Friday, September 10, 2010

Hang Time

The "Big Letter" promo card for the exhibition.

Posted by Rich- Long days and nights in the studio the past two weeks became the norm as I got closer to the show and worked to finish the artwork. Finishing the painting is one thing; getting the work matted, framed, labeled, and generally cleaned up enough for presentation and hopefully a sale is another chore altogether, and one I am not particularly fond of.

As much as one of my previous blog posts seemed to be a complaint about the creative process I go through to complete each piece, it really isn’t all stressful tedium. Painting and drawing is really quite relaxing, and when I’m not doing any of either I find myself thinking about it, and what I would like to paint or draw when I finish whatever I have in my studio at present. To me, the nicest thing about finishing a painting is not displaying it, but being able to start another one that hopefully will come out better. If I could afford it, I’d much rather pay some one else to do all my framing and hanging while I just made more work in my studio.

I was able to finish eleven pieces for this exhibition. I had started a twelfth, a large watercolor of the Crossroads Diner. That particular one will have to wait, however, as I felt I could not give it the attention it deserves; it has the potential to be a very nice piece, and I really want to do a good job rendering the stainless steel and glass exterior. I was able to get it about a quarter of the way finished when I decided to concentrate on other compositions for the New Jersey Blues exhibition.

Besides the Crossroads Diner, other works in progress – “progress” meaning they are either started with watercolor, drawn in pencil on unstretched watercolor paper, or consist of a drawing transferred to a stretched canvas- include a 1951 Ford, front end view (I always liked the 1951’s , and I painted a similar one in acrylics a few years ago and sold it right away); a triptych of truss bridges spanning the New Jersey Transit rail line to Manhattan ( see the bridge post earlier on for details on my fascination with bridges of this type); two large canvases of railroad subjects, a tank car and a coal car, taken from photos snapped on a sunny winter day almost 2 years ago ( I like trains- not enough to have a large model train layout in my basement, but enough to buy and enjoy magazines like The Railroad Press); 2 separate paintings of old John Deere tractors ( I like tractors, too. I’d really like to try driving one. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many opportunities to try one out…no one offers a course on tractor driving) and a painting of an old Mack truck, a Model B. ( I had a metal toy of a Mack B Model when I was very small. The toy has long since disappeared, but the affection for the truck lives on; I’ve painted Model B’s several times over the years…)

A Mack "B" Model truck....

Frames and mat boards have been purchased, and a night devoted to measuring, cutting, glass cleaning, and labeling the works for exhibition took place. John and I also spent an evening hanging the work in the gallery, with John graciously agreeing to hang work the night before the gallery opens for business on Friday morning; I can always use every available minute, and then some, to get this work completed. I stayed until midnight or so after we got done hanging work to apply more paint to the Zega Farm watercolor.

This needed a lot more work...come by the exhibition to see how it looks finished, although unsigned.

John and I have exhibited work together before, and set a precedent with one of our shows by mingling the photography and paintings together in the exhibition space. Prior to this, the usual practice for the 2 artists exhibiting that month was to display on opposite sides of the gallery, splitting the space evenly. I like combining the work, since John and I both focused on the same subject, and since I feel like my eleven paintings- 3 of which are only 8 x 6 inches- do not take up much space on a wall when they are displayed by themselves, and I don’t want one side of the gallery space to appear lonely. Especially my side…

After we arranged all the pieces, it looks like we had more than enough work to fill the walls, with John's larger photographs looking particularly good.As a matter of fact, the entire gallery looks great. Unfortunately, I’m still not 100% satisfied with all the work I completed…sometimes I hesitate to sign my work if I feel like it's not completely finished, and I want to go back and add more to it.

We also created an announcement postcard that reflects the theme of the exhibition, a “big letter” design reminiscent of the postcards purchased as souvenirs or sent from resort locations like Atlantic City in the middle of the last century.

It has been the practice for members of our gallery to place art in the front window of the gallery, hoping to entice pedestrians on Bridge Street in Lambertville to come in and look at the current exhibit. John and I chose to have a large ( 44 inches wide) version of our big letter post card placed on an easel- hopefully the nostalgic appeal of the card will attract patrons in. Stop by Lambertville and see for yourself if it works!

The BIGGER "Big Letter" postcard in the gallery window...

artist in picture for scale comparison only!

The Opening Reception for the exhibition is Saturday, September 11th at 5 PM- I did not tell many people about it, mostly because I was buried in work and worried that I wouldn’t have many pieces finished in time…however, the Artist’s Gallery has a pretty good publicity mechanism in place, and John has been great at getting notices out to people, so maybe the Opening will be well attended.

…I’m already thinking about my next exhibition.

Got this one finished,and signed! It looks a lot better than this in progress piece.

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