Tag Archives: Livingstone Studio

Timeout for Art: Finishing

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The aspect of art-making I like the least is matting and framing.

It’s a tedious job that I’ve been doing far too much of lately.

First, there were things to get ready for gallery openings in June.

Then there was the Beaver Island Museum Week Art Show in July.

Now, coming up on Saturday, the second of August, Livingstone Studio is hosting their “Meet the Artists” event.

It is always a fun day, with artists and art-lovers and curious on-lookers all mingling to enjoy good food, nice wine and wonderful musicians. Sometimes we even stop to discuss the art!

To prepare, though, I had finishing touches to add to several collages. Paintings needed to be fine-tuned, then varnished. Everything had to be titled, mounted, matted and framed

Between the Museum Week show and this event, though, I am sick to death of the finish work!

I’m putting it all away, now.

I think I may just close the studio door for the rest of the summer.

I’ll pull out my sketch book, and let that be enough.

Still, I have to admit, it is nice to see all my “companions” dressed up for their show!

My Day at “Meet the Artists” at Livingstone Studio, 2013

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I’d love to tell all about “Meet the Artists” at Livingstone Studio.

There were some extremely talented people there: musicians, craft-persons, artists…the ladies that put the food and wine together…

The planning and preparation alone is extraordinary, from coordinating schedules of dozens of artists and artisans, to gathering musicians for entertainment, to food and drink beautiful enough to stand in the company of all the lovely work displayed.

I wish I could show a selection of some of the outstanding work.

Unfortunately, the only photos I took were of my own display (and only after a sale left a hole in the arrangement). The only perspective that I can honestly give is from my own narrow point of view.

Nancy was on my left, with her glass beads and jewelry. Ruth was on my right, with her lovely ceramic ware. I was facing Larissa, who held her beautiful red-haired baby behind her table of stunning new work.

I made the rounds before the day was done, to visit with each of the artists, and to admire their work. If I tried, now, to relate the experience, I’m afraid I’d leave someone out, mix up a name, or misrepresent their work. Though we all display our work at Livingstone Studio, and many live here on Beaver Island, most of us are busy with other pursuits. We often have just this one day a year to come together – as artists – in mutual respect and admiration. It’s a good time to talk about process, technique and materials. It is wonderful to catch up on new media, fresh inspiration and changing directions. It’s a great day for artists talking about art.

It is also wonderful to be out meeting and talking to people as an artist. Many know and follow my work. Several have been grand supporters of me and my art over the years. With them, it’s fun to chat and catch up.

Every year I have people approach who know me from one restaurant or another, who have seen me in the grocery store or at the hardware store or walking my dogs down Fox Lake Road…but who did not know that I am an artist. I never try to hide it, but when I’m working at another job, it often doesn’t come up in conversation. When cutting pipe or making keys, taking orders or serving lunch, that’s the job I’m focused on, and that’s the person that I am. It’s nice to have a day where “the person that I am” is exactly the one I want to be.

From my perspective, it was a beautiful day!

Second of June, Beaver Island, Michigan

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The weather is doing strange and unpredictable things this Spring.

More than usual, I think.

After several cool days, I stepped outside one morning last week to the kind of heat and high humidity – already at 9 A.M. – that we wouldn’t normally see for a month yet. The scent of lilacs wafted along in that heavy air from trees and bushes that were miles away.

I felt blessed that day, walking in that warm, perfumed breeze.

The next day was warm and sunny, but the winds increased.

Rains came in next, and the temperatures dropped.

Today feels downright cold!

Business is following the weather, in its unpredictability.

It doesn’t seem to matter if folks are traveling one thousand miles to spend their summer vacation here…when the cold weather lingers, they seem to know it. If the weather is bad, the visitors don’t come. In addition, severe Winter storms caused school districts to take “snow days” that they have to make up at the end of the year. Many schools are still in session.

There are other factors.

Seasonal shops and restaurants are just now opening up for the Summer here on Beaver Island. Suddenly, there are more choices of where to go for lunch, dinner or “happy hour.”

A busy day leaves me feeling hopeful and encouraged…and a little bit scared. This long, spare Winter has been hard on my budget; I’m anxious to get some money coming in again. I look forward to the busy-ness of Summer. Still, it has been close to fourteen years since I last worked as a server in this harbor-front establishment. My bosses were kind enough to accommodate my requests for location and hours; I would hate to let them down. Every busy day that I manage to keep the pace, I congratulate myself a little bit…but I know it’s going to pick up. I haven’t really been tested, yet.

A slow day…or two or three of them in a row…makes me even more afraid. Will this be the year, finally, when the poor economy or the price of travel will keep people away? Will we get enough visitors this Summer? In this tourist-based industry, these are annual, underlying fears. Most of our income for the whole year is dependent on a few short weeks when the sun is bright and the sands are warm. June is always a slow month, I remind myself; things will get better.

My own fortunes…and my moods…are as up and down as the weather.

An income tax refund allowed me to catch up a little bit, and pay one large bill that has been hanging over my head all Winter.

My little dog ran into the road, was bowled over and badly bruised by a car. That demanded an emergency visit to the veterinarian (a godsend at times like that!) for a thorough examination, x-rays,  a shot of cortisone and pain medicine for the following seven days.

I sold two paintings through Livingstone Studio – the summer gallery that carries my work here – in the first week that they were open.

I broke a tooth, eating rice cereal one morning. The order of that day was two hours in the dental chair, a temporary crown and a well-used credit card.

I hired a man to take out three trees that have been encroaching on and shading my garden. That’s a bigger deal than what it sounds like. It is amazingly hard to find someone on this island to tackle small jobs. Everyone is too busy; many don’t want to mess with things like that. The few times that we’ve had someone willing to work exclusively at odd jobs and repairs, they’ve had more work than they can handle. I was thrilled to find someone to do the job for a fair price, in a timely fashion. I’m still pleased about it, even though…

I came home last night to find that the last tree had fallen in the wrong direction, poking a hole in the roof of my old shed and taking down a good portion of the back of my garden fence.

That’s the way it’s been…highs and lows.

My dog survived…things broken are repairable…so in the end, more good than bad.

As the weather warms up, the tourists will come.

It’s cold today, but Summer is on the way.

That’s how it is, for me, here on Beaver Island, this second day of June.