Lansdale Festival of the Arts 2016 – Only the Good…

…because there is no bad or ugly!

The fair was held in a park in Lansdale, a town about 20 minutes from home. It’s a town with a distinct identity, now surrounded by new retail and housing, but I can remember a time when it was set in the middle of fields all on its own. There is still a very strong local feeling, though, and this long-running festival is put on by the Parks and Recreation Department as part of town pride. It also coincides with the Founders’ Day, held in the center of town a few blocks away, so there is a good crowd attracted to both events.

I have done this show for 20 years and it is a favorite for a lot of reasons – location, pleasant crowd, a feeling of welcome from the show organizers, and the familiar faces of exhibitors and friends I see here each year.

Each show has its own routines. This one starts with the space assignment procedure. Unlike many shows, you get your space according to when you arrive on site; this helps with traffic flow in getting a lot of cars in the park at one time. People arrive early and line up along the street. We used to do this, too, and then we realized a few years ago that it didn’t matter – there is not a bad space in the show. So we arrived about 8 AM (the show started at 10 AM) and we breezed right in – no waiting. Joanne from Parks and Rec met us at the check-in point, as she has done for as long as I remember, and we were directed to space 49. We unloaded the car and took it away.

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Then we got to work setting up. There are a lot of stages, and maybe someday I’ll photo them in more detail but – I just forgot this time.

Here’s a look at the location of our booth and its surroundings.

We settled in for the day. My husband got his complimentary cup of coffee but we passed on the doughnuts – both hospitality features from the show organizers. Much appreciated.

I visited with some art friends before the day got busy (a shout-out to Mindy and Carl). Then our friend John G. came by and spent a good bit of the day with us – we have plenty of room for visitors and we bring an extra chair in case anyone stops by. If more than one person comes, well, someone will be sitting on the cooler, maybe.

The day was very hot and sunny.

The park is called Memorial Park and commemorates war veterans. There are a couple of cannons in the park and kids climb on them all day. I remember my son doing so when we used to bring him with us, when he was a small boy. I took a picture of this cannon with a man looking it over – I don’t think he was wanting to climb on it! Instead, he was quiet, just thinking his own thoughts.

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This show, in addition to being juried for entry, also features cash prizes. The exhibitor chooses two pieces to be judged and marks them; prizes are then awarded from these selections.

This show has always had a good level of art and craft, tribute to the initial jurying process. It is better for all exhibitors if the quality of participants is uniform and high, I think; anyway, for me, it’s hard to sell paintings if the other booths feature poor-quality work.

The show organizers have also always found good judges for the prize awards – meaning the judge has well-recognized credentials or affiliations, and – this is important – takes the time to really study the works. Each artist gets a knowledgable look-over. This is not always the case, as my experiences over the years have shown me! And we exhibitors appreciate it.

It sounds self-serving to have written this bit, as I won second prize in my category. But I wanted to differentiate this show from others that give awards – I feel I have accomplished something, winning here, and I am grateful. And even if I hadn’t won anything, I felt my work was given a fair look, which means more than you’d think.

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Well, by the end of the afternoon we were hot and tired and ready to go home. I sold several pieces, and I had some interesting conversations (including a delightful one with a fellow cat-lover about our respective cats). I always mean to take a few packing-up pictures, but I’m thinking more about going home at this point, and I just don’t get to it.

The festivities were not over when the show was – fireworks were planned on the adjacent ball field that night. We didn’t stay, but they expected a big crowd.

Looking forward to next year in Lansdale.

Lansdale Festival of the Arts – Next Saturday, August 27

I’ll be at this show next Saturday. Here’s a photo from last year. It’s a great show for a lot of reasons: a variety of good quality art and crafts, great location in a shady park, music and kid events, and an easy to get to location. If you’re in the area, it’s a nice spot to spend some time, and I’d be very glad to see you.

I love this show – it is one of the first events I did when I started doing art fairs – about 20 years ago, now. If you want to read about last year’s experience, look here. My booth is on the right, with the table sporting a pale cover in front of it.

The show takes place 10 AM – 4 PM, in Memorial Park, 300 E. Main Street (Rt. 63), Lansdale, PA.  (Link to the official site.)

 

Tinicum Festival of the Arts – What Happened There

We spent the last weekend at this long-running festival in Erwinna, PA, held in a park right off the Delaware River. I have done this show for years and years. I see a lot of friends here and it’s a very sociable time – I sit in my booth and receive visitors, chat with art buyers, and listen to the music playing over in the stage area. It’s a really nice event for a lot of reasons.

I think I’ll just walk you through it with pictures. Let’s start on Friday afternoon. We artists have the option of setting up in the afternoon and so we arrived at the park around lunchtime. The event is centered on the big red barn – they hold a separate juried show inside there.

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Here’s the view of things from our location. It was a very hot, humid, sunny afternoon.

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The all-important tent: our home for the weekend days. Ready to be pulled out and set up.

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Here it is all set up. We have put the display racks inside, but I don’t hang the artwork until the show day, and I don’t leave it in the booth overnight, so I re-hang it each day. With the sides all zipped up, everything is secure for the evening.

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On Friday night, a big thunderstorm came through the area, but our tent survived fine (They don’t always…). Saturday was cool, rainy, and gray all day.

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Here’s some shots of the inside of the tent display.

And our row of tents. We were located along the edge of the field – there are two sections in groves of trees, but I like the less-crowded location that we have, and so I always chose this section each year when I apply.

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Here’s a view of “backstage”. I set things up so that we could sit behind the display at this show, because it is shady and we have a lot of room. In many shows, you only have the 10′ x 10′ space your tent occupies, and you have to fit yourself and all your things in it. Here, well, we have a lot of acreage, another reason I like this section. We also always bring an extra chair for visitors to sit in – that’s why we have three instead of just two for us.

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After a showery day, we went home. Another storm passed through in the night but once again our tent stood up to it. Sunday was very pleasant, sunny and breezy. The crowd was much larger this day.

We were located near the book sale tent – it’s a fixture at this fair and the proceeds benefit local charities. I went over and took a look at things.

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So there you have it. I had nice sales, so I was happy, and I saw a lot of friends – our visitor’s chair was in demand. I want to say hi and thanks for coming to John G. and Steve (and John came both days); Missy; Jay and Catherine; Joanne; and Ann. And, I met a blog friend here, Jeannette (and Mr. Jeannette, whose name was told to me, I know, but…I have lost it, I apologize) – they came from northern New Jersey to see the show and say hello, which I really appreciated. All in all, a really nice weekend!

Art-in-the-Park, West Park, Allentown, PA – How the day went…

I participated in this show yesterday, held in West Park, Allentown, PA. It’s a favorite of mine, for the lovely location, the appreciative crowd, and the volunteers who run the event. I have done this show for almost 20 years, missing a year here or there (such as last summer, with my cataract operations) but I will keep doing this show until either it or I give up. I really feel at home here, both in this city and this show.

OK, I’ll get to the 2016 experience. First thing, we located our spot. I have been in this same location since I began coming here, so – this part was not hard at all.

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Next, after saying hello to my booth neighbor, a long-time art friend who has been located next to me at this show for several years, my husband and I got to work setting things up. Here we’ve put up our tent and we’re starting on the racks:

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Here’s the end result:

Now things got underway. We had perfect weather  and the park got crowded quickly.

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Besides the art, there was music at the band shell all day.

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And I can’t leave out a photo of the fountain, the centerpiece of the park.

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In the afternoon, I took some time to stretch my legs, walking around the block. West Park is a substantial piece of ground, set in a grid of streets that were built up about a hundred years ago. The surrounding area is filled with tall, ornate rowhomes. This neighborhood and Allentown itself are undergoing a rebirth, and it can be seen in how many houses are being renovated and in their upkeep. In fact, there is a popular tour of houses in this neighborhood held the day after this art show – you could buy tickets at the information table.

I took pictures of streets surrounding West Park. All of these buildings are located on the streets directly abutting the park.

The Masonic Temple is right across the street on Linden.

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The Episcopal Church of the Mediator, located at the corner of the park on Turner Street, always holds a rummage sale (entitled “Tossed and Found”). I also noticed they have a Little Free Library now, too.

Back at the show. This event features judges and prizes. I like the competition and I always hope for recognition, just like everybody else! This year I got my wish. Thank you, judges!

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At five o’clock it was time to pack up.

The park looks so peaceful now, back to its regular self with all the show activities pretty much packed up and gone home.

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Art in the Park, West Park, Allentown, PA – Saturday, June 18

I’ll be showing my paintings at this great show in Allentown this Saturday. It’s a well-established show held in an arboretum/park in the middle of the city – a lovely green space created about one hundred years ago and well-cherished today. The event is organized by the West Park Civic Association.

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Fountain at the center of the park.

I really love going to this show – I would say it is one of my two favorite events. I’ve come here for almost two decades, I think. I didn’t make it here last summer – my second cataract operation interfered. So I’m extra-ready to be back in my space (#108, if you are interested, and I have occupied this location since the first year I did the show!).

The park is located between Linden and Turner, 15th and 16th, Allentown, PA, 10 AM to 5 PM, and the weather looks just perfect for a show.

Looking toward the fountain from my booth area, 2013.

Plein Air Event, Chestnut Hill, Sunday, June 12, 2016

All right, I’ll give you a rundown on this event!

We arrived nice and early, around 8 AM. The location is only about 10 minutes from home so it was easy to do this. My location was in the 8600 block of Germantown Avenue, and I chose this spot at the intersection of Germantown and Bethlehem Pike. The day was warm, sunny, and quite windy.

I had decided to do 2 paintings, since I tend to work better if I move between pieces – I don’t overwork the details and consequently muddy things up.  I had two boards, 12″ x 16″, coated with a smooth gesso. Since I didn’t want to move my work area, I chose two views that I could see from my location.

So, I got to work.

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Quite a few people were out visiting the event – there were 40 or so artists at work on the Avenue. (I’ll take this chance to say thank you to my friends John N. and David W. for stopping by!) Here is a look at the progress on Painting #1:

And here is Painting #2:

And here is where I finished with them. For the day, anyway.

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I had some extra time and I had brought a larger board with me, so I started on it, using a view looking up the street. I was tired and losing focus, so I left this painting in a much more unfinished state (and it’s already had some changes made, believe me, one day later!).

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At three o’clock, my husband and I took one of the paintings, the crosswalk one, to be displayed at the reception.

And that was the event!

I came away from it with some insights about how I like to work that I had not focused on before. Honestly, I don’t like painting in this manner – I mean in an official plein air event. I felt under pressure to stay with a depiction of what I saw in front of me, and no more – my painting was totally dictated by what I saw outside myself, rather than from what comes to me inside my own head. I realized that even when I paint from a photo, I feel free to make changes, to use it only to spark other ideas, and most of all, to access memories or feelings inside me. Here – I didn’t feel much connection to what I was painting and so I don’t like what my results were. Which is why I say the paintings were finished – for that day! But not finished, the way I feel something is finished.

I did enjoy being outside and working, though I would make sure to be in the shade, and on a less windy day – the paint dried as quickly as I stroked it on the surface. I struggled a bit with my materials, I guess I’m saying.

So what I need to be doing is, working outside but painting from the inside – of my own head. And if I can combine the actual world with the internal one, I’ll have a happier result, both in my feeling about my work and the actual paintings themselves.

This insight is nothing cosmic, but it did help me put things into perspective. I now have three paintings started off and where they will go from here – we will see!