Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Very Happy Thanksgiving!

I seldom show my family or post purely personal experiences, but felt like thanking God one more time with a few images from our holiday gathering. For both my husband and me, celebrating with a large extended family has not been possible for--well--for decades. Our siblings, nieces and nephews all live a distance away and are scattered in various eastern and Great Lakes states. Even our immediate family has not been able to gather very often, due to distance and other factors, until this past year. Our California son and his wife moved to the Atlanta, Georgia area a little over a year ago, and our other son and his wife live right here in Jacksonville, Florida.
We feel deeply grateful to have our four wonderful "kids" (have to count the amazing women the boys married as our own, too) fairly nearby. Last Thanksgiving the six of us celebrated in Jacksonville with a meal on Thanksgiving Friday so that one couple could gather with her side of the family on Thursday and to make travel simpler for the others. However, our Georgia daughter-in-law gave up considerable income to be with us on Friday and Saturday. So this year, we all met at their home south of Atlanta. None of us can stop talking about how terrific it was to be together again this year.
The photos show Sumry's beautiful table setting, the fantastic cooks (Ashley and Sumry--Husband, Mark did a lot of baking, too, and I made a dish, but had the easiest holiday ever), the expert clean-up crew (Dirk and Pete), and the guys watching the turkey deep fryer (until we moved south, I never would have believed that a fried turkey could be so juicy, non-greasy, and delicious--not to mention the under-an-hour cooking time). Extra points to readers who can untangle that ridiculous sentence! The pictures also show what gorgeous weather we enjoyed for the day.
This comes with prayers and hopes that all of you have enough of what really matters in life and that you live in thankfulness and peace.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Open Studio Reception -- a Great Party

Our daughter-in-law outdid herself catering our Open Studio Reception last week. All the food was absolutely delicious, and the table looked festive and appealing. The irresistible desserts looked lovely on a buffet on the side, and our guests certainly did them justice. A fine calligrapher, Ashley made little signs for each dish so that there was no mystery about the food. UPDATE: I have added an index to all blog posts about planning and holding an art reception. Access it here. 

I would have liked more photos of the whole scene and the guests interacting, but hosting and mingling (and attaching those wonderful "sold" stickers to some paintings) were much more important. We were fortunate with the weather; although it was cloudy, the afternoon steadily brightened and became milder, but not hot. You see a few of the guests enjoying the gentle breeze in the backyard.
For the artists among my readers--and anyone else interested--I will soon post more information about the reception details. Important features of the day like the guest book, door prizes, sales tax, receipts, and studio policies all needed to be considered, planned, and set up in advance. You may find ideas for your own parties and for art marketing.
Question of the day: Isn't it fantastic that we can share events and information through blogs?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Set-up for the Open Studio Reception

Our Open Studio Reception this past Sunday afternoon was a wonderful event in every way. It will take me a few posts to tell you all about it. The support of my rock (husband Mark), the incredible catering of our daughter-in-law, Ashley (with her able assistant, husband Pete), the classy piano music of our friend Greg, and the warmth and encouragement of many friends and neighbors made this possible. Given my shy, introverted nature, planning--even considering--this kind of event is extremely daunting. But my life has been enriched over and over by the times that I push myself way out of my comfort zone to achieve a new goal--like staging this event. UPDATE: I have now added an index to all blog posts about planning and holding an art reception. Access it here.

These photos were taken the afternoon before on a heavily clouded day. I had hoped for brighter weather on the day of the reception, but it stayed quite cloudy all day Sunday. Thus, some photos are too dark too show you, and none of them quite do justice to the display of paintings shown all around our home. In these, you see a pair of 5" x 7" marsh paintings atop a chest of drawers in our bedroom, scenes from two very different local beaches hanging in the guest bedroom (one 18" x 24" and the other 12" x 16"), and a 9" x 12" sanderling in the surf on a nightstand.
Altogether, I showcased 17 paintings of coastal North Florida scenes in various sizes and prices. I sold two immediately and have several people considering investing in some of the larger pieces. Last time we held an Open Studio Reception, two major paintings sold about two weeks later, once patrons had time to think it over. I always offer a full refund for any reason because it is important to give buyers a chance to try a piece out in their home or business to make sure it works well for them. All my artist friends tell me that selling even one piece at this kind of event is good, that giving people an opportunity to see the work is the main purpose. The first time we tried a reception like this, I was truly amazed to sell a total of 8 paintings (counting those sold later as a result of the showcase) and of course, did not expect a repeat of that.
Then, to my surprise, I sold a painting that was not for sale! A gentleman was asking about my earlier work and admiring a scene of dunes and sea that I had done on heavy art paper about 8 years ago--early in my painting career. I told him that it had never mounted properly and pointed out some air bubbles under the work. To encourage myself, I had framed it anyway because I liked the way it had turned out. However, I had never offered it for sale because of the mounting flaws. Undeterred, he made a fair offer for the piece--and I made a totally unexpected sale.
Question of the day: Don't you just love it when an unexpected bonus comes your way? I give thanks for even the very minor serendipities in life.