It seems I'm not very good at keeping up with this whole blog thing. I turn my back for a half second, and BOOM!!! January is over and done with, and February is almost halfway gone. I hope you all had a great start to the new year. Here at the studio, it has been just WILD with unexpected opportunities and the beginning of a new collection. So grab some hot chocolate, settle in with your furry friends on the couch, and have a read.
So, as you may or may not remember, my studio resolution for 2018 was to add more texture and depth to my work. I think I'm coming along in that regard, and it will be an ongoing resolution for 2019. Case in point: I finally got started on the Rivers of Texas Collection! Have a look at some photos. I will do a blog devoted to the production of these beauties, but that's a story for another day. Hopefully, I will get to it before I leave to go to New Mexico at the end of next month. At the rate I'm going, though, I wouldn't bet money on it. Right now, I'm just trying to keep up with the demand. Both galleries I'm in wanted several pieces for display! Oh, that's right, I need to tell you about that, don't I...
Another studio resolution for 2019 is to get past my fear and embarrassment of self-promotion and contact more galleries to get my work out into the world. After all, I do have a turquoise habit to support and two kitties to keep stocked with tuna in the manner to which they have become accustomed. As you may have read in last month's blog, I started this resolution early and got accepted into the C Gallery in Corpus Christi for a three month stint starting in mid-May. Lest you think this process has been a walk in the park, I have since contacted dozens of galleries and have not received responses from most of them, and the majority of the rest have been "no room in the inn" or "not our style". I find that this process is kind of like fishing. You just have to throw your bait out on the water and see what happens. I do, however, have fantastic news! I did hear back from a wonderful gallery in Galveston called From the HeART Gallery. It's on historic Postoffice Street near the Galveston Grand Opera. This coincided with both the Galveston Art Walk and a professional photo shoot in Austin (cuz I'm trying to fancy up my marketing and all that).
I went to Austin to visit with Annie Winsett of Crafting Exposure, a one-woman consulting agency for creatives. She does photography, she does promotions, she gives workshops on marketing your art, and a lot of other great stuff. She was was super-easy to work with and I'm very happy with my pictures.
From Austin, I went to San Antonio to visit with my friend and woodwind repair colleague Justin and drink rocket fuel for coffee, eat some LEGIT breakfast tacos, and gripe about tenon cork replacements and the cost of supplies. After a quick stop in San Antonio, I drove to Port Aransas in the rain to have the beach to myself for a few days and to scope out the art scene. I'm sad that I didn't get to see Esther and her family this time around, but I did get to see Kellie and hers. A fun time as always! Below are some gratuitous beach pictures in Port Aransas and North Padre Island.
From Corpus Christi, I drove up the coast on Highway 35. People, let me tell you something. There is a WHOLE LOTTA NOTHING up through there, and it is absolutely glorious. Even in the rain. I drove through downtown Rockport, such as it was, poked around a bit, then headed onward in the general direction of Galveston. I managed to find the world's smallest Buc-ee's gas station somewhere outside of Port Lavaca. Seriously! It was like a plain old regular gas station. No wall of candy, no giant bathroom, no beaver statue, no nothing. They did have some powerful coffee, so there was that. (For those of you of you unfamiliar with Buc-ee's gas stations, they are a destination in and of themselves. Google it and be amazed.)
I was expecting Highway 35 to be a major road, but it was just a two-lane road cruising through the bayous and beaches and salt grass prairies of the gulf coast, and I have to say it is my second most favorite region of Texas, after the Hill Country in spring time. So anyway, I drove and drove and drove and eventually ended up in West Columbia (which was not really my intention, because I intended to cut across on Hwy 36 towards Lake Jackson and on over to Surfside, but NOOOOOOO my GPS cut out somewhere around Bay City. Also, I was worried about flooding.). West Columbia is a cute little town, but if you blink, you'll probably miss it. From there I managed to find my way to Angleton, head south towards Clute, and then all the vegetation disappeared and there was nothing but saltwater marsh. I was not prepared for this abrupt change and it caught me off guard. In spite of my mutinous GPS, I did make it to Surfside Beach. I shall not be doing that again.
After visiting the sketchiest public restroom on the island, I headed up the Bluewater Highway to get to Galveston Island. You know, on the map, it looks like it would be a lot more, ummm, populated. You would be wrong for assuming that. I crossed over the bridge, paid my $2 toll, and went on. Behold, more gratuitous pictures. Beach access was not happening down on that end of the island, mostly because I didn't know where I was going, I was concerned about alligators eating me, and I was getting hungry.
After arriving in Galveston proper, I got settled in and did my obligatory beach walk, then went to From the HeART Gallery and met Samitha (one of the owners) and took care of the necessary paperwork to become part of the gallery, which is an eclectic mix of some wonderful local and national artists. I set up my display case and got to meet some of the gallery artists. Then I went to, you guessed it, the beach! (I know you're probably getting sick of all my beach pictures, but tough cookies. I like the beach in winter. It's just me and the sea gulls.).
Friday night was the Art Talk at the gallery. Five of the featured artists got in front of the group of visitors and talked about their processes, their inspiration, and why they decided to become artists. It was very educational, especially about the painting techniques (who knew medieval painters used rabbit skin-based glue to afix linen to board to do their oil paintings?! Also, ghosting, and not the kind that happens with online dating.), and it was touching to hear each artist's personal story. Maybe someday I'll get the guts and the space in my schedule to speak, but not any time soon, ha ha. Saturday night was the Art Walk, and even though it was WINDY AND FREEZING COLD, it was well attended. It was kind of overwhelming, to be honest, but I did my best, and everyone was lovely.
Sunday I had to say goodbye to Galveston and head back to Carrollton-vegas. I will tell you that once you get out of Houston, I-45 is not so bad to travel on. I would rather drive I-45 than I-35 any day of the week, thank you very much. I did one more beach walk and managed to get caked in wet sand all the way up to my knees because I may or may not have been playing in the water at 45 degrees while the wind was whipping the sand off the dunes and embedding itself in my jeans. And I can neither confirm nor deny that I didn't have my shoes on. Kids, don't' try this at home.
My next big adventure was the Mary Lee Hu workshop at the Craft Guild of Dallas. There was so much that happened there, that it deserves its own blog. Hold me to that, y'all. I will write it and show you what happened. Craziness!!!
After the workshop, my next event was at McKinney Coffee Company. The owner, Joy, was gracious enough to invite me to do a pop-up shop at the coffee house, so I did. The biggest challenge was condensing my inventory into a four foot space, because, let's face it, it would be ridiculous to have a 10 feet x 10 feet setup in a tiny coffee shop! I managed to make it work, and am rather pleased with the results. A fun time and lots of caffeine was had by all!
My next adventure will take me all the way to Las Cruces, New Mexico, then up to Albuquerque where I hope to tour Rio Grande (my main supplier for silver and other jewelry making supplies), and then on to Santa Fe! I'll keep you posted. And, as always, here are some gratuitous cat pictures as a reward for making it to the end of my blog. See you next time!