Monday, September 27, 2010

Drawing in the Old Storefront

My storefront was located in Jeffersonville, VT. It is a rural community in northern Vermont that is located near a ski resort. Many tourists came through looking for "local art", and they wanted something affordable.

Being an artist is not an easy way to make a living, but I believe that everyone should have something "real", not just a poster to put on their wall. So, I offered head studies from life. These were drawings in pastel/pastel pencil that were done in about 30-45 minutes. The customers would come in and sit by a window, which gave me a dominant light side and shadow side. I would sketch them, as we chatted, and I sold them unframed. Although I did not charge a lot for these sketches, I came to think of it as drawing practice. People paid me to practice....I just didn't get to keep the drawing. :D


Mary Bullock said...

Wow - love the pictures and stories of your storefront studio/gallery. So I guess you gave it up when you built your new studio? Did that effect the sales of your work or your customers?

Judy P. said...

Nice stories; you almost make the leaky roof sound romantic- the daily struggle of the artist!

Karen Winslow said...

Thanks, Mary and Judy. We had to close our storefront for 2 reasons: 1. Jack's mother need 24/7 care for Alzheimer's Disease, so Jack, our daughter Liz, and I began taking 12 hour shifts, and 2. we had landlord issues (no heat, no water, frozen pipes & no fun). So, it was a difficult time. After Jack's mom passes away, we built the new studio.

Yes, closing the storefront definitely effected our sales. When we had the storefront, it was 1 or 4 galleries on Main Street, and it had good tourist traffic. And with 4 galleries on a pretty small stretch of road, Main Street in Jeffersonville, VT was an art "destination". Our storefront had 2 big display windows (which I changed all the time), and we were across the street from a very popular bakery/restaurant. The new studio is on a dirt road by nothing in particular, so we are out of the public eye. Most of our sales now come from the galleries that carry our work, with the exception of the statewide Open Studio Tour. However, the new studio is warm, dry, with great light, and it is a wonderful place to paint, teach, and paint with friends.

Being flexible and adjusting to new situations as they come up, having a Plan B (or C, D, E...) is what keeps artists going....creative survival, I guess. :D