The other thing I did today was help hang the Memphis Urban Sketchers show at ANF. It took three of us two hours to hang artwork from about 16 of our regular artists. It's fun to see the group's work all up together, and I like spreading the word about the genre of urban sketching.
Elmore started out having this show in his unheated garage studio, and I froze my butt off out there the first year I knew him, just hanging and helping. The next year we moved it inside to my front room/gallery, and I added cookies and hot cider to the mix as well as showing my work alongside his. Last year I had acquired the 1909 printing press and did a printmaking demonstration as well. I hope to have the press rolling this year as well, though with the Cape May trip (pictures to come soon, once I get ready for the open house) and my calendar launch party at Burke's Books last night, I'm even more down to the wire than usual. At least it's for a better reason than my usual procrastination.
The show at Burke's was great fun. They have a huge bank of barrister bookcases up front, holding their special books, and Cheryl suggested using the glass fronts as shelves for my artwork. I was completely delighted with how the juxtaposition of art with books looked. Bookstores are among my favorite places, along with public parks and Gothic cathedrals, and I was thrilled to have my work in my favorite store.
My favorite bookstore is throwing me a calendar party tomorrow night. They're now in a funky, pedestrian neighborhood that throws a neighborhood night out each month, when stores stay open late, bands play, etc. I understand Santa will be in the gazebo for this one, so hopefully there will be a lot of traffic.
I was delighted they asked me. It's the same store that had used my design for a t-shirt several years ago and paid me in books. They're wonderful.
Along with calendars, I'll have prints and watercolors as well. Come on out if you're in Memphis -- Burke's Books in Cooper-Young from 5:30 to 7:00 tomorrow night.
AND this weekend is Elmore's and my open house -- Saturday and Sunday from 12-5 in Midtown (1780 Autumn Ave.). Stay tuned for more information...
When I got to my opening last week, these flowers were waiting for me on the sales table. Friends of mine for all my life, friends of my parents before I was born, had kindly marked my big occasion of the year this way. They were the first people in the door for the show as well. One of the things I love about living where I've grown up is the continuity of friendships across the decades. I'm so grateful for all the old friends in my life.
I wanted to send a nice note, so this is the quick sketch I did of the flowers for the thank you card. Years ago I found a book about Edouard Manet's last paintings, small paintings of flowers that his friends sent him while he was sick. He painted them in bed, I think. They are exquisite. I can't come close, but it was a bit of an homage to Manet's inspiration for my painting that I gave it a try.
ANF Architects threw us a great party last night. It's always fun to have an opening where more than just your own mailing list are invited. I think Elizabeth's work and mine are beautifully complementary, and it was fun to introduce my friends to her work. I met new people last night from her list and from ANF's regular group of attendees.
Also, unlike some of my shows, I was not responsible for restocking wine and refreshments, so I could talk to people and not worry about logistics, which was a real luxury. A more relaxed opening was also enabled by Marilyn Donnelly, a lovely woman who has adopted my artistic efforts as a worthy cause and helped me out on several recent shows. She and my fabulous mother-in-law manned our sales table all evening, which left me free to greet people and answer general art questions instead of having to manage sales as well. It takes a village to have an art career, and I'm grateful for all of the people in my life who help out, show up, offer great ideas, and occasionally take home a piece of art. Many thanks to all of you.
Come join us if you can. I got my labels up yesterday and am looking forward to the party. All I have to do now is wrap some unframed prints and gather up calendars to have available.
It's been a crazy busy week. My dad got married on Saturday, and my big show for the year went up on Monday. Thanks to an all day framing marathon on Friday, I was able to relax and enjoy all the festivities with the new family and siblings (now we are six!). It's a hilarious, uproarious new family, and I couldn't be more delighted.
Monday, Elizabeth Alley and I showed up to hang our joint show at ANF architects on Union Avenue in Memphis. It's a beautiful space for art, and we had just the right amount to fill it up without overcrowding the space.
That's Elizabeth's work above, which I love, and it looks gorgeous in this sun-filledroom. My prints (top photo), which are the main body of work I've been preparing for this show, are across from the reception desk, and I'm thrilled with how they look on the wall.
We each have a "welcome painting" in a front alcove, and I also have several paintings and a couple of groupings of watercolor sketches in the hallways.
It was fun to get my prints framed and hung as the group I've been intending them to be.
I finished a couple of new ones at the last minute, and I'm glad I could get them in the show. My only regret is not getting the French Broad print done in time. The family wedding and related events cut into the time a little, but it's also a pretty complicated print, and it may take me a little bit longer to wrangle it where I want it.
Here are the couple of very recently finished ones. If you're in Memphis, I hope you can come out and join us this Friday, November 2nd, for the opening from 5:30-7:30.
I got my first round of prints photographed yesterday. I haven't been able to do a very good job on them -- they're 14x22", and so way too big to fit on my scanner, as the watercolors do. These are all printed and ready to sell, thankfully in time for the upcoming Pink Palace Crafts Fair.
For the Tower Grove Park print, I couldn't decided whether I liked the brown or white paper, so I'm doing a smaller edition of each. They have such different feels, and I like them both for different reasons. These prints are $125 each.
Shelton Laurel, the name of the area where the woodworking school Country Workshops is, is also $125.
Overton Park was the first print I started in this series. It's the place closest to my home and my heart. I'm there every day I'm in Memphis, walking, drawing, or just sitting and watching the sky. I play my banjo near this tree a lot as well.
And finally the White River at Calico Rock in Arkansas. This series is a group of places that are dear to my heart, my own personal travelogue. The White River, and the Riverview Hotel right on it, is one of our favorite getaways. This print is $140 because it's three colors and requires three separate printings instead of just two.
I'm still working on prints for the Missouri Botanical Garden, Chickasaw Gardens, the French Broad River, and a second one for Tower Grove Park. Watch this space for more finished ones over the next couple of months. I'm trying to have them all finished for my November show at ANF architects.
I continue to learn new things painting in Tower Grove Park in St. Louis. I went back last weekend, just for a night, to treat myself after the craziness of getting my exhibition up on a tight schedule. I left Sunday morning at 7, was painting by 11:30, and did a whole new series of paintings while also getting in a dance that night. Great fun.
Above is the southern entrance to the park, just across from a gatehouse I love but couldn't get a great view of, since it's pretty socked in with trees. I might try to paint it once the leaves fall.
Below is a fountain in a lovely, quiet courtyard in the south-eastern corner of the park.
I love this pool pavilion. It always makes me think of both Fred and Ginger and the great Gatsby. There's a fountain and splash park in front, and a lovely vista down a long meadow behind. Another time I'm going to have to paint that vista more clearly.
I keep coming back to the Piper Palm House as well. This is one of the Victorian greenhouses, which is now a cafe on Sundays and a wedding venue. It sits right on a small lake with waterlilies and surrounded by lush plantings.
I tried painting a close-up of the water lilies, but I reconfirmed for myself that I am a landscape painter and not a flower painter. I need a little bit bigger scale to bring interest and depth into my compositions. This is just too close up. But it's always good to try new things.
I'm working more seriously on painting trees in watercolor. Buildings immediately were easier for me in this medium, but trees and skies (the backbone of all my previous work) were harder. I'm still not happy with my skies, but I'm beginning to feel better about my trees. These are my favorites I've done so far in watercolor. And it's lovely to have an excuse to just sit and look at the varied and lovely groves of trees in Tower Grove. The park is intentionally planted with many species, grouped into groves, and it's a charming place to walk.
The Memphis Urban Sketchers met on my home turf of Idlewild Presbyterian this past Saturday, and it was fun to get to draw with a whole group in the church I grew up in. It's a beautiful old Gothic church, built just before the depression, and it was fun to share it with the group.
I got my first peek at the Memphis Magazine City Guide issue that used my illustrations. It's on sale for the month of August, and it was fun to see my watercolors in print. I took one to my opening Friday night for folks to see.
It was a highlight week for me, art-wise, because the opening for my watercolor show at Playhouse on the Square was wonderful also. I really appreciated so many friends turning out to support me, and it was fun to get to share some of my favorite places with them through art. The show will be up through September 16th, and I hope people will see it and want to visit Greece and Turkey.