Good afternoon my dear friends,
I returned from a cold and rainy 8K morning race in Lost Dutchman State Park today. Running is not my favorite form of exercise, but thanks to Megan's Christmas present for me it kept me in good health! Thousands of runners attended despite the ill weather to challenge their strengths in a marathon, half-marathon, 10K, 8K Trail Run, 2 Mile and 1 Mile races. The only downside I found in this experience was my wet shirt rubbing against my chest, I now have chapped nipples. And no it does not feel as funny as it sounds!
So anywho, lets slow it down and talk about walking.
Thursday and Friday this last week I attended the art walks of Scottsdale and Chandler, Arizona. Scottsdale has a weekly walk every Thursday from 6-9. Chandler's was Friday from 7-10.
On Wednesday I emailed the group in charge of Chandler's walk who granted me a place in the event. I felt a little more comfortable knowing I would have my own assigned area for painting. Where the organizers of Scottsdale were unaware I would be showing up to paint! EEEK!
With a few panels and my french easel I found an open space in front of an empty storefront. I figured this way I wouldn't step on the toes of a gallery showing other artists.
Luckily I still had my solar powered lantern in my backpack to help me see the painting. I spent the full 3 hours working on this panel. I would say 60% of the people who passed me on the sidewalk stopped and took a closer look. My favorite part of these walks is meeting new people who may not have been around the making of a painting. This offers a very up close and personal experience for them.
As I was setting up two young ladies curiously stopped and struck up a conversation about what I was doing. They stayed for 15 minutes and one left me with her business card because she works for a local newspaper/magazine. She mentioned putting an article out about me so if it pans out I would be excited to find more exposure!
The rest of the night was well worth the drive from Queen Creek. I met people from around the country and one family from Canada. My pile of business cards and digital prints disappeared by the end of the event. I try to go into these experiences with an open mind and positive attitude that maybe it will lead to other opportunities. The only way to gain experience is by starting where you can, and I've always enjoyed these DIY ways of marketing.
Here's how the painting turned out, because the streets were so dark I chose to study these geraniums. Once the panel dries I'll look for a frame and add it to my Etsy shop!
Not knowing ahead of time what I was going to work on made this painting a fun challenge. My palette consisted of Vermillion, Burn Umber, Ivory Black, Cadmium Lemon, Olive Green and Ultramarine Blue. Most of my colors are made by Gamblin, but the Vermillion is one of few tubes I have from Old Holland.
I'm happy I took the time to put my artwork literally into the streets of a new town. As a small celebration I stopped through McDonalds on my way home for a Shamrock Shake!
On Friday I packed my Corolla with a small table, my french easel, boxes of brushes and paint, my 40" square canvas WIP "Sponge", an extension cord, and lights I picked up from Lowe's on my way there. Chandler's Art Walk happens monthly so I'm really happy I took the chance to attend. Originally I researched their event in hopes to sell my artwork, but you have to apply 3 weeks before the walk you want to participate in to be a selling booth. And you have to pay two fees. It was a long shot, but I asked if I could come and do live painting without worrying about the application. Fortunately the group admitted me in and it turned out to be a night full of great conversations!
For most of the event I was alone and felt uncomfortable taking time photos of myself working. Luckily when Megan and Carla arrived they helped out with photos, packing, and they brought me two empanadas! Delicious!
Here are a few of the other shots Megan took, by this time the event had ended and most visitors evacuated so you don't get a feel for the crowd I met. snooze you lose.
A few of the memorable visitors I met included a group of 5 cub/boy scouts! Ages probably from 6 to 11. They stopped by twice before heading home! I let a few of them help me work on the painting. I asked them what they thought the painting was about and they had no problem sharing ideas! Children give the most honest feedback in my opinion. One of these boys had an interpretation that was very close to where my idea lies in "Sponge". I'm grateful to be have a passion that can reach people in such humble and intimate ways. These two nights of painting reminded me how much I enjoy sharing my process with the public. I hope I can find more events to be part of while I live in Arizona!
Total I think I let 4 different groups, and maybe 9 or 10 kids help me paint. Seeing their faces light up with excitement and nervousness was a joy to witness. Most parents felt scared for me and asked more than once if it was okay. Being able to say that paint is a forgiving medium and fixing mistakes is always possible, made them feel more comfortable. Plus I look at it as a chance to learn from kids. There's always something to take away from the way each person paints. I'm lucky to have been supported and encouraged as a young artist which in turn shows me how crucial encouragement is for young artists.
Stay tuned for news on future art walks and fewer runs! Thanks for reading and I hope you've had a wonderful weekend so far!