This weekend was a difficult…in the journey of making work and getting it out into the world, there is a lot of disappointment and frustration. There are interactions with people that you think will lead to a big sale or interesting opportunity, and it just doesn’t pan out. Submitting work to gallery shows (and oftentimes paying for this chance) just to get rejected is standard. Same thing with art fairs – most of the “good” ones are juried, so you pay for them to review your work and then if you get accepted to the show, the booth fee itself is an additional expense. Then there is all of the time and financial investment leading up to the event – making work, restocking prints, promoting the event on your social media, purchasing things to display and transport the work, making sure all the ducks are in a row. All of this is for an event that could be a total bust. Maybe attendance isn’t high, or your work is just not a good fit for the customers attending…a lot can go wrong.
So that brings me to this weekend. I had been really excited for the Minnehaha Art Fair. It was the first year, and I was optimistic about how it would go. It was just a one-day event on Saturday. Setting up a tent and the display takes my husband and I a couple of hours, so we got thereat 7:30 AMand got the tent up just in time for the rain to start. No problem – generally once it is up you stay fairly dry and can wait for it to pass. Only this time, it didn’t. The storm got stronger and stronger. Other artists around me were giving up and leaving. The ground, even under my tent, was a giant mud puddle an inch deep. I was soaked to the bone and juggling setting up in the right order without getting anything important covered in rain and mud.At 9:45 AM, after I managed to get everything set up and 15 minutes before the show was supposed to start, it was cancelled. It made sense – it’s not great being in a tent in the middle of a lightning storm, and it looked like the storm was going to stick around longer than what had been anticipated earlier that morning. So I call my husband to come back, and we carry everything pack – trip after trip in the pouring rain of bringing my prints, framed work, tables, and tent back to our cars. Truly, one of the more miserable experiences of our recent history. We looked at each other and were trying to decide if this would be one of the moments we would never speak of again, or if it would be funny later after some time passed. When it was bright and sunnyat 2 PMthat afternoon and my husband was mowing the lawn, it still wasn’t funny but at least we could commiserate about it.
I don’t often talk about the behind-the-scenes aspects of this, but I think it is important. I have a lot of conversations about the time it takes to make my art and the patience involved in finishing a piece. However, the “business” part of it is much harder. It takes a lot of time, money, and energy to get the work in front of people that is totally separate from the process of creating. While I think the successes do make it worth it, there are a lot of difficult times scattered between.
I’m still waiting to hear from the organizers what will happen. I’m hoping it will be rescheduled since I still think it would be a fun event. I think I’ll just need a little bit of time to emotionally recover from going back to that park.
I finally have a second to breathe after the AMAZING Camano Island and Art-a-Whirl art weekends. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to talk with me about my art and process, and to those who took some of my work home with them as well – both events had an enormous amount of options from artists all across the art spectrum, and I am honored by all of those who chose one of my prints, cards, magnets, or originals in the sea of beautiful artwork to see and purchase.
For those who have been watching my Instagram, they have seen this piece some along since I started working on it in November 2018. One thing that I always try to do is to work within common framing ratios – when someone purchases a print, it is important to me that they can get a standard frame and do not bring it home to realize they have to spend a small fortune on custom framing.
So for the Camano Island show, I wanted to do a panorama view of driftwood of the coast of the area. To keep it within the standard ratio I decided to try something new and add a border. I started the piece before I knew what the border would be. I had originally planned on some sort of quilting pattern, but I wanted one that had some meaning to my family. Sunnyshore Studios celebrates my family legacy of artists, and my grandma has a story for what seems like every road or plot of land in the area. This view is from my father’s cousin’s property that I explored on an earlier trip to Washington, and I wanted to continue to work with celebrating the generational story. I asked my grandma for any quilts she had and I searched for quilt patterns that referenced “Day” (my maiden name), but nothing was clicking.
In February, I flew out to Portland and was helping my parents go through their home that they have lived in for 30 years. One of the things we came across was a partially-finished embroidered tablecloth that my mom had worked on years ago. Unfortunately, the pattern had been accidently washed out before it could be completed and she couldn’t part with it at the time, so it got packed away with the other tablecloths. I really liked the pattern, and cut off the finished corner and took it with me to adapt for this piece. While I don’t actually embroider in the traditional sense, I like the idea of paying homage to the deep history of fiber arts. This adapted pattern also looks like a sun, tying to the rising sun across the coast in the image and my family name.
I spend so much time with these large pieces and it is a weird feeling when they are completed – a mix of relief, excitement, and awkwardness because now I don’t know what to do with my hands. But here it is! If you haven’t yet, check out the time lapse in the earlier post of me working on a portion of this piece. Now on to the next….
Every year when Christmas comes around, I always hem and haw about what to do for my family, and, like clockwork, I come up with some idea of something to make a week before that requires hours and hours to complete it. This year was more of the same.
I thought to myself, “Amanda, you should make a little original for your mother since she doesn’t have one yet!” Great! But of course, I underestimated the time it would take and presented her (along with a scavenger hunt with poems – it’s a thing we do) with a 3/4 finished piece. Oops! Thankfully they are in town for a few more days so I could finish it before they leave.
This past fall, my mom’s dad’s side of the family had a family reunion at a camp in British Columbia. I wasn’t able to go, but my dad took some pictures and sent them to me for potential inspiration. I loved this one of a little cabin on the bank of a river with a cold, crisp fog descending on the forest. It felt like a perfect blend of the best parts of fall in the Pacific Northwest and in the Midwest.
If you like this, I’ll be adding this to the options for cards! Let me know and I’ll send you an update once they are available.
In honor of Small Business Saturday, I have added cards and magnets to be purchased though my website! Also, for today and tomorrow only, I’m offering free shipping on print, cards and magnets. Prints make great present for someone who has just moved into a new space to help make it theirs, unique cards are perfect for checking in on someone at this time of the year to let them know you’re thinking about them, and magnets are cute stocking stuffers or hostess gifts!
I wanted to do another time lapse, but this time I re-visited the burned wood panel and acrylic painted dots. This is made on a 6×6 wood panel, and is a little hasta from Como Park Conservatory Sunken Garden. Me and garden plants are not friends in general, but there is something about hastas that I have always been drawn to. I like the fullness of the plant, the shapes of the leaves and how they open around each other, and the details in the colors.
There are a lot of people who have seen this one in process – I started it in Washington in May during the Camano Island art tour, and also made progress at Art-a-Whirl and the Stone Arch Bridge Festival. I was working on the silhouette part during these events. When I start my projects, I have an idea of what it will look like and what I am working towards. However, it can be really difficult to make color or composition choices without knowing exactly what the pieces will look like when they come together.
I have worked with silhouettes a few times before, and I wanted to explore this with making the silhouette a dramatic and prominent part of the picture. What was interesting about this to me was that the focal point of the image is the tree and cabin, but these lack color or interior detail. I hoped it would have enough visual interest, and I didn’t want to rely on the background to carry the whole thing.
So I just started, and crossed my fingers. I used a lot of colors in the silhouette – black, grays, browns, green and blues – and without any of the background the differences really stood out. Then I started to lay in the oranges, and the bright color stood out like a sore thumb. Then I put in the lower clouds, and they looked almost as dark as the silhouette and I was afraid that I had lost all of the detail and movement from the trees that I had worked so hard on. And then I put in the clouds, but since they were mostly off-white they just made the piece appear kind of dirty. Even though it didn’t look right at the time, I kept on gluing and trusting my understanding of how the colors would work together and past experiences that bringing in the blue of the sky would balance it out. And I think it did! That internal panic of feeling like I messed up something that was going in a good direction happens on most of my projects at some point in the process, but time it took a while for that sigh of relief to come.
For me, this piece captures that moment of serenity when the day is coming to a close, the to do list has been completed (until tomorrow, at least), and you can pause for a deep breath. This is a very peaceful image for me, and I’m excited to hear what it evokes for others!
I now have giclee prints available for this piece in two sizes – 8″x10″ and 16″x20″. The original is 12″x15″. Please visit my “Prints” page if you are interested in purchasing, or let me know if you have any questions!
Now, I can take a breath and reflect back on the conversations I’ve had with people about my work and what I’ve learned in this whirlwind. Most of these pieces I made for just me and my family, without thinking that I would ever be making them available to be viewed and discussed by so many people. I have my opinions about what works and what needs improvement, or what carries the most impact. But I have spent so much time with these pieces, and I don’t have clear eyes. Being at these shows and inviting others to interact with my art is terrifying, but eye-opening. I’m moving from the phase of just making art as a creative outlet to figuring out what it is that I have to say and communicate to those around me through what I make.
Over the next few months, I’m going to concentrate on creating so I can build my portfolio of the larger images, and some smaller ones as well. I’ll be posting more “in progress” pictures on my website, Facebook (@AmandaPearsonArtMN) and Instagram (AmandaPearsonArtMN). I’m excited to show you what I have up my sleeve!
After flying to Portland, driving up to northern Washington on the same day, sleeping on my grandmother’s couch for three nights, and driving back to Portland (including hitting traffic 10 minutes from the destination at 11 on a Sunday night), the whirlwind weekend is over.
I was very impressed by the quality of the show. Jason and Jenny (they run the studio) did a great job curating the show and getting everything set to go.
It was an amazing experience to talk to the Dorsey’s and other guest artists who were part of the show. They have many combined years of experience of making art and getting it out into the world. I learned a lot and have plenty of ideas to work on for the future. I was also able to work on a new piece while there and talk to a lot of visitors about my process. I’ve spent so much time doing this, so it was invigorating to here the reactions once they realized what my work is made out of.
I also have to thank my family – my parents gave up their weekend to drive up and hang out at the gallery (and talk to everyone who would listen about my art or my dad’s bluegrass music). Both of my grandmas spent time at the gallery with us too, and other extended family stopped by to support the show as well.
The Sunnyshore show is also up this weekend from 10-5 on Saturday and Sunday.
This weekend, I am at Art-a-Whirl in NE Minneapolis. It is open until 8 tonight and from 12-5 tomorrow. I’m at the LensProse Gallery in the Northrop King building, studio 435. Come say hi and check out the great art!