Welcome to a day in the life of an artist. For one weekend a year, I join in with a few dozen other artists on the Whidbey Island Open Studio Tour, an event where people can visit artists in their homes and studios, meet the artists, see the art, and learn more about the process than they might in a gallery or at a fair. They also can buy the art directly from the artist. (Special offers, this weekend only!)
I’ve spent days organizing my art, cleaning up the house and the yard, arranging display panels, and producing lots of publicity (as one dance partner pointed out to me the other night). Today and tomorrow are the days when I sit at home working through the results of my efforts. If it’s as busy as last time, I won’t have time to write a regular post. Instead I’ll share a chronology of the day.
Wakey, wakey. Time to get up and finish the little details.
Step one – hop in the car and hammer signs into the ground at key intersections.
Listen to Car Talk during breakfast to listen to something completely different.
Shower, and while in there, realize that the front door is unlocked, the cash box is on the table, my wallet and checkbooks are on the living room shelves, and there are signs pointing to my house. I hope the early birds aren’t too early.
Baking brownies, partly for the smell of chocolate, partly as snacks for me. Yeah, I know real estate agents do it for enticing buyers. I’m doing this for my self. Baking is an accomplishment. And if it happens to encourage enthusiasm and sales, cool. Gluten-free of course. Mood swings from conventional baking detract.
Gotta put up another sign. Wish I had more time to put up more. I’m six miles off the highway and only have four signs. I’ll fake up another one from a tri-fold cardboard science display.
It’s the official opening time and I’m number one on the map, and no one is knocking on my door. Oh my. Patience lad. Time to catch up on Steve’s blog and Mike’s video.
Reading a business consultant’s blog (hire him) and watching a portfolio manager’s market analysis (hire him too) puts an artist’s business in interesting perspective.
3 friends – starting off with two dancers, who gave a good report of last night’s dance that I missed because I was getting ready for today.
Lack of signage. A friendly artist dropped by and pointed out that I should put up more signs. Sounds like a good idea. Anyone care to run around and print some, stick them on a post and mark up a few intersections? Ah, the life of an solo artist.
1 friend – nice way to start the day.
Susan drops off a sign. Excellent. Artists helping artists.
1 – one solo traveler
2 – one couple
strangers in my house
Phone call from a friend who is also watching people walk by art without buying. So it goes.
A car drives by without stopping. Alas.
7 (3 friends)
There’s a multitude in my small living room! Nice energy and chatter.
2 friends – dancers who are wondering if I’ll make it to the dance tonight. Let’s see how much energy I have.
One possible student for a self-publishing class.
One possible custom order (from my first series).
Lots of folks are interested in who does my printing (Fine Balance Imaging), and who prints the photo books (blurb.com).
3 tourists from Houston, who are aware of the new Houston Zoo exhibits (which were created with the help of an excellent watercolorist from Whidbey.)
It is amazing that people coming by in ones and twos can fill an hour to the point that writing only happens in phrases.
Possible student for Modern Self-Publishing in Coupeville.
1 interested in what it’s like to live in this neighborhood.
2 neighbors who wanted to say hi.
Lunch has been a series of hand grabs of bits of chicken (bit on a bone), slices of cheese, and a carrot. Time for dessert? Not yet. The chocolate covered macaroons will wait. Hey, I just remembered the brownies!
1 friend with a friend and chit chat
1 solo swings through
2 more friends
2 more which makes a conversation begin.
More discussion about custom orders.
Glad I’m not trying to write through this.
Glad I made brownies.
Someone described me as a painter. Huh? Oh yeah, the deck. Should I add painter to my resume?
How long have I been photographing?
The Count on Sesame Street would be exclaiming nine, nine, nine people in the room!
The sign blows down, again and again.
Quick. Nobody’s here. Use the bathroom now!
5 walk in. Good thing I was quick.
possible class attendees (2)
Catching up on years of missed conversations before swooping back out again.
48 so far. The storm expected for this afternoon decided upon sunshine instead with gusts that blew signs and threatened to close my open front door. A strap holds it back. The winds bring in the clouds and with a half hour to go the sky is various shades of grey with a bright patch of cloud for a sun. I’ll drive around tonight to see if the signs stayed up.
It’s late enough in the day to decide to close the door and unwind, but the last minute folks can be the very ones that dropped by earlier, saw a lot, and then pass back through buying the best of the day. The same logic applies for Sunday, the folks that didn’t buy on Saturday may be back on Sunday. It’s optimist’s logic. And sometimes it is right.
And here we go with another car pulling up. Optimism.
Make that 49.
Few sales but I’ve gone through a lot of business cards, each one an unlimited opportunity.
It’s almost closing time, time to step into a transition between dozens of concise conversations sprinkled with compliments and into an evening doing something completely different. Dance? Maybe. And maybe not. Post to the blog. Close the door. Take a nap. Figure out the post 6PM plan after I wake up.
Hey, a return guest. Ah, a fellow artist wondering how it went. He too had lots of interest but even less to deposit in the bank.