Thursday, June 29, 2006


We were driving home from Des Moines the other day when I received a call from a friend of a friend. She was cleaning out a warehouse in St. Louis and had some items that needed a home. Including..........drumroll please.........2 sets of flat files. They are old, she cautioned, and dirty, and ugly and.........who the heck cares!?!?!? They are flat files and I have lusted after them for years.

Tuesday we went down and got the first set and John picked up the second set today. They are all sitting in the garage so we can clean them up. That being the royal "we" since I think John is going to do it this weekend.

They are ugly indeed, but extremely sturdy and measure 41" x 53" which is enormous. Stacked on top of one another, they will make a wonderful base for the enormous table top I envision. I want them in the center of the room for "walk-around" work space. Once I get this together I will take some pictures.

And the old Royal typewriter! Woo hoo, the tape is dried out, but I have devised a way to ink it up before typing which works pretty well.

In other news, I was accepted into the Plaza show again which is wonderful and I am very pleased. I was also invited to be part of a group gallery show in GA this August. I just found out that the Whipples, John and Lynn will be in that show along with some other terrific artists. Plus another gallery show in October here in MO, Columbia to be specific. More details on these shows once I have specifics.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Memorable moments

Des Moines was a great show - it was just the highest caliber show you could imagine with great attention to every detail. The customers are all so nice and appreciative. Plus I sold a lot of work. Yeesh, what more could you want!?!?!

Well, NO RAIN would have been good.

We were set up on 13th street (concrete rather than grass) on a downward sloping stretch of road. The area in back of our tent, our storage space, was a natural drainage area where water from the parking lots behind us plus the road in front of us would all drain in the event of rain. But it wouldn't rain, now would it?

But it did of course, a hellatious downpour that lasted for an unbearable period of time, wiping out the crowd for nearly 2 hours on Saturday afternoon. And for about 30-40 minutes, it was raining at such a fast speed that storm sewers could not possibly accommodate. We knew what would happen and just watched it unfold.

First we moved all our "stuff" - that would be 2 chairs, my table, the cooler, a ladder, a fan, a dolly full of more inventory (conveniently tarped) - inside the tent to the highest ground possible. Which was the 2 foot span at the opening of our tent. We had the front flap of the tent zipped tight since it was raining so hard. I had changed out of my "princess shoes" into sneakers.

Then John and I watched in horror as the water level crept up from behind our tent. I think we were both optimistic at first, thinking, oh, this won't be bad, it will stop any minute and the water will recede. But no, it just kept raining, rain that Des Moines needed badly, I just wished it would have waited till after our show.

It was absolutely amazing how the water accumulated so quickly. At first it was a trickle then a small stream running behind the tent. But as the rain continued, the level changed dramatically to a baby flood of sorts. Until we had about 6 inches of standing water at the back of the tent, tapering to perhaps an inch or two at the front.

I was perched on a dry slice near the very front of the tent. John had taken his shoes off and was wading barefoot. Truly a sight I had never envisioned.

Then suddenly it stopped as quickly as it had begun. Artists poked their heads out of their tents. The water started to recede. A group of staff/volunteers circulated with boxes of dry towels. More staff with brooms and huge oversize squeegees quickly worked to move the water toward the drains so the street rivers would dissipate faster.

It was simply unbelievable. But we were safe and the art was dry, no damage whatsoever. And the show must go on. Which it did. People came back out and I ended up with my best one day sales experience ever.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I am totally hooked on a new series from Animal Planet........Meerkat Manor. This is a true story of a colony of Meerkats that live in the Kalahari desert. It is a fascinating glimpse into their lives; all sorts of drama and intrigue make this worthy (and better!) competition to any soap opera. I am especially in love with the character "Shakespeare," a plucky little Meerkat who defies all odds with his strong disposition.

Animal Planet seems to play reruns quite frequently, so you can easily catch up. I programmed for a season pass on Tivo and am up to date already. Here is a website that will help you watch the shows in proper order - .

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Off to see the Wizard

Well, we are off again. To Des Moines, so if you are in the area, stop by and see me.

The truck is packed to the gills (whatever that means). We could probably squeeze in a little bit more, but not much. Tons of inventory, as much as I carried to Florida for 2 shows. But I have Madison in early July and since I know I will need a lot for that show, I figured I would work ahead.

I love road trips especially in the Midwest. Some people find it boring to see mile after mile of flat farmland, but it comforts me. I truly enjoy it. Probably the best part is the forced downtime. I normally have a hard time sitting still. At home, I can't seem to just sit and read without feeling taunted by dirty laundry, decorating projects, cat hair that needs vacuumed, closets that should be cleaned - I could go on and on about neglected household tasks. The car travel forces me to chill because I can't really DO anything except play computer games (Scrabble!!), read a book, or knit. After weeks of exhilarating preparation, it is such a treat to sort of brain out. Thank goodness John doesn't mind driving.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I have literally been working like a maniac for this Des Moines show. I keep pinching myself because I can't even believe I am in the show. To say I am excited is an understatement. Bouncing off the walls, yeah, that is more like it.

Anyway, I have completed a tremendous amount of work this week. I was talking to a friend yesterday and told her that........she says, "you do know it's just Tuesday, right?" Which sort of stopped me in my tracks. Yeah, I guess I did know that yesterday was Tuesday. But the fact is, I still completed a bunch of work. I am not quite sure how it happened. Lots of things were partially done, backgrounds down, layouts ready.......but it all popped for me this week. And that's a good thing.

So, this is one of my new 20x20's. I am loving these colors.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

This is the first Tryptich I have ever done. You probably can't tell what the text says........they are pages from a child's composition book.

1st canvas says, "what makes you think"

2nd canvas says, "I believe"

3rd canvas doesn't have any text, just fish. Why? Well, I was in the mood for fish.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Aaaack, I am usually pretty decent with my spelling, but keen-eyed Beth has caught me.

Tic = habitual spasmodic motion of particular muscles especially of the face

Tick = bloodsucking arachnids

They are both great words. Merlyn had the second one. I suppose you all figured that out by now.
I found a tic on Merlyn yesterday. Yes, that would be Merlyn who sleeps with me every night. Needless to say this did not make me happy. I have no idea where he got it since he is an indoor cat. I am guessing John or I brought it into the house and it jumped on Merlyn. That is what I am telling myself. I cannot imagine that tics are just walking into the house. I did manage to remove it without too much trouble. That cat is so amazing when something like this happens; he seems to sense he is supposed to lay still and let us fix it for him.

He is all better now. I am still slightly wigged out though. Yuck!

We leave for Des Moines on Thursday and I am quite excited. This is a very big show, # 3 in the country per the Art Fair Sourcebook. I am in a last minute frenzy of creativity right now, suddenly making new works like a crazed woman. I have tons of new ideas; luckily John is tolerant of me being in the studio nearly full time.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sometimes a minute is everything

Last night Marian and I were going to a meeting of the St. Louis Paper Arts Guild. Neither of us had been to a meeting in months and were looking forward to catching up with old friends. We met at our usual spot so we could ride together in my car.

We had been traveling several miles eastbound on the highway when I saw smoke up ahead. I thought, wow, that is weird and then suddenly, in an instant, I saw a tractor trailer veer out of control and jackknife across 2 lanes of traffic (this all happening about 10 car lengths ahead of us). The truck actually went into and over the center concrete median, coming to rest on top of the median with parts of the vehicle on both sides of the highway.

We didn't know it at the time, but this was a fatal accident; one person was killed and many others seriously injured. The truck had fractured the concrete median and sent a hunk of it airborne through the windshield of an oncoming vehicle. Another car burst into flames. It was a horrible scene and the highway was blocked in both directions by strewn cars, debris and emergency vehicles.

A strange camaraderie developed among the occupants of the waiting vehicles. It was a lovely evening so many were out of their cars. The people were patient and generally somber with the occasional nervous laughter sprinkled throughout the crowd. Oddly, there were a ton of onlookers who parked on the outer roads (both sides) simply to watch. It seemed so intrusive to me and I can't imagine myself ever doing that.

Authorities finally allowed us to make U-turns, drive the wrong way on the highway and exit going up the down ramp. They didn't officially re-open Highway 40 in either direction for 4 hours.

Here is the paper's report of the accident.

The entire incident was a reminder of how precious life is. I am grateful to have not been involved except as a reluctant spectator, to have been simply inconvenienced in a very minor way, such an insignificant blip on the radar of my life. I think of all the other people and how their world was shaken by this event and I am saddened. I am grateful to Marian for being with me; she was the picture of calm; it seemed she brought that out in me as well. We shared an apple, talked about life and waited. Later, we headed for a restaurant and had some wine.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Yep, this is my new job title

I was just reviewing an application that says:

"Booth fee includes the city's $20 Peddler Permit."

Monday, June 12, 2006

Top this

In this crazy biz of art fairs, we are always trading stories. Each person trying to top the other with outlandish tales of what was said in your booth, the horrible weather experienced during shows, or any variety of art calamities. Since I am pretty new to this game I seldom have much to say.

The best one I have heard so far was from Joe Orr, a story he shared when we were all hanging out drinking (at Laumeier) on a cold wet evening when there were no customers to speak of. He is a low key yet funny guy and I have run into he and his wife Rita at a number of shows. They are an inspirational couple; truly lovely people.

Anyway, Joe told the story of a show where he hadn't been selling much. It was near the end of the show and he was frustrated. There was a guy who had been in the booth a couple times so Joe knew he was interested in the art. Finally a conversation ensued and the guy complimented Joe's work saying, "would you consider a trade?" Joe, being desperate at that point allowed that maybe he would. The guy explained that he was in the Tire Business and Joe thought to himself, this isn't great but might be ok, I could use a new set of tires for the van, so he sort of hmmm around until the man said, "well, I would trade you a set of retreads for that painting."

No joke. Joe declined of course, but it is a great story, still funny years later.

And now I have a story of my own.

Because on Sunday, at CWE, a dog peed on one of my tent legs. I saw it happen; the dog's owner was oblivious of course and kept walking. Thankfully it was a smallish dog who had apparently not been drinking a lot of liquid in that it wasn't a lot pee. Since the dog was short, it hit pretty low on the tent leg and missed the wall. But it was piss. I mean what can I say!?!?

Probably the worst part was that all the other dogs who approached my tent made a beeline to that exact spot, starting to lift their legs only to be pulled away by their attentive owners. I became fearful that every dog at the show would eventually try to pee on my tent so I took to standing next to the tent leg, guarding it. There was one little Yorkie who I swear would have peed on my foot had his owner not grabbed him in time.

John (of course!) came to my rescue with a soapy concoction to wash it down. He took one of our empty water bottles into the St. Louis Bread Company and filled it with hand soap and warm water. It wasn't disinfectant, but certainly the best we could do under the circumstances and I do think it helped.

But yeesh, can you believe!?!?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

As Luck would have it

We arrived around 6pm Friday night to set up our booth at the CWE show. They let us in early which was nice and everyone was so sweet, thanking us for participating, etc. A nice welcome to the show.

Until I got to my booth, #13, and found a huge pile of dog shit right next to my booth number. Aaaacckkk!!! I am somewhat superstitious anyway, so the #13 was sort of bugging me then I saw the dog shit and all bets were off. Even my dragon earrings didn't stand a chance.

But my friend Heather, ever the sweetie-pie simply announced, "this is the end of your bad luck, you have it all out of the way now." And right she was as I had a stupendous day on Saturday, selling my first piece during set up, hours before the show even opened! It was steady sales all day, more than I've had in the last several shows. I felt the evening developing along the same lines, lots of people with great buying energy.

Until the rumors artist heard we were going to experience 60 mile per hour winds......then a police officer said St. Charles (about 25? miles away) was being hit by a severe storm and we were on the same weather path........on and on it went. The skies darkened and artists started closing their booths. The crowds continued to swell, seemingly oblivious to the threatening situation. John and I weren't sure what to do. This weather in the Midwest is just so strange and many of the "predicted" storms never materialize. Even though some artists closed up, we rode the middle ground and got ready for rain, but didn't totally close our tent. We dropped the sides and zipped up the back. I tarped the dolley and had it ready to pull into the tent at a moment's warning.

All Hell broke loose around 7:45 when we heard loud thunder and the skies went black. So we quickly closed the front and killed the lights. We grabbed all our stuff - one huge tote bag, my purse, 2 coolers, the laptop case - and ran. It was about 3-4 blocks to the car. The wind was gusty, the rain just starting. We are both sadly out of shape but managed to put in a respectable pace.

The drive home was horrible, very heavy rain with water accumulation on the highway. But we made it safe and sound. It stormed all night long and I don't think I slept a wink. I kept imagining all these insane scenarios with my art popping off the walls of the tent and floating down the road into a sewer drain.

The weather was fine today despite continued dire predictions. Being the cautious sort, I wore my Walmart Wellies during the morning. The temperature had dropped a ton so it was a little chilly even, so odd for June. Sales were fine, but Saturday was my big day for sure. Must have been that lucky 13.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Amenities Schmenities

It is always nice when there are artist amenities at the shows. So far this year, 4 Bridges was the best with their amazingly generous Hospitality tent full of food and drink. Not to mention the very cool name tag. And the hotel rate (they blocked out suites at a great bargain price) just walking distance from the show. And the excellent Preview party. And the free parking. And free Wi-Fi on site. And wonderful volunteers for booth sitting. And the Patron dollars. And the Prize money. At Brookside, volunteers cruise regularly offering booth sitting and water. There is a Hospitality room with all sorts of drinks, fruit and snacks. Breakfast is offered every day and they deliver a meal to each artist on Saturday night including a glass of wine. Some shows offer discounted food to artists. Some shows give free t-shirts. It really varies, but you get the drift.

On the other hand, there are shows with few amenities. Like a certain un-named show I am doing on a certain un-named date. Not an inexpensive show; the booth price was mid-range, around $300 including electricity which may or may not materialize.

Basically it's a "Here's your space, don't bother us" kind of show. We are instructed to unload our stuff and leave it unattended on a public street while we then attempt to find parking for our truck.......not provided of course and not free. In an area not known for available parking.

There are no judges, thus no prizes. No party, no meals. No storage behind the booth. No free snacks or drinks, no WATER even......bring money they suggest, Since there are also no booth sitters, they suggest we get to know our neighbors. Hmmm.

I wonder if I'll get a name tag?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sign of a collage artist

I have gel medium stuck to my left eyebrow. God only knows how it got there. I just peeled it off and am a little afraid to look in the mirror. May have been a free form waxing of sorts.

I have been working on the world's ugliest painting. Not really, but it has gone through some ugly stages. It redefined layering, this one has, oh lordy I couldn't even say how many layers. So many that the collaged parts are mainly obliterated. And I gessoed over it at least once plus it had 3 showers which is a new record. I did some different things and handled my "problems" in new ways. Consequently it was a real learning experience. The painting is 30x24.

I am not totally sure what it's about; I need to live with it a little longer for it to tell me. But I think it's about cycles, changing gears. Venturing forth. Something like that.

It will be pushed into action early as I need to put it in a show this weekend. I just found out I have a corner booth too. Yikes, what a time to be low on inventory. I am going to raid my house of a few abstracts and put them on the outside walls of the booth. I am thinking of doing all 6x6's on the back wall; that would be totally different. Or maybe even hang less work, allow more white space all around. A more spare approach.......hmmm, that would be different too. Need to think on this.

So, if you're in St. Louis, come on out to the CWE. It's a fun show. You gotta love it when people stroll around with martinis.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Earlier this year (in Florida) we met Teresa Hays and her husband. We kept running into them at restuarants and it was clear we were like minded souls. I think Teresa is kind of a princess too.......meaning she likes to stay in a decent hotel, needs her creature comforts and her husband puts up her tent. We instantly liked one another. So imagine my delight when I ran into her at Summerfair!

She told me that a patron at the show had inquired as to whether the artists stayed in their tents each night.

Oh yeah, and we also make a big bonfire each night and sing Kum Ba Yah.

Monday, June 05, 2006

We are back from Summerfair in Cincinnati. It was a good show despite early threatening weather. We got the tent up before the rain hit on Thursday. It continued to rain all that night but lucky for us it tapered off about an hour or two into Friday's opening. Actually turned out to be a darn near perfect 75 degrees and sunny with no humidity.

My tent is so great, no rain leakage at all. It was funny though, the rain made the ground really damp (I was on grass) and each morning so much humidity had built up IN my tent it felt like a terrarium when I opened the bad there was condensation dripping off the inside of the tent.

I ordered a new chair last week and it arrived in time for this show. It is a "real" art show artist chair, not a cheap imitation like my previous director's chair which I have worn out in 2 seasons. The new one is gorgeous and really tall so I can leap out of it. The wood is smooth and sleek and just so new I didn't want the legs of the chair to get damp or muddy (yeah, I know it's inevitable, but just not the 1st time I use it). I ignored John's chuckling and used plastic grocery bags to fashion little "booties" for each leg of the chair in addition to a cover for the foot rest. All right, so maybe it wasn't the best look, but it worked and my chair still looks new.

I won an Honorable mention in the Painting category. In recognition, a trio of trumpeters stood in front of my booth and played a fanfare. Then the show director announced the award and a bunch of the show committee people all clapped. It was organized kind of like those birthday recognitions they do at Mexican chain restaurants, ie very embarrassing. My mom happened to be at my booth when the award was given and I think she got a kick out of it. The downside is she might have memorialized the event on film. Seriously though, I am thrilled by the award, which gives me automatic acceptance into next year's show.