Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sketches and Another Outlet

The benefit of having a digital camera is that I've been able to take it along to my portraiture class Friday mornings and snap away so that I have ended up with a good selection of shots of each model. My intention for doing this was so that I could work on longer and more detailed drawings at home. The beautiful model for the drawing above was Miko, a Japanese University student who was working on organic farms throughout New Zealand.

The second drawing was a bit more difficult as it was a member of my family- my cousin Gwendolyn who lives in Australia. I'm not sure if she'd really like this sketch as she's much prettier in life but I am hoping it does give some sense of her calm and peaceful nature. I told a friend this week that after I'm "gone" (in the permanent sense) my family will go through all my visual diaries, ripping out unflattering pictures of themselves. Rather like when I was at Port Ahuriri primary school and the teacher had us draw one of our parents so that the results could be sold off as a fund raiser at the school gala. I drew my mother with her Dame Edna glasses, curly red hair and the turquoise synthetic top she loved to wear. I was so proud of my effort as I thought it really looked like her but obviously my mother had a different take on it as she made sure we arrived at the gala before everyone else, bought the drawing and shoved it into her handbag. I never saw it again!

Yesterday after art group I bit the bullet again and took my goods to Country Collectables in Waipukurau, coming out with an order for cards, three brooches and some soaps. It wasn't as nerve wracking as my first wholesaling attempt but I had to bite back my disappointment that the owner didn't purchase any of my pendants. However she seemed to stock the ubiquitous beaded necklaces that are so in fashion at the moment and my hand painted pendants would not have fitted with the general feel of the shop. I will continue to find somewhere to place these.

Today I managed to get three months of writing work. Hopefully this is the start of me getting back to wielding the pen and not just the brush.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Picking Myself Up and Kicking Myself In The Butt

Theme tune for this week was "Pick Yourself Up (Dust Yourself Off and Start All Over Again)". Tuesday morning I took a couple of boxes of my work to Country Traders, a gift shop in Waipawa. Ended up selling three brooches, six soaps and quite a few cards wholesale- hopefully this will develop into an ongoing relationship. The difficulty with approaching retailers personally is that you have to develop a thick skin in that your "babies" are about to be criticized as they are seen from a seller's viewpoint. You also have to bite your tongue when something original and hand painted is compared to a mass produced "cheap" (read tacky) item. Still everyone has to start somewhere.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Waipawa 150th Celebrations Market

I worked like a dog this past week completing $1000.00 worth of work for Waipawa's 150th Celebratory market at Coronation Park. The first glitch occurred Friday night when I rang to check that the person who was bringing my jewellery stand from Hastings Community Arts Centre had done so. She had forgotten. So till 11.30pm that night I was busy finding baskets for cards, my black velvet covered polystyrene block to hang my pendants from as well as finishing pressed flower cards and wrapping brooches.

Up early the next morning I had a phone call from Hastings from the lady who had forgotten to collect my stand. She'd driven all the way back to work to collect it and would leave it outside her house for me to pick up. I was running late when Gay who was helping me for the day turned up. She loaded the car while I finished letting chooks out, feeding chicks, getting dressed etc. By the time we arrived in Waipawa it was 9.20am (ten minutes before I was meant to be at the park) so Gay rushed in to find the stand which she couldn't see so I went around the back and discovered it under a staircase. By the time we'd rearranged the car to accommodate it we were very late but were allowed into the park despite being one minute before cut off.

Most stallholders were established by this point so we looked around to find Marie N whom I was sharing the stall with. She was busy trying to unravel the intricacies of her new second hand marquee along with two helpful men who were sticking poles in various places. There was a generalised panic but after throwing the canvas roof over the frame they were able to fit the corner poles in and lift the whole thing into place. The next door stallholder had agreed to come under the marquee with us in return for us taking over some of her space so she set up in one half which left us with the other.

Marie had brought along four round tables (two each)for us both but as she unloaded them from the trailer each one the legs pulled away from the wood so they couldn't stand which left us with one four foot diameter table between us. I covered this with a tablecloth and by 10.45am had set up the table and hung some small paintings up on a a cargo net Marie had strung between on the side. I sat out the front and began painting to try and draw people in while Marie sat at the back and stitched her dolls.

And then we waited. The main parade arrived in the park at 11am with the public following. A great many people walked past including some in costume, a few friends popped in to say hi, but few public ventured in. Then a nor'wester began blowing everything around. My business cards took off, dolls flew off the table, paintings swung around but fortunately I had painted stones so was able to use them as paperweights to hold things down.

By lunch time I had stopped painting and did a bit of rearranging to try and entice people in. By 2pm the next bout of wind began and by that time I had had enough. For apart from Gay buying a couple of cards and the stall holder next door a couple of soaps I sold nothing at all to the public. This for the first time in over twelve years. I packed up my stock, Gay loaded the car and we asked a couple of ladies to help us lift the marquee over the other stall holder who hadn't packed up so that we could help dismantle it. No way were we wanting to leave Marie to cope with having to pack that away all on her own.

Both Marie and I came out of the event out of pocket and me with my confidence absolutely shattered. I had items marked from $3 upwards, everything professionally packaged, everything original and hand painted. Why why why?

Next post will be titled "How To Deal With Failure" once I work out how you do that.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Hare and There

Just a week out from Waipawa's 150th Celebrations and I am booked in to share a stall with Marie N at Coronation Park next Saturday (13th Feb). The toughest part of preparing for a market is guessing what will sell and combining popular items while trying out new products. My soaps have been selling since I began decorating them just over a year ago so I decided to add another theme to the line. However I am unsure as to whether they'll sell as most people don't enjoy seeing a hare on their soap...

For a break from my incessant puddling I went along to portraiture yesterday morning where we drew a new member of the art group. Robyn sat incredibly still and her classic features made for some interesting sketches.

When I arrived home there were two packages from TLC sitting by the back door (materials I'd ordered) so after lunch I spent an enjoyable half hour unpacking all my goodies. I now have a small visual diary which I have put inside my purse so I can sketch when I'm out and about. I also ordered clay for sculpting, sepia ink and a set of calligraphy nibs to replace my old pen that was given to me on my 21st and which is now worn out (a bit like me really). Also ordered fresh sketch pads and canvases. There is nothing as joyous as an unused sketchpad or brand new book, both of which are full of endless possibilities and undiscovered excitements.