A roundup of holiday art shows

All of which, not coincidentally, have paintings by me in them.
Lilybells by Katharine Cartwright is one of the many wonderful works at the Kelpie Gallery this holiday season.
Women in the Arts Holiday Pop-Up 
Featuring works by Anne Bailey, Susan Lewis Baines, Katharine Cartwright, Sandra Mason Dickson, Carol Douglas, Lauren Gill, Kris Johnson, Ann Sklar, Holly Smith, Jill Valliere, Sandy Weisman, and Carmella Yager
Opens Nov. 29 – Dec. 24 at:

The Kelpie Gallery

81 Elm Street in the ‘Weskeag Village of South Thomaston, ME
Open 10 – 4, closed Sunday and Wednesday.
For more information, email here or call 207-691-0392.
Sea Fog, by Carol L. Douglas, will be at Ocean House Gallery.
2019 Ocean House Gallery Holiday Show

This is a small-works show with all works at a set price of $250, making them perfect for gift-giving. Artists from around Maine participate.
Opening Reception: Saturday, Dec. 7 from 1 to 4 pm.
Show runs through January 10th at:

Ocean House Gallery & Frame

299 Ocean House Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
Open Wednesday – Friday 10 – 5, Saturday 10 – 4 and by appointment.
For more information, email here or call 207-956-7422.
Blueberry Barrens, Clary Hill, will be at Camden Falls Gallery
Camden Falls Holiday Show, Christmas by the Sea
Opening: Thursday, Dec. 5 through Sunday Dec. 8, at

Camden Falls Gallery
5 Public Landing
Camden, ME 04843
For more information, email here or call (207) 470-7027
Tricky Mary in a Pea-Soup Fog will be at Carol L. Douglas Studio.

Carol L. Douglas Studio Open House and Holiday Sale

Opening: Saturday, Dec. 7, from noon to 5, at

Carol L. Douglas Studio
394 Commercial Street
Rockport, ME 04856
Sunset is one of many works offered in my online sale.
And online…     
Have you wanted to get someone (or yourself) one of my paintings but never quite been able to afford one?  I’m offering a few paintings this season at steep discounts. These can be found here.
Paintings are discounted 30, 40, 50, even 60% off their list prices. Not only that, but postage to the US and Canada is included.

Let me invite you to my friend Sue’s party

Home from my last trip, I find the scene suddenly shifted to holiday joy
By Julie Haskell. Courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.
Sue Baines of the Kelpie Gallery is having a party on Saturday afternoon, 3-6. She makes the best hors d’ouevres in the world, and she’s a dab hand with coffee. I, obviously, plan to be there. If you’re in mid-coast Maine, you should go too.
I occasionally feel a frisson of guilt when I invite my pals to Sue’s events, because they really are more party than opening. I should probably offer to help. But she’s so darn talented in the kitchen, anything I did would stick out like a sore thumb. Still, she encourages me to invite you, and I’d like to see you.
By Gwen Sylvester, courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.
Don’t expect a hard sell. Sue isn’t like that. She doesn’t have to be. Her gallery is filled with absolutely wonderful work, beautifully curated in a light, airy space. I’m not saying that just because she represents me.
By John Bowdren, courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.
I know she sets up this event so all price points are represented. But that doesn’t mean the less-expensive pieces are any less beautiful. You can come away with a Christmas gift that’s handmade, local, and meaningful at a price that won’t break the bank. Or, if you’d rather break the bank, she can point you to some fantastic paintings.
By Kay Sullivan, courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery.
Speaking of seasonal shifts, the great wooden boat fleet is shrink-wrapped at Camden and Rockport. You can finally find parking spaces at the harbor. Sadly, it also means Camden Falls Gallery will soon be closing for their winter hiatus. They’ve had a stellar collection of marine paintings this season, and you’d be remiss in not stopping by one more time before Howard and Margaret Gallagher set sail for the south. If you see Sandy Quang there, say hi. She’s my goddaughter.

Déjà vu, by Jill Valliere. Courtesy of the Kelpie Gallery 

Last, but certainly not least, my next session of plein air classes starts in Rockport next Tuesday. No, I’m not insane; the weather has been fine and the scenes achingly beautiful this autumn. This class runs every Tuesday through December 18, from 10 to 1, and the fee is $200. It’s where the cognoscenti of mid-coast Maine meet, so be there or be square.

How to get into a gallery

It’s just like a job search.
Yes, gallery representation is an attainable goal.

“I guess I really don’t know how to get gallery representation,” an experienced artist told me. “I tried a couple times, unsuccessfully.” As with a job search, you have to try many times before you get there.

There are no shortcuts.
Make sure your website is up-to-date. It should include your newest work, dimensions, media, and, optionally, prices. A neat, easily-navigated portfolio of photographic images, including current curriculum vitae (CV), is good to have in reserve, but don’t plan on taking it around and sticking it in gallerists’ faces. Instead, introduce yourself, hand the gallerist your card, and follow up with an email.
Don’t assume you have to talk to the top dog. A good gallerist trusts his or her assistants’ judgment.
Do your research. If you’re mass-mailing enquiries, you’re doing it all wrong. At a minimum, you should have visited all the galleries in an area before you approach even one.
Don’t approach a top gallery if you’re an emerging artist. It’s a waste of time. Be sure you like the galleries you approach. While there are often vast differences in style, there are always commonalities, too. Visualize your work on their walls. Are you a good fit?
When you write, direct gallerists to an online portfolio—either your website or one you made especially for them. Always include a current curriculum vitae (CV). Ask the gallerist to review your work against their future needs. Talk about your experience and why you think you’re a good fit. And remember—there are lots of candidates out there. Rejection may have nothing to do with your skills; the gallery may simply be overloaded.
Doing this event in Camden Harbor started my relationship with Camden Falls Gallery. (Photo courtesy Howard Gallagher)
No stealth visits
When I’m scoping out galleries, I make it clear that I’m an artist, not a buyer. I don’t ask to show my work at that visit; I give them a card and follow up with an email if I’m interested.
Misrepresenting yourself is a terrible way to start a new relationship. Many of my best conversations with gallerists have been because I’m an artist.
Respect their time
Never stop to chat when they’re changing their show. They won’t appreciate the interruption. Likewise, don’t interrupt a potential sale, ever. If they say they review portfolios at a specific time, respect that.
Historic Fort Point, by Carol L. Douglas. This painting at another event started my relationship with the Kelpie Gallery.
Maintain your image on social media
You love Facebook; gallerists do too. Be professional, up-to-date, and informative, and don’t include information that will shoot you in the foot.
Reverse engineer resumes
Identify a few regional artists whose careers you admire. Their CVs are usually on their websites. You can track their progress from local shows to important galleries. This will give you ideas on what paths to follow.
A Little Bit of Everything, by Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvasboard, long since sold.
Choose a smart path in
Almost every gallery invitation I’ve received has been the result of an event I did in that community. Gallery owners pay attention to them, especially when they organized the event. If the gallery you’re interested in hosts group shows, apply to them.
I (almost) never turn down an opportunity to show my work, but I know the difference between my local farm and a university gallery. Not every venue is a resume builder.
The studio visit
Should you be lucky enough to net a studio visit, be neat, clean and organized. This is your workspace, and it shouldn’t look like a party house or boudoir. Don’t expect miracles, and don’t try to push the gallerist into taking work he or she doesn’t like.
And, above all, be nice.

Showing Alison the ropes

And in Camden harbor, there are ropes everywhere.
Pea Soup, by Carol L. Douglas

This week is the Camden Classics Cup, which draws all sorts of lovely boats to Camden, Maine (as if the place had any shortage on its own). Howard Gallagher asked artists from Camden Falls Gallery to scamper down to the harbor to paint the beautiful beasties, which I’ll be doing while dodging raindrops. It’s nice to do an event close to home, although it doesn’t happen often.

Alison Menke was up at Castine Plein Airlast week. We’d met in June, when we did the Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival in Nova Scotia. She went from there to take first place at Telluride Plein Air, and then bounced back up to Maine. I’m a fan of her bravura brushwork, but she’s also a lovely person. When I realized she was hanging around the Maine coast, I invited her to join me in Camden.
Alison and me, in the murk of a foggy day.
I’ve grown accustomed to the wealth of schooners in the harbor. It was enlightening to see them through fresh eyes. We set up on a floating dock to paint the bow of the Mistress, with Mercantile in the background. Mistress’ dinghy, Tricky Mary, hangs half-suspended from her bow. It’s a nice, odd angle. She’s neither floating nor swinging.
The first time I ever painted in Camden, I was shy about setting up on a floating dock. Still, it’s the only place to paint in places where tides run high. Otherwise, you’ll inevitably get a twist in the hull as the angle changes. Steve Pixley, Camden’s harbormaster, reassured me that it was alright, and I’ve been painting on the docks ever since. This is one of the many ways in which Maine is not like other places.
Our paintings before the little yawl pulled in.
Alison was overly impressed by my knowledge of the schooners’ habits. It’s really just a question of asking the crews endless questions, something that’s going to result in my being pitched in the water one of these days. The most important of these is always, “When are you going back out?”
I love the cluster of day-trippers on the wall—Appledore, Olad, and Surprise—but it’s difficult to paint them live, since they’re never in one place long enough. However, in such heavy fog, they make fewer trips.
A FitzHugh Lane Day at Camden, Carol L. Douglas. There are boats you can only catchon foggy days.
“It’s a real pea-souper,” said a couple coming in from Isleboro to do their weekly shopping. With so many visitors and exotic yachts, it’s easy to forget that for many people, Camden is a working harbor.
By midafternoon, we both needed coffee and lunch. We downed brushes and walked up to town. In retrospect, I feel badly about my choice of dining establishments. Alison has been enjoying such Maine delicacies as Nutella crepes, blueberries and lobster rolls, and I directed her to a boring old chicken salad and a Tootsie Roll. I should have taken her to Harbor Dogs instead. That’s fine coastal dining.
It draws visitors from around the world, so Camden harbor is never boring.

We sat on a bench enjoying the sea mist and our lunches when we noticed a little yawl coming in. She tied up right next to our easels and blocked our view. Pretty enough, but at that moment, I hated her. Alison decided she was finished and packed up to head to Port Clyde. I reworked the bottom of my canvas, ruthlessly excising the mizzen mast.

“I’ll see you around someplace,” Alison said. Well, actually, she’ll see me in three weeks at Adirondack Plein Air. I’m looking forward to it.
I’ve got one more workshop available this summer. Join me for Sea and Sky at Schoodic, August 5-10. We’re strictly limited to twelve, but there are still seats open.

SRSLY time to watch us paint

Three opportunities to watch well known plein air painters at work on Maine’s rugged coast.
Rachel Carson Sunset, Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvasboard, was painted at Ocean Park.

I had so much fun with Bobbi Heath’s Gloucester easel in Cape Elizabeth that I dragged my old one out of the garage. (It’s such junk compared to hers!) I won’t go as big as I did last week, but I do plan on doing some larger works over the next two weeks.

I’m also packing my super-lightweight pochade box because I’ll be painting on the beach as well. I can’t haul that Gloucester easel over sand. We’re entering the gladdest, maddest weeks of summer and it’s good to be prepared.
Anthony, Russ and Ed painting on the beach at Ocean Park.
Art in the Park starts on Sunday, July 15 at Ocean Park, ME. This is as much a band of happy brothers as it is a paint-out. Ed Buonvecchio, Russel Whitten, Christine Tullson Mathieu, Mary Byrom, Anthony Watkins and I have done it as an ensemble for several years now. There’s no jurying and no awards—just excellent painting in an historic seaside community.
As relaxed as Art in the Park is, I’ve painted some very good things there, because Ocean Park has sand, rocks, marshes, architecture and, above all, ice cream. There are lots of hotels, motels and B&Bs in the area, so if you’ve ever wanted to come see a plein air event in action, this would be a good one to catch.
Jonathan submarining, Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvasboard, was painted at Castine Plein Air. This remains one of my all-time favorite paintings.
Anthony and I then drive straight to Castine for the sixth annual Castine Plein Air Festival. It opens on the village green on Thursday at the absurd hour of 6 AM. I’ve done this event since its inception, and it’s attracting top-flight artists. This year my old pal Laura Martinez-Bianco of New York and my new pal Alison Menke of Maryland will be there for the first time. Alison just earned first place/artist choice at Telluride, so she’s definitely a force to reckon with. And, of course, I’ll see many of my old friends there as well.
Castine is the home of Maine Maritime Academy, which is why the Arctic schooner Bowdoin hangs out in its harbor. It’s out on a neck on the far side of Penobscot Bay, making it a kind of Brigadoon, forgotten by time. Main Street slopes down towards the sea, with just enough shops and restaurants to make it fun to visit, but not so many as to distract from its white-picket-fence charm.
The plein airfestival wraps up with an open reception on Saturday July 21, from 4 to 6 pm. Wandering around and watching the artists is a great way to get to know this postcard-perfect town. If you can’t get a room in the village, Bucksport is not far away.
Before the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvasboard, was painted at Camden harbor.
The next week, I’ll be painting in Camden Harbor during the Camden Classics Cup. This event brings about 70 sailboats into Camden Harbor to race for the weekend, right before the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. Camden Falls Gallery is the sponsor, and the event will feature their represented artists. I can’t tell you which ones will show up, but Ken DeWaard, Dan Corey, Renee Lammers, Olena Babekand Peter Yesis are all local, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them—and others.
Camden is accustomed to visitors, so you’ll have no trouble finding a room.
Since I live just down the road and love to paint wooden boats, I’ve blocked out my schedule from Wednesday, July 26 through the weekend. Boat lovers are welcome to walk out on the floating docks to see the boats in harbor, but if I’m lucky, I’ll have found someone to take me out to a float.

Two openings this Friday

You looking for me? This is where I’ll be this Friday.

Village at Camden Harbor Maine, Ann Trainor Domingue, courtesy of Camden Falls Gallery
I’ll start with Homecomingat Camden Falls Gallery, on Friday from 5-7 PM. This features the work of mixed media artist Ann Trainor Domingueand other gallery artists, of which I am one. I love Trainor Domingue’s work, which explores the interplay of family, friends, work and home in symbolic, playful, and non-realistic, terms.
I’m also looking forward to seeing owners Howard and Margaret Gallagher. They’ve been retailing art and craft in Camden for 37 years but decided to become official ‘snowbirds’ last winter.
“I don’t want to say it’s like migrating fish returning to their place of origin, but there’s something really special about coming home to the gallery on the edge of Camden Harbor,” said Howard.
Ann Trainor Domingue was born in Fall River, Massachusetts and raised in Barrington, Rhode Island. Summer holidays spent on Cape Cod deepened her affinity for coastal estuaries, harbor towns, and the doughty New Englanders who earn their living from the sea.
Best Part of the Day, Ann Trainor Domingue, courtesy of Camden Falls Gallery
After graduating from Rhode Island College, Trainor Domingue had a successful career as an illustrator and art director. Two artist residencies from the Copley Society in Boston enabled her to return to Provincetown to paint after her escape from the corporate world.
Camden Falls Gallery is located at 5 Public Landing, Camden, ME. For more information, call (207) 470-7027 or email [email protected].
Yellow dinghy (Camden), Ed Buonvecchio, courtesy of the artist.
Then I’ll amble down to Tenants Harbor to see Inspirations: 4 Paint Maine, featuring the work of Ed Buonvecchio, Suzanne deLesseps, Kathryn Baribeau, and Fran Scannell. Ed and I are good friends. We paint together at Ocean Park every year, and traveled to Nova Scotia together last year for the Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival. For some reason, this season has gotten away from me and I haven’t seen him yet.
Iced in at Rockport, Ed Buonvecchio, courtesy of the artist. This is a scene I know well.
Ed is from Camillus, NY, and has a BFA from SUNY Buffalo. An avid outdoorsman, he started painting in oils seriously while he and his wife Julie Richard lived in Arizona. “Plein airpainting has been an extension of my love for nature and a way to study it. Painting is my way of sharing what I see and feel with others,” he said.
The show opens at Jackson Memorial Library, 71 Main Street, Tenants Harbor, ME, also from 5-7 PM. If you haven’t seen a show here, it’s worth the trip just to visit the library.

Going sailing

Life during the Age of Sail was often “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

Safety Check, Carol L. Douglas, courtesy Camden Falls Gallery
I dithered about whether I was going to go sailing this week. My asthma has been kicking up and it seemed unfair to Captain John Foss to have to decide whether to feed me to the fishies.
On Friday night, I went down to the harbor to watch the harvest moon rise. The lobster fleet nodded gently on a whisper of sea air. I found myself able to breathe. If the Captain doesn’t make me do all the work, I should be fine. I’ve got a new inhaler, so off I go.
Breaking Storm, Carol L. Douglas, courtesy Camden Falls Gallery
I’ve painted American Eagle many times. She’s got beautiful lines and has been lovingly restored. She’s a youngster compared to much of the Maine schooner fleet, having been built in 1930 in Gloucester, MA. Because she was originally outfitted with an auxiliary engine, she’s an oddity: the sole survivor of the transition between sail and engine in fishing vessels.
She was called Andrew and Rosalie when she was a working fishing boat. Her schooner rig was removed around 1945 and she was converted to a trawler. She must have been an awful mess with no sails, an elevated pilothouse perched on the quarterdeck, winches, booms and reels for trawling on the forward deck. I could drive down the hill and ask the Captain (who was responsible for her restoration) for a picture. I poked around the internet instead. No luck, but I found this sad story, dated January 12, 1937:
Setting blocks (American Eagle and Heritage), Carol L. Douglas, courtesy Camden Falls Gallery
“A loose knob on the pilot house door of the local auxiliary sch. Andrew and Rosalie, Capt. George Goodwin, spelled death for Albert ‘Boxie’ Blagdon, 38 years, single, native of Newfoundland, at 6 o’clock this morning on Middle Bank, 12 miles southeast of Eastern point, when Blagdon lost his balance and drowned in the sight of his shipmates.  The craft arrived here at 8.30 o’clock this morning, with the flag flying half-mast, to report the affair.  Blagdon had no known local relatives, and lived aboard the ship when in port.
“The vessel left here Sunday, single dory trawling, and had secured 10,000 pounds of groundfish on Middle bank, until the breeze that swept the waters this morning prevented the crew of 15 men from fishing.  Capt. Goodwin decided to come closer into shore for harbor, and wait for the breeze to die down.  He had ordered halfhours tricks at the wheel and Blagdon had just completed his 6 o’clock, being relieved by Edward Armstrong.
Winch (American Eagle), Carol L. Douglas, courtesy Camden Falls Gallery
“Armstrong on taking the wheel, asked Blagdon to hook the door.  The latter did so, and then took hold of the knob of the door to steady himself as he began to walk down the narrow way between the starboard rail and the house.  His foot is believed to have caught on ice on the deck, and as he held more tightly on the knob to keep his feet, the knob pulled out and sent Blagdon hurling over the rail into the icy waters.  The last the crew saw of him was his boots disappearing into the ocean.  He was weighted down with oilskins, heavy underclothes, and heavy leather boots, which coupled with the temperature of the water, probably prevented him from saving himself from drowning. Capt. Goodwin immediately ordered a dory overboard, but an hour’s search failed to reveal where Blagdon had drowned, or any trace of his body.
“The unfortunate man had been one of the vessel’s crew since the middle of last November and was regarded as an able fisherman and a willing worker.  He had followed the sea from his childhood, and came here as a young man to sail out of Gloucester.  The sch. Andrew and Rosalie will leave port again tonight to complete her fishing trip.”
American Eagle in Drydock, Carol L. Douglas, courtesy Camden Falls Gallery
I can sometimes get nostalgic for the Age of Sail, but stories like that remind me that, as with so many other things from our past, the life of a fisherman was often “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
If I fall in, the Captain will probably retrieve me. To do otherwise would result in a mess of paperwork. Either way, my blog goes dark this week. I don’t do that often, but phone service is dicey on Penobscot Bay.

I’ll see you on Friday.

If you can’t find it in Maine, you’re not really trying.

It’s August: blueberries, lobster rolls, shimmering seas, lighthouses, ocean breezes and the rock-ribbed coast.
Breaking Storm, by Carol L. Douglas, courtesy Camden Falls Gallery.

Yesterday I drove south to deliver twenty paintings to Brunswick’s Local Market. Suddenly, it’s wild blueberry season in Maine. Little stands dot the shoulder of Route 1.

This show will be up for next week’s Artwalk, and remain up through September. It’s an opportunity to show something in addition to landscape. I brought several still lives, including my all-time favorite, my tin-foil hat. I suddenly realized it needed a new name, so Conspiracy Theory it is.
Conspiracy Theory, by Carol L. Douglas
I didn’t paint this as a political statement, but an experiment in reflective surfaces. Still, I work with social media daily. I’m not oblivious to its faults. Whenever I feel a blast of the inanities, I don that painting as a profile picture. Perhaps someone needs the real thing in their office.
Local Market is at 150 Maine Street in Brunswick. If you stop to look at the art, you can also get lunch or a gift while you’re there. It’s that kind of place.
Two Islands in the Rain, by Carol L. Douglas, is at Wyler’s through the end of September.
Farther south, there are a few of my paintings at Jakeman Hallin Ocean Park. The association holds unsold work from Art in the Park through Christmas. It’s not a hardship to visit Ocean Park; it has a long sand beach so you can combine your visit with sunbathing.
Last time I was in Camden, my painting, Breaking Storm (top) was in the window at Camden Falls Gallery. This large canvas features the schooner American Eagle passing Owl’s Head in a purely imaginary tempest. I like the wind and the water and, of course, the boat is a peach.
Fort Point Historic Site, by Carol L. Douglas, was last year’s Juror’s Choice Award winner at Wet Paint on the ‘Weskeag.
I’m also represented by the Kelpie Gallery in South Thomaston, which is the host of Wet Paint on the ‘Weskeag, a one-day plein air event to raise money for the Georges River Land Trust. I’ll be there next Saturday (August 17), but before that, I’m off to teach my annual workshop at Schoodic Institute.
And there lies the rub: while my paintings will be here, I won’t. Of necessity, my own gallery in Rockport closes while I’m on the road. From Wet Paint on the ‘Weskeag, I leave directly for the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, and from there to Plein Air Plus in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. I’ll be back near the end of the month.
I didn’t schedule my workshop to coincide with blueberry season, but it always seems to work out that way.
Meanwhile, the line at Red’s Eats snakes along the sidewalk, the blueberries are pie-ready, the fog curls its little fingers around the rocky points. I’m not sure why I’m leaving. I’m not sure how anyone can resist coming here. 

Friday flotsam and jetsam

What’s a studio visit all about? And how do you prep for it while prepping to go on the road?
Outrunning the Storm, 30X48, is finished and awaiting delivery to Camden Falls Gallery.

Bobbi Heath is co-hosting Leslie Saeta’s Artists Helping Artists this month. They discussed this blog yesterday in the segment called What We Can Learn From the Top Rated Artist’s Blogs.
Thank you! Artists Helping Artists is the top-rated art show on blogtalk radio.
Bobbi will be recording the next one during the middle of Castine Plein Air. That will be a tough balancing act, since she’s also a participating artist.
My host for Castine texted me yesterday. She’s in New Jersey and wanted me to know that it was 95° F. there and 59° in Castine. That’s perfect painting weather.
We don’t have or need air conditioning here in coastal Maine. The air off the North Atlantic keeps us comfortable. The average high temperature here is 76° in July and 75° in August. Bear that in mind if you’re thinking about my workshop in August.
I’m packing for next week’s events. Yesterday, I got a text from another painter. “I’m bringing 14 frames to Castine,” she told me. “I have four that are a different molding than the others. I want to try them out. And most of them are already wired so they aren’t extra work. And I have seven sizes, mostly in pairs. Am I nuts?”
This is what’s on my easel. It’s based on a pre-dawn sail out of Camden last summer.
That’s a lot of frame for the six paintings she’s limited to, but her car is big enough. I always carry a variety of frames, so I can choose finishes and sizes depending on what I end up finishing.
I’m expecting a studio visit when I get home next weekend. Before I leave, my studio needs to be prepped. I keep regular open hours so it’s always presentable, but there are special considerations for a gallerist’s visit.
Although my studio isn’t vast, it is first and foremost a workshop. What I’m working on right now is part of my story. I don’t clear it away unless it’s unusually fragile.
There are many reasons for a gallerist or collector to visit us: to select work for a show, to see new work, or just to get to know us better. The same rules of hospitality that you apply in your house are appropriate in your studio. Turn off the stereo, ignore your phone and offer your guests refreshment.
Spring at the Boatyard will be going soon as well, en route to the Rye Art Center in Rye, NY.
Some experts recommend preparing a presentation on your work and its evolution. I have a strong internet presence, so I think that’s overkill. If I didn’t, a binder with earlier work, postcards and clippings would be appropriate.
If a person is interested in earlier work, I can pull out representative samples from storage. But most people are not interested in my past, but what I’m painting now.
Ready for visitors: neat, clean but not stripped of my work.
My studio functions as a gallery during the summer months, so there’s already a small selection of work hanging. However, the studio visit isn’t primarily to ‘sell’ art; it’s really to get to know the artist better. Think of it as a professional visit between two peers.
What do we talk about? The work, mostly: where it was done, what it means to me, and where I’m going with the ideas. Artists tend to be shy about this kind of interaction, especially when nervous. It helps me to remember that I don’t need to “sell” myself; the visit itself indicates a genuine interest in my work.

However, you don’t need to fill dead air space either. Give your visitor a chance to really look at your art.

Blast from the past

Graphic design in the Fifties and Sixties was the playbill version of Googie: exuberant, absurd, energetic, Atomic Age America.
A tab at the top or bottom was left blank so local information could be added. That’s why the type looks different.

I was looking for Howard Gallagher, owner of Camden Falls Gallery. Coincidently, he was looking for me. Curiously, we were both thinking about music, not painting.

In our youth, my husband was a bass player with Buffalobluesman, Shakin’ Smith. We drew straws to see who had to get a real job, and he lost. He still plays, and he’d like to play more. The trouble is that his contacts are few up here in midcoast Maine. There doesn’t seem to be as much of a live music scene here as in Buffalo. That’s odd, considering this is a tourist destination.
Buffalo’s last bar call was at 4 AM. This created a world of its own for musicians, who generally had to wait until the last drunk stumbled out before the owner would unfist his cash. Often, musicians wouldn’t even start playing until 11 PM. One fine summer morning, Doug and I returned home after a gig to find his father up painting the garage door. He seemed inexpressibly old, but he was younger then than we are now.
This schedule was a remnant of an era when the mills roared 24-7. Bars stayed open to accommodate shiftworkers. That world is documented in Verlyn Klinkenborg’s elegiac The Last Fine Time.
Neither of us want to stay up all night drinking in seedy dives, but Doug does want to play. Howard likes music, so I called to see if he had any ideas.
No, but he needed a poster designed for a series of swing shows he’s organizing in Northport this summer. Back when Doug was playing the bass, I was doing graphic design using paper, an X-Acto knife, waxer, rapidograph pens, and other obsolete tools of the trade. I quit long after the transition to computers—almost exactly twenty years ago, in fact—but I still remember the basics.
Most of those mid-century type treatments were hand-drawn with pen and ink. Nobody was particularly fettered by so-called good taste or rules about the number and kinds of display fonts that were tossed together. Graphic design was the playbill version of Googie: exuberant, absurd, energetic, Atomic Age America.
I didn’t have enough time to hand-letter a poster. I made a passable imitation using Adobe Illustrator. It was great nostalgic fun, but no, I don’t want to design your logo. I’m way too busy painting. (If you need a designer, contact Victoria Brzustowicz.)
Meanwhile, I’m off to see The Zombies in Northhampton, Massachusetts this week. Colin Blunstone is approximately at the age my father was when he died after a long, pottering retirement. Blunstone’s on tour. Even old people aren’t what they used to be.