Saturday, August 15, 2009

Patterns in Wood, Art Shows

Door in the Wall
14 x 20 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
by Miki Willa
There is an old lumber complex on Lake Washington near the southeast end of the lake. For years there were log booms in the lake where the mill got its raw materials. Later, it was occupied by a wood product manufacturer. Now, it is abandoned. On a recent artist field trip, Tom and I found ourselves wandering these premises to gather reference photos. As we were walking back to the car, I caught sight of this door in the middle of a wall created with concrete and varying wood panels. The window panes in the door reflected the bright sun that was out that day. I fell in love with the colors, shapes and patterns on this wall. I loved the patterns in the wood and the concrete and how they worked against each other. I really liked the brilliance of the reflection in the windows. I relished the challenge of capturing all of this in pastel.
I started this painting by blocking out the shapes. Then I added the darks in the woods so the grain would work. I added lighter values as I came to the surface of the wood in places where the lighter grain showed. I added the door and the light fixture to the left of the door last. I pushed some of the colors to capture the emotions I had when I first saw this wall, especially in the windows. I am happy with this work.
We have done three art shows this spring and summer and have been very disappointed at the outcome. It is hard not to think negative thoughts about my art at this point. I know the economy is not in the right place for people to be buying art that does not serve another function, like serving bowls or quilts. That doesn't help at the moment. Another problem has been the venue in two of them and the timing in one. That, also, does not help. We have two more shows coming up. I am working on being optimistic about both of them. One of them is part of a show billed as an art show. The second one is in an area where I know quite a few people. There is a lesson to be learned in all of this, or probably many lessons. One of them has to be about marketing. Hopefully, I will figure it all out soon and the next shows will be better.
The next show is in downtown Renton, The Arts and Antique Walk. It is next Saturday, August 22. We are on Third Ave. in front of A-1 Locks, across the street from the Western Store.
On September 12 and 13, we will be in Lake Boren Park at Return to Newcastle Days. If you are in the area, I hope to see you there.


Casey Klahn said...

This is a very nice work, Miki. I think that you have an eye for ideas and compositions.

You have entered the market at a bad time (apparently) and that is discouraging. I would value your just getting "in" and "up" and don't let sales be your valuation.

Work on the mailing list. Do a great job on that.

Do some venues where nothing is for sale (colleges, etc.).

Just like that lumber business went bye bye, it goes to show the cyclic nature of the economy. What goes down will eventually come back up!


Casey Klahn said...

Don't be afraid to quiz your peers at these shows about their sales curve, both now and in the past.

Elena said...

It'a a beautiful painting. I just love wood and doors. I wish I could capture what I 'see' in my mind's eye. You did a good job here. Don't give up hope with the art shows. It's not a reflection on you as an artist but the economy. Keep positive energies flowing!

Elena said...

I wish you well at your showing this weekend. Remember, your art is beautiful - it's an extension of you.