Sunday, October 26, 2014

Autumn in the Blueridge 2014


By
Armand Cabrera


Over the last couple of weeks I've gone and painted up on the Blueridge Parkway or down in some of the hollows on the western edge of the Piedmont where it meets up with the eastern base of the mountains. The weather was poorest right at the peak of color but there were a few mild sunny autumn days that made everything worthwhile.  


Autumn will continue in the Piedmont for a few more weeks but most of the leaves will be gone from the upper slopes by then. I have plenty of reference for larger studio paintings and some finished pieces out on location. One of the joys painting outdoors is experiencing how different the same places and things can look year to year, month to month, day to day, hour to hour.








This time of year Shenandoah Park gets inundated with visitors coming to see the spectacular panoramas during the peak of fall color in Virginia. Normally I can drive into the park without any traffic and paint all day without ever seeing anyone, but not this time of year.  Crowds are everywhere during the week and double on the weekends. In a single day on the weekends its not unusual for me to talk to 50 to 100 people.







It reminds me of when I started painting and I was living in the Napa Valley and I became used to people talking to me while I worked. I think of it as good practice for good marketing. I've never understood people who can’t talk or are cranky to people that are curious about the painting process. While I don’t expect to sell when I go out to paint, I do sell paintings right off the easel sometimes or people stop into my local galleries to say they met me and sometimes they will purchase through the galleries. Not everyone can afford my paintings but they can afford my prints and meeting the artist can help decide a sale. Those sales wouldn't happen if I didn't talk to people when I was out painting.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall color continues

by
Armand Cabrera

Once I caught up on laundry and correspondence after my Colorado trip I headed up to Skyline Drive to paint fall color in Virginia. The weather was a little dreary at first but the last few days have been spectacular and it looks like it will be a good year for autumn colors in the Piedmont over the next couple of weeks. I'll post more of my outdoor paintings and some process shots over the next few posts.




Monday, October 13, 2014

Painting trip to Ouray Colorado


By
Armand Cabrera




 Just a week after Illuxcon I was off to Colorado to paint fall color for five days with my friend Arthur. The weather was perfect most of the time although we did have one snow day which gave the peaks a nice dusting.








We timed it just right with most of the spots being at peak or a little before peak when we arrived. I finished eight paintings total and got plenty of reference for future studio pieces.

We had rooms at a bed and breakfast in Ouray and we made day trips to a predetermined place, splitting our time between the Cimarron Range and the Sneffels Range to get a morning and evening painting. At night we returned to town for a meal at one of the local food establishments .


The area boasts 10 peaks above 13,500 feet with 6 peaks above 14,000 feet. Unlike the Eastern Sierras which also has quite a few 14ers but prohibits vehicles in the back country, most of the close views of these peaks are accessible by forest roads and four wheel drive vehicles.









Saturday, September 27, 2014

Illuxcon 2014 and Beyond


by Armand Cabrera

It has been a couple of weeks since I've posted anything here. My apologies, my schedule has interfered with my normal writing schedule. Last week I was in Allentown PA for the Imaginative show Illuxcon at the Allentown Museum. Before that I was getting everything ready for the show.

The show was very successful for me and I sold five paintings and a number of prints. I was also commissioned to do a large painting (3 x 5 feet) by the Illuxcon committee which was shown for the first time at the show. I had lots of positive feedback on my imaginative work and my idea to mix imaginative work with my plein air paintings appears to be paying off. People seemed to really like the way the work looked. I also received some magazine and book offers that may turn into some interesting work down the line.


This next week I will be in southern Colorado plein air painting with a friend so no substantial posts for another week. I should be back to normal and posting again by the 12th of Oct. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Behind the Scenes


By
Armand Cabrera



Most of the work for an art show goes on behind the scenes. I usually do two or three shows a year. That’s on average 20 to twenty five paintings for each show and this is on top of my normal production schedule that I maintain with my galleries and other clients in entertainment.

Shows take a lot of effort to plan and produce. There are editorial copy and ads and invitations to write and disseminate for all of the various outlets that we target for a specific show. The theme of the show must be decided upon well in advance. Travel arrangements made and trip logistics planned.  All of this needs to happen before or in tandem with the paintings being completed on time. 

I am lucky in that both Diane and I are technical enough to handle all of the promotion and prep from our side. The gallery or venue is also busy with preparations and plans and everything has to be timed just right for a successful show.

Of course new commissions will crop up and new opportunities will come along while we make our plans and must be fitted into a reasonable schedule to keep everyone happy.


The paintings have to be framed and shipped and the space hung. I like to have paintings finished a month or more before a show and ship everything at least two weeks before the opening.  This doesn't mean I don’t swap things out at the last minute or change my mind about what to include in a show but I make sure I have the body of work finished before I do that.  I like to offer a range of sizes and subjects for my shows and to demonstrate the range of my interests at that particular time in my career.  I think all of this helps educate my clients about my work.

My normal practice is to over produce so I can pick what I consider the best pieces for a venue. So if I decide on 20 paintings for a show most likely I will paint 40. This gives me a little wiggle room for subsequent shows and gallery requests later in the year. It also allows the gallery to veto a piece or two if they feel they wouldn't be a good fit for their clientele.  I prefer this to having anyone else participate in my paintings choices beforehand. Those decisions are all mine and they are what keeps me painting and growing as an artist.