Wednesday, June 17, 2009


These are three recent paintings. The first one is an acrylic, the last two are oils. The last one is a large format oil (47 x 24") done at the Whittel Marsh in Point Pinole. The pickleweed is barely noticeable. It was a nightmare to keep the easel stable in that wind. It fell twice in the sand, and this is after I had placed bags with rocks on the easel legs. The middle one was done at the Carquinez Strait Regional Park, but it is a view of the road that leads to Port Costa. This is a fairly small painting, 12 x 16" in size. The first is a view of the Parchester Marsh at Point Pinole, another windy location. You can see the Chevron refinery at Point Richmond in the background.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It Was A Wild Success

Open Studios went well for me. I had a total of about 80 visitors, mostly local traffic. For a location like mine, isolated from the major art centers, this was very good. One in every six people who came bought something. I kept the prices low intentionally, even though a collector told me I was charging too little. I did not sell portraits, but I sold a lot of landscapes to people who had hiked these parks and loved those views. I also sold a couple of drawings of the figure.

I had made an invoice form and had it ready on my laptop, along with a printer. This will ensure I keep good records come tax time. And I didn't have to go anywhere else in order to get it printed so I could talk to the buyers while I completed it.

In retrospect I wished I had been able to place my watercolors on mats, but as it turned out, this didn't prevent people from buying. I had the watercolors and some figure drawings in portfolios, on plastic sleeves, atop my flat files. I hung everything I wanted to sell and removed anything I didn't want to sell. I also prepared price lists, because I showed about a hundred pieces and couldn't keep it all in my head. This proved to be a good way to keep track of sales and the information that goes on the receipts. Buyers told me they liked the price lists because they felt everyone was getting the same treatment regarding price. They were on a small table so people saw them when they started looking at the paintings. Some lookers took the price lists home along with a postcard.

I met many neighbors and local art lovers. It was a great experience! Many thanks to Pro Arts for organizing it every year.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Open Studios June 6-7 and 13-14

Sarah and I went to the Pro Arts Gala this afternoon. We were listening to the wonderful jazz ensemble when I got a call on my cell. I stepped outside to take it and discovered it was my friend Karen Sherr, telling me a reviewer for the East Bay Express had named me as one of the top ten picks for Open Studios. I was happy. I hope many people come to see it.

East Bay Open Studios
More than four hundred Alameda and ContraCostaCounty artists are opening their studios to visitors on June 6/7 and 13/14; samples of their work, in all media and styles, are now on display at Pro Arts. If you're staycationing this summer, support your artist neighbors by perusing, schmoozing, and noshing(come for the cheese, stay for the broccoli). Check out the show, pick up a free directory, with photos, web sites, and maps, and plan your excursions. Some show standouts: Rebecca Garcia-Gonzalez, Martin Webb, Deborah Barrett,Alicja Coe, Deborah Harris, Hadley Williams, Elena Zolotnitsky, Liz Maxwell, Bart Trickel, the Pfeiffer Sisters, Lisa Beerntsen, Vicky Mei Chen, Terry Furry, Benjamin Chan, Afton Badger, and James Lovekin. Several art-worlders dared to formulate itineraries this year, so decide for yourself if our eyes or heads need examining. East Bay Open Studios runs through June 14 at Pro Arts Gallery (550 2nd St., Oakland). ProArts or 510-763-4361.

-- By DeWitt Cheng
Time & Date: May 27-June 14