Friday, July 1, 2011

An open letter to Xanthippe Cleavage-Heaver

Xanthippe Cleavage-Heaver excitedly opened the waxen seal on the letter from the Accreditation Commission For Conformity Assessment Bodies. The tiny crabbed printing in brown ox gall ink informed her that she was the recipient of the National Assembly of Compulsion grant for the arts. Her proposal for "The Bridges of the Hudson" had been selected for a show at the Great hall of Conformity at the University of East Delft!

Here are some things that
Xanthippe is going to need to know. Bullets!
  • You don't want to do a show like this on short notice. Three months is short notice. Sure you could do it, but that's a finished painting a week with no time to spare, that's every week, so you had better get a few ahead in case it rains or your back hurts. That sounds like a show of 8 by 10's to me. Also every one of the twelve will have to be used, there isn't time built in to reject a few weak entrants.
  • In order to do the show I outlined for Xanthippe last night a year is a nice lag time. You aren't only going to work on this project this year you have to paint for a living in the meantime, getting all of those paintings done has to fit into your present life's schedule. You are going to have to keep at it though, you will be glad to have the lead time.
  • I would restrict the paintings in the show to two sizes I like 16 by 20 for the small ones and 24 by 36 for the larger. Oh yeah, and two squares, hows about 16 by 16 and 26 by 29 (Metcalf square). Also some 9 by 12's for the reception area, maybe half a dozen.
  • First you stretch up a big pile of canvasses those sizes, many more than you will need and stack those in one corner of your studio, ready to go at a moments notice.
  • Can you afford to buy your frames today? Or will you have to wait for your income tax refund? I expect to average 300 dollars a frame, the big ones will cost more, and the 16 by 20's less, but that isn't a big budget for professional quality framing with closed corners. We can go cheap on the 9 by 12's later, but the 12 pictures in the show will cost about 3,600 dollars to frame. I would order them now, framing takes a while and something might screw up if this is on a tight deadline, so better call your gilder and get on that now. Then you can try the paintings as you make them into their frames to see how they look. Incidentally with canvas, paint and a few other costs like gasoline, you are already on the hook for at least 5000 dollars.
  • One nice thing about having a year, you can have pictures from several seasons, rather than a whole show of only winter bridge scenes. I am assuming you are going to go to the locations and actually make these pictures and not work from the file photos at the Peoples Community Center. That's what most people would do, and it's quick, but it stands almost no chance of being a really great show, and you want that, because you want to have a career not just a show. This show needs to be great!
  • Next weekend, you throw the rottweilers in the back of the International Harvester Travelall, grab a notebook and go visit the bridges. There are probably more than you can do in a day, probably that will take three days. At each bridge you find a location or two and scope out the best angles. Write those things down in your notebook, one bridge per page. Better get a picture of each possible view also.
  • You better pick out two of those bridges for this months paintings too, if you can get the first half dozen done in the first four months, you might make that deadline. For sure you have to get ahead of the schedule a bit. You don't want to be in a position of having a show only three weeks away but you still need three paintings. That can't be done. at least not well.


Mary Byrom said...

I love her doo ! And the look on her face ...must be the price of the frames...I know she's going to get the guy she's talking with to hand her the cash for the frames. No stress on her pocketbook. She doesn't have that "taking to my framer" look on her face... (unless he's also a multi-billionaire and she's living in one of his mansions while doing this painting gig).
I think she'd be smart to do at least 3 or 4 paintings on her scouting trip. Why waste time? Paint smart and fast... after all, you see what grabs you in about 3 - 10 seconds...then she can use the studies for some of the big ones she paints in her studio.

Brady said...

Well, she is married to a thoracic surgeon so I'm sure he won't mind footing the bill.

The post does make you think a bit before you go all crazy about getting asked to do a show.

T Arthur Smith said...

Stape, how can you order the frames before the paintings are even made? How do you know what will match them?

willek said...

It is interesting to have your ideas about how to handlee this kind of a project. As usual, very helpful to us all.

James Gunter said...

Yes, what Willek said! said...

Since it's a short notice other way to vary them is to catch them in different times of day like the George Washington in twilight with city lights a flickering. Etc.

But it seems like there is a conflict or cross purposes. If the intention is to have all twelve bridges (Rip Van Winkle being my favorite) and one should only show the best have to fight for all twelve being equally strong but different to one another. Not an easy feat.

Aside: the plan with Willek this week is to be at Halibut Point on Thursday and then head off to our portrait
session at 7 pm. Hope the shy is dramatic that day.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I will do a reply to this as a post.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Our girl marries thoracic surgeons and devours them, spitting out only the stethoscopes and head mirrors.

Stapleton Kearns said...

T Arthur Smith;
I go after that question on today's blog Than ks for that.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Oh, I do so want to be useful.

Stapleton Kearns said...

James Gunter;

Stapleton Kearns said...

You will have to do several of them twice and probably one three times. Plan that into the project.

painterjo65 said...

Hi Stape,
Just wondering if you are as sarcastic in your workshops as you seem to be to Xanthippe in your blogg...? The advice is right on,
why don't I like the tone?