Thursday, September 29, 2005

Apparel, Gifts, and More!

This is a work in progress but I now have a WHOLE LOT of items featuring "That'll be the day" (the BBRed Rosecomb rooster) for sale at a new online store. It's a little quirky (can't figure out why the "shopkeeper bio" isn't working), but it's a start. I am working on adding more stuff. I plan on immediately adding three more images (this may take several weeks) and then will build from there. It takes a hugely long time to set up though, I've been working on it for a while now. So...more to come, I'll update here when I have new things available. I figured I may as well put the word out now rather than wait til I add more things.

If you like that rooster, he's available!! :-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Still smells like rain a little bit.

It rained last night! Not a whole lot but it all came down pretty quick. Shortly after dinner the thunder and lightning started, and that kept up for a couple hours. Now it's warm and humid. The horses are getting fuzzy, and the sure sign of fall is hearing the Sandhill Cranes fly overhead. I'll have to venture down to the wildlife preserve some time and watch them when the migration really gets heavy duty.

This was a pretty fun weekend. Saturday I went to a gourd festival in Folsom and looked around. WOW. It's amazing what people can do with pyrography! There was quite an array of stuff there. I bought a couple little gourds to play around with, but I definitely don't foresee getting big-time into that aspect of the art world, I'm already doing too many other things!

Sunday morning I left here pretty early and drove 3 hours north for a surprise birthday party for J (not the same J I went to Nevada with). She was definitely surprised! :-) I'll be nice and not say how old (I mean young) she is but it's one of those milestone years that warranted a big to-do. On that note, I think I am experiencing cheesecake overdose. Not that it's a bad thing (except I'm pretty sure the "get in shape" effort is going to suffer, again...) but holy cow there's been a lot of cheesecake going on. I baked a chocolate peppermint cheesecake for the party, and got sent home not only with leftovers from that, but about a third of the OTHER cheesecake that J had. Mmmmm, weakness (well, one of many!).

On the artistic front, I am of course still plugging away at chicken drawings. It's pretty much impossible now that I will finish them on time, but given the lax attitude when it comes to communication with me (ahem!), I'm thinking this might not end up being the end of world. I still need to shoot to get as many done on time as I can though.

I ordered some canvases (they were on sale) and according to the tracking they ought to arrive tomorrow. I still say I'm not a painter, but the fact is I need to get some original stuff done for the Auburn show so I can fill the wall space, and I can paint quicker than I can draw, so that's my only option.

I'm also working hard on getting an online store set up to sell my images printed on shirts, mugs, coasters, etc. It's actually quite a bit more work than I realized, just in terms of the time commitment, so I've been sitting around on my butt working on that for a really horrendous amount of time and I've barely made a dent in what I need to do. I figure I will start with maybe 4 images, and then gradually add more as it begins to be profitable. Well, hopefully it'll be profitable!

I need to go feed the horses now or they will hunt me down and stomp on me. Or not, but they do get pretty cranky if I'm late.

Random pics of the day:

Homer under the bed.

A cool bug.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Upcoming art shows

1) Friday October 7, 2005 from 7-9:30pm
Third Annual Art and Wine Evening
an Elk Grove Artists event
located at the McConnell Estates Winery, Elk Grove, CA
wine tasting, hors d'oeuvres, viewing art, live music, meet the artists, door prizes, etc.
Pre-paid tickets are $25 if mailed to EGA, PO Box 2175, Elk Grove, 95759-2175 before October 1, 2005. Tickets at the door will be $35 each.
I know this isn't my usual art event but I need to get my name out more on the local scene. I will be there with two art pieces, though I haven't decided yet which ones.

2) Thursday October 13, 2005 from 6-9pm I think (might be 5-9, more details later)
Auburn Art Walk, Auburn, CA
my work will hang in Dancing Dog Productions
I will be present that evening with note cards, prints, and gift items. Framed and other hangable art (drawings, paintings, photos) will be on the wall and will hang for a month, maybe more (not sure yet, I am still awaiting details on this show).

Monday, September 19, 2005

Thank goodness for note cards

I don't know what it is about Draft Horse Classic, but it seems to be an unlucky time of year for me. Last year was worse in that respect (dead car battery and flat tire in same day, hour late for show, long story!).

I finished loading up Mom's minivan late Tuesday night, and left here Wednesday morning to set up for the show. It took me about 4 hours to set up, working alone, which isn't too bad. I'd been really smart this time and made a "map" in InDesign so I knew ahead of time exactly where to hang all the framed stuff. That was a major time-saver, and meant I didn't have to spend as much time standing around thinking "hmmm" and wondering how to fit all the stuff on the walls.

Wednesday night I packed up all the clothing and food I would need to last until Sunday, since the plan was I would stay in a motel with my friend R (fellow artist) rather than doing the 75 mile commute twice a day like I have done in the past. As I drove up to Grass Valley Thursday morning, I just kept thinking "I am soooo glad I don't have to do this drive twice a day!" So I got up there and had everything all set up, and wandered over to R's booth to say hello (she got there after I did on Wednesday). She made some comment about the campground not being all that bad. Huh??? I had no idea what she was talking about, but decided maybe she was camping for one night since I hadn't wanted to stay in town Wednesday. I halfway jokingly asked if we were still roommates for the next few days, and her jaw kinda dropped and she said "you didn't get the email?"

Nope, hadn't gotten the email a few weeks ago that told me she cancelled the room and was going to camp instead. Crap-o. Not that commuting is such a big deal, I've done it every other year, it was just a bit of a shock to find out at the last minute. Oh well, I stewed over it for a while but decided it wasn't the end of the world. After hearing my sob story, S (another artist) offered to let me stay with her and her husband. I thought that beat the heck out of driving home again, so I said yes. After all, I had everything I needed to last through the weekend, and it meant I could stick around to watch the horse show that evening.

So at the end of the art show that day I went out to the car to grab some dinner out of the big cooler I had packed with about a million blue ice thingys. Apparently I should have used more though...ALL my food was warm. Gross! Thoughts of food poisoning filled my head. Hmm, no, that would be a bad way to spend the next couple days. Crap! So then I thought well, that's ok, I could just go to the grocery store and restock (I can't leave my booth to go outside to eat during the day, since I am there alone, I'm pretty much stuck). But Thursday had been so pathetic I didn't even have enough $ to do that, so I decided it made more sense just to drive back home and mooch. So I did.

Friday was marginally better than Thursday, and that night I stayed with my brother and sis-in-law in Sacramento, which definitely shaved off some mileage. (thanks you guys!) Saturday and Sunday went better in the transaction department, though over all off the top of my head I would say this is the worst I have done at that show in the 4 years I've had a booth there (4 years! time flies!) Attendance seemed lower, spending was definitely lower. The number of things sold was way down for me, and once again it was the little things like note cards that pulled me through the show. Thank goodness for note cards. I did sell one framed original lithograph though ("My Foot" print #4) which was very cool. Anyway, I think there are just too many economical problems right now, and people aren't inclined to buy art when they can't afford to buy gas, etc. Hopefully next year will be better! Yes, I plan to go again.

Now I have tons of unpacking and cleaning to do, and as you may have guessed, cleaning (especially when nagged about it, ARG! #$*&%$@!) is one of my least favorite things to do.

Oh, I should mention I got an Honorable Mention in the show with "Dreadlocks and Dust" (Friesian, stone lithograph).

I would be very curious to really know how everyone did there. What is "doing badly" to some people might be "doing really well" to others. It seemed to be a mixed reaction. Some people did really well, others didn't. What that means though seems to be an individual thing.

But there are good things here too, even though the show didn't exactly make me rich. ;-) I love being around a bunch of like-minded artists. I have a reputation now, they call me "The Chicken Lady." I'm cool with that. :-) It's good to be known for something, and that works for me. Visitors remember me from year to year, lots of repeat customers. They tell me the love the variety of things that I do (it's not a booth full of things that all look pretty much the same). They love the chickens. Once again the chicken stuff outsold the horse stuff. It's the chickens that bring people in. They stand out front and comment on the roosters, then they come in and look around. It's so inspiring being around a bunch of artists, and seeing what everyone else is working on. There are some incredibly famous people there. I am not going to name-drop, but if you are into western/equine art, there are names you will most definitely know. I can't even begin to tell you what an honor it is just to be showing in the same room with these artists. And that they know who I am, and have given me so much positive feedback on my work, it just totally thrills me. These are people whose work I have admired for years and years, and here I am on a first-name basis! I know that must sound incredibly dorky, but it's such a thrill to be a part of that world.

I was going to ramble on about fame and pricing and limited edition prints and a bunch of nonsense but I'm actually rather tired so I think I'll wrap this up. I'd better stick a pic of the booth in here though so you can see how purty it was this year. No, I'm not in it, I was taking the picture. :-)


Well, it was not exactly the most successful show I've ever had at Draft Horse Classic. But there were good things about it too. More details later......

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Fingers Crossed

Think happy thoughts for me for the next couple days! It's time for the Draft Horse Classic Art show! :-)

Monday, September 12, 2005

I am...

This is pretty funny... Directions: Type "(your name) is" with the quotes, into a Google search then pick out your favorite responses.

Katherine is strangely silent. (well yeah, no secret there!)

Katherine is excited about a date that she's set up with a poet. (hmm, news to me!)

Katherine is super annoying. (I can be!)

Katherine is suited for love, and moves easily from one passionate paramour to the next, with no inkling that her actions could threaten her reputation. (how'd that wind up on the internet?) ;-)

Katherine is also beautiful but possesses the nature of a shrew. (Hmm...)

Katherine is the least obedient of the new wives. (I suppose I would be...I don't share well!)

Katherine is spoiled, selfish, rich pseudo-intellectual—smug, pretentious, and insufferably boring. (*gasp!*)

Katherine is known simply as Queen. (better believe it!)

Katherine is a figure who is often passed on for more exciting fare. (sad but true!)

Katherine is a centre for beef-cattle properties. (Okaaaay)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Poultry Plaques

I have completed all the plaques I have time to do before DHC. All will be for sale at the show, and for sale on the website later if they don't sell next week. The oil pastel horses are still drying (please hurry!!!) but here are the new poultry images:

"Sebright #1"
4-7/8 by 6-7/8 inches
acrylic and gold metallic ink on wood

"Runner Duck #1"
6-3/4 by 9-1/2 inches
acrylic on wood

"Hamburg #1"
6-1/2 by 9-1/4 inches
acrylic and silver metallic ink on wood

Friday, September 09, 2005


Look for these two in the Draft Horse Classic art show! Both were accepted into the show itself, and then of course I will be there with my 10x10' booth.

title: "Custom Made"
medium: photograph (the perks of being a saddle maker's official photographer!)

title: "Dreadlocks and Dust"
medium: hand-pulled stone lithograph

Thursday, September 08, 2005

new stuff

I finished up the Rhode Island Red drawings today, finally! Now I'm trying to crank out more original work for Draft Horse Classic. I've made a couple of those painted chicken plaques so far and want to make a few more, but I'm just not crazy about painting. This will sound weird coming from someone who works in colored pencil (the epitome of tedious) but somehow I find myself getting impatient with painting. All that mixing and rinsing and drying. It either dries too slow and then I end up lifting off too much color (when trying to blend stuff), or it dries too fast and I can't blend a darn thing. Arg, I think I need more practice, and I get too bogged down trying to make everything look "real."

So I did a couple of horse drawings in oil pastel (on wood plaques) and they look pretty darn good! I haven't used those things since high school...seriously. Messy but fun. There is the risk they won't dry out in time (maybe if I leave them in front of the fan it would help?) and then I need to varnish it, which hopefully won't take too long to dry either. Darn it, why do I wait til the last minute all the time! :-D I will photograph all this stuff eventually. I have, let's see, 2 more horse images and 3 more poultry images that I would like to complete for next week. Tomorrow will be a busy day!

So until DHC is over, I probably won't be doing any Standard work. Of course that makes me worry even more about deadlines, but I've known all along that for almost two weeks around DHC that's all I can do is just get ready for it. Anyway it's kind of refreshing just to do some other kinds of artwork.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

One week countdown

A week from tomorrow morning the Draft Horse Classic art show will begin. It's pretty safe to say this is the biggest show I do, and is now 4 days long instead of 3. Every year I have this silly idea that I will magically be ready well ahead of time, so that for the whole week before the show I can just twiddle my thumbs and lounge around..or not. So here it is a week away and I still need to make more original art, get all the prints and cards gathered up (hmm, do I need to order bags or backing? yikes), get all the business stuff ready to go, do signs and labels, figure out the layout, inventory, sign stuff, and all the other stuff I haven't even thought of yet. I get so totally stressed out by these art shows, but it always turns out fine. I think it's just my personality--I'm a worrier. I finally got the credit card processing thing all worked out today, assuming they approve me (fingers crossed). They said they can have the equipment here in time, let's hope so! Hopefully I will (eventually) get enough credit card transactions to make it worthwhile to have bought the equipment. I absolutely hate spending money. Probably even if I had it I'd hate spending it... ;-)

Sometimes it seems like the more work I put into this, the farther behind I get. There must be a point somewhere when I catch up. I don't know what the secret is yet--whether I need to try to get out into galleries, try to do more wholesale stuff, or just raise prices. Ok, well that's a given. When the current illustration job is done (spring 2006?) prices are most definitely going up. I remember saying years ago that I never wanted to be "unavailable" to people who couldn't afford ridiculously expensive art. Heck, I can't afford expensive art! I think I have better grip now on art pricing, and when I see original work with a high price tag (within reason, considering the size and type of artwork), I know what goes into that. Seeing "prints" (reproductions) priced ultra-high though, that just irks me...but my rant on limited editions isn't something I want to get into today. But I think there often isn't a lot of respect for artwork, and I've run into the attitude of "the artist enjoys making the art, so money isn't an issue." Well, money is always an issue! Plenty of people enjoy their jobs but still make a decent living. Not everyone can make [good] art. So why should artists make less money than people who work jobs that "anyone could do"?

Now I know someone will read this and think "oh gosh, she's so depressed." I'm not. Don't think that. Stressing a little perhaps, but that's pretty standard pre-art-show behavior! I've just been thinking a lot about what's next for me in the art world...or more like how to continue doing what I'm doing but really make a living at it. After all, one of these days I'm going to need a new car! ;-)

I am a short amount of time away from finishing the illustrations of the Bantam Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds, but too tired to finish tonight. When those are done, I'll be officially one third done with the job, which is cool but a little sobering because that means I still have to do twice as much as I've already done, and I have very little time to do that. I can hardly wait to see all those drawings in print! That will be just so darn cool. Fame and fortune?

Sleepy time.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Holy metallic mammal, Batman!

Well, this morning started off pretty interesting! I got to State Fair (which is now done, I hadn't been there since Saturday) around 7:15 this morning to pick up my birds, and the lady in charge of the building said "I have a surprise for you." I was thinking "oh no, she's sending me home with a bunch of chicks or something."

Turns out that for some reason the coop cards had been mislabeled during judging. So it was not the White Call Duck that won Best in Show, it was the Black Rosecomb. MY Black Rosecomb!!! Wow!!! Victory Dance!!! :-) I'm totally thrilled, this is my first ever Best in Show at State Fair, the first golden bear I've won with a chicken (I have others from other competitions).

I do feel bad for the owner of the duck... He took it pretty well doubt better than I would have.

I gotta say these bears have changed over the years. They must have been on a diet. Although the same size as the old ones (I last won one in 1997) the old bears are a meaty 6 pounds and the new bears are a svelte 3.5 pounds. Hmmm.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

All's Fair

Well, I think it's fair to say I've had enough of the Fair for the year. It was pretty fair weather today though. Ha ha.

Okay, so I'm deliriously tired. I was all set to go to bed at a decent hour last night but found my room being taken over by ants. Ugh! So I threw everything in the washing machine, sprayed ant poison, shut the door, and slept on the couch. And then got up at 4:30am, after about 4 hours of sleep, to take birds to the fair.

I won Champion Bantam! Yay! That's the best I've ever done at State Fair, but I should mention that entry numbers get even more pathetic every year and there weren't a heck of a lot of bantams anyway. I'll just say it. There were a total of 48 birds there, total. Pathetic!

I went over to the food exhibit and found my cookies. Got a 1st place on both, yay! And I watched lots of horses.

Well, now that the room seems to be sort of swaying back and forth, that's a good indication I need some sleep. Time to hit the couch room still smells like ant spray...

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I am shocked and deeply saddened by the destruction and loss caused by Hurricane Katrina. As I sit here in the comfort of home, with electricity and food and water, I just can't fathom what the survivors are going through, and so much of life suddenly seems so trivial. My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the survivors, the families, the pets and animals, and the many many still stranded and missing. I don't know what to say.

Not exactly a royal flush...

At 3:57pm Pacific Time today, I heard a toilet flush in London, England.

Gee, thanks D. ;-)