Painting Under a Tuscan Sun
SLC artist Randall Lake in the villa
studio preparing his paints for a day in the field in Tuscany, Italy.
When painting in the field, or en
plein air, many artists choose to travel and work with a fellow artist,
both to help share expenses as well as for the camraderie that comes with
working together. In Utah, there are even some larger organized groups
for plein air painting, such as the Pleinair
Group in Utah County. During May and June of this year, one group
of Utah artists went a little farther than normal for their group plein-air
experience. The Magpie Gallery's Paint Under a Tuscan Sun
trip took a number of Utah artists to the fields of Tuscany to work together,
eat together and laugh together.
From mid-May to mid-June, artists
joined the Magpie's group in a villa in the hills of central Italy.
The group stayed in Villa Longi, the former summer home of Italian artist
Carlantonio Longi, located in the hilltown of Sinalunga, in the beautiful
Val di Chiana.
Sinalunga is located halfway between
Rome and Florence, at the edge of the hills extending from Siena.
While it is a short drive to many tourist locations such as Siena, Cortona,
Assissi and Montepulciano, the town itself is relatively untouched by tourism
and allowed the group to experience Italian culture unfettered by high-priced
shops and trinket sellers.
Whether enjoying an evening in Piazza Garibaldi while eating a gelato, a Saturday afternoon watching a World Cup game in the local bar, a day spent at one of the local towns' medieval festivals, or
an evening watching the local youth perform in the town's beautiful opera
house, the group was treated to a wonderfully intimate cultural experience.
And some painting did get done.
The immediate grounds of the villa,
surrounded by vineyards and olive groves with views of rolling hills and
a nearby convent, provided ample material for painting. The hospitality
of the Orlandini family, whose estate overlooks the entire Val di Chiana,
allowed the painters access to the rest of their property. Some of the artists
went further afield for inspiration, travelling to Florence, Siena, Assissi
and other locations.
Only a few of the artists on the trip
were familiar with each other prior to coming to Italy, so while the day
was spent working, the nights were spent around the dinner table, enjoying
wonderful meals and getting to know each other. While most of the
artists were from Utah, a few did come from outside the state, including
two photo- graphers from Nevada and a ceramic artist from California.
Photographer Dick Moore considers
a shot of the hilltown of Montalcino.
Mary Pierson and Annette Dunford of
the Magpie Gallery were very pleased with the success of the trip and plans
for next year's excursion are already being made.
From August 16th until September 20th
works from the trip from artists such as David Estes, Randall Lake,
Rossiter, Larry Rigby, Jennifer Worsley, Mary Pierson, Annette Dunford,
and Julie and Dick Moore will be on display at the Magpie Gallery.
A reception, complete with reminscences and Italian food will be held Friday
August 16th from 6 to 9 pm at The Magpie's Nest, I Street and First Avenue
Four Things All Artists Should
By Laura Durham, Asst. Visual
There are lots of educated, talented
artists out there who are producing solid art, but who are failing. Failing
to get into juried shows. Failing to obtain grants. Failing to get into
galleries. Failing to sell their artwork.
Now, I'm not an artist, but I am an
arts administrator. You'd be surprised how much information you gather
and subconsciously soak-up while working with artists, fellow arts administrators,gallery directors and art collectors. I've followed jurors around as they
dismiss work they don't like and comment on work they do like. The following
is advice not only from me, but advice I've gathered from all those mentioned
1. Submitting Slides
It happens every year. I've seen
it in applications for the Statewide Annual Exhibition and in the Fellowship
Competition. I've overheard and sometimes have been told by jurors about
how the slides they're looking at aren't good. Everyone
knows that professional slides (or professional-looking slides) are key
to impressing the jurors (apart from the obvious quality of your artwork
of course). But that's not what we're talking about here.
We're talking about which slides you
select to submit. Townsend Wolfe, juror for the UAC 2002 Fellowship, commented
how most of the slide sets he viewed "lacked a consistency in the quality
of a body of work." It's worth the effort to submit ten high-quality slides
of high-quality work. Don't throw in a few duds because you're short a
couple slides, hoping that the juror will overlook them.
The most important part of his statement
was "body of work." Submit slides that share a theme or are representational
of the same style. It's like answering an essay question in school: you
make up your mind on an answer you believe in and then thoroughly cover
the topic at hand. You don't bring in a bunch of outside ideas hoping that
the right answer is in there somewhere. Many artists are multi-talented
in different styles and mediums. Although that does show your versatility
and broad range of talent the juror doesn't necessarily care. The juror
wants to be consumed and convinced by one idea or theme that you've explored.
That is what makes an impression.
A. If the application asks for slides,
send slides. Don't send photographs placed in a nice book. Don't send prints
or Xerox copies. At the Arts Council we?ve received all of these. Slides
are placed in carousels and mailed to the juror. Although you may have
great photographs or prints of your winning artwork, the juror prefers
B. Pay close attention to instructions
about how the slides are supposed to be labeled. Then follow those instructions.
C. Fill out the address and information
sheet completely. If your address and phone number weren't needed, there
wouldn't be a little asterisk by it with a footnote saying, "required."
Also, if you're going to fill out the application by hand (which is perfectly
fine), write legibly. If your '5' looks like an 'S' or if your '4' looks
like a '9', those administering the grant or competition might have a difficult
time time figuring out what your address or phone number really is.
3. Join Artist Co-ops: Organize
with other artists in any capacity you can. Do group-shows. Solo shows
are great, but when you're still establishing your reputation, it's possible
that a wider audience will see your art when it's associated with other
artists because other artists have friends and acquaintances that you don't
Join Artists of Utah, a growing network
of artists is becoming aware of this great resource and directory. Join
the Utah Watercolor Society, Clay Arts Utah, the Salt Lake Photo Print
Society, the Utah Designer Craftsmen Association, etc. Be social. Talk
to other artists and see what's working for them, and support each other.
Being artists in the same area isn?t necessarily a cutthroat competition.
4. Pricing your Artwork:
You have to gain somewhat of a reputation
before you can allow your prices to get big. Many artists - very talented
artists, start out with great artwork. If you want to sell it, you have
to have a track record of selling before you hike up your prices. Start
the prices out as being modest.
After a couple shows producing substantial
sales, and after being approached by collectors and other galleries, then
your pieces are worthy of a price promotion and people will confidently
invest in you. Remember, it's a lot easier and looks a lot better to raise
your prices once you start selling rather than lowering your prices because
nothing is selling.
Remember, there is more to being a
successful artist than producing great art. Follow the suggestions above
and soon you'll be on the way to success.
BEGINNING JULY 16TH AT THE
UTAH ARTS COUNCIL'S RIO
THREE YOUNG ARTISTS