I’ve been on a roll teaching workshops here, there and everywhere since last summer. I had classes booked solid through March and finished my last one recently.
April is set aside for several activities. The annual Oracle Artist Studio Tour (www.oraclestudiotour.com) is April 8th & 9th from 10am-5pm each day. In addition to being on hand during the tour, it takes about a week to move all the items from this working studio (tables, easels, art supplies on large wire shelving racks, stuff all over all the tables, etc. etc.) out of the studio in order to transform it into a more gallery-like setting. Luckily everything just gets moved into the adjacent space otherwise known as Jim’s beer brewery.
Then there’s the bi-annual floor scrubbing, wall and window cleaning. A dreadful chore.
After this the big decision is figuring out which paintings to display. All new work? All small work with lower price points (and more chances to sell)? All older work? A mix of all? Just the Water painting series? How about my new flower series—Bloom? What about showing both series or is it better to keep it consistent? It’s not an actual show after all. Should I cram as much work as possible into the space or put less work up so people don’t go into overwhelm? Do I show the prices or not? As I said in the title, a pile-up in my brain.
Designing the space to make it look more like a gallery includes more than just getting all the clutter out of sight. Jim shares the space—just for the studio tour, to be clear—so there’s negotiating the wall and floor space to accommodate both of us. Do we intermix our work or keep it separate? Who gets the area by the front door and who gets the back of the studio?
Then there’s food. I go into a frenzy of cooking, usually Friday night—several types of cookies, brownies, guacamole and chips…If we run out by the end of the first day, I’m back in the kitchen that evening to produce more. Why don’t I just buy all this stuff at the grocery store or a bakery you ask? I suppose it’s a warped sense of hospitality. Plus it’s a 45 minute drive one way to the bakery. It’s true that some visitors spend more time eating and admiring my cookies than looking at the artwork. Kind of like sampling the foods at Costco. So maybe no food at all in order to keep people focused on the artwork?
You’d think after doing this event for the past 6 years that all of this would be pretty simple. Just follow what we’ve done in previous years. But alas, my brain just doesn’t work that way. Instead I rethink the whole thing, obsess about the details, get crazy. As you can see from the above.
But don’t worry, after all is organized and ready and the tour is on, it’s great fun to meet and talk to the people who visit from Tucson, Phoenix and locally. They are here to have fun. No need for them to be aware of what goes into this production. And I have such a good time that I forget too until Monday morning rolls around and it’s time turn my space back into a studio!
One more work activity for April (not art related) that takes about 2 weeks and then in May I’ll start having time to focus on what I really do, which is to paint! A long wonderful summer is just around the bend for me and I hope for you also.