I have not been missing in action

It only seems like I have disappeared, but now that I have a painting, some sales, and an art fair out of the way, I can actually sit down a while and write something.

I finished Sky Pads 36, but not in time to get it to the art fair last weekend. It still isn’t dry enough to frame or varnish but there’s no rush for that. I decided to backtrack a bit to some of my early Sky Pads experiments and ended up with what I like to think of as “rainy day lily pads”.

Sky Pads 36, final version

Somehow I neglected to mention a new venue in Cassopolis, Michigan, which is just a few miles from my house. It’s called the Marketplace on Broadway and it’s a combination coffee bar, performance venue, and art gallery. It opened a couple of months ago and I just happen to personally know the owner of the building. There was one long wall that was still not filled with art and he came to my studio and picked out six large pieces of my earlier landscape work to remedy that situation. I sold three of them, and two more were subsequently purchased by the person who bought two out of the original three sales. Not bad!! A second artist has now filled that wall, and when that show is over I will be putting in a wall full of lily pads. In the meantime, I have two lily pad paintings there, one on each side of the entrance door, facing tables in the coffee bar area. I love it when people are “forced” to see my work because it’s right in their face. (Insert smiling emoji here…)

The second half of August was spent planning which paintings were going to go where in my tent at the Port Clinton Art Festival in Highland Park, Illinois (yes, THAT Highland Park–insert crying emoji here). I was somewhat concerned that after that dreadful shooting in July a lot of folks would be reluctant to patronize another big street event. But I shouldn’t have worried. Port Clinton is one of the largest (260 artists) and highest rated art festivals in the country and I was totally gobsmacked to actually be accepted. So I had to make sure everything was as near perfect as possible. Which was complicated, since I hadn’t done an art fair since March of 2020–just as the pandemic was hitting. All of my usual art fair paraphernalia was scattered in all kinds of places it shouldn’t have been and required quite a bit of updating and reorganizing.

So I set up my tent walls in my garage and went to work selecting what I wanted to bring and in what kind of order it would be displayed. I updated all my brochures and tried out the credit card reader I had acquired 2 years ago but never had the chance to use. My usual art fair to-do checklist has around 75 items to be dealt with, so I was busy. After all the equipment was in order, I packed it up. Fortunately for me, my truck’s passenger seat folds down to form a table. Otherwise I never would have been able to get everything in there. Here’s what stuffing a 10′ x 10′ tent (poles, side walls, and roof), plus mesh walls for hanging, a comfy director’s chair, a table, a dolly, a step stool, signage, and a large plastic tub into the cab of a pickup truck looks like:

The tent weights and the paintings all go in the truck bed. Getting the 4′ x 5′ one in there was…”fun”. The SO had already taken my extra paintings to Chicago, so fortunately all I had to put in the truck were the initial ones to fill the tent when I set up. The drive to Highland Park on Friday was uneventful. The setup was another story. When I arrived the street booth space I was assigned was already occupied by someone who, I guess, couldn’t read booth numbers painted in the space. So I had to wait for them to move all their stuff to their proper space. It was a narrow street, so getting your vehicle in there in the first place was problematic. While I waited for them to move I had to somehow get my truck out of the way of others still coming in. When my parking and the relocation was finally settled, the artist on the other side of me parked so close to my space that I had to ask her to move her Amazon-sized van up a few feet so I could get the front poles of my tent up. After that, all went more or less according to plan, and I secured the tent and its contents and left the area around midnight…

Saturday, sunny and not too hot. Here’s the product of my labor:

If you look carefully, you will see the edge of a nice pothole right at the lower left edge of the sign in front of the table. I put the table in the corner on purpose to keep anyone from twisting their ankle in the pothole. Life in the Midwest!!

In the photo above, the painting on the right side wall at the top nearest the corner (big green leaves) sold to a very nice gal who along with her husband had just purchased a new home and were looking for some art to go with it. She had visited earlier with her young (maybe 4-5 year-old?) daughter, who was collecting business cards! She asked if she could have one of mine, which of course she could. A couple of hours later they returned and Mom bought the painting. I love it when that happens!

Just in case you were wondering about that crowd—

Sunday was also nice, a bit hotter, but OK until about an hour before the event closed. Then the sky opened and seriously dumped on us. We knew it was coming, so I had started packing up early. You can’t bring your vehicle in until you’ve broken down your tent and are ready to load your vehicle, which in a case like this is wildly inconvenient because your tent is what’s keeping your merch from getting soaked. There was an enclosed stairwell in the building behind my tent, so I stashed my paintings there while I dismantled the tent. I got everything organized and ready to go, then retrieved my truck. By that time water was sluicing down on us. I strongly resembled a wet rat. I can’t recall any other art fair which left me so sopping wet. When I packed all the tent items into the cab they too were wet. I couldn’t do the the paintings until about an hour later when it let up enough for me to open the cover on the truck bed and stack them in. When I got home on Monday I was able to unload without incident, but all the wet tent walls and mesh walls had to be laid out to dry. As of today, they were finally dry enough to fold and put away.

I’m thinking about not doing any more outdoor shows, but I probably will anyway. In the meantime, I am entering a couple of Sky Pads paintings in the Midwest Museum of American Art 44th Elkhart Juried Regional Art Exhibition. I’ve been accepted twice and rejected twice. Should be interesting to see what happens this time.

I have also already signed up for a 2-day indoor show next March called “For the Love of Art”. It was the art fair I did which I mentioned above that was in March 2020. At least if it pours down rain at the end of that show we can all just hang out inside until it lets up!

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in art, exhibit booth, gallery show, landscape, museums, oil paintings, painting techniques, sales, Sky Pads and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to I have not been missing in action

  1. Emma Cownie says:

    You must have had very mixed feeling about being in a place where such terrible events had recently taken place. It’s very sad that such mass shootings are so common in the USA.

    I am glad that you have been doing well with the sales and I am surprised that you have to take your own massive tent to the art fair – I thought the organisers provided those.


    • Alli Farkas says:

      Hi Emma! One thing I didn’t mention about my booth placement is that it was one storefront away from the building the shooter was firing from. Now THAT was eerie! However, I just think all the people who came out, many wearing “Highland Park Strong” T-shirts, were there to support and encourage one another. This art fair is a highly promoted community event and they weren’t about to let it down!
      As to the tents, if you want to pay over and above the already hefty rate for your booth space they will provide tents, ProPanels to hang your art, tables and chairs, and set it all up. Artists setting up their own booths is very common here since we’re basically fiscally conservative. 😁

      Liked by 2 people

      • Emma Cownie says:

        That must have been tough for the community (and you) to come out and take up normal life after such a terrible event. All I can say, is that you must have a big garage to store the booth!


        • Alli Farkas says:

          The land my house is on was once a cow pasture. I think the building that is now the garage was originally intended for farm equipment. It has 3 vehicle stalls and a workshop area. The tent itself dismantles into steel poles which I have coded so I know how to put them back together. The side curtains fold up neatly into small-ish squares and can be stacked on top of one another. When it’s all apart it takes up only a small area along the back wall. If I set it up in the garage to plan out a new painting display it takes up 100 square feet, since its size is 10’ x 10’. I can always get that task done in a day, so not an issue. 😊

          Liked by 1 person

        • Emma Cownie says:

          Wow! I like the sound of your garage/workshop!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Alli Farkas says:

          Yes, it was a big added attraction when I purchased the house! My significant other likes it too–he’s intent on filling it up with HIS stuff! I have to keep an eye on him!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Emma Cownie says:

          That’s quite a job. I find its better to have different areas rather than “share” because, as you say, the other-half can fill the space with their stuff!


  2. Welcome back to the show world. Sorry to hear you got so wet. Nevertheless precipitation of any kind is easier to deal with than the four-letter w word.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alli Farkas says:

      Dealt with devil W a few years back when 70mph straight line wind came through an art fair. Had to replace two tent legs and a stabilizer bar when my well-weighted tent went over…yeah, no comparison to a simple drenching!

      Liked by 1 person

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