Well, a new journal entry is way overdue. I've had lots of new adventures lately. I'm very excited about my new notecards. They celebrate the beauty of Carolina. They are now available and can be purchased on the shop page of my website.
The winter run of shows in Florida was a real test of my ability to cope with adverse and challenging weather at art festivals. The year began in Boca Raton with freezing temperatures and howling winds. The patrons showed up in fur coats, gloves and hats. The following week was the Beaux Arts Festival in Coral Gables. As I was walking to my booth, with a nice cup of coffee, I witnessed a huge palm frond fall from a tree and crash down on my inventory and chair. This was the same chair I was about to sit in and drink my coffee. Nine lives is now 8. The freezing cold, driving rain and wind prompted the festival directors to allow the artists to close up for the day. All but a half dozen crazies opted to close. I was one of the crazies. Even though I had the flu with a 102 degree temperature, I toughed it out. I sat in the cold with a lake in my booth and sold all day. I never imagined the coldest show I would ever do would be in Miami! The end of January would find me in Miami Beach. The judges were kind, awarding me a Best in Show award. Quite an honor. It made my mother very proud.
February found me in Jupiter and Orlando. Surprisingly, it was still bitter cold. In March I did the Gasparilla Art Festival in Tampa. The show moved to the grounds of the new Tampa Museum of Art. My old buddy Jimbo came down from New York to help me and hang out. We went to the beach and froze. He couldn't wait to get back up north to warm up. The next week was a small show in Apollo Beach. It was located in a field that filled with water when the rains came. It ended up as a giant mud puddle.
I said goodbye to Florida for a while and headed to Fairhope, Alabama. The spring flowers were blooming and the Spanish Moss was swaying from the Live Oak trees. Next, I headed back to South Carolina for the Flowertown Festival in Summerville. The azaleas were late to bloom due to the cold winter. The highlight of the show was a guy selling great homemade root beer. April found me back in the Sunshine State for shows in Gainesville and St. Petersburg. The rain was relentless and breakdown was quite a challenge. May began with my final show of the Florida season. In West Palm Beach, at Sunfest, it finally warmed up. There was music, fireworks and great art. This was a challenging show due to it being only a week after having my gallbladder removed. It's a tough way to lose weight! My friend Brandon joined me to do the heavy lifting. Thanks Brandon.
So long Florida, hello Carolina. My next show, which was on Mother's Day, was Artisphere in Greenville,SC. This one of my favorite shows and is very well run. The town is very supportive of the show and the organizers throw an amazing artist party. It was my first show of the year that I didn't have to pack up in the rain. The following weekend I went to Raleigh, North Carolina for Artsplosure. Guess what, more rain. Oh joy. I ended the month in Hiltonhead, SC where I met some great folks and had a nice show.
Now the fun really began. I started my summer run of shows in Columbus, Ohio. All went well until a classic Midwestern summer storm rolled in. A tornado was spotted nearby and the sirens sounded. Everybody filed into adjacent buildings. A few EZup tents went flying but most booths survived. Chairs, tables and garbage cans were strewn about everywhere. Seven lives. After the adventure in Ohio I traveled to the Jersey Shore. It was a beautiful weekend until an hour before breakdown. Rain. The next weekend was a new show in Scarsdale, New York. It has a lot of promise. It should grow nicely over the next few years. I was able to make a side trip to my childhood home of Newburgh, NY. I saw some old friends, had Pete's hot dogs and enjoyed the beauty of the Hudson Valley. An old train trestle over the river has been converted to a pedestrian walkway. It's a fantastic recycling project. Kudos to the State Parks and Recreation Department.
Ironically, the freezing cold miserable weather turned to hot, muggy miserable weather. The final week of June I drove to Evanston, Illinois for the Fountain Square Arts Festival. It was beautiful weather with the exception of intense heat, sheets of rain and Windy City gusts. Forth of July weekend was spent back home in Charleston. At Fort Johnson Point, I sat and enjoyed a bottle of wine on the shore of Charleston Harbor. Dolphins were swimming nearby, fireworks exploded, corks popped, children played and a vibrant sunset filled the sky. It was a much needed respite from a difficult year of shows.
After a wonderful holiday at home I headed up north to State College, PA. This fine art festival is rated 3rd in the nation. It is a collection of 300 of the best artists on the circuit. The first day was 10 hours of high 90 degree temperatures. Day two was more of the same. As it cooled off a bit for the weekend, the rain stopped by for a visit. All in all it was a dynamite show run by wonderful folks. After Pennsylvania I drove to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, home of bratwurst and bars filled with Polka dancers. The festival was on the grounds of the John Michael Kohler Museum, a few blocks from the shore of Lake Michigan. It was lovely weather, wait for it... until the sirens sounded. Run Forest Run! Somehow we survived the tornado. Six lives.
After Sheboygan's show I headed back to Charleston to accept delivery of my latest line of images. I have created an assorted set of notecards that celebrate the natural beauty of the Carolinas. The cards feature my black and white images of the mighty trees, pristine beaches, primordial swamps and soothing mountain waterfalls. They are available on the shop page of the website.
Over the next month or so I'll be in Cherry Hill, NJ, Mt. Gretna, PA, Buffalo, NY and Harrisburg, PA. I just left today for Cherry Hill. It's 99 degrees with a real feel temperature of 117. Thunderstorms are on the way. I'm writing this entry in my journal as I await the assistance of AAA. You see, I just had a blowout at 65mph. I'm alongside the interstate with my bins strewn about. I'm down to six lives and I can't wait to get back to Florida to cool off!
My very first journal, how exciting! I've learned very quickly that making photographs is only part of being a fine art photographer. My life is a series of U-turns and regroupings, but I figure if I'm happy where I've been, I'll be happy to return there! 2009 has been an adventure I'll not soon forget. I travelled to New York, Connecticut, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and my home state of South Carolina for art festivals. 33 shows is the tally for the year, whew.
Along the way I met some amazing folks and made many new friends. I almost ran over a fellow artist's tent, was knocked to the ground by a tornado in Woodstock, watched Hurricane Bill pass by in the Hamptons and blew out a couple tires on Mondo, my trusty van. Ah...memories. Every artist making his or her living on the road faces similar challenges. I'd venture a guess that, like me, they love it.
I was very fortunate to see my business grow by leaps and bounds and to have some amazing conversations about preservation, conservation and sustainable living with many influential folks. I talked and educated. I listened and learned.
Each month I'll be chronicling my adventures. I hope you share them with me and have some of your own. Tomorrow I leave for Pensacola, FL. I can't pack yet, because I just broke my key off in the lock of my storage unit. Inside that unit are my photographs... ah, memories.