Thursday, July 8, 2010


Welcome to the Cooper studio, on a SUNNY beautiful day, in Jefferson, Iowa. There's probably minimal painting happening in the studio today, as it's time to pack again. This weekend I am showing my paintings at KraslArtFairOnTheBluff, in StJoseph, Michigan. If you feel the need to give yourself a treat, go there---there are not many spots on the map as beautiful and relaxing as the park overlooking LakeMichigan. There is a perfect hotel, The Boulevard Inn, right next to the park. I have plans for someday when there is a blizzard heading east from Nebraska: I will grab my husband, load us into the car, drive to that hotel (hopefully staying ahead of the storm) move into an upper floor room, and watch the storm come across the lake. I think it will be an exceptional sight. :)

Anyway, maps. When I travel to art fairs, I am pretty picky about maps. I learned quite a while ago that saving paper does not rate, when compared to having mapquest directions to my location printed off in LARGE ENOUGH TYPE to read sans glasses. Tollway traffic through Chicago does not approve of people stopping to read the fine print on their maps.

And then, maps of the art fair sort. Last summer there came an aha! moment. Prior, setting up my display at an art fair was a long drawn out process---which painting should hang where, what painting would fit into that long skinny space, which one would fit into that wide space, ooops, we didn't leave enough room for that one, better scoot it over 4 inches---you get the picture. The solution was so simple, I can't quite believe it took me years (literally) to see it.

I use a propanel display system as my exhibit walls at art fairs. I "hinged' together pieces of foam core that simulate the dimensions of my display system. Using the same scale, I print images of my paintings that are making the trip to the art fair. Do you know how much easier it is when, glass of iced tea in hand, I can sit at the kitchen counter and plan my exhibit? If I think "Smells Like Summer" looks better next to "Ped Mall DogWalk", but then change my mind and think I need to try "Elementary School Readers" all I have to do is move a couple little squares of paper. Surely I don't have to tell you how much easier THAT is than moving the actual paintings? And getting it right, when you know you've got people coming to see in just an hour or so?

Prior to the great aha moment that lead to the mapping system, I used to plan for a minimum of two hours to get everything organized for an exhibit. May I brag a little?---I now allow 40 minutes. For those of you who have not set up an art fair exhibit, I know, I know, that's only an hour and ten minutes difference. But. On the morning of an art fair, it's a BIG difference. May I share just a little more insight about that?

If I had a roadie who set it all up for me, so that I could waltz in last minute, it would be different, but usually, I am on my own, doing it all myself. People come to art fairs hoping for an enjoyable outing. If I am out of sorts due to a hectic setup, helping those people enjoy their outing is a dim possibility. By removing the chance of "hectic" from the setup routine, it gets my day off to a good start, where I can share with visitors about my paintings, and we can all enjoy the day.

The 49th Annual Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff happens on July 10th, 10-6, and July 11th, 10-5. If you want to see the booth map in action, you'll have to stop by exhibit #164 about 7am on July 10th. The good folks of Krasl, and Port 412 are serving breakfast for the artists and I plan to hang paintings before dining! :)

Oh, and the varnish is almost dry on this new painting, so it will be making the trip to Michigan as well:

Beach Chair Occupied, an acrylic painting on a perfect little 20 x 20 inch canvas. I promise to get it into my portfolio very soon!

Later, Cooper

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