Saturday, June 26, 2021

New Art Gallery

 There's a new art gallery opening up in, of all places, Mars Hill, NC, right here where I live.  Miryam Rojas, the owner, saw an opportunity.  There was a large building in town that was sitting empty.  It was originally built as a roller rink, then served as a factory and an antique mall, among other things.  It featured a large open space, beautiful wood floors (well, beautiful after 70 years of crud was sanded off), plenty of parking, and an untapped location in an area teeming with artists.  She thought that what this area needed was an art gallery.  And she is making it happen.

Miryam contacted me several months ago as she was getting the ball rolling.  Since I'm the director of the Mars Hill University Art Gallery, she thought I might have a few ideas.  We got together a few times to talk over ideas and possibilities.  She also asked me to be one of the gallery's stable of artists and I was more than happy to join.  Then she put it all into action.  This evening, she held a soft opening for artists and media.  I walked in and was immediately blown away.  Just to the right, as soon as you walk in the door, is a long wall of rough-cut wood, and seven of my artworks are hanging there.  

There are some really, really good artists here already and more soon.  Mars Landing Gallery's grand opening will be Saturday, July 10, from noon to 7 pm.  If you're in the area, I recommend coming by.  The gallery is the big purple building right behind the library.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Wedding Painters: Dressing for an Event

 Wedding season is in high gear.  Right now in the studio, I have one painting that's approved and waiting to be picked up, one painting that's waiting for the couple to comment or approve it, and one painting that's about midway through the process.  And this afternoon, I've got another ceremony and reception to go to.  Busy times!

I get questions from other artists about various aspects of being a wedding painter.  How much to charge?  What equipment do I need?  Oil or acrylic?  Complete it in one night or over a period of weeks?  To each of those questions, my usual answer is "it depends".  It depends mostly on the individual artist and their own preferences.  One item that depends less on personal preferences is, what to wear?  I'm thinking of that because I'm about to start getting dressed for the event, so thought I'd share some comments.

As a wedding painter, I'm a vendor providing a service at a high-profile ceremony for one of the most important events in the couple's lives.  That means to dress up, to respect the nature of the event, but not so much that I draw attention to myself.  Most of the people working at such events wear black shirts and either long black pants or (women) long black skirts.  The reason is that the workers should be respectful, wear something that doesn't restrict movements, and at the same time be invisible.  Black clothing, for worker bees, says "you don't see me".  This is the same reason that the wait staff in many upscale restaurants wear black.  It's not to be trendy, it's to be invisible.

 As a live event painter, there are two events where I'm busy: the ceremony and the reception.

For the ceremony, I'll be busy shooting a lot of photos in and around the crowd.  So I'll wear black pants, shirt, and shoes to minimize my visibility to the guests.  Be real: will they really see me?  Yes.  Will their eyes skim right over me?  Also yes.  That's the point.

The reception is different.  I'm there, at the easel, painting away.  I'm part of the entertainment and I want people to come up and talk to me.  I don't want to be invisible.  So I'll typically wear black pants, a white shirt, and a colorful tie, with a black apron over it so I don't have to buy new black pants, white shirt, and colorful tie for every wedding.  

Most of the wedding vendors that I work with follow similar clothing protocols.  One wedding planner that I've worked with several times has some very elegant long black dresses.  She's dressed up, but if she has to do an emergency tuck on the bride's dress in the middle of the ceremony, she's not out of place.  On the other hand, one photographer showed up in cargo shorts, a sloppy gray T-shirt with a an unbuttoned and very faded short-sleeve shirt over it, and ragged running shoes.  Not cool.

So for those considering becoming wedding artists, give a lot of thought to what you wear.  And the next time you're at some kind of ceremony, look at what the workers are wearing.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Wedding Paintings Again

 I've done two live weddings this year.  It's good to be back in action again!  One painting is completed and approved by the couple, while the other painting is still underway in the studio.  To give you an idea of how far these wedding paintings develop, here's how the first one looked at the end of the reception: 

Not a bad start.  No features in the faces, no detail anywhere, just suggestions of the figures and their environment. And here's how it turned out:

Quite a difference!  Every square inch has been reworked, some multiple times.  I'm happy with the way it turned out.  Most importantly, they're happy with it. 

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Beginning To Look Like Normal

 Wow, over a month since my last post.  Been a busy time.  Highlights:

I did my first in-person wedding in over a year and a half.  Since the couple and most of the guests were doctors, and therefore vaccinated, I felt pretty safe.  It was a beautiful event at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville.  The painting is almost done and I'll share it here soon.  Just trying to finish up a couple of tweaks.

At the same time, I was asked to help with preparing a proposal for a federal contract.  It was supposed to be a very easy one, with most of the work already done.  Oh, hell, no.  It turned out to be anything but.  So I've been spending way more time on it than I really had available.  Fortunately, everybody involved has really kicked in with their contributions, drafts, reviews, Zoom meetings, and more reviews.  Now it's a really strong proposal.  I think my part is done and I can get back to studio work.

This past weekend, I did my second live wedding event.  This was quite a bit different from the first one.  This was a Hindu wedding, which is always a very BIG affair, both in time and attendees.  Due to pandemic considerations, the guest list was trimmed from about 1,000 down to about 400.  So I wore my mask.  It was quite a fun event and I have a decent start to the painting in the studio.  I'll post images when it's done.

And I have another wedding coming up in two weeks.  I gotta get these first two done and out of the studio soon! 

Over the past couple of weeks, I'm seeing a big change in mask-wearing, COVID protocols, and people's attitudes.  More people are acting as if the pandemic is a thing of the past.  It's not.  So even though I'm vaccinated, I'm still being careful.  If I don't have to go into a place with lots of people, I don't; if I have to enter, I wear a mask and try to stay away from others.  You can get just as dead now from the disease as you could have six months ago and I don't want it to be me.