Are Outdoor Arts Festivals for You?

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I am re-posting a blog from the past, the season is upon us for outdoor art festivals. Had one last weekend, one coming up this- Are Outdoor Arts Festivals for You? Here is some insider information- show1 show2 show3

Did you ever visit an arts festival in the streets of a town, or stretched out over a park or field and think it might be fun to participate? The venders display booths featuring vast diversity of hand crafted wares, fine art in many styles, friendly people waiting to chat with you about their creations…music, face painting, enticing foods, performers- This artist has been showing in such festivals for many years, and I will fill you in on just what to expect if you want to give it a try for yourself.

~Equipment

Visit a show and first look at the vender displays. You will need some items appropriate to display your wares. Painters will need display racks. Jewelry, ceramic, fabric, and wood artists will need tables. Prints may need browsing bins. In fact every item you wish to sell will need an attractive way to hold it- even business cards. Most artists cover their display with a canopy; a temporary shelter from the sun and rain. This will need some weights to keep it from taking off in the wind as well! Art Display Art Display here is a link to a rack display source:

http://www.graphicdisplaysystems.com/accessories.htm

~How will payment be accepted

The easiest sales are made with cash. However, you must decide if you will accept personal checks and your criteria for them. I have never had a bad check from a customer. Credit cards and paypal are a tremendous convenience for your customers; they allow for an unplanned purchase if your customer falls in love with your work but has no cash or check. But you will need a smart phone and an account set up in order to accept such payments.

Your state may require you to take sales tax on each purchase as well, so you will need to set up an account with your state office of taxation. Most festivals want your tax ID number. Of course you will then have to file your taxes in your state’s required manner.

~Entering a show

You will need to look ahead for this. Many shows require you to apply many months in advance. The bigger the show, the further ahead is the deadline. Many shows charge less money months ahead of time; the cost goes up as the show application deadline grows nearer. The cost will be from very minimal to over $300 dollars. Or more. This depends on the size and projected crowd attending the show. Obviously the more people who attend, the better the chance you will have of making a profit. This cost covers the business end of running an arts festival- publicity, entrainment, staff, administration, etc…

~Jurying

Some of the finest arts festivals have the highest standards. You may be required to submit images of your work as well of your show display in order to be accepted. Quality shows are run well, assure a good turn out and a fine event; they wish to present fine work to their audience. Jury fees may apply for this. Many shows are not juried though, anyone will be accepted. These shows can be very good too!

~Planning

OK, you have a letter of acceptance from the festival- mark it on your calender and start to plan. How will you pack to transport your items? What kind of vehicle will you need? Where will you put the racks or tables- on the roof racks? If you have to carry your items a distance to set up, will you buy a cart to carry it? Price your items ahead of time. Clean everything. Make it handle proof- wrap your matted work in plastic. Bring water and food, you will get hungry with all the work. Plan your display to market it attractively. Will you need table clothes? A pretty flower bouquet? Even an outdoor rug to cover the ground? Some artists cover their racks with cloth, to hide the wire. Will you hang a sign with your name, craft, location on the front of your stand? Or a plastic banner? Buy some curtain hooks to hang your work on the wire racks. Buy some clips and don’t forget the weights for the wind!

~The weather

Oh my! The worst thing I have seen at a show was a high wind strike a stand head on and blow over the stand, breaking all the glass and destroying the framed artwork. Luckily no one was injured- but you do not want this to happen to you or your work. Bring weights and stakes if you will be on grass. Plan for the weather. Pray for a warm and sunny day. A surprise rain shower found me unprepared- watercolors do not fair well in the rain. Bring a lot of plastic to cover your work as you transport it to your car to go home. Bring shade and water for the possible heat, sunscreen and bug spray. Bring a jacket for the coolness. Bring tarps against the rain. Some shows are held rain or shine, and if you have laid out the cash in advance, it hurts to not attend. Plan ahead.

~Just before the show

Finish up your product preparation. Make a check list. Look at directions to the show, times of check- in, show requirements. I suggest you pack your vehicle the day before the show. You will be getting up early to arrive on time; festivals are all set to go before the crowds arrive. Arrange for pet care, if you are bringing your children with you plan on activities and their occupation during the long day. Kids do find it long!

Next to come: Festival Day and The Rewards of participating in outdoor arts festivals-

Festival Day We awaken early- 6:30 am for a local show. Get dressed in clothing suited both for function and artsy-ness- lol- grab a cooler of snacks and water and get into the car packed up to the roof. Arrive at the festival by 8;00 am check in time, wait in lines of cars of other artists to get to our assigned space, usually 10 x 10 feet. Unpack the entire car and take it off to park while the other starts to set up. Up with the canopy, up with the racks, unload and hang the paintings. Arrange the matted work in the bins, hang all the signs, set up box tables with browsing bins and card rack. Tidy the stand, set up two chairs and say – ahh- We meet and greet the artist neighbors we have, fuel up with a snack, then greet the people who arrive to look at the work. And greet and chat and talk about art and answer questions for hours. We take turns leaving our stand, strolling the festival grounds to chat with artist friends, find lunch, look at art and take photos. If there are many people the day flies by! If there are few people the day draaaggggs. By 5 or 6 pm we are allowed to take down our stands,wait in lines to get our cars to our spots, re pack and go home. It’s funny, setting up takes over an hour; tearing down only half the time. If sales and contacts have been good, we arrive home tired and happy. If not so good we arrive home just plain tired.

The Rewards of participating in outdoor arts festivals-

So why would you even think of participating in an outdoor festival of the arts? It is fun! When the weather is good there is nothing quite like it; you get caught up in the carnival atmosphere, with the colors, sights, music and crowds. There is so much to see, and so many people looking at your creations, exciting stuff! ~selling your art At a good festival day you can make many art sales. This is something that most artists need to keep them going! ~talking to customers There is direct contact between you and the people who want to purchase your work. They may have questions about a piece, want to hear the origin of your creation, discuss other work of yours, get to know what makes you as an artist tick. I think most artists enjoy talking about their work, the very nature of creating is an exciting process, and fun to share! Even if your customers do not wish to make a purchase, many are fascinated by what you do; students of art want to learn from you, children love art, and some will make a future purchase.

~fellow exhibitors

Some of the nicest people participate in these shows. They are so helpful and encouraging to each other, it is heart warming. Artists mostly support other artists just about everywhere and outdoor festival are no exception. They will lend a screw driver, help put up a tent, tend your stand when you must take a break, and admire your work. Sometimes they buy work from each other too! Galleries and other venues regularly attend art shows to seek artists for their events as well. The rewards of outdoor art festivals are many; excitement, customer contact, artistic support, great conversation and ultimately the sales. Direct sales at shows and connections for the future keep you in art supplies, pay the bills and keep your creative dreams alive.

My painting here is titled Art Faire Questions and comments are welcome! Have a fine day~

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I Know I Can Fly

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I know I can fly,

just sometimes when the wind tugs hard

and I stretch out my arms so tight-

On the beach on a sidewalk hill in a field,

when the elation pulls harder

than the law of gravity and the beauty of what I see

makes my soul lighter than air

I know I can fly.

I have looked down on treetops in my dreams.

I have felt the terror of my breath torn from my body by the wind soaring so fast.

So I know

I can fly.

Lifetime

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Time goes by I blink my eye,
my baby girl is thirty-five.
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Time goes by so much to be done,
my baby boy is thirty-one.
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The years go by they run they race,
etch themselves upon my face,
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You dance, you run, you jump you hop;
there is no way to make them stop.
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I make a vow to find a way
to make a mark upon each day,
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then lose the vow as things arise,
complications, lost sunrise.
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If I could make the time to see,
the world I live in all round me-
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even hold a butterfly,
raise my hand and see her fly-
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There must be a path, a better way,
appreciate every passing day.
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Time goes by so much to do,
I blink my eye he’s thirty-two.
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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day! Some truthful quotes- to me as a mother-

“When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”― Erma Bombeck

“Think for a minute, darling: in fairy tales it’s always the children who have the fine adventures. The mothers have to stay at home and wait for the children to fly in the window.”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”
David C. Gross, Dictionary of 1000 Jewish Proverbs

“There’s no bitch on earth like a mother frightened for her kids.”
Stephen King
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Becoming a mother changes exactly everything. Being a mother means you become the world for a little one, even as you lose your own world. It is…

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The Old Bridge

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The stream meandered through woods and fields, came to a place with gently sloping hills and lush growing greens. Life was abundant there, and was drawn to the place. Animals played, had their young, and birds nested in the tree limbs and hollows.

Storms brought flooding brown waters and dropped their silt on the bottom as the ages passed; the silt layers deepened and became shale layered with the many colors of the storms.

People came and found the place good; food was plentiful and the hills rose above the waters when they rose in flood, fish idled in them when they gently flowed. Transient camps with quickly erected shelters were perched on the hillside, fires glowed at night. Children and hunters, women gathering food crossed the place on the rocks above the waters.

The place by the stream took in the life, the energy, the light of the sun and the rage of the rain, and slowly became imbued with power.

Years passed and war came to the people who had settled there and to a nearby village where hats were made and sold to provide a living for the villagers. A huge conflict between two nations had risen in the affairs of man, and soldiers marched by with their weapons, camped by the stream to rest at night and on their way to battles. The village was the unhappy host of a grand conflict, and lives were lost, perhaps the stream took their blood into its flow.

The war  ended, the victors had their own rule and time passed on. New families came and built homes by the stream. A small house was completed atop the hill, and others joined it. The people of the small community sought the place to build a bridge to join the sides together so that they could pass over the waters on their daily pursuits.

They found the place where the stream gave a rare charge; the energy of the years had concentrated there and it felt special. The bridge was built, fine and sturdy and many passed over it in its time.

When the rain times came and the waters rose, they gathered on the bridge, umbrellas in hand, to see the rise of the waters, feel the energy of the floods charge through. Laughter and excitement from witnessing the drama of nature rang through the roar of the waters. Those who built too near the stream found the waters inside their home; the bridge was strong though and withstood the flood times.

Time passed, new families came, some houses were taken down and bigger ones on divided land were built. And the bridge was taken down. The new people did not know  of the energy, the special history of the place, nor did they cross the waters on their daily paths. The waters were now crossed by car on the service bridge of the road.

But the bridge has its memories, its own power that it has gathered, and it stays by the stream and dreams in sun, shadow and falling rain.

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I am a wheel ; are you one too?

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I am a wheel; I like to make things turn.I spin ideas. I love to affect change and movement. Set ideas and actions into motion, spin life forward and dream backward through time.

I can be  the horse who pulls the cart; I will work hard and persist with all my strength to move the cart forward. If needed I will bear the weight of many and much upon my back. This is the way that I am built, the way that I am.

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I am the cart. I will load up the carrying place, help you load up your things you need to journey with, and ask for help to load up mine. But I will carry my needs and yours whether you help on not. And I must move them all forward to be right for myself.

I am the harness- but may be an uncomfortable one at that! I tug  hard, can bind too tightly, and sometimes , most unfortunately, jab those I try to hold together. But I am a tenacious one; will hold on, as hard as I can, to unite together what I am able to unite. To to move the whole rig forward, horse, wheels and all toward better places.To the places where I see dreams coming to fruition, and adventures waiting, dreams to be realized.

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I am a wheel. I keep turning and turning.

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Thoughts on Art, a Sketchbook for my BFF

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blg6My friend, you have said you would like to study drawing and art when you retire.

How wonderful for you!

Art is a a living, loving, evolving  auto biography. What you draw reflects your life, your loves, your irritations and your very unique perspective of life.

Art releases your deepest feelings, expresses and helps resolve your problems, reveals your dreams.

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It creates a statement, saying I am here- I was here- I imagine this and I see this sight just this way.

Just as a writer overflows with words, a composer fills with song, and a dancer moves to express, an artist creates and shows and meanders through her medium to the rhythm of her soul.

I encourage you to daydream and doodle with a pencil in your hand. Practice and seek and learn to show what you alone want to show. Draw and draw and sketch as much as you can, and when you hit a wall in your need to express, do research from teachers and from all the beautiful creations you can find to see.

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Develop an aspiration and practice toward it.

Challenge yourself to try new things.

Add some colors, a marker pen, a watercolor brush to your expressions.

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Surely you will find some things you enjoy in art that you will feel good about, and are good at.

And know that you have a lifetime of free lessons and information from me, your twin sister from different mothers, waiting for you to utilize when you wish.

Take your sketchbook camping, take it to work. Leave it by the phone call center, take it to a place where you have to wait.And draw, draw, draw-

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Once you have taken off, the more you will seek this fine form of self expression; may it lead you to a journey of enhanced self discovery, and personal celebration of your beautiful self!

How to Encourage a Teen aged Artist

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I heard a tale from a 16 year old art student recently, and it disturbed me. He said he’d brought an artwork of his to class to show his art teacher at school. The teacher gave him very little reaction; nothing negative nor positive. Just the barest acknowledgement that he’d shown her his work.

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I asked how this made him feel, and he said ,causally, not so great.

What he did not say- it hurt him badly. He had created a work that he was proud enough to expose himself to an adult opinion. This made him extremely vulnerable; a turtle out of his shell. The teacher’s lack of response was like a harsh wakening. It said you are not a good artist. You stink. And many other things the teen made up to himself.

This is not what you want to do when a child shows you his creations. Absolutely wrong.

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This age of a person generally holds a secret self, one guarded carefully to not appear unacceptable and “normal” to others his age. Talents and intelligence are sometimes covered up just so as not to stand out. But the secret self dreams of being successful and fitting into an adult world someday because of those talents and dreams.

Teachers, parents, trusted adult friends all have a duty, an obligation to support those dreams. To uphold the hidden secret talents and support the talents as they emerge. If the adult is too busy at that moment, he should say so to the teen. And to state that he is very interested, could he see later? After class or other time? And follow through.

If the trusted adult is indifferent to the very vulnerable teen, it can have devastating consequences to the child. A more confident child can fall back on his own core; while the most fragile can just give up on a dream as a result.

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But what if the presented work of the teen, is apparently of poor quality? Find something in it good. A thought, a line, a color combination. An original aspect, an interesting point- find it and tell the teen.Then give him some ideas to improve the work. And thank him for showing you.

I believe this is a more general position as well. A talented dancer, an invention presented with some thought and planning, a technical skill or handcrafted item, a story or poem; all deserve the attention of the trusted adult they are divulged to.

Across the ages as well- a young adult or an older one learning a new skill both deserve attention for their aspirations when presented to an instructor. Opening yourself up to scrutiny for an other is always a difficult position to place yourself in, and consideration is a kindness that is much needed.

 

Putting yourself in the position of a teacher or mentor brings this responsibility. And that is that.

 

Art Experiments with Watercolor and Sand.

Watercolor and …Sand!

theartofpatriciaallinghamcarlson

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Looking Up

Sometimes I am brimming with ideas for artworks I want to paint. Often I am not. In our busy lives we don’t even have the time to create, express the ideas swimming around in our heads when we have them; how frustrating to have the time to create and no ideas to work with!

On such days I just haul out a variety of materials and experiment.

On this day I decided to try sand, water and paint. I don’t know where that idea came from, but I enjoy creating new textures to paint on, and wondered what these materials could do.

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Outside I dumped sand onto paper, wet it, drew in it with my finger, then dropped concentrated watercolor paint onto it. Then I let it dry, and brushed off the sand.

(By the way, I kept the colored sand for another future experiment!)

That was really…

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I Paint

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I paint.

I paint for hope, I paint for fear.

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I paint to seek my truth.

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I hope I paint when very old, I started in my youth.

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I paint to mourn, I paint to play

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to celebrate good news.

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I paint in rainbows colorful, I paint in mainly blues.

 


I paint to see, I paint to feel,

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I paint to comprehend

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When I get some time to paint I don’t want it to end.

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I paint.

That Sucks.

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Vulgar! When this expression first became mainstream in our area I was appalled. A little boy was over our home on a play date with my son, and had just exclaimed that he sucked at basketball. I prissily told him we do NOT use that expression at our house. Ok, he said cheerfully, I stink at basketball.

The term did become very commonly used over the years, and my prudish nature gradually became enured to it.

Recently I began to use it myself. Because sometimes it is so appropriate.

 

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I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

Life deals some harsh blows sometimes. Frightening things, bad things, depressing events, losses, failures. We have no say, no control over many such events; our only recourse is prayer and positive attitudes. And maintaining a positive attitude is hard too. So sometimes you just want to say- That sucks!

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You can’t run away from trouble. There ain’t no place that far. ~Uncle Remus

We all turn to pressure release outlets at such times; exercise, meditation, faith, or for artists, art expression. If you are an artist you probably drew some mighty sad and angry weirdo doodles as a high school student, right? Because the turbulence of adolescence often made life suck.

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As an adult I have often felt the need to express my negative or sad emotions and thoughts in my paintings. Even as I paint out the sorrow, I process my feelings and resolve my future actions. It helps.

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A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn. ~Author Unknown.

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A problem is a chance for you to do your best. ~Duke Ellington

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So if something happens to you that sucks- I am sorry. I offer my support; we have all been there. If something happens to your friend/loved one that sucks- give them your love, your help, and be there to listen. Even when they aren’t talking. If you pray, do so for them, for yourself to have the strength to get through. Pray for the world- it needs it.

And have faith that it will Get Better.

This too shall pass.

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Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. ~Arthur Golden