Live from Studio 214

[Last and final update: Sunday 5:00 pm]

I will be live-blogging the Fall 2013 Asheville River Arts District Studio Stroll from the friendly confines of my studio here in Riverview Station.  The Stroll is from 10am – 6pm Saturday and Sunday, November 9 and 10.

Sunday, 10:57 am

Here we are, Day 2 of the Studio Stroll.  (Scroll down to read the account of Day 1.)  Today, Julia Spencer is joining me in the studio to meet the strollers and answer questions about her work.  Right now, fellow Riverview Studio artist J.P. Sullivan is here in the studio with Julia discussing the drawings she has on display.  I took several drawing classes from J.P. and feel fortunate to be here, listening in on his analyses.

Visitor Number One for today just strolled in and out.  Hello, goodbye.

12:23 pm

The visitor count is only four.  The latest visitor simply stood in the doorway and looked, apparently afraid to walk in lest he fall through the trap door in the floor.

At least that number have walked past the studio door without stopping.   I comfort myself with the thought that they must be looking for pottery.

No doubt there will be a large influx of art buyers after church is over.

3:18 pm

Well, we have had 25 trick-or-treaters so far today.  We have had just as many, if not more, walk-bys (as if this were the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, where a person can only afford to look in the windows and keep moving).   The only one to take a candy from the dish was Lulu. Not much else to report, other than some interesting exchanges of ideas and art tips with Julia.  And Julia gave me a sheet of her silky-smooth Bristol paper to try.

Oh yes, a second person picked up one of my business cards.  And I find that I like at least some of Radiohead (one of Julia’s musical-groups-to-make-art-by).

5:00 pm

Well, it’s a wrap for my 2013 Studio Stroll.  The lack of blog entries today mirrors the lack of activity here.  Only 29 visitors walked into Studio 214 today, not including my wife and her friend.  But all told, I had the privilege of having had 77 people see my art who would not otherwise have done so.  I met a nine-year-old budding artist, got to know some of my fellow artists better, and had time to explore some ideas for my next painting.  Life is good, at least here, in this little island of calm far from typhoons.


Saturday, 10:00 am

Weather forecast today is 55 degrees (13 C for my Canadian friends) and partly cloudy.  Tomorrow it will be 63 degrees and sunny.  Is this good strolling weather or are people thinking that it’s a great time to rake up all the leaves that came down this week?

10:20 am

I finished installing a little track light that was originally in my workroom, to throw some more light into the corners of the studio.  Studios here are nice workspaces but need a lot of illumination help to also serve as display spaces.

The dish of wrapped candy is out, along with the business cards.  A jazz piano channel is  streaming from (I can do without Zappa for today).  The place is about as warm and inviting as I can make it.  Hallway is pretty quiet so far.

11:05 am

The first two visitors arrive.  They spend a silent 30 seconds or so looking and then leave.  It would not surprise me if this were the pattern for the rest of the day.

This is a good time to mention that I am sharing a little bit of my wall space for the stroll with Julia Spencer, a friend from the Asheville Blogger Society.  Her work and mine are on entirely different planes but that’s OK.  She does stories and I do maps.  It would be nice if at least one of us made an impression on someone today.  If not, then back to the drawing board, literally, and in any event.

11:58 am

Ten visitors so far.  The last couple spent two full minutes in the studio, actually examining some of the works and commenting to each other.  They even took a second look at the framed Beaver Lake photograph that I hope to sell (as it was not inexpensive to produce).  They commented that it didn’t look real, i.e., it looked more like a painting (apparently a good thing for a landscape photograph).  I give the credit to the Hahnemühle watercolor rag paper it was printed on.

12:05 pm

The first visitor to pick up one of my business cards.  “The colors are arresting,” he says, but I’m not sure whether he was talking about the photographs or the two paintings I have on display.  The paintings are not getting a lot of love — I’m wondering if it’s because they are on easels right in front of the desk where I’m sitting.  Of course, it could be that they are not “arresting” enough.  Ah well.

12:25 pm

I have moved my “WTC – NYC – USA” watercolor commemorating September 11, 2001, into the hallway next to my door.  That might help bring in some of the people who walk past my open studio door but for whatever reason decide not to come inside. Like the couple who just now passed by.  Hey folks, there’s no radioactive decay products in here.

1:32 pm

Visitor count is now 18.  My most engaging visitor so far has been Lulu, a fourth-grader who tagged along with her mother this afternoon, while her mother is helping another artist here at Riverview Station.  Lulu, who likes to sketch pencil portraits and shuns colored pencils, took a good look at the photographs and the paintings.  She asked me how I got the lines so straight on my painting and I revealed to her the secret of masking tape.  I asked her what kind of paper she used, and she replied, notebook paper.  I then asked her if she ever used toned paper and showed her a pad of it I bought for my drawing class.  She hadn’t used it before, so I started to rip out a few sheets from the pad to give to her.  Then I had a better idea, and I gave her the pad and kept the few sheets I removed from it.

I also gave Lulu a few pieces of chalk and charcoal to experiment with.  I told Lulu that if she made a drawing she was really proud of, we could show it on the wall the next time we have a studio stroll.  I meant it.

2:07 pm

Twenty-two visitors so far, counting Lulu as one visitor even though she has come back to the studio two more times to show me the progress she has made on her drawing.  About a third of the visits have lasted less than 15 seconds.  It’s like speed-dating art.

2:54 pm

Looking out the window of my studio, it isn’t simply “partly cloudy” outside, rather it is full-blown overcast.  I feel sorry for the thousands of people who are out there enduring the cloudy weather rather than basking in the warm glow of the art on display here in the studio.  The visitor count is now twenty-eight, with one person bringing her husband back for a second look at my “Pisces” photograph.

I have growing doubts that I will have need for those invoices I printed yesterday, nor the singles, fives and tens I have been amassing on trips to the grocery store, in anticipation of having to make change.  I’m having a Maytag Moment.

4:00 pm

Four o’clock, forty visitors.  Several have expressed interest in the “Pisces” photograph.  The last couple to visit noticed the Steelers mug that I use as a pencil cup, and that started a little conversation.  The man was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and went to college at the University of Pittsburgh.  Nice people.

If I had sold something, anything, I obviously would have mentioned it by now.  I am thinking of making an early exit to pick up the pizza we are planning to have for dinner.

Oh yes, the soft jazz piano gave way a couple of hours ago to Mae Moore, Sarah Harmer and The Beatles.  I’ll hold off on Zappa until tomorrow.

5:00 pm

Calling it a day after 48 visitors.  My last two visitors (three, if you count Baby Annabelle) were our friends Rachel and Brian, who made good on their promise last night to visit me at the studio.  Friends like that are nice to have.  See you all tomorrow.  You too, Lulu.

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