An opportunity arose to do something locally with my art. After the last several exhibitions, either in a different state or very far away, I was ready to slow down. Guess who was chosen to be the Featured Artist? John O’Keefe Jr. is Featured Artist at Art In Good Taste Fundraiser at Ives Farm in Cheshire, Connecticut. The Cheshire Land Trust sponsoring the event. Following is the official press release.
It is time for the 53rd Regional Exhibition by Mystic Art Association. Exhibitions like these are similar to job interviews. The first meeting is to review your portfolio (i.e., resume). If you pass that, you go to the next phase of being judged against other candidates (i.e., meeting more people who review your work and give you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down). Lastly, you might get to do a walk-through (i.e., the exhibition).
Here I am dropping off two paintings: “Big Cork Tree” (not accepted into the exhibition) and “Summer in the Valley” (accepted in the exhibition). I never presume which of my paintings will be well received, and it varies from judge to judge and patron to patron. However, I always get excited to hear what people think of my paintings.
Mystic Art Center (8-14-2009) – 53rd Regional Exhibition
We missed the opening reception of the 53rd Regional Exhibition by Mystic Art Association. We had personal scheduling conflicts, and the exhibition lost out. But my family and I did visit the gallery on a different date to view the show. Below are some pictures taken during that visit.
Concluding Thoughts – 53rd Regional Exhibition
I’ve learned something else since starting this art journey: it is hard work. People generally think artists do nothing but sit at their easel and make art all day long when in reality, that is just a fraction of where their time, energy, and money go. There is a lot of research on venues and galleries, traveling and meeting people, gas and eating out expenses, self-promotion expenses, commissions if you sell a work, tax on sales, etc.
Here is a brief breakdown for just one painting I sold: $1,900.00 for the painting. Deducted from that sale were sales tax, gallery commission, and FOUR trips to the venue (the interview, the drop-off, the opening reception, and the pick-up). For me, these trips always included my family, so we had lunches and dinners out. When all the expenses were added and deducted from the sale, I pocketed about $350.00 out of the $1,900.00. And that painting took over two weeks to create! These experiences taught me firsthand the meaning behind the phrase “starving artist.” You have to be genuinely committed to your craft if you want to make a career out of being an artist.
About the Judge – 53rd Regional Exhibition
Carolina Pedraza is the Head of Youth & Family Programs at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, a national leader in the exhibition of challenging contemporary art and the emergence of mid-career artists. 1
Bio information is taken from Mystic Art Center ‘call to artists’ exhibition press release.
This was the big day, the Opening Reception and Award Ceremony for the 2009 Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition by Salmagundi Club, my first exhibition in New York City. The reception was to take place between 6:00 and 8:00 PM. But first, we planned to leave Connecticut early and see some of the sites in the city.
Walking Around New York City – 2009 Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition
We planned to leave early and see some New York City sites. Our friend Joan Shackford (president of the Cheshire Art League of Cheshire, Connecticut) accompanied us.
From Washington Square, it was down to SoHo for some lunch. We enjoyed a lovely meal at an outdoor Italian restaurant. We planned to visit some art galleries but learned that many had moved uptown to the Chelsea area. However, we did manage to find a few galleries to visit.
On the way back to the Salmagundi Club, our group split; Jennifer, Joan, and Danielle made a detour to the bakery Magnolias, and Joshua and I went straight to the Salmagundi Club.
Opening Reception and Award Ceremony (7-10-2009) – Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition
The big moment had arrived! Almost like clockwork, at around 6:00 PM, the gallery started filling, and it soon became a packed house.
Award Ceremony – Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition
Around 6:45 PM, the Award Ceremony started. The artwork at this show was exceptional, and I was honored to have been accepted to be among such great artists.
Enjoying the Exhibition
After the Award Ceremony concluded, people began moving around and mingling again. Joshua spent most of his time listening to the live jazz band The Jeevan D’Souza Trio. He had recently begun learning to play guitar, and he was not going to pass up a chance to see live musicians playing up close.
A little later in the evening, a close family friend, Ann Benedetto, who lives near the Salmagundi Club, showed up. Ann was my mother’s best friend when they grew up together in Astoria. Ann lives and works in Manhattan and owns a clothing store in Tribeca called “ANue.”
The evening was exciting. I met several artists, and we exchanged congratulations on being in the exhibit. Later, I was introduced to the president of the Salmagundi Club, Claudia Seymore, by another elected member, Christine Ivers. I know Christine from the Connecticut art scene. Christine and Claudia sponsored me, and I filled out a membership application and submitted my portfolio, which I hope will be approved. The reception ended around 8:30 PM, and it was time to head back to Connecticut.
Heading Back to Connecticut – 2009 Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition
Joshua snapped the following photos as we left the city. They are pretty good, so I decided to close this journal entry using them.
So ends the Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition by Salmagundi Club. Today was another one of those days that was overwhelming for me. My art journey feels like it just keeps getting better and better. My previous success at the Lyme Art Association and a possible elected membership at the Salmagundi Club. I couldn’t be more pleased.
I was expanding my reach out of Connecticut and into New York City. My first out-of-state exhibit was at the Salmagundi Club. Join me as I journey to the painting drop-off for the Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition judging and selection process.
Artwork Dropoff (6-27-2009) – Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition
Jennifer and I woke the family early for our trip to New York City, where we would drop off my painting entitled “The Field’s Edge” at the Salmagundi Club. We always include the children in these activities connected with my paintings – We try to make these trips a fun family outing. I was incredibly excited about this trip because this exhibition is my first showing outside Connecticut and in New York City at the prestigious Salmagundi Club of all places. Very Exciting!
Visiting Uncle Ernie Sterlacci in Astoria, Queens, New York
Once the painting was safely delivered to the Salmagundi Club, we traveled to Astoria, Queens, New York, to visit with my Uncle Ernie. He lives in the house where I spent most of my childhood summers, which always brings back memories when I visit. Also, we took some time to have dinner at our favorite pizzeria down the street.
Visiting Aunt Anne Fucich in Astoria, Queens, New York
Before returning to Connecticut, we had to stop and visit my Aunt Anne Fucich, whom we affectionately call Teta Annie. She was my first art instructor as a child and is 92 years old and still living on her own in Queens. We stayed for a while, reminisced about the early days, and talked about art. Teta Anne was very excited about my painting that was accepted into the Salmagundi Club exhibition.
Below are some thoughts Teta Annie shared with us during the visit:
“People say painting is stressful, but I think it’s the opposite. Because once you begin, the ideas start flowing, and before you know it… poof… you have a painting.”
“My problem was that once I started, I just could not stop… I’ll just finish this color, and then it was I’ll just finish the next color and the next, and I just could not stop once I started.”
“I don’t think parents teach their children to be interested in art the way they used to. Today everyone watches T.V. It’s T.V. all day long, and people are not out and doing things. A little boy in my building sits in front of his T.V. from 9:00 in the morning until who knows when. I guess the mother is resting or something… (Laughter) …Give the kid a box of crayons and a coloring book, and let him start that way.”
The next time we will be back in New York is for the opening reception. I hope you enjoyed this little journey, my painting drop-off for the Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition.
The 2009 Annual Visual Arts Exhibition by Cheshire Art League presented an opportunity for me to fulfill a new role I had with the organization. I was accepted onto the Board of Directors at the Cheshire Art League with the assignment to improve the league’s online presence. This included a complete redesign of the league’s website. I attended most functions and recorded the events to collect material for web page entries. 17 league events were documented between 2009 and 2011, starting with this 2009 annual exhibition.
(Note: I resigned from this assignment in 2011 to pursue my online frame business Painting Frames Plus; unfortunately, the new web designer for the Cheshire Art League did not upload the events I recorded. I will try to re-post them on this site as time permits. The below pictures are just a sampling from this exhibit.)
Event Literature – Annual Visual Arts Exhibition
Receiving and Hanging – Annual Visual Arts Exhibition
Opening Reception and Award Ceremony – Annual Visual Arts Exhibition
I didn’t know it then, but Christine Ivers would become my sponsor for membership in the Salmagundi Club in New York City. Christine’s specialty is working with pastels, and is an excellent artist. I first met Christine at this Annual Visual Arts Exhibition by Cheshire Art League.
About the Judge – Annual Visual Arts Exhibition
Power Boothe, Dean of the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, is a recognized abstract painter. He has had twenty solo exhibitions in New York. His work is represented in many public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. Boothe has designed sets for Obie Award-winning productions, collaborated as a visual artist with choreographers and musicians, and has received numerous NEA Inter-Arts grants. In 1975 he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowship for painting, and in 1985, a Guggenheim Fellowship for painting.1, 2
Image of Power Boothe from hartford.edu ~ 2014
Bio. information for Power Boothe from the exhibition brochure