Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Last Figure Drawing for the Summer

Janesville artists are represented at the Sweet Spot Coffe Shoppe in Whitewater, Wisconsin. The building was formerly an old hotel, which had become decrepit. But the owners renovated it, and now the building houses this popular place to eat, drink, meet and view local artwork.

This is a group show. My contributions were the red and white striped candy and the two small portraits of little girls.

I think the ochre colored walls are inviting, and make a nice background for these shows, which change monthly. I wonder how many paintings ever sell in places like this? I'm sure it benefits the coffee shop, which always has changing art on the walls, and must draw in some people. I was lucky that a Whitewater friend took my work over to be hung, since I was otherwise engaged the day the show was hung. It was a lot of work for her to transport and hang the art. I hope she at least sold something. I've had art in lots of shows in galleries and in places like this, but I've sold little. The question is always, why? Is it that people don't come to coffee houses to buy art, but rather to drink coffee? Is it the fact I show mostly watercolors, and that medium is seen as less desirable than paintings that aren't framed under glass? Is it the tight economy? Or is it that the art is pleasant but not good enough to compel people to purchase it. Maybe it's a combination of these factors.

The figure drawing class I took in Madison ends next week, but we're leaving for Colorado on Sunday, so this was my last class. All the poses were fairly short this time, none over twenty minutes. If I'd had more time I probably could have built in more contrast here. There were two other poses with props. In one the model sat on a car tire, and in the other she sat in a wooden school chair with a desktop. I learned that these extras distracted me from what I was really interested in, which was drawing the model accurately and creating a good composition. I found trying to get the perspective and shape of a student desk to be very trying, so I concentrated on the shape of her body. I'm not posting the results, which are at best humbling.


Andrew said...

Interesting commentary on props. I like props that can add context to a pose, especially gesture poses, but you make a great point that props shouldn't be distracting.

Michael said...

I think I saw those candies, or another treatment of them, before -- and they (it?) were luscious! However, I think all your analyses of sales not happening out of coffeehouses are on target. Most people going to a coffeehouse are either there to socialize, or to enjoy some unsociable isolation... neither of which states are really conducive to art shopping. Also, the potential range of art exhibited in coffeehouses leaves the average person unsure of its value. And, maybe more, unsure of their ability to assess its value. Artist pricing can be wildly .... well, wild!