Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Lenora Fletcher

 My Hero, one of my best friends, my Grandma died today. Til the end she inspired me with her dignity, grace, character and intelligence. She was a one room school house teacher and inspired this painting. I talked with her pretty much everyday for the last decade. She made me feel completely loved, encouraged my artistic streak, and in many ways was my mother, role model, and part of my soul. She unquestionably is very responsible for who I am today.

So I am not sure what the rest of my year will look like. All my shows this year have been ridiculously good. Before today I was unsure if I would be able to complete my schedule. For my sanity I will do my next two shows and go from there. There hasn't been an off day since Easter and excluding the upcoming funeral I do not anticipate another until October. 

Thank you all for your support, you made my Grandma very proud of me.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Summer Schedule

 People have asked me for years about posting a show schedule.So here it is. This will mark our last full tour and so Katie and I are both each writing a book about our lives as artists, and this is the true experience of the art fair circuit. Unless somehow I need the money or I stockpile a bunch of work, the next few years I am cutting this list in half. Period.

Our first show at Old Town in Chicago was very successful, so I am short on work already.  I have very little work to give Tory Folliard Gallery at the moment. As of now I am going through with this schedule until I run out of paintings. I will not be posting anything for sale until the holidays. No days off until October and I will do my best I promise.

I am doing Uptown in Minneapolis this year as a show of support for Minneapolis after everything it went through.The Twin Cities have been especially supportive of me over the years.Thank you everyone. I will try my best to be here for all these shows.

June 24-26 Des Moines Art Festival, Des Moines IA

July 21-23 Ann Arbor Art Fair, Ann Arbor MI

August 5-7 Uptown Art Fair, Minneapolis MN

August 13 Charlevoix Art Festival, Charlevoix MI

September 9-11 St Louis Art Fair, Clayton MO

September 23-25 Plaza Art Fair, Kansas City MO

Sept 30, Oct 1,2 St James Court Art Festival Louisville KY

Also this piece got excepted into the Birds in Art at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau WI. The show opens in September and Katie has a piece in it too.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

From The Land Of Sky Blue Waters

 Back in fall 2020 my High School Art Teacher(yes of course I keep in touch with my old art teachers) visited the farm here and was excited by the old Hamm's beer signs I have. "My brother has the Hamm's account," he happily exclaimed, "I need to text him a picture of this". So I said only to someone you've known for thirty years, "tell your brother not to fuck it up." I drink Hamm's and am a fan of Hamm's. The next day I got an enthusiastic call, "my brother wants you to paint something for Hamm's." So... I got the call and an email with a vintage Hamm's landscape painting with the instructions to paint something similar even telling me to let your inner Hamm's come out. Holy Shit! "I was born to do this," I said. One of the first things I did was inform my friend Mike, Mr. Minnesota and fellow Hamm's drinker. Wild disbelief was his reaction, like most people's. 

Luckily it was covid and I had no art shows and time for this because it was a short deadline, so everything had to be dropped and this became my only focus. Next thing you know I am scrolling through images of old Hamm's beer signs. Picking three vintage Hamm's signs including one of my own, I combined them into one panoramic painting that the format required. As a fan of the old Hamm's northwoods designs, I wanted to connect the history of cool advertising that is associated with Hamm's. Most people I know love the old Hamm's beer signs. Why they ever stopped that marketing campaign back in the 1970's I will never know.  The old Hamm's crown logo has to be one of the best Mid Century Modern designs of anything, period. Living in the midwest, one goes up north in the summer to escape the warm weather. To escape civilization in all seasons. You dream of stealing away to be on the water. That was basically my whole childhood. My family has vacationed up north at Lake Namakagon since the 1950's. My first memories of being up north involve staying at Richard's Resort. Riding in a 1973 Dodge Dart through the dense woods of Bayfield County Road M, I couldn't wait to get to the lake and get out of the car. As we got closer I was ready to explode when from out of the woods the Richard's Resort Hamm's Beer Sign appeared at the driveway's edge. How many people had an experience like this? I try to go up north once a year to paint, and plan on more up north paintings in the future. Its part of my story.

 On warm days I LOVE drinking Hamm's. Putting one in the freezer first to get extra cold, I dream about being up north, being a kid, being with my family. Nothing tastes as good as an ice cold Hamm's on a hot day. Few things in life are better.

There were five designs and they picked mine. We tweaked the painting a few times, making it more blue and vibrant. A section was added to it to make the painting wrap around, meaning the right side lines up with the left side. That was interesting to do but not that difficult, just tedious. We talked back and forth a few times about the idea for the carton, it was to be called the Throwback Pack. This was all very exciting to me. The painting is flipped backwards on the beer carton, and I had to sign my name in reverse.

Time went by. Covid created labor shortages. There was/is an aluminum shortage and the new design was pushed ahead a year. My life rolled on and I forgot about it. I'll believe it when I see it I thought.This is too to good to be true. These things don't happen to me.

And then, I got word that it was coming out this spring. Things got more thrilling when people started texting me images of it. Bizarre when a friend bought me a 12 pack of it. Surreal when I saw it and my name of it. 

I am very honored by this, but it in no way compares to all the experiences I have had with my usual body of work. People tell me all the time how much my paintings mean to them emotionally. Nothing can compete with that. This is just a really really cool side project that somehow happened, and nationwide at that. It is unbelievable really.  I am extremely proud to be apart of the Hamm's story and tradition. If you see it, have a cold one for me!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Same old same old

 Yeah, so much for retirement. I wish.

All I do is paint to keep up with an even more limited schedule for next year. Its like nothing has changed except I feel I am under more pressure to get together some inventory.  I am basically trying to get my head above water. 

That is pretty much my life. So if this is what it is, then I am going to go through with my smaller schedule for this year and then in '23 really cut back to just a couple shows. Period. It is so much fun to do the shows, but it consumes your life. My life needs to be about staying in rhythm and doin good work. I am in good rhythm now, and that is all that matters.

Katie and I are writing a book about our lives being artists. We are writing everyday and seeing where that takes us. Writing about your life seems to be an ego thing, which we do not want at all, in any way shape our form. People have asked us to write a book for years and so we hope to. Hopefully our lives can inspire somebody to quit their job and follow their dreams, or at least be comfortable not going along with the hot mess that is our culture. If I know one thing, it is what it is to be an artist. Wish us luck.

Feel free to ask about work or whatever as usual, I am resigned to this for 10 more months. Thanks again to everyone who helped us have such a wonderful 2021. I know that I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Keeping this one for myself

 I have zero large paintings left!!! Not on me to sell, and not at the gallery either. Amazingly people have been telling me they follow my blog, and yes I want to retire. I just had the best month of my life professionally, I am going out on top. It feels really good to have worked so hard and had things go so well, and for Katie too. I am incredibly honored by all the people that support me. I truly enjoy the great vast majority of people that I meet, I am so lucky to have such real and honest conversations with people. Art has opened so many doors for me. Thank you.

This feels like a time to reevaluate what my goals are and what I want to do. Since I have no more large paintings to sell, it is a great time to start over or move on. Experiment. Play. Who knows maybe I end up doing the same old thing anyways, just less of it. I don't know yet. The only thing I seem to be capable of is just being myself, which, is oddly very difficult for most people. I will be doing the shows I won awards at next year to fulfill my professional obligations. But I think that is it for me next year.

I do know that I DON'T want to jack up the price of my large paintings. I want people like me or my friends to be able to afford my work. It doesn't matter to me about the money, the work already seems to be ridiculously expensive. I know I want to work on restoring my house and farm, and I know Katie and I will enjoy doing that.

My Grandma, who is my hero, turns 97 this week. She is still sharp as a tack and lives at home. It is imperative for me to spend more time with her. She is one of my best friends and I call her every night. I owe her more time and I will deeply regret it if I don't do that.

I have one commission I agreed to do months ago and then that is it. I will not sell anybody any large paintings the rest of this year. Period. Hopefully I get back to work and will sell again next year. I have a couple small paintings left, and I am sure I will paint a few more of those this year( I can't help myself).

No matter what happened this year, I was not going to sell this one. I have been so busy I haven't framed it. My wife and I need to hang some of artwork up in our own house for once!

I will keep painting, just at my own pace.  

Thanks again to everyone who supported me, despite COVID 19 this year.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Last show of the year

 By some miracle I found this in the attic, and forgot to bring it to my last show. So I am bringing it to Louisville tomorrow...   my last show of the year!!!

It was spring up on the ridge. That seems so long ago.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Very very very busy

 I have never worked so hard before. I think I have had like 2 days off this summer! The other side of it is that I get to do something I love. All day. Everyday. A little more balance would be welcome...

So I am telling people I am retiring after this show season. I refuse to live my life like a merry-go-round any longer. I love a lot of things in my life, so after this year I am only going to do a couple shows and not travel as far. Period. 

Anyways my painting here is in the current issue of Plein Air magazine!!!