at the end of the show, for those who stayed. I'd adjourned to the Ranch after going over to do the setup. Border Collie Bros do not like fireworks.

What with discovering a Leak in the Roof, and deciding to start conserving ready cash until said Leak gets fixed, we opted not to get space in the Williston Peanut Festival early in October. Couple of reasons for that, conserving cash being the primary and it being a one-day show being another. However, that one-day show also asked a fairly steep booth fee, particularly compared to Windsor's festival and the other show I did do in October. So, this one goes on the list for potential in 2013, yes, and we'll see.

Necronomicon Sci-fi and Fantasy Con took place this past weekend, and that I sent in the Art Show fees back in June so off I went. Even with the Leak in the Roof, this one stayed on the agenda partially because a good portion of the expenses already got spent, and partially because, well, this show is the first one I started doing once I decided the time came along to get into shows.

I mean, here I am, a science fiction fan from childhood and I'd been to Necro's before I went back in '08 for my 'reconnaissance' of the Art Show. I walked through that display thinking several things. First, yes, I'd seen the Art Show in earlier Necros attended. Second, not a lot of photographers yet some, and well I can do at least that good. Lastly, why the hell haven't I thought about making science-fiction or fantasy related artwork before? It fits a lot of my other general work as is.

Reconnaissance in '08 led to Reconnaissance in Force in '09 with the purchase of a single panel, and hanging artwork in much the same way most of the artists do (fill the Whole Bloody Panel). A friend of mine, tinne in the Blog-o-Sphere, also showed that year and I watched them set up. Solid colour cloth drape, and a selection of framed prints hung at eye level is all tinne put up. I put that concept together with another artist I'd seen at the Spring Arts Festival in Gainesville and decided future displays would be different. Got a critique of my work as well, and from all that the Reconnaissance in Force proved quite successful.

A good number of people told me that year that the Necro show is hard for photographers, and I've been told the same each year since. I've increased the number of panels each year to the maximum of four, and draped the panels because that hides the distraction of the backsides of the pieces the artist getting the opposite sides of the panels hangs. It's a small shared benefit that those same drapes eliminate the distraction of the backsides of my pieces to their displays as well.

And, for the past two years now, I've received an award in the Black and White division. Hard on photographers, sure. Not big awards, eh. Still, nice to receive.

Now we're unpacked, and it's time to inventory, prepare and see what we can do at the next show. We're already on line for that one, on December Eighth in Downtown Gainesville. Well, need to get the registration form in however, it's ready to go. This is also the same as last years third show to meet last years Goal, and it will make the sixth show this year. No extras, oh well, and I'll take that into consideration when I set next years Goal. Will I increase the number of shows, or not, and I think I'll look hard at which ones I did do and see about changing some things around anyway.

Meanwhile, one of the Day Jobs is calling as the evening hours roll in. Time to go gather up the Border Collie Bros and do evening rounds here on the Ranch.

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