Friday, February 14, 2014

REFLECTIONS ON TRIP TO SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL ARIZONA, JAN-FEB 2014

On the way to Yuma!
We recently returned from an amazing two weeks in the great state of Arizona. The last and only time I had been there was some 21 years ago and, though we drove from far south to Vegas and back, it was the images of the red rocks of Sedona that were forever etched in my mind. I can't believe that it took two decades to make my way back. However, this time I was able to gain an even greater appreciation for the scenery of the great Southwest (beyond just famous Sedona).

Along with my husband and sister, we flew into Phoenix, rented a car and headed to Yuma. My husband's dad and some extended family call that area home now, having moved from Idaho and other up-North climates. Some of them are still "snow birds," coming down for the winter and heading back home as the temperatures rise in the South and stop plummeting in the North. Our timing was intentional. Family is important to both my husband and I and this visit was long overdue.

I had never been in the Yuma area before. For the most part, the scenery is typical desert Southwest. Vast, flat plateaus dotted with towering Saguaro cactus, thorny Buckhorn Cholla, and Ocotilla, also known as Coachwhip. Serving as a perfect backdrop for the deserts were foothills of various mountain ranges, but for someone who lives in the Texas Hill Country, they were all mountains to us.

Date Palm tree orchard near Yuma.
Two features of the Yuma area came as a surprise.

First, it's not all dry desert. In fact, the area is a huge supplier of vegetables. We would drive past fields upon fields of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, spinach and more. Fact: Yuma county is the nation's third largest vegetable producer and tops in winter vegetables. The second surprise: dates. OK, so you do find palms in the desert. But I never thought about acres of palm trees thriving in Southwest Arizona. They have the most delicious Medjool dates. And don't even get me started on the date milkshakes. Wow, who would have thoughts that bits of date blended into ice cream would be so tasty? Another little fact for you: the Yuma area grows more Medjool dates than anywhere else in the world!

One of hundreds of booths in Quartzsite.
In addition to some quality time with my father-in-law, one of David's brothers, a special cousin and an aunt, we took a few day trips around the area. One highlight was a few hours spent in Quartzsite, north of Yuma. The little town is, for some reason, a huge draw for RVers who come in droves during the winter months. Plus, it has at least 9 big rock-n-mineral-n-gem festivals each year and acres of swap meets. We walked one of the shows, where hundreds of exhibitors gathered to sell their jewelry, beads, rocks and art.

David's family hosted a bonfire while we were there. We spent the evening watching the fire burn as the sun set on the desert, while listening to stories from his wonderful aunt, a "snow bird" from Wyoming, along with cousins, dad and brother. His family has a long tradition of heading South for the winter, where they park their RVs and travel trailers on the desert and soak up the sun for several months. We were grateful for this quality time with his family.
 As you may have noticed, I haven't mentioned anything about art or galleries. This part of the trip was more about family and a little sight seeing. After our week in Yuma, we headed back to Phoenix to drop my sister at the airport since she was heading back home. The next week, David and I spent exploring the greater Phoenix area and beyond, with our focus on finding gallery representation for my wildflower art.

If you are not familiar with the area, here's a little info. While people talk about Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and Mesa as four cities, if you look at the map and drive the streets a few times, they really are just part of a larger metropolitan area. Sort of like interlocking jigsaw puzzle pieces. Yes, they each have a "feel" that you sense as you drive from one city limit into the next, as well as their own street signage and downtown areas, but they are seamless. Then there are several more cities and communities in the same general area. Once you get outside of this metroplex, you find more towns, like Fountain Hills, Carefree and Cave Creek to the North/NW; Sun City and Surprise to the Northeast; and Gilbert and Chandler to South/SW.

Since Scottsdale is one of the nation's top art destinations, we had that high on our list to visit galleries and see what contacts we could make for my wildflower art. However, we also wanted to make a visit to Sedona, for both business and pleasure, a top priority. So, after one night in Phoenix, we headed to north to Sedona for a few days.

A glorious sunset in Sedona!
The rocks were just as red and just as majestic as I remembered from 20 years before. It was David's first time to Sedona and we took great joy in sharing the experience. In addition to drives in the area and catching both sunsets and sunrises that ignited the landscape, we visited several wonderful galleries in Sedona. The gallery submission process requires patience. I did make a couple of good contacts and hope to find a good home for my work there when the time is right.

Ready for take-off...Sedona by helicopter!

While in Sedona, we decided to treat ourselves to one of those helicopter sight-seeing tours. Soaring over the rock formations, between the mesas, and near the ruins of cliff dwellings from centuries past was an amazing experience.

On our way back to Phoenix, we took a side trip to visit a town we had never heard of until this trip, Jerome. Once a thriving copper mine in the late 1800s and early 1900s around which a town was built literally on the side of a mountain, Jerome was discovered by artists over the last 30-40 years and is now home to dozens of galleries, shops and restaurants.

Street view in Jerome, AZ.
If you are ever in the area, the climb up the switchback roads are worth the trip!

We arrived back in Phoenix (technically Mesa, where we booked our hotel for the rest of the trip) in time for the weekly Thursday night gallery stroll in Scottsdale. Streets lined with galleries were filled with art lovers as they popped in and out of the shops, meandered alley ways, hopped on and off trollies, or took horse-drawn carriage rides. One visit and you certainly see why Scottsdale is known for art. Fact: With more than 125 art galleries and studios, it is one of the highest per-capita anywhere in the US.

As much as I wanted to find that perfect fit for my wildflower paintings, and I did narrow the list to a few possible galleries, I just did not feel at home there.

Another area on our must-visit list was Carefree. I'll admit it: Up until about 2 weeks before the trip I had never heard of this community. I ran into a friend while shopping, mentioned our upcoming trip to Phoenix, and she told me about Carefree. She said I had to go and so I did. And I'm glad I did.

A planned community north of Scottsdale with streets named Easy, Ho and Hum, it's about as cute as you can imagine. And it has a small handful of really nice galleries. One in particular, Wild Holly, felt "right" from the moment we walked in. After a pleasant chat with Magda, a nice English lady who minds the gallery when the owner is out, we left Carefree feeling good about taking the time to visit.

In addition to all of the galleries, Scottsdale is home to not one but two huge, 10-week-long art shows held in big tents this time of year: Celebration of Art and Scottsdale Art Expo. Since both are a few miles apart and on the road back to our hotel in Mesa, we made a point to check them out. More than 100 artists are set up at each of the shows. Most not only display their art, which is for sale of course, but also demo and work in their temporary studio space. It was both inspiring and somewhat overwhelming to tour these two mega shows. It never ceases to amaze me at how much really good art there is in the world.

While at one of these shows, I got a call from Magda. The owner was, indeed, interested in talking with me about my wildflower art. We made an appointment to return to Carefree a few days later.

Awesome view of Superstition Mountains along Apache Trail.
As we headed into the weekend, we decided to take a break from the gallery visits and get out into nature. I read up some on Superstition Mountains and the Apache Trail that cuts over and through the mountain range. We headed due east and spent the day driving through the mountains, stopping to enjoy and photograph the awesome vistas along the way. Once on the other side of the mountain range, we turned south on AZ 188, ending up in Globe for a bite of supper before heading back to Mesa on US 60. We were losing light as we drove through even more mountain scenery and both David and I decided that we would need to visit this area again someday.

Church in downtown Phoenix.


Sunday morning we headed into downtown Phoenix to enjoy the heart of the city at it best, when most of the offices and businesses are closed. This has become somewhat of a ritual with us when we are in or near a major metropolitan area. We like to walk the streets on a Sunday morning and find an old, historic church to visit, which we did. We then grabbed coffee at a local coffee shop, took a side trip though the downtown's arts district, and then headed out for our appointment in Carefree.

We met Holly, the owner and namesake of Wild Holly Gallery. By the end of the meeting we agreed to terms, Holly picked out paintings she wanted to start with and I told her I'd be packing and shipping the work once we were back home in Texas.

Holly and I pose for a photo in front of her wonderful gallery!
I'm proud that Wild Holly Gallery will be representing me and offering my wildflower art to collectors in the Carefree and Phoenix metro area! This is my first Arizona gallery and I could not be happier that it work out that way.

We were down to one full day before we would be flying home to Texas and decided to head south of Phoenix to look at a few more galleries. In doing some online research, I came across the town of Tubac, which is located south of Tucson. Like Jerome, Tubac is an artists' community and one that I had never heard of before this trip. But unlike Jerome and Carefree, Tubac isn't even on a map! If you are looking for it on your iPad or phone, follow US19 out of Tucson. Once you get a little south of Amado, zoom into your map and you'll see some streets along the freeway, due west of Tumacacori. That's Tubac you are looking at. While it's not easily identified on a map, people find it. An interesting little bit of trivia: One of the people involved in designing the golf course there in 1959 was Bing Crosby.

Wildflowers were already starting to bloom while we in Arizona.
We headed to Tubac Monday morning and were greeted with more inspiring desert scenery.  Another must-return place on our list now is Picacho Peak, where wildflowers are said to be spectacular. Once in Tubac, we grabbed lunch at a wonderful Italian restaurant (whose gourmet, wood-fired pizza rivaled that of the finest restaurants anywhere) and then began to stroll the many galleries and shops concentrated in about a four-to-six block area. These ranged from the highest end you could imagine, with works in the tens of thousands of dollars to small co-op galleries representing mostly local artists and artisans. I was able to pinpoint a couple of potential fits for my wildflower art and am in the process of following up with them. Even if I don't get into a gallery there, just the experience of finding and visiting this arts community was worth the drive. In talking with one of the local residents, we learned that out of the community's population of about 1700, some 400 were artists. Since she was an artist herself, she would know!

As the day was drawing to a close, we decided to hit last one gallery on my list from Tucson. We made it just before they closed and had a wonderful visit. However, we soon learned that this some gallery had a location in Scottsdale, which would be a conflict with our new Carefree gallery. We will visit other galleries in Tucson on a future trip to see what other connections we might make. As we left Tucson, we were treated to the most amazing sunset! What a perfect last day for what was an amazing trip!
Sunset near Tucson, AZ.

We've been home now for a few weeks and we're already planning our next trip to Arizona, hoping to make it back in time to see the wildflowers in bloom. Thank you for reading about this journey. Sharing these "reflections" of our trips, shows and gallery visits have become somewhat of a tradition. If you scroll through my blog posts, you'll see past trips that I've written about. Enjoy!




Sunday, December 08, 2013

INTRODUCING NEW "WILDFLOWER GARDENS" SERIES

This fall, I started a new series of wildflower paintings that I'm calling "Gardens" and I'm happy to announce that the first 6 paintings are ready for viewing, purchase, and pick up, delivery or shipping! Scroll down to check out this newest series. I also invite you to visit my website, www.lindacalvertjacobson.com to learn more about purchasing my work, where I'm represented and more!

ABUNDANT JOY, 40x30x1.5, Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas. $2900.

GOOD VIBRATIONS, 50x40x1.5, Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas. $4900.

GARDEN DELIGHT, 40x30x1.5, Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas. $2900.

SUMMER MEADOW, 30x24x1.5 Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas. $1900.

JOYOUS RHYTHMS, 48x36x1.5, Acrylic on Gallery wrap canvas. $3900.
BLISSFUL MEADOW, 50x40x1.5, Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas. $4900.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

REFLECTIONS ON TRIP THROUGH SOUTHEAST U.S. AND WORLD OF ART SHOWCASE, FALL 2013

If you know me and/or read my blog, you know that I like to post summaries of trips that David and I take as I continue to do art shows and visit with galleries in order to promote my wildflower art.

When I was accepted into the World of Art Showcase several months ago, we knew it would also provide a great opportunity to explore the Raleigh, North Carolina, area. We were in North Carolina in the Spring of 2012 for the Highpoint market and we were both intrigued with the area in general. We were looking forward to returning to North Carolina but by doing a road trip there and back this time, we would have even more chances to visit places that neither of us had ever been before. And since the show was set for Oct. 31-Nov. 3, we were looking forward to catching some fall color as well.

Falls Colors outside our hotel in Raleigh, NC.
We were not disappointed! Our 3-week trip took us through 9 states and covered more than 4,000 miles. Along the way we were treated to swamp lands of Louisiana and Alabama; tall trees, rolling hills and quaint towns of Georgia; the beaches and ocean views of South and North Carolina coasts; downtown Raleigh and surrounding towns; the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains; the mayhem of Gatlinburg and the surrealness of Pigeon Forge; horse farms of Tennessee and cotton fields of Mississippi; and finally a final push home through Arkansas and back into the Piney Woods of East Texas on our way to the Hill Country.

We left for our trip on Oct. 22 and drove across Louisiana and into Alabama before turning northward toward Atlanta. Along the way we stayed over in Lake Charles, took a detour and spent a little time in Layfette where we enjoyed a stroll in the downtown, and ended up in Atmore, Alabama, for another layover. We then headed up to Georgia with the Atlanta area being our destination where we were able to visit with David's sister and her family. 

After a few side trip visits in the Atlanta area to Roswell and Marietta, where we visited with gallery owners, we hit the road for our next stop, Savannah. We spent some time walking through the historic downtown area that Friday evening and would have liked to have spent more time but we needed to make our way to the next stop, which was Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston Church
Both David and I were enamored with Charleston and its French Quarter district. Numerous galleries filled storefronts throughout the downtown. We walked on cobbled stone streets,  by historic churches and through well-manicured parks. The area was pedestrian friendly and inviting. We've both put Charleston on our list for a return visit. We made some great gallery contacts and we're in discussions with one in particular for future representation.

Our next layover was Myrtle Beach, where we caught the sun rising over the horizon the next morning as we walked on t. While we would have liked to spend more time, we decided to push ahead and made it to Wilmington, NC, for our next stop. After some more gallery visits we then we hit the road for Raleigh, where we arrived on Oct. 29, a week after leaving home.

The October sunrise on Myrtle Beach was ... breathtaking!

Daytrip in Hillsborough, NC
We were scheduled for the loading dock at the Raleigh Convention Center early Wednesday morning. Of the many shows that we've done in similar facilities, this was one of the easiest set ups, from the unloading and working with the staff to move out at the end of the show, every step went smoothly. Since we were set up and ready to go by late Wednesday, we spent Thursday doing a little exploring, visiting nearby Hillsborough and Chapel Hill.

While the World of Art Showcase did not open for the public until Friday, they hosted a VIP reception, a masquerade ball, Thursday night that featured live music. David and I donned matching masks we had picked up at a costume shop earlier in the day to get into the evening's festivities.


Ready for Masquerade Ball!
The next three days were spent visiting with collectors and art lovers, as well as making contacts with gallery owners and networking with fellow artists. In addition to the show hours, events were planned for the exhibitors for Friday and Saturday night, so our schedule was filled for the most part. We did, however, find time to walk around downtown Raleigh Saturday night where we enjoyed seeing the state capitol.

Sunday evening we packed up our booth, returned to the hotel for our last night in Raleigh and starting mapping the next portion of our trip.

High on our list in visiting North Carolina was to spend time in Asheville, which was the next stop over as we began to make our way back to Texas. Many of our friends suggested that we make Asheville a "must see" since it's consider a magnet for artists and many set up studios and call the area home. We arrived after dark so didn't get to start checking it out until the next day. We spent the better part of the Tuesday roaming the historic downtown, visiting galleries and getting a feel for the area. What we found was a bit discouraging. Yes, it was very artsy and had a "bohemian" vibe along with some intriguing architecture. But it was difficult to not turn a corner and be approached for a hand out. It was both sad and disturbing to see so many "homeless" people concentrated in the downtown.

Pleasant surprise in Montreat, near Black Mtn.
Once we left that area, we made the decision to not return and to, instead, use Asheville as a jumping off point to visit surrounding towns and take drives in the country and through the mountains.

In case you are wondering, we did not attempt to visit the Biltmore Estate. We are putting that on our list for a return visit. 

Two highlights of our time there was a visit to Black Mountain and nearby Montreat, about 15 miles east of Asheville. Black Mountain reminded me a little of Gruene but larger and with a few more galleries. But it had several cute little shops and restaurants making for what looked like a thriving business district. Montreat, from what we could tell, was more of a bedroom community to Black Mountain and is home to a college. We drove up one road until we came upon a park where we spent some time walking and taking photos.

The second day trip out of Asheville that I'd like share was our visit south west of town, about 15 or 20 miles, down to Chimney Rock. The winding road provided a scenic drive but it was the lookout over the country side and Lake Lure from Chimney Rock that made a lasting impression.

The awesome view from Chimney Rock!
We visited a few more towns, and galleries, during our stay which flew by too quickly. On Friday we checked out of our Asheville hotel and headed for the mountains. Instead of using the Interstate we took the scenic route, getting on the historic Blue Ridge Parkway and following it as far as we could before we needed to head toward our next stop, Cashiers and Highlands and then our layover, which was Franklin, NC.

We left North Carolina on Saturday, heading over the Great Smoky Mountains to Tennessee.


The Great Smoky Mountains.
There is no way to get into Tennessee using this route without going right through Gatlinburg. And what a mad house that was! We could only assume that we caught them on their "holiday" kick off weekend and thousands of people were streaming into Gatlinburg, which was decked out in lights and Christmas decorations. Relieved once we got to the other side of town, we had no idea what waited for us up the road. Soon we were in Pigeon Forge. Yes, home to Dollywood but driving through town is reminiscent of driving down The Strip in Vegas...just without the casinos and bit more "family" friendly. Not to overuse the word, but it really was very surreal.

By now we were getting toward the final leg of our trip and needed to home within a few days. So our objective was to make the best time we could but still enjoy the drive and attempt to visit a few more galleries along the way. We had two layovers in Tennessee, one near Knoxville, and the other near Memphis. We decided to take a detour though Mississippi, on to Arkansas where we did a few gallery visits in Little Rock. By then we found ourselves out of time and decided to head for East Texas for one last layover before making the final push for home.

We saw some jaw-dropping scenery, met some wonderful people, made some great gallery contacts and, all-in-all, had a wonderful trip. We are looking forward to returning to several of the areas for extended visits and to continue our explorations!
Whitewater Falls in Southwestern North Carolina, just one of the many "colorful" stops!







Saturday, August 10, 2013

CONTINUING ARTISTIC SUCCESS MEANS ... SOMETHING ELSE HAS GOT TO GIVE!

Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013

Dear Friends,

If you have been following me through my blog, e-newsletters, Facebook or in person, you know that "my life as an artist" has continued to become a major focus of my professional career. Over the last few years, with David, my husband and partner, by my side, we have spent a good deal of time traveling to art shows and galleries to share my wildflowers with the world. We have decided that we want to continue in that direction. In order to do so, we are going to need to make some changes.

We will not be renewing the lease this fall on the building where Casa de Linda Art Center has operated since September 2010. We are NOT going out of business since we will continue with a scaled down operation at the Casa de Linda Art Studio, located upstairs at the New Braunfels Art League. As you may know, this is where I started teaching classes 10 years ago. Not having the Art Center location will mostly affect adult classes since children's classes are already held in the downtown studio. Here is what this change will mean for our students:

ADULT ART CLASSES

Adult oil, watercolor and drawing classes currently on the schedule for August and September will be still be offered as planned. This includes 5-week drawing and painting classes with Maren Phillips that start on Aug. 13 plus her last workshop, Introduction to Watercolor on Aug. 24. Since no other classes are on the schedule at Casa de Linda for Maren this fall, this is a great opportunity to study with her. Visit www.casadelinda.com for more information and then contact us about available seating.

My Adult/Teen Basic Acrylic Classes will continue to be held at the Art Center location until about mid-September, at which time they will be relocated back downtown to my studio above the New Braunfels Art League Gallery.

The only other adult classes planned at this time for the downtown studio this fall will be Fused Glass and Jewelry Making workshops with Lynette Clauser in November. Click here for more information.

CHILDREN'S ART CLASSES

As already mentioned, our children's class schedule will not be impacted by the closing of the Art Center. In fact, we are expanding the program! We plan to offer after-school classes this fall with Elaine Eickenroht and Saturday classes, some of which will be taught by her, some by me, and a fused glass workshop with Lynette Clauser. The complete children's fall schedule is now posted to our website. You can also register online!

ART-2-GOGH PAINTING PARTIES

We have suspend scheduling any ART-2-Gogh Painting Parties until further notice.

A NOTE ABOUT REGISTERING FOR CLASSES

One change that will come about involves signing up for classes. Since we will no longer have a retail location with regular business hours, we will go back to taking registrations and credit card payments over the phone or through the mail. However, for the convenience of busy parents, we do plan to continue with the online registration program for children's classes that we introduced with this summer's camp program.

We will continue with regular business hours, Tues-Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., through Sept. 14. Even after we close the Art Center, we will continue to use the same business phone, 830-624-5302.

ART SALE ... AND MORE...MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

As you can imagine, relocating from the Art Center back to the studio will not be easy. In other words, it won't all fit! So we are having two big down-sizing sale events at the Art Center in September.

The first will be a week-long ART-N-ARTIST SALE, starting Labor Day Monday, Sept. 2 and continuing through Saturday, Sept. 7. Hours will be daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Included in the ART-N-ARTIST SALE will be a diverse range of my paintings, from older wildflowers series and various landscapes to the paintings I finish with each ART-2-Gogh Painting Party. Prices will range from $10 to $100 each so you know there will be a ton of bargins. In addition to my paintings, David will have a great selection of his photographs available at "sidewalk sale" prices! Not only will original art and photos be on sale, but also a limited amount of artist supplies and materials, craft supplies and a good selection of used ART BOOKS (and odds-n-ends other books, too) at great prices.

On September 20-21, we will have a RUMMAGE SALE to move out surplus tables, chairs, bookcases, shelves and other odds-n-ends.

*****

The decision to close the Art Center was not an easy one. We have had an amazing three years in this location, met a lot of wonderful people and made many, many new friends. But with the growing success of my art and the desire to focus more on painting and marketing my artwork, we decided that the time was right to make this change.

We hope that you will come see us over the next month or so and stay in touch even after we are no longer open at Casa de Linda Art Center on Business I-35. If you are on our mailing lists, you will continue to hear from us. Also, if you have not already done so, please "like" both my Texas Wildflower Artist Facebook page and the Casa de Linda Art Studio Facebook page.

And, finally, I want to thank EVERYONE who has supported this business venture! We could not have done it without our teachers, students, customers, and friends!

With warmest regards and on behalf of David...

Your friend,

Linda Calvert Jacobson

Saturday, June 29, 2013

REFLECTIONS OF FIRST ART PROMOTION TRIP, JUNE 2013

If you've followed or read my blog in the last few years, you know that when I return from a trip, I like to post my "reflections." We returned last week from a 15-day, 5-state, 4,569-mile trip and I thought I'd share some of the highlights and results from our first road trip specifically planned to reach out to art galleries.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN...

Hmm...You never know who you'll meet!
Planning the trip was a result of circumstances and events that all fell in place at just the right time. First, we took a big step in late April and bought (with the help of bank loan, of course) a new vehicle, a Ford Transit Connect. We had been looking at this particular van-like car (not really a van, nor car, nor SUV) for sometime since I needed something that could hold my large canvases. And, yes, it will not only hold up to a 4x5 foot canvas, but many of them! Within a week of getting the Transit, an artist friend e-mailed her friends that she had a time-share condo in Jackson Hole that she would not be able to use in June. David (my husband, partner and best friend) and I talked it over and decided the price was right; I checked my teaching calendar and his for conflicts; and within 10 minutes of reading the e-mail I was on the phone putting first dibs on the condo. 
Friend's condo in Jackson, WY
The base plan, that was pretty much put together in that 10-minute gap, was to load the Transit with as many paintings as we could and head north and northwest, visiting galleries there and back. Over the next few weeks, we expanded our timeline to a full two weeks, a week at Jackson Hole and the rest of the time on road back home, to make the most of the trip. Since just about all of this was new territory for me to visit and some of it was new for David as well (he grew up in Wyoming), we were looking forward to the trip to combine business with some sightseeing. Also, I had a client in West Texas who purchased one of my newest paintings before it had even been varnished after seeing it in my New Braunfels studio. I had planned to ship the 3x4 foot painting to her home in Odessa, but once we had the road trip planned I offered to deliver it instead, which worked out fine with her. The day before the trip, we packed the Transit with a total of 17 paintings ranging in size from 18x24 to 40x40, representing works from both my "meadows" and "bouquets-n-vases" series. 

HITTING THE ROAD...

Heading into Colorado from New Mexico in our Ford Transit!

So, with art and bags loaded and an ice chest on the back seat, we left our home in the Texas Hill Country early on the morning of Friday, June 7th, with a goal of making it to Santa Fe by evening, which we did. Since we were scheduled to be in northern Wyoming by Sunday, we resisted checking out Santa Fe for this leg of the trip and got back on the road Saturday morning, setting our sights on Vail, Colorado, for the next layover. 

Along the way we enjoyed the amazing scenery, driving through deserts, then mountains, and back into deserts, making a few stops along way but trying to stay focused on our destination. We did visit a lovely gallery in downtown Alamosa that might be an option for my work later this fall.

We made it to the Vail area that evening and booked a room in Avon, which is a few miles west of Vail. We even had time to check out a few galleries in Vail but kept our visits brief since we still needed to get to Jackson Hole to check into the condo before dark the next day. We decided to return  on our way back to Texas.

NEXT STOP: JACKSON HOLE AND THE GRAND TETONS!
Enjoying the great outdoors, wildflowers and the Tetons!
Our friend's condo made for the perfect jumping off point to explore the area, including the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and more. But our focus for the first few days was on the galleries in Jackson. Almost three dozen art galleries are listed on the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce website (plus many others that are not listed so there's about 50 total), so we had our work cut out for us. 
For this and all of the towns we stopped in, we did as much advance research online as possible, trying to find a "good fit" for my work. However, there is only so much you can learn through websites and it really does take walking in, looking around and observing the staff and customer service to get a feel for any gallery. Our aim was to narrow down a list of galleries as possible candidates, while still looking for others that we have missed in our research. 

Ian McLennan, Grand Teton Gallery owner.
A GRAND SETTING FOR MY PAINTINGS ... AT GRAND TETON GALLERY!
After visiting several galleries in Jackson Hole, we settled on about 3 as the best fits. Timing is everything, as they say, and one of those was ready to talk about taking on my work now, while the others were already set for the summer but expressed interest for later in the fall. We were delighted to accept an invitation from Grand Teton Gallery! Owner Ian McLennan and Katie Tufte, gallery manager, were both warm and inviting. Ian shared his story with David and I of how he brought his family over from Australia and opened the gallery about 3 years ago. He started out specializing in Western Art, like many of the other galleries in the area. However, he has been seeing more interest in contemporary work and decided to make a shift in that direction, making the timing perfect to add my colorful wildflowers to the gallery! I left seven of my paintings on consignment, two of which were on display in time for a special reception on Friday night for the launch of a slick new magazine for the area.  We enjoyed attending the reception, meeting guests and talking about my work with some potential collectors! Even though others galleries may ask us to join them later this year, we are committed and happy to call Grand Teton Gallery our exclusive agent for the Jackson area. They had their chance :-)

Although we spent the first three days in Jackson totally focused on gallery visits, we were able to "play" toward the end of our stay. My sister made plans to fly up for a few days to spend the weekend. Highlights include a tram ride to the top of Rendezvous Mountain, whose peak is at 10,927 feet, and a day spent driving through Yellowstone National Park, where we got to see Old Faithful shoot up in the air. Although I did the tram, my fear of heights kept me on the ground on our last morning there when my sister and David took a balloon ride at the foot of Tetons. I've seen the photos and they are spectacular! Maybe someday I'll get the courage to join them!
We took a tram to the peak of Rendezvous Mountain...and this is what we saw. Ahh-Mazing!!!

LEAVING JACKSON HOLE, HEADING TO PARK CITY...

We checked out Sunday morning, dropped my sister at the airport and took one last stroll, for this visit, through downtown Jackson. Then it was back on the road, heading west into Idaho and then south to Park City, just east of Salt Lake City. 
At the beginning of the trip we had not yet made firm plans for how we would spend the week returning back to Texas other than making arrangements to be in Odessa by Friday night or Saturday morning at the end of the 2-week trip, before driving back home. However, by the time we were on the road after our week at Jackson, we had a plan to make the most of the time left and the miles between there and home. Next stop would be Park City, Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival and another playground for the rich and famous. 
Not that I want to advertise for them, but I did find that using Expedia while on the road to book our next hotel a good way to go. However, I learned early on that it was much easier to book online rather than call (I tried but was unable to understand the woman on the other end of the line and she was not seeing the same price that I was seeing). Before leaving Jackson I was able to secure a nice room in a really nice hotel in Park City for two nights, giving us time to spend all of Monday checking out the town with plans to leave bright-n-early so we could stop over in Moab on Tuesday. 
Park City has one of the most charming downtown areas I've been in and I plan to return someday. And there are plenty of galleries! Most, however, seem to fall to one side or the other of my work: either much more traditional or western or much more contemporary or modern. I did find 2 or 3 galleries as potential fits and I plan to follow up.  
Just some of the many wonderful rock formations in Arches National Park.
Having done our homework, we knew that Moab would not have much for gallery options but we could not resist a visit and grab some lunch, and decided to make time for a drive through the Arches National Park, which offered awe-inspiring views of red-rock formations and other-worldly landscapes. Once we were back on the road, we set our sights on Vail, again. 

BACK IN VAIL, AGAIN....

We scheduled two days for exploring galleries in beautiful Vail and the surrounding the area, from Beaver Creek to the west and Breckenridge to the east. In the course of visiting several galleries, we found at least three potential fits. None were ready to take on my work at this time but I feel strongly that I will be in at least one of them by this time next year. You can bet that I'll be following up and staying in touch!

There are several towns and communities near Vail, including Beaver Creek, shown here.

YES, THEY HAVE WILDFLOWERS AND BLUEBONNETS HERE, TOO!
Lupines  are cousins of our Texas Bluebonnet!
Something I have not mentioned yet that I found very inspiring were the many, many fields of wildflowers we saw blooming in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and even in New Mexico. While our Spring is over, theirs was just peaking and I took great joy in seeing the patches of color, which helped to reinforce the fact that, yes, my wildflower art is a good fit for these galleries! They even have bluebonnets, which they call lupines.

We left the mountains of northern Colorado early Thursday morning, enroute to Southern New Mexico, with a room booked in Alamogordo, just outside of Cloudcroft. It had been a long trip and now it was mostly about sightseeing, getting to visit some new places, and delivering the painting to the Odessa client on the way home.

CLOUDCROFT: A MOUNTAIN TOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT!
Again, having done some preliminary research, we knew that neither Alamogordo or Cloudcroft would offer much in gallery options for my work but we for some reason were both being drawn to the area. A friend and fellow artist had mentioned to me the previous week that Cloudcroft was place for me to check out.
We checked out of hotel in Alamogordo and headed up the mountain to check out Cloudcroft. Leaving the desert behind, it was had to believe that we were driving back into pine trees. Breathtaking views were waiting for us around every bend. The town itself, mostly located on a main drag only a few blocks long was charming. We had a great brunch of biscuits and gravy before heading out. Another place on our "must revisit" list!

LAST STOP: RUIDOSO, NM, AND A NEW GALLERY FOR MY WILDFLOWERS...

Judy, Me and David at LongCoat Fine Art, Ruidoso, NM
Before arriving at Alamogordo, neither David or I had taken time to look into surrounding towns for gallery potential. When we checked into the hotel, I picked up a brochure listing galleries in the county. I went online, started doing some research and was very impressed with one gallery in particular. You can call it "gut feeling," but I just knew we had to stop over in Ruidoso on the way out of the area and visit this gallery.

Judy hanging "De-Lovely"
From the minute we walked into LongCoat Fine Art Gallery, David and I felt that my work would be a good fit. An introduction to the owners was followed by an interest in seeing not just some of the work we had with us, but my entire collection. The owners Judy and David, were an absolute joy to talk with. Turns out they are former Texans, having moved from Houston. The four of us hit it off and felt like old friends although we had just met. Soon, they were selecting paintings and Judy even began rearranging the gallery and hanging them before we left!

"Burst of Joy" in its new home in Odess!
PERFECT ENDING TO A PERFECT TRIP...
As the day passed quickly and we'd be pushing it to make it to Odessa by nightfall, we booked a room for the night in odd little Roswell (another town I want to spend more time exploring when I get a chance). Saturday morning we headed for Odessa to make the delivery, where we were welcomed with open arms. David and I both took great pleasure in seeing how much joy my painting brought the new owner, who could not wait to see it hanging in its new home! We had lunch with this sweet lady, then it was back on the road for our home in Hill Country. 

This turned out to be a very long blog post, but it was a long trip! I really did try to hit only the highlights! There were many little side trips, interesting wildlife sightings,  cool coffee shops, inspiring art, tasty food, amazing landscapes, wonderful people and so much more along the way. Before I end this posting today, I do want to give a heartfelt thank you to my loving husband, who makes so much of this possible by being my partner in both business and in life.
Me and my sweetie!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

REFLECTIONS OF NYC ARTEXPO TRIP, MARCH 2013

View of Manhattan from Yotel room
It's hard to believe that it was almost 3 weeks ago that my husband, David, and I arrived in New York City to get ready for the 2013 Artexpo on Pier 92! This was our second Artexpo (click here to read the blog post about Artexpo 2012). I was juried into the show again to exhibit my wildflower art. Artexpo NYC, which has been around for more than 30 years and is billed as the "world's largest fine arts trade show," includes both galleries and individual artists (in a special SOLO section) from around the world. A few weeks before the show I received some exciting news that I was one of four SOLO exhibitors chosen for four VIP spaces need the front entrance of the exhibition hall.

Since Pier 92 is a huge, long hall with 75,000 square feet exhibit space and hundreds of artists, this was an amazing honor. Over the course of the 4-day show, my exhibit of Wildflowers was the second booth seen by thousands of visitors! Here's a recap of the week...

Tuesday, March 19: Happy to be back in NYC!

At the Marketing Happiness event.
Having arrived early in the afternoon gave us time to get checked into Yotel. We enjoyed our stay there in 2012 so much that we decided to book it again. Through the Yotel Facebook page I had learned that they were hosting a free panel discussion Tuesday night on "Happiness Marketing" sponsored by Lead Dog Marketing. I was able to secure tickets for both of us. It was a great start to a wonderful week, giving David and I "food for thought" on so many levels. We followed that up with our first evening meal in NYC and though we were both tired from the travel, found it hard to sleep!


Wednesday, March 20: Set-up

David opening crate for setup
We arrived at Pier 92 early on Wednesday for set up. Our crate that we had shipped from Texas earlier in the month was already waiting for us in our booth and David went to work getting it ready to unpack while I began to plan the layout for the space. Once we got all of the paintings and exhibit materials out of the crate, we spent the rest of the day arranging and hanging the art. By the time we returned to the hotel we were exhausted but pleased with how the booth looked and after grabbing supper in Times Square retired for the evening.

Thursday, March 21: Trade Day

View from above
Admission to the opening day of the show was limited gallery owners, designers and other members of the trade. These are the people we come to Artexpo to meet! After getting invitations to exhibit in two galleries as a result of the 2012 Artexpo, we were excited about the prospects for 2013. And we were not disappointed! One of the first gallery owners we met Thursday morning expressed a lot of interest in my wildflowers but was reserving his comments until he walked the entire show. Within a few hours he returned to sit down and discuss adding my work to his gallery! After some follow up discussions I accepted the offer and am now happy to announce that I am the newest artists to be exhibiting in The Carol Schwartz Gallery of Philadelphia! Seven of my paintings are on exhibit there! I also had a nice visit on Thursday from another of my gallery owners that I had met at the 2012 Artexpo, Hashmat Farooqi of Paint Box Art and Frame, NYC. Hashmat shared some exciting news...that he was expanding and opening a new gallery in SoHo and that he wanted me to exhibit my art in the new space! Several more gallery owners expressed interest and I'll have more news in the weeks and months to come. All in all, a very successful first day!

Friday, March 22: First Open the Public Day

Visiting with Bob and Gail.
While Friday was the first day that the public could attend, we still saw a lot of gallery owners, including Bob and Gail, owners of Robert Paul Galleries of Stowe, Vermont. This is the other gallery representing my work as a result of them seeing my work at the 2012 Artexpo. Last fall I was included in a couple of "meet-the-artists" events at their gallery, which gave David and I the opportunity to see Vermont in full autumn color and spend some time with Bob and Gail (click here to read the blog entry on that visit).

Saturday, March 23: And the Crowds came!

Traffic increased with each passing day!
This was, by far, the busiest day of the show. Thousands of art lovers came through the doors, browsing through the art and talking with the artists. Some people come to buy, however most come to look, to get ideas and to make contacts for future purchases. For many, my wildflowers were a true show-stopper, causing people to slow down and enjoy a much-needed burst of Spring color! During the show I posted photos to Facebook and my sister commented that everyone was dressed in black. When I went back and looked, I saw what she meant. I think that's why my colorful wildflowers had such a powerful impact. Since Spring had not reached Manhattan yet (it snowed before we arrived and we saw flurries on the day we left), they were in dire need of the emotional recharge of the refreshing colors of my wildflower art!

Sunday, March 24: Last day and more good news!

Newest collectors!
The final day of any show is probably the most difficult. Everyone is tired and the reality of packing up in a few hours is looming. But it is also exciting since it's the last chance for collectors looking to buy. While our primary purpose is to make contacts, we do, of course, love to make some sales at the show! By Sunday afternoon we were pleased to have one of my large paintings, "Wild Passions," leave with a happy couple from New Jersey where it is now a part of their home and their life. Once the show closed we began to dismantle the booth. We had made arrangements for two shipments to go straight from Artexpo to my galleries. The rest was put back in the crate and labeled for return to Texas. That night we had our last supper in NYC at a wonderful little diner we found earlier in the week. On Monday morning we prepared to leave NYC but not before we took one more walk. With light snow flurries and a stiff wind reminding us that it was still winter in New England, David and I braved the two long blocks to get some locally roasted coffee I stumbled upon early in this trip. We savored New York once last time before we had to check out of Yotel, head for the airport and catch our flight home to Texas.

Want to see more photos from my NYC trip? Visit my Facebook Artist page and view the Artexpo 2013 album I've created. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

REFLECTIONS OF SOUTH FLORIDA TRIP, DEC. 2012

Here I am, surrounded by my wildflowers, at Red Dot 2012.
We've just returned from a wonderful week in sunny South Florida! Our main purpose for the trip was to be at Red Dot Art Fair, which is part of Art Basel Week in Miami every December. This was one of dozens and dozens of similar art exhibits staged in and around Miami. Several of my wildflower paintings were on exhibit in the Artisans Direct booth at Red Dot. In addition to time spent at the art fair, we were able to visit a few of the other exhibits, including Art Expo/SOLO next door. (Art Expo also does the show in NYC in March, to which we'll be returning and exhibiting in 2013.) While Art Basel is held in the convention center on South Beach, many of the other shows, like Red Dot, Art Expo, Art Miami, Context and others, are held in huge tents that fill otherwise vacant lots in the Wynwood Arts district of Miami. Many more exhibits are staged throughout the area in hotels, galleries, vacant stores and outside on buildings, sidewalks, on the water, in parks and even in the air! It truly is a sight to see and an overload for the senses! On top of all of this, is the art that is everyday...from the Art Deco buildings in South Beach and the gardens and landscaped features of the homes and businesses to nature's art...namely the magnificent sunrises and sunsets!

Since Artistans Direct did all of the set up and represented the artists during the event, all I needed to do was to show up for the reception on Tuesday night and then again during the show over the next few days. The reception was well attended. Red Dot opened on Wednesday and each day the attendance increased with thousands walking through over the course of the show.

Of course, David and I still found time to enjoy our week in sunny Florida. With a little luck and David's diligent research, we were able to stay in a wonderful condo in a stylish 1924 South Beach apartment building. It was located in a quiet residential area that was within a few blocks from the edge of the famed Art Deco district AND within a few blocks of Miami Beach! Perfect location to start our mornings with a walk and end the day with a stroll over to the business area for a casual supper. Twice we set our alarm so we could catch the sun rising over the ocean. Just breathtaking!

We found with our last trip to NYC that one of the best ways to enjoy a city is by taking a guided tour on a double-decker bus. The Big Red Bus was just the ticket as we got to see parts of South Beach, downtown Miami, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and Little Havana that we would have otherwise missed out on. We didn't have a lot of time to hop on and off, but we were able to do so in Little Havana, where we soaked up the Cuban culture as much as we could during our brief visit. We got to watch a nice old man make cigars, lunch at a Cuban restaurant where we enjoyed an amazing stuffed plantain appetizer, and topped off the trip with a scoop of ice cream made in house at a cute little shop.

In addition to the bus tour, we took a boat tour that took us out to Biscayne Bay where the bi-lingual tour guide pointed out the homes of the rich-n-famous on Star Island, talked about the history of the various man-made islands, and shared other little facts about the area.

On Saturday, we decided to take off early and see how far down the keys we could make it before feeling that we needed to turn around and head back. Of course, the words and music of "Key Largo" filled my head for most of the trip! "We had it all/Just like Bogie and Bacall/Starring in our own late, late show/Sailing away to Key Largo....."

Sunset at Key West!
Shortly before getting to Key West, which is the last stop, we decided to hunt for a room and just stay the night. Turned out to be the best decision! We were able to get a cottage at a B-n-B that was in a quiet part of town but still within walking distance of Duval Street, the main drag of Key West. Little did we know that we would get to see the sunset on the ocean from Key West and then be treated to an old-fashioned, nighttime Christmas parade! The next morning we headed out early to catch the sunrise but fog had settled in. Instead, we ended up at the Key West Cemetery, which was very reminiscent of cemeteries in old New Orleans. All too soon it was time to head back to Miami for the last day of Red Dot.
Ocean Drive-South Beach

We made it back to Miami, cleaned up and headed over to the art fair for one last appearance, then back to South Beach for a final meal at a tiny little Italian restaurant where they make their own pasta fresh and a mighty fine pesto, too!

Monday morning we got in one last sunrise-on-the-beach walk before packing up and heading out. But we had one last treat in store. As we neared the Ft. Lauderdale airport, we drove in the downtown business district of Dania looking for a place to grab a bite of lunch. A full parking lot at a little restaurant was enough to convince us that it must be a good place to eat. Turns out it was, so good, in fact that it had been featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" on the Food Network! We had a delicious last meal in Florida for this trip, then headed to the airport and back to Texas, where a cold front had arrived while we were gone! 
Sunrise on Miami Beach.