My entry for ArtPrize Eight involved a series of oil paintings portraying children and horses interacting for the mutual benefit of both creatures. Therapeutic Equestrian ranches have been shown to benefit special children who interact with horses. My friend, Whitney's, dream includes rescuing abused and abandoned horses and mini horses and use them for therapy of children with physical or emotional challenges and those who have been bullied or abused. Whitney and I have worked to educate and counsel children about bullying in local schools and would like to provide a summer camp for these children as well. The use of mini horses would allow us to bring horses to shut-in and hospitalized children. My exhibit includes 6 large unframed oil paintings on hardboard mounted to carpeted panels. Shown in the exhibit was a special young boy brushing his horse before his riding experience, a young girl with cancer, hugging a mini horse like her teddy bear, and a young woman reaching out to a mini hose from her wheel chair. One panel showed Whitney giving her mini horse, Jewel, a loving stare. Two panels featured Whitney's niece, Mackenzie as she cuddles with Jewel in one and in another she reads a story to Jewel. Fifty percent of any net proceeds won would have been put in a trust for Whitney's dream.
I arrived at the venue spot just before 9:30 AM and unloaded my new tent. After reviewing the instructions, I set it up inside the indented area where the second set of Griffins office windows are located. The tent went up smoothly except the bolts on the concrete weights for the tent legs donot line up with the holes in the new tent. I was able to jury-rig a method of attaching them which should work ok for now. I will have to enlarge the holes in the tent feet to allow them to mount to the cement weights. I set the tent up nearly identically to the way the old tent was set up, I am pleased with the new tent.
Shortly after noon a couple and their college aged daughter stopped by and the daughter decided to have a charcoal drawing done while they waited for a table at the HopCat Resturant. They are from Berrien Springs and the daughter goes to Grand Valley. She waited patiently while I got organized and then we started the drawing. I felt some pressure to complete the drawing in the advertised time of 30 to 40 minutes because they were given an approximate time similar to that before their table would be ready. The drawing went well and I was nearly finished in around 20 to 25 minutes exceptforthevery curly hair which took me another 20 minutes. They were happy with it, but I took a photo of her just to be safe in case I needed to make some corrections.
Some time later a man, who had previously told me he wanted a portrait of his seven year old daughter, and his daughter came by and began to discuss what the pose should be. He wanted to purchase the portrait as a gift for his mother. I had her sit in the studio area and took some photos of her as she directed on how she wanted to be portrayed. After some family discussion we decided on a pose and they had to leave so he could get back to work.
A short time later, I started to pack up and to get the van so that I could get started for Stevensville. I arrived there about 7:30 PM.
I woke up and started surfing the net to find a replacement tent for my ArtPrize venue. I found one on Craigslist in nearby Lowell; it was a used one that they were asking $500 for. It might be worth it were still available and if I could get it quickly. I also found that Sam's Club in Comstock Park had some white pop-ups for $89 according to the phone representative there. I will buy that one at the end of the day if I don't hear anything about the other one.
I went to the temporary studio inside the arena and painted until early afternoon then I went for lunch and stopped by the Gerald R. Ford Museum to see Leslie's display. I talked with her a little, studied her exhibit, and congratulated her on placing in the top 25 2-D exhibits. I also visited DeVos Place and the hotel connecting south hallways to all of the art there. I returned to the arena studio and painted some more until deciding to go to Sam's Club to buy their white tent.
I found the tents but the $89 tent was blue and the white tent was $199. I decided the white tent was the better choice although more than I would liked to have spent it was good quality and worth the price even though I had to pay the 10% mark-up because I i'm not a member.
I arrived back at my GR home about 9:30PM and retired shortly after fixing and eating some dinner.
It was another chilly, breezy day in front of the Grand Rapids Griffins offices. I didn't have anyone sit for portraits but I did finish the pastel of of the college aged woman that I started on Day Five.
When I woke up, I checked the weather and noticed that predictions were for 25 mph winds with over 40 mph gusts. I immediately became concerned about the safety of my outside temporary studio. I searched the web for comments about tents like mine surviving these kind of conditions. Most comments were negative about operating in these conditions. I found a help phone number for the Carousel Canopy company who made my tent and talked to a representative who told my to take it down because it would probably not survive.
When I arrived at the venue, I told my Griffins contact, Marissa about my concerns and that I had made a decision to take my tent studio down. She agreed that it was a good idea. I had an appointment to do oil paintings in the afternoon and evening of two subjects so she gave me access to a small dressing room in the arena area to use for a studio for my portrait sittings.
I started tearing down the tent and was 75% finished when a gust of wind from the south came swirling around the arena and pushed the tend down, breaking four cross brace members in the ceiling. I salvaged the pieces and packed it all up and put it in my van.
My friend Mark, from St. Joseph, had called me and was planning to meet me around noon. When he arrived, I met him and explained what had happened during the morning. We went to the BOB for lunch and planned the activities for the rest of the day.
I met Emily, a friend, ex student and model, for her portrait sitting at 2:30 PM in the arena studio. She sat for a couple of hours as we discussed resent activities since we last saw each other. Emily had attended the Chicago Art Institute School, then transferred to Kendle College where she got her degree. She recently married and is managing a wedding dress store.
After Emily left, Mark returned from some ArtPrize venue visits including the Gerald R. Ford Museum, where he met Leslie Adams and her friend Laura, both ArtPrize artists. Mark told me that both Leslie and Laura would be coming to my studio later for Leslie's portrait sitting. Mark and I went for dinner at the pizza place around the corner and he left for home shortly after that.
I met Leslie and Laura at the arena at 9:30 PM and took them to the temporary studio inside. I began the portrait and soon Laura left to drive back to her home in SE Michigan. After an hour Leslie and I both were too tired to continue the sitting so I photographed her, cleaned up, and
dropped her off at her hotel on my way to my place.
I was up early but not as early as I wanted to be because there was a lot to do. After getting ready to go I had to load the van with the materials I used to complete some of the portraits. Because I didn't make more mats the day before, I had to go to my studio and cut some mats before heading to Grand Rapids. I was able to cut nine 16” x20” and three more 24” x 30” mats and be on the road by 10 AM. I had wanted to be at my tent site by then but there was no deadline so I relaxed and let things happen when they would. I made good time and was at my tent by 11:15 AM and set up to operate shortly after noon. My tent had made it through the wind and rain with no apparent damage. I went inside the Griffins' offices and added the newly finished drawings to the window display. There now were a total of 13 individuals in my display, two charcoals waiting for a model release from parents, and another 4 still needing some work.
I finished the charcoal of the 9 year old girl and the pastel of the college aged woman who had left for work after about 45 minutes into the portrait. I hung these two on my display walls in the tent until I had time to get them in the windows.
A short time later, a great looking African-American man with a full white beard, who had stopped stopped by the booth the day before returned to tell me he wanted his portrait done. I was excited to do this one because of his interesting look. He decided on a charcoal and he wanted his purple African beanie hat in the portrait, but he wanted it in color. So I decided to do it. When he sat down, the pose he struck, had his hand on his chin, it added to the look so I said let's do it. The portrait went well and was soon finished except for a couple of details I added later. During the time he sat he grabbed the side of the temporary studio walls several times to try to hold it from blowing away in the wind gusts. The wind was getting to me because there we times I didn't feel safe and was worried about injury to one of my subjects while sitting for me.
But tomorrow would be the day to worry about that because the day had come to an end I was ready to rest.
I spent the day trying to catch up on finishing several of my portraits that I had started and a couple that only existed in my camera. During the evening Carol and I visited my daughter, Shari and family. After returning home I was back at the easel. I finished all of the multiple person charcoals but didn't get at the pastels or the oil. I started but didn't finish the single charcoal of the nine year old girl. I had intended to get to my studio at the BOX to make some more mats but didn't get time. Hit the sack at 12:30 AM.
I arrived at the venue spot (my tent) about 9:30 AM and unloaded the van and set up the studio area and the display area. After setting up my tent, I went inside the Griffins' offices to begin the window layout fpr my display. I cut and then taped together several pieces of 1/8” foam board to fit the widows for my display. I used pieces of the Velcro I bought to mount seven portraits on the pieces of foam core that I just fabricated to fit the windows.
When I finally got back to my tent I found Rick and Anita were waiting for me to do their portrait. They were about 1 ½ hours early for their appointment so I told them to comeback in 15 minutes while I tried to get everything organized in my ten and on my literature table. I did a charcoal of them together together on a full sheet of Canson paper to be matted to a horizontal 24” x 30”. They were a fun couple and we had a great time while I worked.
A short time after they left, a couple of women who happened by, decided to have their portraits done together on the the same sheet of paper. They had been friends since elementary school or maybe even before that. They said they wanted to be smiling in the picture, I told them only if they could hold it for half an hour. They both insisted they could. So I said I would try. They were delightful to draw and converse with, but they talked between each other the whole time so the smiles were not always there. They seemed happy with the results and I took a photo so the drawing was relatively successful and they said they wanted to purchase it.
When things slowed down in the evening, I packed up my van and headed to Stevensville, not to return until Wednesday morning. Because of the wind and predicted rain on Tuesday, I was not sure if I would find my tent still there when I returned.
I arrived at the venue spot (my tent) about 9:40 AM and unloaded the van and set up the studio area and the display area. It was chilly and overcast and the breeze was not as strong as yesterday. At times the breeze did gust, but over all a better day than on Saturday.
The morning started out busy and continued at a brisk pace all day. A man and his college aged daughter came along right away before I even got totally set up. He wanted a pastel of her to put in the windows and they waited until I got all of my pastels set out and I put out my portfolio and portrait literature in the display area. We got the light adjusted and started right away. The piece went well. He watched it being created and was very complimentary as it progressed. The woman informed me that she had to be at her job in about an hour and a half so I really only got about 45 minutes to work on the pastel. I took a couple of photos and they were on there way. I will finish the piece from the photos.
After that I was able to work on a charcoal drawings I had started on Friday. I completed the one of the 13 year old black girl. I matted it and hung it on the display wall in my tent.
I decided to go to the food court at the BOB to get lunch because I heard that there were several food trucks there. I thought it might be quick and reasonably priced. I saw a place with barbeque but the line was very long. A young young woman mentioned that there was no line at the pizza place so I got a couple of pieces of pizza and a coke for nearly $10 and went back to my tent.
After I had lunch an older couple came by. The man wanted his companion to have charcoal done so we proceeded. Margaret was a very attractive, middle aged woman with lots of bond hair. The piece went well and the man watched me create it. We had a lot of fun and it was soon finished. He wanted me to photograph her so that he might have a pastel or oil done in the near future. He paid me $50 for the $40 portrait and will pick it up after ArtPrize.
A party of three, a couple and their young son, came along soon after who all wanted a charcoal done. I was about to get some paper on my drawing board when got a phone call from a friend. I asked them to please excuse me while I answered it. The call was a short one and I proceeded to my storage area to get the paper and when I returned the three of them were gone with no explanation. But standing there in their place was a 6ft. 5 inch guy and a 5 ft. 2 inch girl. She introduced herself as Rose. Rose is the unofficial adopted daughter of Pete and Patty, my hosts. She and her boyfriend had just arrived at ArtPrize and saw my tent the first thing. They rushed off to see ArtPrize, Rose promised to model for a portrait soon, maybe back at the parents place.
Soon after that, a young couple came along and he wanted her to have a charcoal done for the windows. Caroline was a blond sophomore in high school with a pretty smile and dimples and he was a very young looking college student studying history education. He liked the portrait and they were soon on their way.
Then I had a some phone calls, one to my daughter, Shelley and one from Carol. I also got a call from a Rick who made an appointment for a charcoal portrait of his wife and himself for 12:30 PM tomorrow and from a guy who wants a pastel of his nine year old daughter for a Christmas gift. He plans to bring her by on Thursday.
Then I loaded up and left the venue about 8:30 PM. I stopped at Meijer on the way to Jenison to get some Velcro and some food items for lunch tomorrow.
I arrived at the venue spot (my tent) about 9:30 AM and unloaded the van and set up the studio area and the display area. It was chilly and overcast and the breeze was gusty but not as strong as yesterday. I decided not to set up my sun umbrella at all. Luckily no one was injured and I then disassembled it and laid it down not to be used again today. I decided to use the weights, whose purpose was to hold the umbrella up, as a force to prevent my walls from moving in the wind. To my surprise, the display walls still moved a couple of times, even pushing the weights on the sidewalk several inches.
The morning started out quietly and I was able to work on a couple of charcoal drawings from yesterday, completing the one of Lucky and hanging it on the display wall in my tent. I found that using a couple of small Velcro strips worked well to mount it on the carpeted walls (suggestion from Joe yesterday). Using a piece of fishing line held on with duct tape had not worked well as the line just slipped through or the tape pulled off.
I needed to take a restroom break, so I went to the arena doors where I had always entered in the past to use the restroom but found it locked. I noticed that there was a call-box on far end of the doors so I pushed the button and heard the words “secrurity” I told them who I was and asked to go in and use the restroom. She said “No”. I said I had always used the restroom in the past and was told I could use the restroom facilities at will. She said “We're closed”. I pleaded that I need to use it and didn't know what I would do. So she said “OK, I'll let you in”. Inside she told me she knew nothing about me and what my access was. I said I would need to get in later because my car was parked in their gated area and she agreed to let me get to it when I needed to.
At one point, while working with my back to the front of the tent, I hear a familiar voice and turned around to see that my hostess, Patty, had arrived to see my display. She introduced me to an artist friend of hers and we had a lengthy discussion about the venue and its location relative to the crowd and the wind tunnel that I was in. I had had a couple of snack bars, but that just wasn't going to satisfy me for lunch a second day so I decide to try a little place about a 150 yards away on Ionia Street to see what they had to eat. It turned out to be just what I was looking for, a salad restaurant. Although it cost me just under $10 for a salad with 5 toppings and a small bag of chips, it did the job.
Some time later Patty returned with her husband, Pete, and we had the venue location discussion again. About that time, I family came by to view my display with a young high school senior girl who wanted to be in my ArtPrize display. Kayla decide to have a charcoal done because the family didn't want to wait for her to have a pastel or oil painting done. Kayla was a beautiful, brunette with brown eyes and a big smile. Her friends, who were also with the family, said I had to draw her with her big toothy smile. I said she could smile if she could hold it for half an hour. They all agreed that she could do it. So I said let's try it. That put a lot of pressure on me to work as fast as possible so I could catch the smile before her checks tired. Kayla held the prettiest smile for half an hour I have ever seen. We got it done and everyone said it looked just like her. I felt it needed some work so I took her photo for later reference before she left. Kayla said her cheeks were very sore, but she was happy with the portrait.
After Kayla and party left, I down loaded her photo and started to work on the drawing to finish it. While working on it a young black man, with three little children, stopped by, loved my work, and wanted me to do a charcoal of the children on one piece of paper. I told him I would try to do it, but I would probably have use a photo. We sat the children down and took a series of pictures to determine the pose we would try. We saw a photo that might work, but I wanted to make an adjustment on the lighting. When I turned to look at the children again, I saw that the little girl had a large amount of blood flowing from her nose and we all panicked to get it stopped. That was the end of the photo session and the charcoal drawing and off they went. The young father insisted that he still wanted the charcoal and would return. Later after finishing the charcoal of Kayla, they returned, the nose bleed taken care of and all was well. We selected the photo to use for the charcoal. So now I have three more subjects to draw.
I loaded up and left the venue about 8:15 PM.