Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Approaching a Gallery with Your Art Work

It is almost the end of peony season, my favorite time of year in the garden - the peonies, herbaceous poppies, iris are over for another year. I know there are wonderful flowers to come, the daylilies and phlox and daisies and of course the dahlias but I am always sad when the great June flowers are finished. And we have passed the summer solstice so days are now going to grow shorter
But the garden is reliable, it will bloom again next year. And my peonies bloom on in my photographs.

I wanted to talk about bringing work to galleries for review or jurying. I am on the jury committee of the Walpole Cooperative Gallery and see so many artists who hurt their chances of acceptance by their presentations. So I thought I would share a few tips:
1. Check out the gallery or shop well. Does your work fit with the work shown? Is is redundant with a lot of the work there. You need a space with a similar esthetic to yours but a space where your work will be unique and add to the blend. Find out the gallerie's polieies both for submitting work and for commission. Is the commission so high that it would make your work too expensive to sell?
If there is a process for submitting work follow it carefully.
2. Be confident and proud of your work. I have had artists come in and ask ME which things I thought were good, even criticisizing their own work. This is NOT the time for a critique. I am not going to want your work if you don't even like it.
3. Bring in a current, cohesive body of work. I want to know what you are doing now, I am not looking for a hodgepodge of work you've done over the past twenty years. Show me one or two strong series.
4. Presentation is very important. At our gallery we want to see the art ready for sale, framed, on jewelry displays, tagged and priced. We recently had an artist come in with necklaces in plastic baggies, expensive necklaces she was asking $600 and more for. We were really shocked that she brought them in in baggies. She was not caring for or respecting her work.
Some galleries and shops initially prefer a book of photographs - it should be beautiful and elegant. If the gallery want a disc of work provide that but also some hard copies to wet their appetitite. If they ask for an artist statement and/or resume provide these. Even if you have little to add to a resume prepare something that shows your history with the medium.
5. Be polite of course and don't call and ask for updates, the process can be slow.
If you are not accepted don't make a fuss or argues about it. We have accepted people who have applied a second time but those who were hard to deal with are remembered, we know we don't want to work with them!
I hope this helps! Applying to a gallery can be scary, everyone gets rejected at times. But a local gallery can be a great source of income and artistic support.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Walker Farm

Just a few years ago gardeners had few choices when shopping for annuals - petunias and marigolds and bright red salvias filled the garden centers.
If you wanted interesting annuals you had to grow your own from seed.
But now nurseries have sprung up offering extraordinary diversity in both perennial and annual plants.
My favorite is Walker Farm in Dummerston, Vermont. (By the way Johnny Depp has a home in Dummerston so the possibility of a sighting is also a draw).
They have a wide selection of perennials, arranged by flower color, shrubs, herbs and heirloom vegetables. Table after table of annuals. But my favoirite is their greenhouse filled with exotic annuals, hanging baskets and potted delights.
I visited yesterday - having little money I bought only some cosmos to fill in bare spots in the garden - but had a wonderful time with my camera. It was like visiting a museum or gallery, a feast for the eyes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Allium, Garden Onions

Alliums are a huge family - it includes table onions, chives and the gorgeous garden "onions".
The latter come in many varieties from the tiny yellow allium molly to the huge football sized allium christophii. I love them all. They are very easy to grow, the majority are bulbs that are planted in the fall just like daffodils and tulips.
Like tulips they are sometimes eaten by little animals - I would have thought the onion taste would deter them but apparently not. The most long lasting I have found is the huge and regal Allium Globemaster. They are expensive but just a few bulbs make a big show.
Coincidentally my John Scheepers bulb catalogue came in the mail today - I am going to try some new alliums for next summer.