Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 2015 Wrap Up Post

1. Close The Distance-acrylic on paper
12" x 16" matted to 16" x 20"

2. Breaking Through-acrylic on paper
12" x 16" matted to 16" x 20"

3. In The Canyon-acrylic on paper
12" x 16" matted to 16" x 20"

4. Push and Pull acrylic on paper
9" x 12" matted to 14" x 18"
With the end of June, Mother Nature has brought us a heat wave! A perfect time to stay indoors and paint. June has been a productive month for me. Here is the rundown:

1. Close The Distance: While driving across Stockton one morning, I was stopped in traffic. I looked down, between the overhead roads at my eye level and saw a homeless encampment. The image morphed into this first abstract piece shown above.

2. Breaking Through: In our county, we have many rock formations locally called "tombstone" rocks. They are quite big sometimes, and thin, stacked together like playing cards. This particular formation is a conglomeration of rocks seen at Lake Hogan here where I live.

3. In The Canyon: Earlier in the month, my husband and I took a trip to Chico. We had the wonderful fortune of staying at the bottom of a canyon in close proximity to Big Chico Creek. There is a lot of inspiration in this area but I thought I would start with a generalized view of the creek area. The morning time is especially beautiful.

4. Push and Pull: For me, it happens sometimes that the finished image of the painting comes to me as a whole right at the beginning, before I even begin painting. Such was the case for this final piece. I so clearly saw the two arms and hands pushing down on an object. It's the lucky artist who sees such a clear image once in awhile!

What's Coming Up?
The summer months can mean vacations and outdoor events. Is anyone planning on attending a street fair, outdoor art show or maybe even visiting a gallery in another town or state? Don't know what to say to an artist whose work you  admire or maybe even would like to ask about purchasing? I have some advice based on my own experience as both the maker and the buyer of artwork. Here are some tips:

1. The artist is probably just as nervous as you are about speaking in public to a stranger. We often work in solitude and don't have a lot of practice talking about our work. If you are interested in looking at the work why not try an ice breaker such as, "Wow, your art is so interesting. Can you tell me about how you make it?" or "The colors are so vibrant. Can you tell me about what inspires you to paint such vivid images?" Try to ask open ended questions that don't require a yes or no answer. And don't worry about knowing technical terms or artsy-jargon. The artist just cares that you are interested in what they are doing.

2. Look for common ground.  Maybe the artist's work reminds you of other art that you have seen. You might try an opening statement such as, "Your work really reminds me of so-and-so's work. What artists are you inspired by?" 

3. Worried about having to buy something if you speak to the artist or even make eye contact? Don't laugh! This happens. Try to remember that you are welcomed to look and are under no obligation to purchase anything. True, the artist is there to sell their work but they are also there to make contacts, to explain their work and to get feedback on their art. You can simply ask to have a look. There is a big difference between "Your art is interesting." and "I am interested in your art."

4. Maybe looking at art pleases you but you don't know much about art history or styles of art or the mediums being used. That's OK! Why not ask the artist about what inspires them instead of asking a more technical type of question? Look for adjectives/phrases that are simple when you want to describe what you are seeing: peaceful, bold, full of motion, vibrant, colorful, lonely, calming. These are all good descriptors to use to get started talking. 

5. Lastly, if you walk into an art gallery, all bets are off! To my mind, this is a public space whose express purpose is to show and sell art. Emphasis on the word show! The art gallery owner and workers know that the number of people who actually buy art is pretty small, particularly if the pieces are pricey. They expect you to look. The clerks or owner should ask if you need any help and it is just fine to say, "Thank you. I am just enjoying looking at the work." 

Above all else, remember that looking at art can be a visual pleasure. It's fun to talk about that if you are an artist and really, it is why both of you are there at a show to begin with-to talk. (Hopefully!) But, there is also a business side to things and as a consumer you want to keep that in mind. The artist is a business person just like any other "store" owner and their time and energy is just as important. Lastly, buying artwork isn't just about the art. Many artists are looking to form personal relationships so that potential buyers will turn into collectors. Why not ask if the artist has a newsletter, Facebook page, or a website? This way you can keep up with what they are doing and if you become able to purchase, your comfort level will have increased through repeated contact with the artist.

As always, my art is available for viewing here : Libby Fife Fine Art. I am on Facebook also both as "Libby Fife" and "Libby Fife Fine Art". Please feel free to contact me: libbyfife@ymail.com. Thank you again for reading and commenting!

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