Vacation & Workshops & Art Fairs, Oh My

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Vacation & Workshops & Art Fairs, Oh My

Great Lake Serenade, original oil painting of Lake Michigan by Dawn Boyer

Great Lake Ser­e­nade,” 12 x 12 inch­es oil on pan­el, paint­ed in South Haven, MI

Whew, what a sum­mer it’s been. I was for­tu­nate enough to vaca­tion on Lake Michi­gan with dear friends, then on Cape Cod with fam­i­ly. Of course, I had my easel and paints with me, because the light and the scenery in both loca­tions, though dif­fer­ent, are too beau­ti­ful and com­pelling to resist. I man­aged to squeeze a cou­ple of work­shops in, too, to help fur­ther my abil­i­ty to express that ever-elu­sive vision and expres­sive yearn­ing I hold with­in. I love how I can com­bine my work with all oth­er enjoy­able aspects of my life.

I paint­ed en plein air in these loca­tions; I paint­ed in my stu­dio when I got home. (You’ll see a lot of new seascapes and water­scapes in my gallery as a result.) To go to a new place enables one to see and feel and imag­ine with new eyes and new per­spec­tive, and it’s won­der­ful to get a new surge of ener­gy while I’m on loca­tion, then deep­en that expe­ri­ence in my stu­dio after­wards. Because of that, my paint­ing changed this sum­mer. I can’t quite artic­u­late yet what hap­pened, but I know some­thing did. It’s always good to grow. Even through the painful part of the process, growth is good.

photo of Dawn Boyer Fine Art booth at Bar Harbor Arts Festival

Pho­to of my art booth at the Bar Har­bor Arts Fes­ti­val, August 2014

In ear­ly August, I par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Bar Har­bor Arts Fes­ti­val in Bar Har­bor, ME (I was juried in), and I took many of my new paint­ings with me. It’s always a bit nerve-wrack­ing, those arts fairs and fes­ti­vals. First, it’s a LOT of work. Not only does it require paint­ing almost 24/7 to make sure there’s enough work to dis­play and sell, but the phys­i­cal labor of set­ting up a test run of the booth tent and sub­se­quent tear-down, nev­er mind safe­ly pack­ing all the art and nec­es­sary sup­plies, is down­right exhaust­ing. (You do it once to get there, and then you do it all over again when you come back.) That doesn’t even include load­ing the vehi­cle as well as all the prepa­ra­tion that goes into sig­nage, mar­ket­ing, book­ing a motel to stay in, and the like. And, of course, there’s the stress of won­der­ing if all the expense will be worth it. Art fairs are not cheap. The good ones cost hun­dreds of dol­lars for booth space rental alone (food, lodg­ing, and trav­el are extra). Since this was my first expe­ri­ence at the Bar Har­bor fes­ti­val, I was ner­vous. I’m not afraid of risk-tak­ing (there’s lit­tle room to allow fear to take over when one is an artist), but still … what if I shelled out almost $1000 when all was said and done, and no one bought a paint­ing?

"As Constant and As Changeful As the Sea-ward Dune," original painting by Dawn Boyer. All rights reserved.

As Con­stant and As Change­ful as the Sea-Ward Dunes,” 24 x 48 inch­es, oil on gallery wrap can­vas. SOLD.

I’m hap­py to say some­one DID buy a paint­ing … in fact, more than one per­son did, and it was a delight to talk with my new col­lec­tors and hear their respons­es to my work. A love­ly attor­ney from Kansas respond­ed so strong­ly to one paint­ing that it actu­al­ly brought tears to my eyes. I nev­er expect­ed that kind of reward, and when she asked if she could hug me after the pur­chase was com­plet­ed, how could I say any­thing but yes? Anoth­er man came back to the booth three times to look at a brand-new paint­ing, and final­ly said he had to have it for his home. Even peo­ple who didn’t buy had many things to say, and I ful­ly enjoyed our con­ver­sa­tions. I learned from them, which I love.

"Sandy Beach," Cape Cod, original oil painting by Dawn Boyer. Sold.

Sandy Beach,” titled by its new col­lec­tors, 12 x 12 inch­es, oil on can­vas, SOLD.

One of the things I learned was that the vis­i­tors who were most seri­ous about art in gen­er­al respond­ed most strong­ly to my new­er, expres­sion­is­tic, almost abstract work. That was incred­i­bly grat­i­fy­ing. (Now, mind, you, even if they’d been luke­warm about it, I’d still have to paint the way I’m paint­ing, because it goes that deep and is that strong inside me, but hear­ing val­i­da­tion is always sat­is­fy­ing and gives one an extra boost of ener­gy.) I think an artist can’t be steered wrong if she fol­lows that strong com­pass of vision inside. Even if the val­i­da­tion might not be there for a while, she still must fol­low the vision. It’s the only way, real­ly.

It was a good sum­mer. A very busy sum­mer, but a ful­fill­ing one nonethe­less. I am grate­ful to my col­lec­tors and to all those who sup­port me along the way–whether it be fam­i­ly and dear friends who say, “Keep going,” or those I don’t yet know who stop by or send me love­ly emails to let me know how my art stirs them emo­tion­al­ly. It makes a dif­fer­ence, it real­ly does. Thank you all.



By |2017-03-02T20:20:58+00:00September 2nd, 2014|Art business, Festivals, Musings on Painting|2 Comments

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  1. Betsy Siggins September 2, 2014 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Just gor­geous !!!!! So pleased for you !
    Xxox, Bet­sy

    • Dawn Boyer September 2, 2014 at 4:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Bet­sy. 🙂

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