Blog

Art Festival Tips

You got in the art festival! Whoo hoo! Now for the hard part….but it can be fun!

You only get a 10 x 10 space. Now you have to make the most use of this. First of all, how are you displaying? Do you want people to enter into your space and muse? Do you want you product out front and have the inventory area behind you (like a jeweler, or soap or craft maker)? This is very important for your sales. Do you need to interact with each customer, or would rather be quiet and let them think about it? And plan where your point of sale will be--that is where you actually write up the sale and package your product. In the corner? Up front? Can other customers browse while you work?

One of the most popular classes I offer is the "Paint Your Pets Portrait" class. Students bring in a printed head and neck photo of their favorite furbaby and learn to honor them with a fabulous portrait! I go through the steps of drawing, perspective, background, and colors.  This class is a little more than your usual group painting class with wine event.  You will actually create your OWN painting. 

With pets, most people get so nervous about making it look REAL.  And this really neat tip will help you make your pet look furry, your horse's mane flowing, your cat look as if you could touch it!! It is a great trick for landscapes--grass and weeds too.

Check out my Facebook page Bridget Hanley Studio, be sure to "like" me, and you can stay updated with new classes coming up. Thank you and enjoy!

Visit Bridget Hanley Studio at these art festivals this year

  • Micanopy Art and Craft Festival, Sat and Sunday October 27-28, Micanopy Florida
  • Inverness Festival of the Arts, Sat and Sunday November 3 an 4, Inverness Florida
  • Rainbow Springs Art Festival. Saturday Nov 17, Dunnellon Florida

Stop by my booth and say hi and visit for a bit! I will be showcasing my original art and calligraphy, and will also have some prints and giclees available too!

Art Festivals in Florida

Art Festivals Part 1

One thing I have found out living in Florida, people love their festivals! They really are a lot of fun to attend, and also to be a vendor. It is a great way to promote your creation. But you have to be very organized, focused and committed to your goal. This is the first article of a three part series, and things I learned this year about festivals!

Getting in

I started getting “inventory” together about a year ago. It was just the love of painting at first, but then I started collecting paintings, LOL! Not all of your work is display worthy, so be sure to put your best stuff out there.

I had a goal of three festivals this year. They had to be within an hour drive of me. I didn’t want the expense of a hotel. I wanted to be able to come home and get something I may have forgotten, since this was my first year. Finding the festivals is relatively easy. Google the word festival ( and your area ) and you can find many! Be aware that your deadlines are usually months before the actual event. Planning is key!

Some Mistakes when Hanging Art

Art should be hung where you can enjoy it. But there should also a little planning so it is compatible with the room’s surroundings and decor. And have a visual balance with the edges of the walls, size of the room, color and subject matter. I came across some real life and some virtual examples that you might consider when hanging up that picture. My OCD really kicks in with some of these!

Tips for Hanging Framed Art

You have spent a considerable amount of time and money getting your art framed. To enjoy itYou have spent a considerable amount of time and money getting your art framed. To enjoy itto its full potential, here are some tips to consider when hanging art:

Your husband is tall. You are short. He always hangs the pictures. He eyeballs the generalYour husband is tall. You are short. He always hangs the pictures. He eyeballs the generalarea, makes a mark on the wall and bang! There goes the nail. OR, he is the gadget guy whogets out the laser level and digitally measures the space until the art is scientifically placed. Buteither way, the pictures are always too high.

One of the hardest things to accept when we are creating is that it really isn’t up to us. We get an idea, then the Ego takes over and either tells us that this is going to make us famous, and we will sell it for tons of money….OR it says are you nuts? You can’t make that!! No one will get it! When you are creating, there are no rules, even though you have been taught that there are. Oh sure there are rules about dimension, perspective, composition, and you can put those next to your idea and develop that. But what about the Creative saying I have to get this out. The Creative didn’t know about the rules. It said I have to get this out, and you had a list of rules. Uh oh.

The sky is not blue. Trees trunks are not brown. Shadows are not black. Clouds are not white. The grass is not green. And ( according to Manet, Dega, and impressionist artists) there are NO lines in the universe.

Here is proof of this idea that you can try for one week. Every morning, or every evening, at the very same time every day, go to a favorite spot outside and take a photo of the scene. Preferably a sunrise or sunset will have the best results. After one week, print out the photos you had and place them next to each other. I am really lucky because I live on a beautiful lake, and every evening I get a new painting. Look at your photos and see how every day, every thing was different.

If you applied that to your art, wouldn’t that be much more interesting? In one of my classes, the student wanted to paint her black cat. Of course, left on her own, she would have started out with black paint, and become more and more frustrated when the painting ended up being a black blob on her canvas. Nothing can save you when you start out with the end result. So I challenged her and said she could do that but she absolutely could not use any black paint at all. The end result was incredible! A “black cat” made up of purples, blues, yellows, reds etc.

Pretty cool.

Tell your Creative that you will glance at the Rules, but they are over there. Then let the Creative have some fun with it.

I am following up the previous blog about painting parties. I taught a few of these kind of classes. For the Creative, they can be very exhilarating and very frustrating. And really enlightening! But for the most part, I like it when the people leave the class with a sense of accomplishment, a feeling that they DID something, created something.

I had a class where the theme was Halloween. I had made a painting within that theme, of a dark sky, full moon, a witch and her broomstick, a black cat on the fence, pumpkins, the works. I would walk the class thru the beginnings and then leave it up to them to use what they would like in their painting. They can copy mine, or use it for reference.

A few students were self conscious, having “never painted before”. One student started to mix her colors and didn’t know when to stop mixing. Her colors became more gray. Some pink. Lavender. Yellow. What was going on? The more she added another color, the more her painting took on a life of its own. She became upset that this whole Halloween thing was not happening. She was so far away from dark and mysterious. She became frustrated, and a little angry that she “sucked at this”.

But I could see what was happening. Now I just had to convince her. Her Creative was saying “I’m not really into this dark thing. I need to be this. And this is how it’s going down!” I suggested she abandon the competitive idea that it had to be Halloween, and allow this to evolve. Her Creative wanted to say something. Now. Today.

What emerged was a beautiful, soft, slightly abstract painting of the sun over a lake landscape. The sun was yellow with hints of pink and lavender. The sky was streaks of soft oranges, yellows, blues and grays. A little tweaking and the water on the lake became really believable. It was so nice to witness the Ego being trumped by the Creative ( more in another blog about this). Her Ego was ranting, shaking its fists, jumping up and down saying You have to be LIKE THEM!!! Her Creative stayed the course and got her way.

Oh, yes. We framed it.

There seems to be a trend of these painting classes, where one can bring a lot of friends, a few bottles of wine, and paint in a festive atmosphere. Terrific idea for camaraderie, and even discovering a hidden talent. But I have one criticism.

In the effort of marketing, business, making money---whatever---these endeavours rob the participant of INDIVIDUALISM. In the end, the pictures that are taken of the group and their final product, every single picture is the SAME. The sky is blue, the clouds are white, and the knockoff Van Gogh is futile. This cookie cutter approach to art may make the business a few dollars, but to what avail?

To me it seems kind of insulting. Even condescending. If one has already planned to attend this kind of event, it seems then that they want to learn something about painting. Sure, mindless instruction is fine, but there is no effort and therefore no result that the individual can be proud of. They take their painting home, and most likely throw it away. The person most likely thinks “That was fun. But I stink as an artist. I’m really bad.”

That is so sad. The creative in that person quits right there. I have taught quite a few of these classes. However, I take another approach. Bring a photo of what YOU like. Your pet, a flower, a landscape scene. And the realize that whatever comes out of your brush is YOU! Start with something you want to learn about. Then I can help you get there. Now it may not be the perfect artist that you envision at first. Yes, maybe you have to peel back some layers to get “really good”. Realizing your  contribution to the Creative Universe is an involved journey, but it’s okay if you don’t want to travel it all at once. Just realize that you are an individual and we don't need cookie cutter art. What we need is what YOU have to offer.

That's a lot of flies!  Collection of antique hand threaded fisherman flies.

Winner of the Pan American Silver Medal in Endurance Riding, and a collection of her career medals.

Page 2 of 4