Preparing for the studio tour took many months. I wanted to re landscape the exterior of the studio since all the construction had cleared out all the previous plants. Bringing in new soil was a part of that process to plant new plants in. Even before the tour the landscaping looked really good.
After talking with other artists who had done studio tours, I decided to have some art cards printed of some of my bird and butterfly paintings and several landscapes. I talked to the printer who had printed my cards and got some help selecting the card size and envelopes. When I made the selection, we decided each card would had the name of the art piece and my website on the back. All the cards were the same size so that the envelopes could all be the same size to cut costs. I also made the decision to have some prints made of four very different landscapes. When I picked the prints up from the printer I was pleased with the quality and color. I mounted each one on foam core and matted each one. I purchased Clear Seal bags to slip the mounted prints in. I also purchased a light weight print rack to display them.
The Placer Arts League has in the past printed cards up with a map of the studios, and pictures of various artists on a large 7" X 10" card that is distributed throughout the county to many venues. This year, they decided to make then tour very large with 49 participating artists in studios that went from Roseville, Rocklin, Granite Bay, Loomis, Auburn , Meadow Vista and Dutch Flat. Far too many locations and too many artists to put on one card. They suggested artist's print their own cards. Another cost to prepare for the tour.
Fortunately my son Colin is a Graphic Designer and he told me to send him some pictures of my art and he would design my card. Within a couple of weeks he emailed me a PDFs file for the printer and a smaller version I could both email and post. I have attached a copy below. The printer gave me prices on 500 and 1,000 and with only a 38 dollar difference I had him print 1,000 cards. I distributed them to restaurants, galleries, hair salons, art galleries and many other businesses as well as mailing many to friends and acquaintances and persons who had already purchased one of my paintings. Needless to say I posted the PDF to my Facebook Fine Art site and emailed it to a large list of people.
I purchased a guest book, card display, and borrowed extra easels to put paintings on and brought A-frames I built into the studio to hang more art on them. When the water and trail mix cups were put on the table, and everything was arranged I, had 26 paintings on display. I prepared a new sheet of UArt 600 paper with a new drawing on Wednesday before the tour. Thursday I roughed in major color blocks with NuPastels and then used Turpenoid to liquefy the pastel and have the undercoat completed. My plan was to work on this new painting during the tour so that people could understand how pastel was applied.
Placer Arts provided tour signs for artists to put up at intersections to direct vehicles to the studios. I put up two signs at different intersections and one at the driveway of our home with arrows pointing the way to studio #14 on Friday morning before the tour was to start. The tour began at 10:00 am November 7th.
The first studio visitor arrived at 10:40 Friday and others followed throughout the day. There were only nine the first day, but several people liked my art cards and I sold nine the first day. One lady, a real estate agent bought seven of the cards saying she would rather buy nice art cards made here, than Hallmark cards that are now made in China. Saturday was a busier day and I sold five more cards, answered many questions and enjoyed talking to a lot of nice people. Sunday was the last day of the tour and seventeen more people visited and I sold five more art cards.
A lot of my visitors signed my guest book, and complimented me on my art. I explained the pastel process since I was working on a painting in the slack times. One gentleman really liked one of my barn paintings because it reminded him so much of his grandfathers farm. A lady and her husband also liked my art and discussed having me do a commission in the new year. They took one of my business cards when they left and hopefully will follow through.
All in all it was a great experience and one I would do again. It was a little disappointing that there were no print or painting sales. I am not sure if it is the economy, or just tight times for many people. From outward and appearances my visitors enjoyed their visit and sought out my studio.