Being a member of many different art organizations has allowed me to benefit from the wide range of programs offered by each one. This morning I attended a monthly meeting of the Littleton Fine Art Guild and was privileged to hear a talk by new member, Karen Kingirski who presented some very helpful methods of selling artwork (or any product) and how to best approach potential customers to gain their appreciation and business. Gleaned from many years in the furniture selling industry (currently at Colorado Style), Karen offered these following tips for first contact with a customer.
Many people are intimidated by walking into a gallery, so it’s important to greet them, but do so in an indirect manner, so as not to confront them directly. She suggests looking busy — a diversion such as dusting picture frames or rearranging displays. If they seem interested in a certain piece of art, offer to tell them about the object or an artist — so it is important as the sales representative to know what’s in your gallery and to know the artists. Be sure to review the resume books in the gallery when you have free time. “Can I tell you about the artist?” is a good way to break the ice and tell an interesting story. Once a dialog is established, the relationship becomes something other than just a customer and salesperson, it becomes much more casual, setting that person at ease. Discussing the procedures of creating different art forms also will engage a gallery visitor.
Karen emphasized staying positive in your discourse with a potential customer. Remember the acronym FAB: features, advantages and benefits. Explaining how the features of an object could benefit that person can be a persuasive factor in their decision to buy. And above all, listen to the customer. Let them talk about their needs— where they’d put the piece of art, what size or colors they’re looking for. Even offer them hanging advice if they need it.
When the purchase is finalized, include the artist’s business card to remind the new owner that they’ve purchased something unique and made by hand, by a local artist. Make them feel good about their purchase!
Looks like the reception for the Lakewood Arts' Colorado's Best Exhibit brought out a lot of award winners and visitors enjoying the music of Zant Duo. Bryan Willis engaged the crowd with improv drawing, while Kristi cut the cake. If you couldn't make the reception, stop by the gallery to see the show. And don't forget the Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts show is coming up in November and December. Get your application in now if you want to sell your goods!
Every few months the Lakewood Arts Coop Gallery artists change out their artwork and display their pieces in a new location in the gallery, giving the exhibit space a fresh look. We've also had a few new artists join our group. Mixed media, pottery, jewelry, glass -- lots of fun stuff! Come on in and see what's new!
Gallery hours are now 11-4 Tuesday through Sunday.
An annual tradition now, Charlie and the Girls is a fun exhibit featuring the work of Charlie Casper and a roster of longtime female artists of the Lakewood Arts Coop Gallery. This year included Barb Tobiska, Lynnette Kupferer, Sanarie Boyet, Gail Firmin and Shirley Coen. Unlike years past when artists were given a challenge to come up with artworks demonstrating certain themes, this show was open to any medium and subject. Barb got wild with some groovy abstracts,
Sanarie painted acrylics in glowing purples and oranges, Lynnette included her colored pencil pieces and mosaics and Shirley had fun with various topics including a look up into a tree canopy. Gail's work included a watercolor batik, a poured painting and traditional watercolor,
while Charlie's digital photos included an intriguing row of skulls.
Food was plentiful with the artists and reception committee providing savory and sweet snacks,
and Jan Casper brought a fun cake with the artists' likenesses -- that an art in itself!
Music was provided by the Front Porch sisters -- we all had fun singing along with well-known tunes.
And Sydney Eitel demonstrated her acrylic techniques.
Outside the gallery there was an Elvis sighting (The Gallery of Everything was also musically inclined this evening!) And a new addition were the brightly colored benches with the 40West logo, adorned with some colorful Lakewood Arts members. The show runs through September 25 so stop by the gallery -- there's always something new!
Lakewood Arts Co-op Member and Education Manager Sheila Bobay McFather took time to answer my questions for this in-depth Artist in the Spotlight feature.
How did you get started in creating art? When I was four, my grandmother taught me how to draw a simple cube - two overlapping squares with four lines to connect the corners. It was fun and easy! I’ve been hooked on art ever since then. My mother supported my interest by providing art supplies and encouragement. Being raised as an only child and having to move frequently with my family during my elementary years made it easy to focus on drawing and painting. In fifth grade I won First Place for a painting my mother entered in an art exhibit at the White Sands National Monument (near Monahans, Texas). Receiving that award influenced me a lot, and as a result I worked harder, and my skills and love of art continued to grow. I was the artist and photographer for the yearbook all through high school in Canadian, Texas. The mascot I created for the yearbook when I was a senior, Willie the Wildcat, is still thriving. Canadian celebrated his “50th Anniversary” in 2015, and, as spokesman for the schools and the community, Willie Wildcat has his own website, t-shirts, mascot at the football games, etc. I was self-taught until I went to college at West Texas State University in Canyon, Texas, where I majored in Art Education. Coincidentally, this is also where one of my favorite artists, Georgia O’Keefe, had her first teaching assignment! Since college, I have taught private art lessons to individuals or small groups, organized and taught classes for a K-12 summer art program at a university, served as art teacher for six years at a private residential treatment center, and taught art in public schools in Arkansas, Texas and Colorado. Several of my students have won state and national recognition in art competitions. Since retiring from teaching in June 2015, I have volunteered to mentor disabled adults at a local senior community center, and currently volunteer once weekly to teach art to developmentally disabled young adults who attend a local day center. As Education Manager at the Lakewood Arts Co-op Gallery, I am currently asking for other artists to volunteer to help with our community outreach programs. The latest request is for artist(s) to provide art demonstrations and/or simple art activities at a local senior care facility.
What is your favorite medium and why? I love to work with water-based media, to include watercolor, watercolor pencils, gouache, ink and acrylic, along with the many different mediums available to use for particular artistic effects. I find that water media is easier to set up and clean up, healthier and more environmentally friendly, easily portable for fieldwork, constantly evolving, and infinitely versatile!
I have recently learned to enjoy working with encaustics by attending a class at the Lakewood Arts Gallery, taught by Camille Scott, and glass mosaics by attending Lynnette Kupferer’s class. I have also enjoyed teaching an acrylics class at Lakewood Arts, and have an 8 week drawing class beginning September 13th. I continue to use oils, pastels, and various drawing mediums. I use paper mache for the assembled cats I’m in the process of creating, but I haven’t yet displayed them at the gallery. I’ll try anything new.
What are your favorite subjects? My favorite subjects are landscapes, (trees in particular), animals (cats in particular), figures, portraits and imaginary scenes. I do flowers occasionally and still lifes rarely. I find that creating a “successful” abstract is the most challenging task of all, so I continue to work on growing in this area. "Cleo Catra" for the Cat Care Society's Tails of the Painted Cats 2014 fundraiser.
Do I have a vision for my work? For a body of work that I would like to create? I would start with a series of either cats or trees in producing bodies of work in the future, but there are several other themes I would like to focus on, including atmospheric scenes, abstracts, imaginary scenes, specific animals, and more.
How did you find out about Lakewood Arts Council and Co-op? When I moved from Englewood to Lakewood in 2000, I asked some of my art friends at the Art Depot in Littleton about organizations in Lakewood. I became a member of Mountainside Artists Guild, later Lakewood Arts Council, and more recently 40 West Arts. I used to be a member of Colorado Watercolor Society, but let that membership slide after going back into teaching in 1999.
What do you find most enjoyable or beneficial about being a member? I love the camaraderie and support that the artists in this group share with each other. I am continuously inspired by the talent, quality and diversity of artwork in the LAC Co-op and surrounding art galleries. There are many opportunities for artists to promote and exhibit their work, teach art, take art classes, or reach out to the community by volunteering to help promote the arts. The recent growth and development of this area as a new cultural and arts district is incredible.
What’s next on the horizon? First priority now that I’m retired is to build up my personal inventory of art. As a fulltime art and special ed teacher, I seldom had an opportunity to do much serious artwork, so I am in the process of getting organized and set up at home to be more productive as an artist. I will also be involved as a member of local art organizations, and volunteering in different capacities to help others enjoy art.
Has your work changed over the years? I have always enjoyed the detail and draftsmanship required to create realistic art. I like precision and structure. Most of my older work reflects that. Although I will never give up painting realistically with all my picky little details, which I find very therapeutic, I am currently in the process of trying to paint using a more spontaneous, loose and painterly approach. I would also like to do some work in which I explore using abstraction and impressionism as a form of artistic expression.
Which artists from the past or living do you admire most? My top three favorite artists from the past are Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keefe, and Leonardo da Vinci. I have seen exhibits of the first two artists’ work, and it is even more incredible hanging on a wall! Artists I have learned from in the past that were especially influential are Ben Konis, Stephan Kramer, Dalhart Windberg, Danny Gamble, Al Brouilette, Emilio Caballero, Claudia Nice, and Carole Barnes, to name a few.
Describe the volunteer work you do. How can others help you with this endeavor? I am currently the Education Manager at Lakewood Arts Council Co-op Gallery. I am also on the Kids and Family Committee at 40 West Arts. Another artist, Kristi Czajkowski, and I currently volunteer once a week to teach art classes to young adults who attend a local day center for developmentally disabled young adults, ages 21-32. Currently, I am recruiting other artists to volunteer to help us out at this day center, and/or volunteer for a new opportunity that has just opened up at a local care center in Lakewood. I can say from personal experience that volunteering and helping others enjoy art is a very rewarding experience. I encourage other artists to give back by volunteering any amount of time you can spare to help with our community outreach programs. Anyone who is able to volunteer some time to help with outreach art programs, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call or text me at 303-462-3738, or call Lakewood Arts at 303-980-0625 and leave your information so that I can call you back. Your generosity will be most appreciated by so many!
There was a great turnout for the August First Friday. Students and mentors of the DDRC sponsored Art & Soul program turned out to view their exhibit on the Community Wall. The LAC has been generous in donating wall space once a year for this group.
Annette Sapp demonstrated her stone cutting skills outside the gallery for visitors to watch, while inside, good food and music entertained everyone.
Becky and Linda managed the food and drink while members enjoyed a sing-along, complete with harmonica.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty defines being middle-aged as being between the ages of 40-65. Falling somewhere in between those parameters, I was intrigued to find out more about what she means by midlife renewal as opposed to the ubiquitous term “midlife crisis”.
Delving into the well-categorized chapters on learning new things, importance of friendships, marriage, memory loss, finding a purpose in life, altruism, and second careers, I bookmarked so many pages that I might do better just re-reading it!
There is hope for us mid-lifers yet! Midlife renewal involves taking a hard look at your situation in life and understanding what brings you happiness and fulfillment. Hagerty states,”This is a time when you shift gears…the moment can be exhilarating rather than terrifying, informed by the experiences of your past and shaped by the promise of your future.” Now that people are living well beyond retirement age, decisions that are made today affect the rest of your life.
In order to live richly in one’s middle years, three themes seem to dominate, according to Hagerty. They are: Engage with verve — in your relationships, your continued education, your career, and in everything you do. Doing this will bring you satisfaction and joy. This engagement with the world fosters social networks and a feeling of being “generative” — helping perpetuate future generations with aid and nurturing. Choose purpose over happiness — pursuing long term goals over short term happiness gives meaning to life. Pay attention to your thoughts and attitudes — they can shape how you experience the world.
Brain games, you may have heard, are good for the aging mind. Keep your mind sharp by doing crosswords, Sudoku and fun little games on your smart phones we’re told. This effort to exercise the mind, to employ “fluid intelligence” is important, but so is novelty. New mental challenges, such as learning a new activity that taps both working memory and long term memory, have been shown to boost cognition in the elderly, staving off dementia, more so than just a procedural task. People with a purpose in life, that find each day meaningful, have been found less likely to develop dementia or cognitive decline, even when their autopsies show the pathology of having Alzheimer's. So find a new passion or hobby early on, to carry you through your senior years.
Novelty also seems to keep long term marriages alive, a concern in middle age when so many marriages break up. The brain rewards novel activity (we’re talking new experiences such as a cultural event, a sport or creative pursuit in case you were wondering!) with a little “dopamine-driven reward”. So explore that new museum together, or hike that trail you’ve never explored.
Resilience: the ability to regulate one’s response to fear. Hagerty explains that we all have ways to handle fear and difficult situations, whether it’s a natural optimism, the support of friends and family or just one’s own resourcefulness. Finding meaning in adversity and maintaining a positive mental attitude allows for better health and longer life, according to numerous studies.
There are still a number of yellow stickies pasted in this book, marking passages that I didn’t get to in this review. So I suggest if you’re wondering about how to seize the best opportunities of midlife and are looking for an interesting read, pick up this award-winning NPR journalist’s book, “Life Reimagined, the Science, Art and Opportunity of Midlife”.
It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a watercolor workshop, but when I saw that Sterling Edwards was teaching a couple in Colorado, I inquired as to any openings. “Only a waitlist,“ I was told. But sometime later was surprised to get an email inquiring as to whether I was still interested — and yes I was! Not knowing quite what to expect, I gathered the items on his supply list and some reference photos, and early Monday morning, battled rush hour traffic to arrive at the Arvada Center for the 9am start.
About 20 of us set up our supplies and gathered to watch Sterling’s first demo. No wonder he fills his workshops so quickly — he entertained us with silly jokes, funny stories, his past history (as a policeman!) and of course his step by step painting techniques. It’s obvious he enjoys what he does, is happy to share his secrets and see his students succeed.
The first morning was spent watching a beautiful tree emerge from the snow-white paper, using his block-in and negative painting techniques. After lunch, we all set to trying our hands at this methods, some with more success than others. The last hour he demonstrated another small painting, giving us lots of options for future works. He was available for help, and made the rounds checking on our progress. This was the ideal workshop schedule, with an excellent and motivational instructor.
Workshops can be quite costly, but this one was well worth the money. Sterling Edwards does produce his own line of art products too — brushes, DVD’s and books and such, and they were available for purchase, but not required. I did end up spending an additional $30 for a set of 3 bristle brushes which seemed vital to achieve his effects.
The remaining 3 days covered an old mill, a floral and an abstract. It’s amazing to see a painting being completed in 2-3 hours! And what fun to try an abstract — not my usual subject! It’s harder than you think. Design elements such as shape, line, composition, movement, center of interest etc all still need to be considered for an abstract.
As an added bonus to my fun 4 days being ensconced in art at the Arvada Center, I was able to view both the Colorado Watercolor Society and Western Federation watercolor exhibits in the upstairs and downstairs galleries. So many beautiful and intriguing pieces. The shows are up through the end of August, so if you get a chance to see them I would highly recommend it. And if Sterling Edwards comes back to town, I would highly recommend jumping on the chance to take his workshop!
Synesthesia: a subjective sensation or image of a sense (as of color) other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated.
Imagine tasting wild strawberries upon meeting your future spouse, or knowing certain letters and numbers should be green, that applesauce tastes like sadness, and the word "mother" smells like citrus. James, the main character of this unusual novel, puts his condition to use in writing unique critiques of artists' work for the New York Times. Synesthesia allows him to communicate with art in a new way, and to write about art in a way no one else can.
The reader is immersed into the art world of New York in the 1980's, introduced to quirky characters and their expressions of art -- art as essence rather than object, art as action. "Artworks were meant to provide pleasure, not income, and art was not about fame but about feeling."
Relationships and human interactions pull us into this story and keep us interested in the lives of James, his wife and friends, and how they deal with disappointment, challenges and change. And being artists ourselves, we enjoy being part of their world. "That's what an artist is," says James. "Someone whose way of looking at the world -- just their gaze--is already an idea in itself!"
The eagerly anticipated unmolding of the hypertufa has arrived! Ann and volunteers gathered to unmold and trim the hypertufa planters, which had been curing overnight. Still a little soft, they need a week or so to fully cure before they can be planted and given as gifts or sold in the LAC Gallery. They turned out great, and once planted will be lightweight and functional. Fun!
In preparation for the upcoming LAC Garden Tour, the very creative Ann Quinn came up with the idea of making hypertufa planters to give as thank you gifts to the host gardeners, as well as to sell at the gallery. What is hypertufa you ask? It is a combination of Portland cement, perlite or vermiculite and peat moss. This moist mixture gets molded into forms, decorated and dyed if desired, then after being cured for a couple of days, unmolded and readied for planting. The resulting planters are lightweight and somewhat porous, making an ideal vessel for outdoor plants.
A few of us gathered at Ann's house on Saturday and played in the mud!
What a mess, but we donned our rubber gloves, some a little fancier than others, and mixed the ingredients then stuffed our molds and set them aside in garbage bags to cure.
In the meantime, Ann took us on a little tour of her own garden, which was featured in the LAC Garden Tour a couple of years ago.
I was so impressed that she had already harvested enough greens from her "hoop" vegetable garden to enjoy a salad.
Crabapple petals rained down on us as we walked through her yard, laughing at her squirrel visitors and her sense of humor on her hand-painted garden post.
Even her front yard is in bloom with tulips and other flowers (I still have snow in mine!) But the highlight is her homemade Little Library at the edge of the sidewalk, which attracts the neighborhood kids and adults alike. Take one, leave one and enjoy. And even the library itself is planted with sedums on the roof.
The hypertufa pots will be ready to unmold soon, so look for them at the gallery during the Garden show and Garden Tour.