Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kate Who???

Those of you who know my sense of fashion (or lack there of) will probably be surprised by my latest purchase.  I also don't have a lifestyle where I have much opportunity to use cute little evening bags.  But I do have a collection of art from local artists in a variety of media.

When I first saw Kent Stetson's bags, I fell in love with most all of them.  I had a hard time justifying buying even one because I was thinking of them as purely functional.  Kent mentioned that one of his customers bought one just to display, and that was all I needed to hear.  His bags are a form of 3 dimensional art worthy to sit amongst my paintings, pottery, rugs and art glass.  They are fun, tactile, and well made. They sparkle, shine or shimmer, and they are all his designs.  His background as an artist has found a new outlet in his bags.  I've been remiss about spotlighting artists from my collection; Kent's bags have got me back into that mode.  (And I will find reasons to use these bags as well as put them on display.)

So who needs a Kate Spade when you have a Kent Stetson.  Check out his Etsy shop if you want to be chic and hip (like me!).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Life's Lesson for $50

I look at all my art related activities as contributing to my “education.”  My classes at Rhode Island School of Design and other workshops I’ve taken are the most obvious formal lessons.  On the other end of the spectrum, I consider each painting a “class” that I may or may not learn from. 

Last weekend, I participated in the Pawtucket Arts Festival and got a lesson in marketing AND life.  The marketing lesson cost me $50 (entrance fee) and taught me that my work may not be appropriate for all Art Festivals.  But, I also got a few life lessons that were (o.k., I’ll say it) priceless!  First, I had wonderful neighbors (unexpected cold beers where the best!) but secondly, were the wonderful people who stopped by my booth.  No one bought a painting, but the morning of the second day, one of my booth neighbors altered my frame of mind.

People came to the festival for many different reasons (food, music, culture, crafts).  Fine Art was not high on many lists and many probably stopped at my booth just because it was on the way.  I got wonderful compliments, but I was caught off guard by the number of people who couldn’t believe that I had actually painted all the paintings in my booth.  I think it may have been the first time they connected a painting to a live person.  Their reactions of surprise and admiration seemed quite genuine.  I often get that reaction from kids, but never from so many adults.  One gentleman had been out of work for many years (and probably longer without healthcare).  He just wanted to just stand and watch me paint.  He was amazed how a mass of purple transformed into grapes. 

So here is my life lesson:  I didn’t sell a painting, but I like to think there are a few more people out there who will look at a painting differently.