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.


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:

~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…


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!


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~

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.



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.


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.


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-


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.


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.


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.


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!



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.




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.

I paint to seek my truth.

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

I paint to mourn, I paint to play

to celebrate good news.

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


I paint to see, I paint to feel,

I paint to comprehend

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


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.



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!




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.



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.


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


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


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.


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



A Red Rose for Mother’s Day


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Long time ago I was a new mother to a wonderful baby girl. It had taken me some time, but I was finally getting the hang of it, starting to feel like I was getting pretty good at the mother thing. Mother’s Day came along for the first time for me as a mother- and no one acknowledged my great feat.


Hubby was working hard just to keep us in our home; he did not even think of helping baby to give me a token gift. His thinking- you’re not my mother. Other family members were far too busy with their own young children. My own mother was busy taking in her own motherly accolades. So I went off to the grocery store to make my weekly food purchases feeling very sad and sorry for myself. At the exit with my full shopping cart stood the store manager. He had a big bouquet of red roses in his arms, and was stopping each woman as she left the store.

Are you a mother?,he asked. My nod gained me a beautiful red rose and a Happy Mother’s Day. Tears poured down my face. And I smiled the whole way to my car.


Mothers greatest reward is the intense love they are granted for their child. This love is of a unique nature- it is passionate and fierce. It aches and fills your heart to bursting. It gives and forgives, and hopes forever.

Mothers work very hard to care for their children. To provide for them and give them opportunities for success. To introduce them to the world of wonder, even as they try to shield them from it, protect them from all harm. They sacrifice their time, their sleep, their down time, their careers, their all for their children. And this goes on for years and years.


Do we mess up? You bet we do. Mothers are human beings, capable of making every mistake there is to make. My mom made mistakes, I did too. But you can count on one thing for sure- the lady is trying her best to be the best mother she can be. So if the love is there, the child will just have to work it out as we all must as adults. So it goes.

This year I bought three bouquets of roses at the local store, and gave them out to all the mothers who came my way. Happy Mother’s day I told each lady, and they all said it back to me.

And if you are a mother too- I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day!


Why be an Artist?

My Truths as an Artist~


Why does someone become an artist/writer/musician/actor/dancer, etc…?


1. It is easy

Yes, indeed, it is sometimes the easiest work of all! At such times the art flows almost without thought from the mind and spirit outward to the paper, canvas, piano, keyboard. But this is after years of training, years of practice and work.

Those years can be full of joy, but will almost certainly hold fear and insecurity, self doubt or even self loathing. Because the standard for the artist is set by himself.

Viewers may tell him his work is awesome or poor, but he is the one who knows when it is right. And we can be our own harshest critics.

2. It is fun


Yes, it is fun! Sometimes. As a visual artist my senses delight in the color and texture I work with. It is such fun to use my imagination to think up new…

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Marriage and the Name Game


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“Your last names are different, are you sure you’re married? Really?”  and , “Could you send us a copy of your marriage license?”

Really?!  In this day and age, the credit union my husband and I were trying to open an account with actually asked this. After an unusually long review period. And we with an excellent credit rating and a marriage of many, many years.

All those years ago when I was in college, I decided to keep my last name if I married.When asked about how  my future husband might feel about that, my response was that if he didn’t approve, he was probably the wrong man for me to marry. I met the right guy, he said ok, keep your name, and that was that. What we did do was take each others last name as a second middle name. Hence, I was Patricia Carlson, I became Patricia Allingham Carlson.


Are you married? Did you change you last name when you did? Good for you. Great choice for yourself. Did you hyphenate your two names? Great! Did you make up a new name for both to use? Fine! Did you keep your name? It’s all fine.

Why would anyone care? Well they do. Still.

I guess the old school thinking was about possession. I’m talking here of the traditional man/woman married union. As in the one married had become the responsibility of the other. At some point it became a badge of honor as well, as in, “I got the ring, I got the man, I’m now a Mrs. Smith/Jones/Allingham,”. Then there also was the passing along of a family, a clan name, and the inclusion into that clan. Ok. The joining of two families under one single name to become one new family, also fine. Of course, it was usually the man who got to keep his name, the woman who changed hers to his.

As one of three daughters in an extended family with daughters of the sons, no one would be carrying on the family name if they married. I formed my self identity with the name I was born with. Though I married into a fine family with a great last name, that was not my identity. And there was already a matriarch named with my given first name.


My first year of marriage I was asked by my boss- in a nasty way- why I even bothered to marry my partner at all if I was not going to change my name! Why not just live together? As if that is all that marriage entails!  If you are married, you know that it means so much more than just changing your name!

So, here in this time, 2016, it is astounding to me that my name choice would be of any interest whatsoever to a financial institution. In fact, being together and filing taxes for so many years together, why would we even need to be legally married at all? But we are- no matter what our names are.


To be perfectly clear- I don’t care how you resolved your names if you married. I don’t care which gender you chose to marry. I respect all choices as being right for different individuals. The main thing is that you united your lives, and that you respect each other and yourselves. Isn’t that about it?

Have a fine day, Mrs., Miss, Ms., Mr., Sr.,Mssr., All-






Four Dogs and a Crate


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Dog sitting for a vacationing friend I find myself navigating my home in a whole new way. Carefully that is. There are currently four dogs in my house. Two of the pets are large, two small, but all are constantly underfoot. And I mean constantly. If I sit and work a while, I stand to find three of them across any path through the room. I must pick my way carefully over and around the sleeping hulks to get out- and they grumble! But as I leave the room they all spring to their feet to follow me. I have learned to climb the steps to the far side, as they all rush ahead of me in a scramble. Going down the steps is even more hazardous- if I forget them and start down, I have almost been knocked off my feet as they try to run ahead.

In the middle of the family room/studio where I enjoy relaxing and working there sits a huge dog crate. One of my dog visitors must spend the night inside, as well as placed there when I leave my house. If I forget, she forgets how impolite it is to tear and rend anything she  deigns to reach. Three rolls of paper towels thus far have met such a fate, the floor resembling a snowstorm.

Her house mate enjoys the challenge of chewing on  more selective items; my favorite sofa cushions, a purple plastic bowl I put down with a treat, a very big old dog bone(good boy). Small pieces of purple plastic currently decorate my living room floor.

When one dog hears a noise and barks…they All bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! times four. And four times longer. And there is almost always a noise!

At mealtimes I am still working on an equitable solution for four starving dogs to eat at once. I muddle through, careful as they eat two different food types in four different amounts. Oy!

Each dog has his or her own personality- from bossy to easy going, from sneaky to blundering, from feisty to sneaky. No food can be left near the edges of any surface in reach. One dog is afraid of the dark; I must go outside into the cold night with her to encourage her not to “go” in the house. Additionally they all have varying needs for attention, and one is extremely jealous!

But- sweet they are. Each one gives as much love as they can. Each one tries their best to please me, and figure out what I want from them. And they think my actions and conversation are fascinating- unlike most of the human race, lol. So for this short time I will have the companionship of four dogs, the bulk of a large crate, and I will remember to laugh at their antics,walk carefully over them and on the stairs,  give them lots of pats, and tell them all how good they are.

And they all are.

a Muse lives in my Studio

Does a Muse live in your studio?


“Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.” ~L. Drachman

She is a guardian. She is a fairy. She has blue hair and flies around my head.

No, I can’t see her, but two of my friends who are more “in touch” with their psychic side have told me of their thoughts on the matter. And that she is my guardian.

But she certainly makes herself known.

Over the years I have worked and taught in my home studio, I have had many, many artists and students create art in the room with me. Hundreds of people have worked there, and so many times I have heard, “I do my very best work here, in this room. When I go home, it just isn’t as good”.

And “Where did the time go? I just got here!”

When the muse is there she creates an amazing thing- inspired silence. Energy …

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