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1/22/2017 – I decided to create one more video before I totally immerse myself into new paintings for 2017. I used late 19th century /early 20th century photos, nostalgic nautical artwork along with some contemporary photos to help illustrate my romantic seafaring adventure,  “The Anne Marie”, a song I wrote in 2009. The song has a “choral feel” so I overlaid several vocal tracts in certain sections. Let me reiterate, I’m not a performer nor do I have any illusions that I’m a talented singer. I am a  fairly decent lyricist, and I love the challenge of telling a story in a song. It would be fun to hear someone, who CAN sing, perform one of my songs….ha…but for now, I’m doing the best I can to present the songs. You can see/hear the video on my Songwriting page.

 

 1/2/2017 – To bring in the new year, I created another video to one of my songs, “She Left on a Riverboat”. I wrote the song around 2008. This tragic story-song takes place in the 1800’s along the Mississippi River. The song is uptempo with 2 driving acoustic guitars and harmonica accompaniment.  The video is a mix of old authentic photos of “soiled doves” (prostitutes in the old west), early actresses, imagery of riverboats from 1800’s and modern surreal images to help bring the song to life. You can see/hear the video on my Songwriting page.

 

12/17/2016 – Below is a sample selection of FRAMED original paintings that I have available. It is difficult to properly present the paintings matted and framed on the website (glass glare, proper lighting, etc), however my hope is to better perfect the photos so I can create a web page next year for “framed images”.  Keep in mind these are rough experimental presentations. Photos never do them justice, but being able to see the paintings matted and framed can still be a good reference. Click on each image to enlarge.

 

The Conversation

the-conversation-framed-4

 November Surprise

november-surprise-framed-revised4

 Aftermath

aftermath-framed-2

 

Waiting  waiting-framed-2

High and Dry  high-and-dry-framed-2

 

12/15/2016 –  Only 10 days until Christmas. I’ve hung a new display of framed lithographs and giclees at Fresh House Restaurant in Locust. If you are local and still looking for that elusive special gift for Christmas, head on over to Fresh House and browse my paintings adorning the walls in the “Ron Taylor Room”, (to the right as you enter the restaurant). Of course you can always order direct through me at rtfinearts@hotmail.com or 704 706 4122. And while you are there, treat yourself to a wonderful southern cusine “home cooked meal” by Robin and her staff.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

 

12/4/2016 – My 2016 art show season has come to an end after my first participation at the Santa Craft Fair at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Charlotte. The show drew a huge crowd Saturday morning and folks came to buy. Every vendor I talked to was very happy with results. The quality of the arts and crafts was on par with several of the larger arts and crafts show I do. I met some extremely gracious and complimentary people and sales were more than I could have hoped for. A great end to a show season that has been my best in perhaps 10 years. I will be back if they will have me. I plan now to refresh my exhibit at “Fresh House” Restaurant in Locust with framed prints leading into final weeks before Christmas.

Check out two new original song postings on my Songwriting page, a swing tune(with a bit of humor) “She’s Not Taking Me There”, and the spirited-uptempo “She Left on a Riverboat”, an Americana tragedy on the Mississippi River, 1800’s.  Also at the bottom of the page I’ve posted the song videos that I’ve put together for several of my songs.  NO,  I won’t be winning any movie production awards,  but these are fun to do and great therapy. It’s like putting a puzzle together only better……….

 

11/13/2016 – Two more shows have come and gone. Last weekend was my second year at the Fall Craft show at The St Stephen Methodist Church. Sales were higher than last year’s show as attendance was up. Very pleased with the results for this one day show. I just returned from the Stanfield Arts and Craft show at Stanfield School, and of the 25+ years doing the show, it was one of my top producing Stanfield shows,… and I’ve had some very good ones. The crowd was steady Saturday and buying was brisk. Sunday started slow but ended on a high note.  Saw a lot of familiar faces, as we lived in the area for over 15 years ( my 3 children attended Stanfield School). It’s always one of my favorite weekends of the year. It’s even more fun when I’m selling! Two more shows remain as the Christmas season really kicks into gear. If you are local, I encourage you to attend one of the remaining shows(see my show schedule).

 

10/23/16 – Another great show at Christmas Made in the South has come to an end. I set up at the Cabarrus Arena on Thursday afternoon. Felt a darn “cold”  coming over me as I was setting up and I was dragging by the time I got home Thursday night. Took the usual cold remedies plus I downed several “shots” of vinegar(the miracle juice) that night and next morning before the show started. No, it didn’t cure the cold, but I’m convinced the vinegar got me through the weekend as the cold was petty mild as colds go. Sales were a little slow Friday, but the buyers came Saturday…..and it seemed all at once. I purchased Wi-Fi in the arena to handle card transactions but it was very poor. Many customers had to wait more than 10 minutes for the cards to go through. Embarrassing. I heard complaints from other vendors as well. This needs to be fixed before next year. Sunday’s sales were also better than expected.  The cold still lingers but I survived. Good news I have a break from my shows until Nov 5 for the Fall Craft Fair at St Stephen Methodist Church in Matthews. I could use the break as I’m tired but very thankful for a successful fall show season so far!

 

10/16/2016 – The Valle Crucis Country Fair in the small NC mountain town of Valle Crucis is always a memorable show to participate in. It can be challenging depending on the weather and the hauling of framed art inventory necessary for the show, but rarely have I left  the show disappointed. Saturday was a beautiful day in the mountains although a little warmer than expected. The crowd began arriving around 8:00AM and by 10 it was packed. Some folks told me it took two hours to drive from Mast General Store to the Art show which can’t be more than a few miles. The show always attracts a “buying crowd” because of the overall quality of arts and crafts. Sales were steady from 10 to 2 as Sandy and I rarely had time to sit(which is a good problem). Just a great show! Don’t have much time to relax as next up is Christmas Made in South at the Cabarrus Arena for 3 days beginning Friday 10-21. Set up is on Thursday. Having enough framed inventory for the Cabarrus Christmas show is always a concern because of the short time span between my two biggest shows of the year. (I’m keeping my framer busy………….ha, another good problem!).

 

10/3/2016 – The Autumn Jubilee at Dan Nicholas Park did not disappoint. The weather cooperated both days, crowd turnout great and sales were “robust” (best I’ve done as this show).  The Autumn Jubilee  always seems to be well run, smooth operation with good management.   I’m already “penciling in” The Autumn Jubilee on my schedule for next year! Next show, in two weeks is the Valle Crucis Country Fair, always a challenge, but if the weather and wind cooperate, the reward is almost always worth the effort as it is one of the busiest weekends in the NC mountains for events and fall colors.

 

9/28/2016 – First show of the fall season is in the books. It was 91 and sunny for the Gold Hill Founder’s Day. Crowd turnout and sales were below the 2014 show, which is the only year I have to compare to. It’s a great setting among the shady trees of Historic Gold Hill Park but results were disappointing. I will be setting up Friday for the Autumn Jubilee at Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury which runs Sat and Sun, Oct 1 & 2. Weather looks great, high 70’s and DRY. This show was rained out last year. Typically this festival draws close to 50,000 for the two days. Looking forward to it!

 

9/10/2016 – Giclee prints are now available of my original watercolor  “Tranquil” which can be viewed on my Giclee and Original pages. My longtime printer, Fine Art Impressions, did an amazing job capturing  detail and color.  The image size is 17″ by 21″ and issue price is $110.00. Edition size is 300. This colorful print would look great in most lake or beach homes. I can provide framing quotes as well . Please contact me at rtfinearts@hotmail.com or 704 706 4122 if interested.

 

8/21/2016 – I’ve posted a new recording of an original song, written in 2008 on my Songwriting page. I’m just now getting around to recording a full version of  ” If You Call That Love”.   This song is a departure from most of my story-songs. Lyrics suit either gender but probably best suit a female singer.  I’m also posting a video below (now on Vimeo) that I put together from selected GIFs (short clips) from Classic Hollywood Movies that ties imagery(mostly comedy) with the song. Not sure if you would consider the song  bluegrass with a swing attitude or a swing song with a bluegrass feel. But hey, it’s all  in good fun.

 

7/15/2016 – Looks like its going to be a very busy fall art show season. I’m still waiting on approval of two more show applications, (both after Thanksgiving)  which, if accepted, will mean 9 shows between 9/24 and 12/3. These are 2 shows I’ve never done before, but seem to have a lot of potential. However, both have limited space so not sure I can get in this year.   That’s a pretty ambitious schedule, but I’m looking forward to it. I just hope we can avoid the bad weather which plagued two of the outdoor shows last fall. I’ve taken down most of my originals from Fresh House and have replaced with framed giclees and lithographs. I left “Sweet Mary’s Arms” original to hang for awhile longer. I will be making some big marketing announcements soon….plans still in the works. Also looking at publishing my original “Tranquil” as a giclee print. That decision also coming soon.

 

6/5/2016 – Personal note(see blog entry 5/17/2016): Twin granddaughters born June 2, 2016;   Alden Elizabeth and Allison Marie. Mom(Angela) and babies doing just fine. No one has confirmed if identical but they look very similar. (Allison a little behind in weight). Only slight difference I can tell is shape of nose but even that is minimal. Will be busy days, weeks, months ahead for all. (UPDATE 7/15/16: the girls are not identical. After 6 weeks we can better tell differences in features. Still some similarities but its strange how differences are more profound now. )

 

5/23/2016 – I survived the Waxhaw Kaleidoscope Spring Festival.  Saturday’s events were delayed 2 hours to allow the rain to move out. It started officially at noon altho some folks arrived earlier. It was damp but we avoided storms for the rest of the day. I do think the rain and threat of rain held the crowd down. Sales were slow. The crowd was bigger and weather better on Sunday. Sales were slightly better but still not where they should be. Some of the vendors I talked to were doing ok but most were disappointed. I did manage to win an award in the judging which is always appreciated. The town of Waxhaw is quaint with a nostalgic feel and the show has grown over the past few years, but sales still haven’t reached potential.  I think it’s more than just blaming it on the economy, which does have a significant impact. I have no shows until July 4rth week when I will set a booth up at Denton Farm Park for the Old Threshers Reunion which draws over 50,000 for the week’s events.  Not sure what to expect as I haven’t done before, but again, the potential is certainly there for success.

 

5/17/2016 – Preparing for the Waxhaw Kaleidoscope Spring Festival this weekend, 5-21/22 but keeping an eye on the weather as forecast is grim, especially for Saturday which is typically the big day there. Looks like a rainy weekend but things could change. My daughter Angela, is also scheduled to deliver twin girls on 6-2,  but really could go at any time. I’m not convinced the timing of these events will fully cooperate but regardless we are excited to welcome our granddaughters Alden and Allison. They will have two big brothers, Taylor, 6 and Jake 4, to help watch over them. By the way, Taylor scored 3 goals in his soccer game this past Saturday as his team won 8-2 and went undefeated for the year. He’s showing signs of athletic talent in almost everything he does……….didn’t get it from me that’s for sure.

 

5/8/2016 – Posted a new recording of my original song, “My Blue Eyed New Bride Tennessee Darling” on my Songwriting page. I wrote the song in 2009 but this is my first serious attempt at recording it.  For this song to work, it has to be up-tempo, high energy, and it would be better in a higher key, but that’s about the best I can do.  Plus, it’s kind of  tough fitting all those lyrics in there at that pace. This may be the most “commercial” sounding song I’ve written. It’s pure bluegrass with a fun element to it. I’ve recorded the song with drums and without. Not sure which version I like best…….

 

4/20/2016 – Posted re-recording of my original bluegrass/folk song “Sweet Mary’s Arms” on my Songwriting page.  As with most of my other re-records, I picked up the pace. Song is a little livelier now. Note this is the only crossover where I have an original painting and original song both titled the same. The painting “Sweet Mary’s Arms” is currently for sale and on display at Fresh House Restaurant in Locust. You can also see the image on my Originals page.

Also posted re-arrangement/remaster of my original song “Coming After Me Hard”. This is probably the closest song I wrote that can be labeled “country”. I added second rhythm guitar track, took out mandolin and added steel guitar. Seems to fit the feel of the song much better.

4/19/2016 – Enjoyed the weekend displaying my artwork at Art on the Green in Davidson, NC. Couldn’t have asked for better weather. The crowds were steady both days, but sales were a little disappointing Saturday. Sunday I benefited from some folks who came back to purchase.  I went to high school at North Meck. which is not too far down the road from Davidson. I was amazed at the growth and development in the area. But I’m sure the appeal of being near Lake Norman has contributed. The town of Davidson offers the great atmosphere of an upscale-small town feel with Davidson college being the central focus. I hope to return next year. It was also a very high quality art show which draws artists from all over. My next show is May 21-22 in Waxhaw as I return for the fourth or fifth year in a row? Not sure, I’ve lost count. This show has steadily improved attracting better quality artists each year.

 

4/8/2016 – An announcement sent today to those on my email list that I am exhibiting a collection of my Original Watercolor paintings through June at the Fresh House Restaurant in Locust.   This exhibit includes many NEW originals never before seen in public and others that were previously not for sale but are available for purchase now.  All in the exhibit can be purchased at the restaurant. The exhibit is now hanging on the walls in the front dining area (to the right as you walk in). If you are local I hope you can get by to see my work,  and while you are there, I encourage you to enjoy the southern style cuisine and fresh bakery  by Robin and her staff. They do it right.

 

4/7/2016 – Re-recorded my song “The Bad Seed” but I’ve changed the song title back to  “Seed of Bad Intent”,  which is  title I initially gave the song in 2009 when I wrote it. My tendency was to record too slow on some of my  material. This should be a faster paced song. But at my age, fast paced vocals and rhythm guitar is not so easy any more. Ha!

 

3/26/16 – Posted a new original watercolor to the Originals page, titled “Waiting”. Some paintings go smooth as silk, some are as ornery as……. the devil. This one was the latter. I ended up with the desired results but the process challenged me at every turn. I had a customer at a show years ago tell me prints are nice, but he loved to look closely at the originals as he could get a better feel and appreciation for the “struggle” the artist went through to complete the painting. He said prints often don’t reveal that…………Amen brother.

 

3/24/16 – Looking to participate in at least 3 spring Art shows. I have 2 already lined up in Davidson and Waxhaw, (see Art Show Schedule page). Considering several possibilities. Many years ago I found the spring shows to be almost as lucrative as the fall shows but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore so I limit my participation in spring.  I will be sending out an announcement soon to those on my email list about a spring showing of original paintings at Fresh House in Locust. I will have 5 new originals to showcase along with others. I did this last year and it turned out to be successful. Stay tuned.

I’ve also posted 2 new recordings of my songs “Blue Train”  and “Losing Ground” on the songwriting page. I took a long hard look at my “test” CD, Ride Ferris Wheel Ride, and concluded 5 of the 14 original songs needed to be re-recorded, 2 instrumentally re-arranged, 2 removed and all re-mastered. Wow, that’s a lot of changes. It’s been quite a challenge to mix/master/self produce my own CD. Quite a learning experience. The “test”  CD has been pulled for now. The revised CD will have 12 songs, “leaner and meaner”and  should be finished in a few months.  As I’ve said before, while the music is important to me, it’s a release, a hobby, fun, nothing more, but I do strive for a finished product I can be proud of and it just wasn’t there yet. I know my limitations musically and vocally. I’m not a performer, …… but now my lyrics,…. I will defend, ha!

3/10/16 – I recorded a new original song “Clara” written back around 2008. Will be posted on songwriting page in future. This is a nice little mid to up tempo bluegrass song that is a “period” song as it could be from Revolutionary or Civil War era. Didn’t really have a specific time in mind. It’s sung from the perspective of a soldier preparing to leave for war, but in the face of death, it is capturing Clara’s heart that is more on his mind. 

3/6/16 – Posting a new original watercolor on my Original Page, titled “Still Waters”.  Very pleased with the water effect and the color in this one. Hope to be promoting my recent originals at Fresh House in Locust soon. Still waiting on several to be framed. I will send notifications to all on my mail list once dates are set.

2/21/16 – I revisited my original song “It’s High Time Melissa”.  My initial recording had been bugging me. Never liked that version much although the song is one of my favorites.  I re-recorded in a higher key, picked up the pace, changed arrangement including new ending.  Much better. I also revised the picture video with new images to go along with new song version. I was an art vendor at the Southern Christmas Show in Charlotte in Nov. 2008. It was unusually slow (2 week indoor show) as the economy had just collapsed. I guess I began writing this song from boredom at the show.  This May-December romantic song takes place somewhere among the California vineyards and is about the obsession and persuasion by the longtime vineyard overseer of the young heiress Melissa, daughter of the deceased owner.

2/16/16 – I’ve really been putting the “nose to the grindstone” as I’ve just completed another original painting. Decided to take a complete 180 from previous 3 winter related subjects and produce a water-boat scene with emphasis on bold color. For now I’m calling it “Tranquil”. Image has been posted on the Original page. Would like to finish one or two more and feature all new originals at The Fresh House in Locust by April. Also just finished recording another original song, “Long Way Down” , (will be posted on Songwriting page in future). It is written for a female singer but my version will have to do. I’m a story teller and this is an up-tempo bluegrass style(with drums) about a woman waiting to be hung at the gallows in the morning and wondering if her lover, Jericho, will attempt to save her.  The title has several implications………..even added some sound effects at the end.

2/4/2016 – Well, I’m half way through another painting,  but a song I wrote in 07 began tugging at me. During breaks from the painting I began working on changes to the musical arrangement as the lyrics were already complete.  Whether it’s art or music, winter seems to be the best time to create.  This is another tragic story-song…..this time from 1800’s time period, titled “She Left on a Riverboat”. It  takes place along the Mississippi River and despite the theme of tragedy, the song has an uptempo “riverboat” feel. (Will be posted on songwriting page in near future).  It’s worth repeating, so I’ll say it again. I’m not a performer, have no illusions of performing again. The songwriting is more of a “hobby” or another form of expression. I get enjoyment or “self satisfaction” from writing and recording my own material.

1/30/16-New original painting posted on “Original” page of pumpkins in a wheelbarrow after a snow. For now I’m calling it “November Surprise” (not 100% sure on title….) Most titles come fairly easy, and I usually settle on a title before I’m finished with painting. But sometimes I get stumped and that’s frustrating.  OK, I’ve had my “winter fix” as  I’ve completed 3 winter scenes in a row.  Heading in a different direction with my next few paintings. New images are not  being shown at top of listings. This is a flaw in WordPress(evidently I’m not alone) as it places them randomly. My webguy can’t solve yet. Updates haven’t helped.  Hopefully we can get resolved. For now just be aware new images generally show towards top but not necessarily.  Not happy about this.

1/25/16 – Couldn’t resist. I made a picture-video on Vimeo for my song, “Mr. Tom”. I’ve posted the link on my songwriting page and here it is on the blog as well. It’s all in good fun despite a story-song that might make some folks a little squeamish (see blog entry 1-15-16 for more details about song). I also managed to use images from two of my favorite artists in the video: Andrew Wyeth and Julien Dupre .

1/15/16 - “Mr. Tom” is  now recorded and posted on the Songwriting page. The first draft of the song was written in 2007. It wasn’t until late 2015 that I revisited this song and made some minor alterations to the main story line and musical arrangement.  The story takes place somewhere in the south in the 1930’s, and is told(sung) from viewpoint of a young adolescent girl (perhaps 10-12) whose family has been shattered  by the tragic loss of her father. The local undertaker/casket maker, Mr. Tom,  begins making regular visits to the young girl’s vulnerable mother as Mr. Tom has a history of manipulating and deceiving widows.  The girl decides Mr. Tom has to be “removed” for the sake of her mother, family and the good of the community, so she cunningly takes matters into her own hands. The lyrics are written so that the gender of the child can be either male or female, but I’ve always leaned towards female as it gives the story, especially the ending, a little more intensity or shock value.

 

1/1/16 – New original watercolor image  just posted on my “originals” page,  titled “Adrift”. It’s a winter scene, simplistic, serene and panoramic in scope.  Anxious to see it framed as they always look better. Very excited about the group of painting projects I have planned to do next.  I get to delve into textures which is my forte. I’m putting the “nightscape” series(see earlier blog entry) on hold for now as I’m not where I need to be and my experimentation has not produced the desired effect for this challenging task …..yet. I also plan to record  another original song in January, titled “Mr. Tom”, written in 2007. This is another “story” song that takes place in the South during the 1930’s about a corrupt undertaker. Yep, you read that right……….I have no idea where these ideas come from, but I’m especially fond of the ending which is a bit of a shocker. I’ll post it on my songwriting page soon.

12/11/15 – The release of the “Tempest” giclee has been pushed back to the first of next year as it became apparent the time necessary to publish and issue the giclee  was not going to allow time to market the print before Christmas. I visited the Denton Christmas Train, where I have a booth of framed and unframed prints, and was pleasantly surprised by the crowd size and nostalgic Christmas atmosphere of the event.  I highly recommend that you take the family (all ages will enjoy)  one evening to ride the Christmas Train, and take in all the sights and sounds,… and there’s a lot to take in; Gingerbread House, General Store, Doll Museum, Old Service Station, Antique Radio Museum, Reid Plantation, Horse Drawn Wagon Ride, Petting Zoo, Arts and Crafts exhibits, Country Church with carolers, Santa and more…..,  but be prepared to wait in lines. Go early as gates open at 4:30 pm and train rides are every half hour beginning at 5:30 pm until 9:00. For more info check out  http://dentonfarmpark.com

11/21/15 – After a string of better than expected shows this fall, I guess the stars just didn’t quite line up right and I came back down to earth from today’s Art Extravaganza at United Methodist Church. It’s a very nice show and a good crowd turned out, but sales were not quite what I had hoped for. All shows can’t be stellar. Otherwise you get too complacent. Next week I plan to set up my booth at Denton Farm Park for the Denton Country Christmas Train(see below blog entries) and restock framed prints at Fresh House restaurant in Locust. Plus I will be sending a Black Friday-Saturday special notice to all of those on my mail list, early in the week. If you aren’t on my mail list, please sign up (home page) so you can take advantage of my special offerings when they happen.

11/16/15- The Stanfield School Arts and Craft Show far surpassed my expectations, and I’m really very humbled by the success of the show.  I also enjoyed visiting with familiar faces and everyone’s acceptance and appreciation of my artwork. Compliments never grow old. Next is the United Methodist Church Art Extravaganza this Saturday, Nov 21, in Matthews (see blog entry 11-3). Looking forward to my second time as a vendor at this show. Then it’s on to Denton Farm Park to set up for the Denton Country Christmas Train.  I must admit though, I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving and a little break from the shows and the preparation that goes into them.  However, I do plan to drop in at my booth in Denton from time to time during the month leading up to Christmas. Soon it will be time to begin focusing on the ambitious number of new painting projects I have planned for 2016.

11/13/15 – My unframed prints are now available at Vintage on the Hill in Midland, NC

11/9/15 – I really enjoyed the St Stephens Fall Craft Fair. The staff was very gracious and I met a lot of great people during the course of the show. I was in the church gym which is a nice facility. Sales exceeded my expectations. That’s good considering there were heavy downpours of rain at times Saturday morning. Some long time vendors thought the crowd was a little “down” due to the weather but not having done the show before, I had no way to compare. I was pleased with the outcomes. Next up is Stanfield School,  11/14-15 and I’m hoping the weather dries up and cools down to give it a true Christmas feel. I always enjoy this show because it brings back great memories (all 3 of my kids attended Stanfield) and I get a chance to see a lot of folks I know.

11/3/15 – This is a reminder about my upcoming art shows.  I’m entering the “stretch run” for 2015 which promises to be busy but fun.  I will be at St Stephens United Methodist Church, 6800 Sardis Rd, Charlotte, Saturday Nov 7th for their 21st annual Fall Craft Fair, 9-2 pm, 60+ vendors, BBQ, bake sale, door prizes. This is my first visit to this show. On Nov 14-15(Sat & Sun), I return to the 34th annual Stanfield Arts and Craft show at Stanfield School. Hours: 8-5 Saturday, 12-4:30 Sunday,100+ vendors in school gym and classrooms, BBQ, sweet shop and pictures with Santa. I’m returning to United Methodist Church in Matthews for their “Art Extravaganza” on Saturday Nov 21. Last year was my first time at this show and I was very impressed with the show quality and turnout. Hours: 9 to 3 Saturday, 75+ vendors, breakfast and lunch served. From Nov 27 to Dec 27, I will have a booth at Denton Farm Park  for the Denton Country Christmas Train. This is a first time event for me, and while I won’t be there every evening, I do plan to attend several days(evenings) each week.Please see their website:  http://dentonfarmpark.com/ for more information. This promises to be a great family outing, especially if you have young ones. Looking forward to it! I hope to see you at one or more of my shows before Christmas.

10/26/15 – I feel very humbled by the wonderful success at Christmas Made in the South this past weekend, and for all of the kind comments by those who stopped by my booth.  I’m a little more encouraged about the economy based on the last two shows, but I believe it’s far too early to draw conclusions. I had a number of repeat customers which is always reassuring, and I was also able to reach out to new customers as well.  This 3 day show can be physically draining but part of that is probably from the adrenaline level I experience at this show. I always enjoy and look forward to it each year. I’m just thankful I still have the physical stamina to do these demanding shows, however, I’m glad now that I decided not to schedule a show for next weekend because it gives me a little break before the stretch run of 3 more indoor shows on consecutive weekends before Thanksgiving.

10/22/15 – It’s been an extremely busy week preparing for Christmas Made in the South at the Cabarrus Arena, coming off the heels of the Valle Crucis Country Fair last weekend.   These two shows are typically my two biggest of the year and come back to back which makes it a little tough, but hey, I’m not complaining. The downside of success at the Valle Crucis show is I have a healthy number of prints to be framed and shrink wrapped to have adequate stock for the 3 day Concord show which starts Friday. Hats off to my longtime custom framer, Tommy Maness, who went above and beyond the call of duty to have all of my framing done for this weekend’s show. Don’t know what I’d do without his services. Looking forward to the show this weekend and the good thing is it’s “indoors”.

10/18/15 – In contrast to my earlier scheduled fall shows the mountain weather cooperated  in magnificent fashion producing clear Carolina blue skies  and crisp (my wife would say cold) autumn temperatures for the Valle Crucis Country Fair.  The only hitch was having to fight the morning frost on my tent, stands and pictures, but after dealing with almost every weather experience possible, for all the years I’ve been doing shows, I’ve learned (many times the hard way) to be prepared. Experienced no damage to any framed paintings. The size of the crowd was truly astounding,  and I felt for folks trying to find parking and deal with the traffic. The Valle Crucis show is such a high quality art show and sales were reminiscent of “pre-2008″ shows, as buyers came early and in droves.  This show is never an “easy” show to do because of the drive up into the mountains with a loaded van of artwork and equipment, maneuvering through the Boone traffic and never knowing what Mother Nature is going to throw at you.  But Saturday reminded me of one of those rare days fishing when the sun is shining, the fish are biting….. and you just have to savor the moment.

10/12/15 – It’s time for the Valle Crucis Country Fair next Saturday(10-17). If you are in the vicinity of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee or Virginia, and you want to visit the NC mountains this fall, I highly recommend this art and craft show. It is held in a field in Valle Crucis sponsored by the Holy Cross Episcopal Church. It is perhaps the highest “quality” art show I do each year. Rather than try to explain all the good reasons to attend, here’s their website:  http://www.vallecountryfair.org/ .   I think you’ll get a good flavor of what the show offers,….good art, good food, good music, good time, good people….now we’ve got to work on the MAN upstairs to provide good weather.  Just a few miles down the road in Banner Elk is the Woolly Worm Festival Saturday and Sunday which also offers arts and crafts and music. ” Kids”  4 to 90  can race woolly worms for big prize money and winning woolly worms are inspected to predict the upcoming winter weather. Many folks take in both shows on Saturday, but you better start early. Not sure if the leaves will be peaking yet, but it should be beautiful. Stop by my booth at Valle Crucis and say hello!

10/3/15 – The Autumn Jubilee Show at Dan Nichols Park in Salisbury has been CANCELLED due to the forecast of heavy rains. That’s a shame but understandable. My show season is not off to a good start with rain last weekend during the Matthews show and now this complete washout. Will look to enter more shows in November, possibly even into early December because of the weather setbacks. Bummer. As my 3 year old grandson(Jake) sternly says…..”not funny!” With more time on my hand this weekend….I added another original song “Impediment” (written for a female singer) to my Songwriting page. It has a bit of a retro sound. I also grouped all the new songs on a new “player” provided by ReverbNation.

9/27/15 – The Artfest of Matthews is now history. As luck would have it, after what has been a pretty severe summer drought, the monsoon started Thursday, the day before Friday setup and never let up. It is now 10:35 Sunday night and these strange grey wispy shapes(I’ll call them clouds) haven’t stopped weeping yet……geez. The show wasn’t a complete loss as some hearty folks did brave the periods of drizzle, mist and heavy rain to turn out. I revised my sales “goal” downward on account of the weather and was modestly stoked when I exceeded my “downgraded goal” and escaped any water damage to my framed prints(miracle). I did the Matthews show about 5 or 6 years ago…..and yes, it was a rain-out that weekend too. I made the mistake of sharing that info with staff and few other vendors……needless to say I was the butt end of a lot of good natured blame and criticism. But I can’t complain about the wonderful treatment of the artists by Tina Whitley and her staff. They kept us fed and met all our needs. Free buffet breakfasts both mornings at BeanTown Tavern, free Subway hoagies at lunch. I’m determined to do this show in good weather. Third time is the charm. Now if the rain will just get out of here before the Salisbury show next weekend. Right now it looks iffy.

9/12/15 – Two more newly recorded songs posted on my Songwriting page. I wrote “Hard Slide” and “Jealous Man” back around 2009-2010 time frame. Finally put together arrangements that I liked and decided to record them. Not sure how to categorize both songs…., perhaps bluegrass with a bit of a swing attitude. Dunno? Still working on sound quality and harmonies so revisions likely. As mentioned before I have written over 80 songs, all within the 2007-2012 time frame. Not getting any younger so I’m trying to get as many as I can recorded but it is a slow process. Art Show season on horizon and I will soon begin tackling a new series of paintings that I’m calling my “Nightscape” series,…..something very different for me. Very excited about possibilities. Some of these likely to be very large in scope and size.

8/3/15 – I’m posting two new original songs, “Talking Blue” and “The Anne Marie” on my Songwriting page. I wrote them back around 2011 but just now getting around to recording them. I guess you could label “Talking Blue” uptempo contemporary bluegrass. I tried to give it a dynamic ending. “The Anne Marie” is a seafaring song with a Scottish-Irish feel of romance and adventure. I’m still working on the mix and mastering, so it’s likely both could change a little. I will be adding more songs as time goes by as I have a significant amount of material written but never recorded. Not interested in performing in public again as I’m the first to admit I’m not a professional performer, but it is fun to write and record your own “stuff”, good or bad. Why do I do it? Because it’s a nice diversion from the painting and keeps me mentally invigorated.

7/17/15 – My new original watercolor painting “Sweet Mary’s Arms” (see below blog entry and originals page) is now on display at Fresh House Restaurant in Locust. I have to admit the molding I chose for this painting is incredibly beautiful. I’ve never used this molding before as, quite frankly, it is a little cost prohibitive. That’s a nice way of saying…. it’s “darn-right” expensive. But after seeing the molding up against the original painting, no other would do. The painting is now available for sale. If you are local, I encourage you to stop in Fresh House and check it out. If interested you can contact me direct on my cell: 704 706 4122 or email address: rtfinearts@hotmail.com.

6/29/15-  Just added a new painting image to my “Originals” page. The painting is based off an 1880’s black and white photo taken in UK. I added my own color schemes based on research and artistic preference and titled it “Sweet Mary’s Arms” which just so happens to be the title of a song I wrote and performed on my CD “Ride Ferris Wheel Ride”. The song can be sampled on my “Songwriting” page . Speaking of music, someone shared this YouTube song video with me.   The song is “All About That Bass” performed by two former American Idol talents, Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart, Ariana Savalas(daughter of former TV star Telly Savalas) and Morgan James, the blonde with the incredible voice. Some may think it’s a little risque, ribald or theatrical and I get it, but I see some great young talent and they are clearly having fun. (bass player’s expressions crack me up). Good talent is meant to be shared. Hey, I’ve seen performances from the 30’s and 40’s just as bold. Enjoy! Once you start the video, click on “YouTube” or Full Screen setting in bottom right corner of video link to enlarge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLnZ1NQm2uk “>

 

5/18/15 – Well the weather was good for the Waxhaw Art Kaleidoscope Show……..too good, or should I say “too hot”. It was like a sauna at times out there on the pavement. But no rain. The crowd was down and so were sales. I believe the heat may have played a part. Met some good folks as always and enjoyed the show. Thanks to Beverly and Gregg (who own several of my prints) as they stopped by and shared a photo of one of my early originals that they purchased from somewhere in Stallings, NC. I remembered the small painting as it was dated 1982. One of my first watercolor attempts. That was neat. I will be showcasing original paintings only at The Fresh House for the month of June. Several have never been seen or available to the public before. Just now getting framed. Thanks to Robin, (Fresh House owner) who will be doing a promo for me via her email list.  Should be interesting.

5/12/15 – Gearing up for the Waxhaw Art Kaleidoscope Show(formerly Springfest) in downtown historic Waxhaw this weekend, Saturday May 16, 10-6 and Sunday May 17, 12-6. It’s a growing show with an emphasis shift to promote the arts over small business booths, but there will be both. If you’re in the vicinity, come out and say hello. It is a juried art competition in various categories which tends to draw higher quality art. There will be entertainment on two stages, food vendors, activities for kids, etc. I’m hoping for good weather as the past couple of years, this show has been hit with showers at least one of the two days. In addition to my framed and unframed prints, I’m bringing at least 3 originals that I’ve never taken to a show.  This will be my only spring show(maybe), although I am considering July and August shows in the NC mountains this year to kickstart my fall show season a little earlier than in the past. Fall schedule looks to be very busy.

4/15/2015 – I’m in the process of making available a voluntary option for website visitors to leave their email address. From time to time I announce special promotional programs and discounts to those only on my mail list. Hopefully I will have that up and running soon. Two original paintings, which are available, are currently hanging in separate public locations. “Tempest” is at The Fresh House Restaurant in Locust and may be offered as a giclee print, depending on interest. “High and Dry” can be seen and purchased at “Vintage on the Hill” in Midland. If you own a restaurant, vineyard or for that matter any business which serves the public, and want to consider another avenue of revenue by offering artwork to the public, please contact me. I can provide framed prints/originals for your walls and you can benefit from the sale of my artwork. It’s a win-win for both of us. 

3/20/2015 – In looking over my original paintings that have been reproduced as either a lithograph or a giclee print, there are only two “originals” that remain in my possession .  “Cascade” (giclee) and “Aftermath” (lithograph) are looking for a permanent home and can be purchased at a very reasonable price. “Cascade” is framed in a beautiful walnut frame. Please contact me @rtfinearts@hotmail.com if interested in these originals paintings or any originals I have posted as “available”. I’m in the process of reviewing art shows for spring and summer. I typically don’t enter as many shows during these months as during the fall-Christmas season , as sales tend to be lower and temperatures higher.   I like it to be the other way around…….. Note, both “Soaring” and “Tempest” (new posted originals)were combinations of using coffee and watercolor(see previous blog entry 2-22-15).  I have found working with coffee as a paint medium to be very challenging. It also leaves a slight sheen where-as watercolor is flat. I have great respect for those that have been able to obtain extraordinary results using coffee…..doesn’t come overnight. But the biggest bonus I have found is ………..the smell of coffee in my studio while I’m painting.  I have to keep telling myself, “don’t drink it…. you’ve dipped your brush in it”.

2/22/2015 – I must have been asleep under a rock as I just ran across a new painting medium(to me that is)…….coffee. Yes, there are some amazing artists out there who paint with coffee, and it really has me intrigued. The characteristics are similar to watercolors but the tones are various shades of sepia which really appeals to me for certain subjects. I’m in the experimenting stages. I hope to post a “coffee” painting soon if I can get a feel for it. I’ve now received the first shipment of my CD “Ride Ferris Wheel Ride”.  I need to reiterate this project has never been about promoting myself as a performer( although I played professionally with my brother years ago). My motives are much more selfish. I did it for me. I see it as another outlet for my imagination, as all 14 songs are original compositions.  Is the CD perfection? Far from it. But then again no painting I have produced has met that test. I’ve always been disappointed with some aspect of each painting, even though I may be content with the overall effort shown in many of my pieces.  I’m also looking to release the songs on one of the online formats such as CD Baby, and I will be selling the CD direct from my website and at my art shows.

2/8/2015 – Recently delivered 5 more framed prints/giclees and one framed original painting to “Vintage on the Hill” in Midland. I’m excited about the prospects there as I believe their business will continue to grow. I’ve set a personal goal to create more original paintings in 2015 than I have in recent years. I’ve already completed preliminary sketches for my next 8 paintings so there will be no delays in starting a new painting after completing a prior one.  Sort of a new concept for me as it should keep me steady and motivated. Of course I can inject new ones into the order if something comes along that just “grabs” me or I get a specific request. I’ve also ordered the review copy of my CD as all the artwork/mastering revisions completed. Should receive sometime next week. Don’t know about you but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for at least one good snow(no ice) in our area before spring. Also looking at several spring art shows to participate in. Will update schedule soon.

12/17/14 – This has been the busiest Christmas season I’ve had in over 6 years. I’m very thankful and encouraged of the positive signs, including falling gas prices, that are emerging in this sluggish economy. If new housing construction gets going, the sale of artwork, custom framing and practically everything will follow suit. My framed prints can now be seen and purchased at “Vintage on the Hill” on HWY 24/27 in the Midland area. Vintage On The Hill is a custom furniture store with a shabby chic and rustic vibe. The owner, Ted Morgan, offers custom refinishing and exceptional home decor. Check them out at http://vintageonthehillnc.com/ I’ve also set up a link page for Vintage on the Hill and The Fresh House Restaurant(in Locust) where I have 15 framed prints/originals adorning the walls for sale. While getting a custom framing order fulfilled before Christmas might be uncertain(please call), I still have a small inventory of framed prints (at special discount prices) available. I’m also offering 10% off all unframed giclees/lithographs until year end.

12/2/14 – I want to thank all of the folks who made my Black Friday/Saturday Sales Event a success. I’m very thankful for the interest, the heavy increase of hits/visits to my website since the Sales Event was announced and of course for the purchases. Even if you missed the Black Friday discounts, I’m still offering discounts for any framed print order until Christmas. Please contact me for a quote. It’s not too late to have one of my lithographs/giclees framed for Christmas(updated 12/12/14). “Ride Ferris Wheel Ride” CD should be published and available within the next 10-12 days. Issuing a CD of 14 original songs performed, mixed and mastered by me has been a real challenge, a learning experience beyond what I could have imagined. It has required every bit of patience that I have………..and then some.

11/24/14 – My show season ended Saturdaywith the Matthews United Methodist Church Art Extravaganza. It is a beautiful facility and the staff and volunteers did a great job of organizing and operating the show. Could not have asked for a vendor friendlier climate. The attendees that I met were all complimentary and inquisitive. I thought the quality of the crafts and art was very high. Sales were a little better than I expected for a first time appearance at a show. Look forward to returning next year. I will be sending out notifications to those on my email list of a BLACK FRIDAY SALES EVENT this Friday and Saturday ONLY(Nov 28-29). I will be offering SPECIAL REDUCTIONS on selected framed and unframed prints from my unsold show inventory. These prints will be offered at significant discounts. Quantities very limited. If interested in receiving the price list, email me at rtfinearts@hotmail.com. Discounts will also include Original paintings.

11/20/14 – The Matthews United Methodist Church Art Extravaganza will be Saturday, Nov 22, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Enjoy browsing over 75 vendors in the following categories: jewelry, bath and body, photography, knitting and crocheting, fine art, pottery, woodworking, doll clothes and more. Lunch and bake sale items will be available for purchase. The church is located at 801 South Trade, Matthews, NC 28105. The craft show benefits Christ Our Shepherd Childrens Programs. I will be in the gym, booth #62 along the wall. This is a first time show for me but I’ve heard good things about it and I’m looking forward to it.

11/16/14 – Really enjoyed the Stanfield Arts and Craft show this weekend(as always). It’s nice to see familiar faces and catch up on what’s going on in everyone’s lives. I hear mostly good news but occasionally I hear of the passing of loved ones or of trials and tribulations we all face from time to time. It keeps me humble and grounded and reminds me how blessed I’ve been this year. The cold weather just added to the Christmas feel and spirit ….coats, sweaters, leggings, scarfs, gloves, boots…..perfect. The show started slow for me, but a very good Sunday made up for a below average Saturday. My fall show season comes to an end next Saturday, 11-22. I will update my blog this week with more information about the upcoming Matthews United Methodist Church Art Extravaganza. Looking forward to getting back to my art desk to work on new projects, and to follow through with other marketing opportunities, now in the making……….and to FINALLY get my CD ISSUED.

11-11-14 – Reminder that the Stanfield Arts and Craft Show at Stanfield School will be this weekend, Sat and Sun, Nov 15-16. I’ve been participating in this show for over 20 years. I can think of only one year I missed during that span but there may be a few more. Although it is an indoor show(I’m in gym as usual) the call for cold weather(highs 40’s lows 20’s) this weekend is welcome. It seems recent years the temps were in the 70’s during the show. A Christmas themed show in November SHOULD BE COLD. Looking forward to it. The following week I will be doing a new show(for me), The Matthews United Methodist Church Art Extravaganza. This annual event is made up of over 70 vendors. I will update my blog in coming days for more show specifics. CD still not done but not for lack of effort. Still making mastering corrections and ran into a snag on package design. Should be released around Thanksgiving if all goes well.

10-26-14 – Just finished the 3 day Christmas Made in the South show at the Cabarrus Arena. This show has been consistently good for me in the past and this year was no exception. This ends a stretch of 6 straight weekend shows. I’m definitely feeling the physical and mental strain but I enjoyed meeting and talking to all the people that stopped in my booth. I finally get a 2 week break before the last two shows of the year leading into Thanksgiving(unless I decide on a late breaking show). Devoting the next two weeks to finally get my CD issued. Devoting the next 10 to 12 hours to sleep.

10-22-14 – Valle Crucis was a moderate success. The number of sales was actually on par with past shows as there was a huge crowd but failed to snag the big ticket items like I have in the past. But it was an enjoyable trip as the weather was good even though it was windy which is to be expected in October in the mountains. My son made the trip with me and he was a big help. He loves the Boone/Banner Elk area as he snowboards there frequently during the winter months. We had a good time and he did a nice job choosing the restaurants. I was a little concerned about my old Chevy Van making it up and down the mountain from Wilkesboro to Boone loaded down with framed artwork and equipment but it did just fine. Preparing for Christmas Made in the South at the Cabarrus Arena Friday through Sunday. This is perhaps my favorite show of the year because of the Christmas atmosphere, it’s indoors, it’s close by and I usually do pretty good.

10/13/14 – We weren’t fortunate enough to have the beautiful weather at the Waxhaw Show as the week before in Salisbury but all in all not as bad as it could have been. The rain stayed away on Saturday other than a brief 5 minute shower setting up. However it felt more like a summer day than a fall day with temps in the mid 80’s and humid. Not good ingredients for an autumn art show. Still, sales were brisk and the crowd was steady. Unfortunately it misted all day Sunday which kept the crowd and sales down. Next up, Valle Crucis. Looking forward to what is usually my best one day show of the year. Sunny and 60’s would be nice(which is the forecast as of today). This show features very high quality work from regional artisans and draws visitors from several states. If you plan to be in the NC mountains this weekend, do yourself a favor and stop in the Valle Country Fair at Valle Crucis. If you have any questions, feel free to call me as I’ll be glad to share what I know. 704 706 4122

10/7/14- Great turnout for the Autumn Jubilee festival at Dan Nicolas Park in Salisbury this past weekend. I’m sure the weather had something to do with it. Spectacular blue skies and autumn temps (although a few wind gusts made things interesting on Saturday). Sales were very good as I met and even exceeded my expectations for the show. Enjoyed meeting and interacting with the friendly folks of Salisbury and surrounding area. I look forward to returning next year. Next up, Waxhaw, Autumn Treasures this weekend. Hoping the weather cooperates again but early forecasts are not as favorable. Outdoor shows are so dependent upon good weather………

10/3/14 – Preparing for the Autumn Jubilee festival at Dan Nicolas Park in Salisbury this weekend. Saturday and Sunday weather looks great, clear with highs in the 60’s and lows in 40’s at night. Perfect fall weather. Friday(set up day) may present some challenges with thunderstorms predicted. I enjoyed the first two autumn shows at Badin and Gold Hill although sales were a little below expectations. But the shows should improve beginning this weekend……….onward and upward.

9/23/14 – Just added another show to the schedule and not much time to prepare. Will be in Gold Hill, NC, Saturday 9/27/14 for the Gold Hill Founders Day Event. Gold Hill is an historic gold mining town/village and my understanding is there will be at least 60 art and craft vendors, blacksmith/woodcarving demonstrations, gold panning, hayrides, civil war encampment, music, etc. This will be my first visit to Gold Hill. Looking forward to it. 9/15/14 – Getting ready for my first fall art show this weekend, The Best of Badin Festival. I’ve got a very busy fall schedule with 7 shows over 11 weeks. I’m also in the final stages of producing my CD. I’ve been delayed because I decided to master the tracks myself after listening to mastering samples of my songs by various recording studios. Sadly, I was not impressed with the mastered product for cost being offered. So I decided to roll up my sleeves and educate myself using the recording equipment at my disposal. I’m also embarking on a new artistic project as I will be doing a series of paintings of ballerinas. I know nothing about ballet but painting the female form in dance is intriguing and enables me to expand my artistic boundaries. I’m excited about the challenge of this series. 8/6/14 – Giclee prints are NOW available of “The Guardian”. I received the first batch of prints from my printer and couldn’t be happier with the capture and color accuracy. The image of “The Guardian” can be seen on both the original page and giclee page, (as mentioned the original has been sold). The image size on the giclee print is 10.25 by 15.5. I’m looking forward to displaying/selling “The Guardian” at my upcoming fall shows. I will also be hanging a framed ” Guardian ” at The Fresh House Restaurant in Locust and at The Depot in Concord soon. If interested contact me at rtfinearts@hotmail.com or 704 706 4122. 7/16/14 – Couldn’t resist it. I had to post another link for Lennon and Maisy Stella. This time singing at the Grand Ole Opry. See previous blog of 6-21 for first link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-lLlEtoAS8 7/14/14 – “The Guardian” original has been sold but plans are in the making for a giclee print to be available soon. Contact me at rtfinearts@hotmail.com or 704 706 4122 if I can answer any questions or if you would like to sign up for a giclee print unframed or framed. I also added a new page to the website, The Depot at Gibson Mills,(antique mall in Concord, NC) with a few pictures I took of my booth with my Iphone….not the best but is a little clearer when you click on them. 7/13/14 – I have posted the front cover photo of my upcoming CD, “Ride Ferris Wheel Ride” on various pages of my website. Just want to acknowledge and give a very special thanks to Tarah Gaa, the Denver, Colorado artist who gave me the rights to use her incredible photo. She’s a multi-talented young lady, a designer, painter, illustrator, photographer, etc. Check out her website : http://www.tarahgaa.com/ 7/1/14 – As many of you may have discovered by now, I have posted on my “Originals” page that I am accepting bids for my original artwork. This has already generated much interest and there are several current bids being considered, including several requested viewings as of today. I appreciate the positive feedback I’ve received and I feel that opening any dialogue with the public about my artwork is a good thing, regardless of whether it results in a sale or not. If you see a piece that “speaks” to you, don’t hesitate to contact me @ rtfinearts@hotmail.com or 704 706 4122. 6/21/14 – Amazing talent. Check out this link of two young sisters singing (Lennon and Maisy Stella). My daughter sent this to me. I was blown away. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-Mr2pmuad4 6/15/14 – The LYRICS page has been added to my website as I’m getting closer to releasing my CD “Ride Ferris Wheel Ride”. As there is not enough space to post the lyrics on the inside jacket of the CD, I will be referencing folks to the Lyrics page under my website if they are interested in checking them out. The 12 original tunes have been finalized and lyrics will be added over the next few weeks. 6/9/14 – I just added a new image of a recently completed original watercolor titled “The Guardian” to my originals page. Unfortunately the website image doesn’t  do this painting justice as much of the painting was accomplished with masking and splatter to give it a very very fine textured look (experimental). I based the painting off of several photos of an angel statue from the famous cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina called La Recoleta. La Recoleta Cemetery - It contains the graves of notable people, including Eva Peron, presidents of Argentina, Nobel Prize winners, the founder of the Argentine Navy and a granddaughter of Napoleon. In 2011, the BBC hailed it as one of the world’s best cemeteries, and in 2013, CNN listed it among the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world. Yes, I took artistic liberties with color intensity but the statue does have interesting color patterns from moss, vegetation and weather stains. It only adds to the beauty and mystique of the statue.  The Argentina statue was actually based off another cemetary statue in Italy, but there are noticeable differences. I’ve read comments that the original angel statue has a seductive, come hither look , (hmmm, no comment), but I think she’s all business,….. you will  NOT pass without her permission….and no, that’s not a baseball bat in her hand…..it’s a horn. 5/19/14 – I want to thank the coordinators of the Waxhaw Springfest, Lisa and Natalie, for a great show this past weekend.  They are always very courteous and responsive to the vendors’ needs.  I have done other shows in the past where that has not always been the case. Believe me, as a participant, you recognize and appreciate show officials/organizers who value their vendors. I was located in the juried section at the heart of the show, near the stage and enjoyed all of the entertainers.  It was a nice selection of talented folks young and old. Tastefully done, not too loud. We were helped by great weather on Saturday and fairly decent conditions on Sunday. It is so hard to get two days in a row to cooperate weatherwise during the spring. Crowds were steady, sales were very good and I want to express a special thanks to the judges for awarding me first place in the 2-d art category.  I plan to return to the Autumn Treasures show in Oct in Waxhaw. I’m thankful that my ankle healed enough for me to do the show………..but I admit it is a little tender today. 5/10/14 – Getting ready for my first show of the year at Waxhaw Springfest next Saturday and Sunday, May 17 & 18. I will be participating in the juried art section. Did well last year with first place in the painting category on Saturday but we got rained out on Sunday which kept sales down. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this year.  However I’m a little concerned as I took a bit of a tumble yesterday outside at the house. We have some pretty steep “stone steps” that leads from one side of the house to the other. I turned my right ankle on the steps and landed hard on my left knee.  The ice packs have helped but I’ve got quite a bit of lifting and carrying to do in preparation for the show.  A slow recovery is not an option.  Not too sure my pride can heal as quickly.  I’m also in the finishing stages of a commission piece of the old Pine Grove Church in Albemarle, NC.  Should have it finished next week. I recorded another original song for the CD, titled  “Back and Forth”.  I decided to add another slow tempo song as most of my compositions  for the CD were medium to fast paced. “Back and Forth” is a tragic bluegrass story-song of Molly, a 19 year old girl who captures the heart of a young man at a dance. The song takes place somewhere in the midwest in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. What is unique about the song is that the listener has to “fill in the blanks” concerning the secret of Molly. 4/7/14 – It may seem like I’ve been hibernating for the past 3 -4 months but actually I’ve been working part-time at the Badin Inn Country Club in the Pro Shop. It was quite an experience as I met some real “characters”, and I mean that in a good way. Although golf and winter weather don’t exactly go hand in hand, there were still plenty of busy weekends.  I’m not a golfer as I haven’t played in 20 years. It’s just not my calling. Too doggone frustrating for me.  With the growing need for more weekend hours at the course, I made the decision to leave my short but memorable golf career behind. I’m currently working on a commission painting of a local church based on an image that dates back many many years before the church was rebuilt. Progress has been slow but I’m encouraged with the the beginning stages.  I’ve also chosen my cover photo for my upcoming CD release.  As of today, the CD will be titled “Ride Ferris Wheel Ride” after one of my compositions.  The photo is of a ferris wheel against a dark sky with deep green tones. It has a “mystery” factor to it, which coincides nicely with the song theme. I contacted the photographer, a very talented young female artist from Denver, Co. and she has enthusiastically agreed to allow me to use the photo. Getting close to putting it all together. I have no delusions of commercial success. I’m doing it mainly for ……………..me. It’s been on my “things to accomplish list” for awhile. 1/19/14 – I’m glad to announce an upcoming print release. My painting titled “Untamed” (carousel horse)will be released as a giclee print in early February. Unframed size will by approx 11 by 14. More and more customers are requesting SMALLER prints these days. In response, I will also be offering reduced sizes of several giclee editions. “Wayfarer” to be offered at reduced size of 11 by 16. “Long Shadows” will be offered at a reduced size of 12 by 14. Reductions now availabe for “Sojourn at Southport” (10 by 14) and “Cellar Life” (9. by 13.5). While “Arms of Grace”, my most popular giclee, has been available in two sizes, 10 by 12 and 21.5 by 24.5 we have added a “medium” size of 17 by 19. I’m seeing some encouraging signs in the economy as sales have been brisk at both The Depot and The Fresh House for January(which has strangely been better than December). I lost a dear friend on 1/7/14. Former co-worker Pat Mitchell passed away from cancer. Sad news but I have joyous memories of the past and I’m forever grateful for Pat allowing me to stay in his Lake Lure home while participating in several art shows in the NC mountains. 12/5/13 – This is the first Christmas season in the past 7 that I haven’t been at The Art House in Oakboro. I closed the gallery at the end of 2012, mainly due to economic factors. This Christmas has made me realize how much I miss occupying the old building. I miss arriving on winter mornings, turning on the electric fireplace, watching the bank customers(next door) coming and going, the local “regulars” stopping by to “shoot the breeze” (as long as they didn’t stay tooo long). I miss greeting and helping customers, summer Cruise-in nights, being able to watch the July 4rth and Christmas parades from my store front window, working on new paintings at my art table while listening to my music collection, messin’ on the guitar when my eyes became too fatigued from painting. I miss Subway lunches, riding my bike at the Oakboro Park, MAKING SALES, Andreas Bechtler’s contemporary modern art pieces,…….but perhaps most of all, during quiet times, being comforted by my own paintings, which adorned the walls, as they greeted me every morning like old friends. Thanks for allowing me to reminisce. 11/3/13 – Thanks to all the folks who stopped by my booth at Christmas Made in the South. I always enjoy the interesting conversations that develop from people viewing my paintings. When I hear the stories and memories, I guess it means I’m doing something right as an artist. It was a very successful show. I’m looking forward to Stanfield Arts and Craft Show this coming weekend. I will be introducing new print sizes(smaller) for “Arms of Grace” and “Cellar Life”. Also had a really good month at The Depot in Concord. I just posted two new recordings of original songs on my songwriting page: “She Fits Me Like A Glove” which is a fun uptempo swing tune reminiscent of 30’s-40’s and “Take Me Back”, a Christian themed song with a rhythmic or “funky” beat( I hate that word but don’t know how else to describe). I wrote over 65 songs between 2008 and 2012. Over the last 2 years I’ve recorded about 20 of them, but I have a lot of material left to record. Next up is “The Cotton Club”(another swing tune) and “Marigold”(a folk-bluegrass song). Maybe my grand-kids or great grand-kids will get a kick out of them someday. 10/22/13 – REMINDER: I WILL HAVE A BOOTH AT THE CHRISTMAS MADE IN THE SOUTH SHOW AT THE CABARRUS EVENTS ARENA IN CONCORD, NC THIS WEEKEND FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY(OCT 25,26,27). GREAT EVENT. QUALITY ARTS AND CRAFT SHOW. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE A FULL DAY OF SHOPPING OR BROWSING, AFTER TAKING IN “CHRISTMAS MADE IN THE SOUTH” JUST DRIVE A FEW MILES TO 325 MCGILL AVE NW, CONCORD, TO THE DEPOT AT GIBSON MILLS TO CHECK OUT THE BIGGEST ANTIQUE MALL IN THE SOUTHEAST. BETTER HAVE YOUR BEST WALKING SHOES ON! 10/18/13 – Just an update as I’ve added the Stanfield Arts and Craft Show to my schedule. I’ve been doing the show for over 20 years. Can’t quite remember the first one I did but as all 3 of my kids went to Stanfield, it was always an event I looked forward to. Because of my recent move to Richfield and the expense of maintaining product at two locations: The Depot in Concord and The Fresh House in Locust, I wasn’t sure if I could do the Stanfield Show this year. But because of my steady success at the show through the years and the enjoyment from seeing old friends and meeting new ones, I decided to participate once again. Thanks to Lori Furr at Stanfield for keeping my spot for me, (in the gym). The show is the weekend of 11-9/10. If you are local, I encourage you to come as it is always a great outing. All kinds of crafts and homemade goodies will be available. I’m just hoping for cold weather to get everyone in the Christmas spirit. Free admission and parking. 10/1/13 – September has been an extremely busy time as we moved from our Concord home to a residence in Richfield, NC. I had to cancel most of my fall show schedule to complete the move. I’m still maintaining the Christmas Made in the South show at the Cabarrus Arena for the weekend of 10-25-27. As of now it will be my only show for the remainder of the year but I will keep that option open. So far I really like the Richfield area. Nice conveniences close by yet we are far away from the “madding crowd”. I have a nice area for my art and music. Hopefully soon I can resume creating new paintings and recording some of the song material I’ve written but never recorded. Sales at The Depot have been steady but I’m hoping things will pick up even more as we get closer to Christmas. 8/12/13 Well my booth at The Depot at Gibson Mills in Concord is now stocked with framed prints, unframed prints, a few originals paintings, pottery, antiques, and “stuff”. Each big room in the building is titled in relation to Textile terms and the aisles are named after streets. I’m in the YARN ROOM on Corban Ave, space U8, (I hope I’m telling you right. I will confirm it.) The staff has been great helping me get situated. As I previously stated, really nice tasteful music as you shop. My family made the rounds this morning and we saw some incredible antiques and furniture. I thought the prices were very reasonable. I believe most vendors are there to “move” merchandise. I’ve been listening to some old recordings of live performances of our band “Maple Leaf” at The Old Prospector and at The Double Door Inn in Charlotte back in the early 80’s. What struck me was the pace and the energy. The harmonies were pretty tight too. Those were good times, no,… those were great times. Made me want to perform again with “the guys”. Also been listening to one of my favorite CD’s by Willis Alan Ramsey. It’s his signature and only recording produced in 1972 when he was 21. He wrote all the songs. He still performs today but never produced another recording. Lyle Lovett and Clint Black, among others, consider it one of the greatest records of all time, a pretty strong statement, but I wholeheartedly agree. If you haven’t heard it, do yourself a favor and get a copy, if you can still find it. Read the reviews on Amazon (WHOA……..I just saw that the CD is priced new at $148.95 and used at $42.00). It rates a 5 out of 5 stars by customers. ’nuff said. 7/16/13 I’m pleased to announce I will be opening a booth at The Depot at Gibson Mills in Concord effective August 1st. The booth will feature my artwork along with many home accessories and antiques that we had left from the gallery in Oakboro. I’m looking forward to this opportunity. I may try to “man” the booth from time to time especially on some weekends. If you haven’t visited The Depot, you are really missing out. It was an old plant that produced bedding for over 100 years. It shut down when manufacturing was sent overseas. Fortunately some folks with vision turned the 88,000 square feet plant into an antique mall(billed as largest in southeast). It is now home to 600 vendors, mostly antiques, but you can find a little bit of everything, including original artwork and photography. The original wood floors and old brick walls add a great nostalgic setting to all the antiques. They also have a restaurant inside that serves great sandwiches. Better come early as it is a challenge to see everything in one day. You can spend a lot, or you can spend a little. Or you can just browse and take it all in as you will find items you won’t see at any other mall. Glad to be a part of it. Check out my booth in August! (Someone does a nice job selecting the music as you shop….tastefully done!) 6/26/13 Since my blog entry on 5/24, I’ve completed two more YouTube videos in association with my songs. “Blue Train” with melancholy and nostalgic imagery and “It’s High Time Melissa”, a romantic story song that takes place in the Southern California vineyards. Sensual but powerful(I hope). These are really fun to do but time consuming. I invite you to check them out. Links are on my Songwriting Page. I’m taking a break before I attempt another one. My daughter Gretchen posted the video links on her Facebook page. Got some nice reaction and comments. Appreciate that! Nice way to tiptoe in. I’ve never been real comfortable promoting my own art or my own songs though I continue to do it. A necessary evil. I imagine most of us are that way. It’s hard to blow your own horn without sounding boastful. There’s a balance in there somewhere. 6/6/13 After closing The Art House in Oakboro at the end of December,(after 6 years), I have temporarily moved my studio back into my home. I’m considering a number of avenues involving my art and will hopefully be making announcements in the near future. In the meantime I will continue art sales through my website, The Fresh House Restaurant and various art shows in the second half of the year. 5/24/13 After weeks of working on a video for YouTube for my song “Ride Ferris Wheel Ride” I was finally able to post a completed video. It was a tedious but rewarding project. It was my first time working with Windows Movie Maker and syncing audio and video was a little tricky. I had a blast doing the video which is a visual representation of my song about a carnival rover and a mute young lady who rides the ferris wheel every night. I recorded the song in 2012. Now with one video under my belt, I look forward to creating more in conjunction with my songs. If you would like to watch the video click on the link “here” on my Songwriting page . 5/22/13 Just completed the Waxhaw Springfest art show in Waxhaw NC over the weekend. The weather was not very cooperative but we were able to get a full day in Saturday despite some showers. Sunday produced 3 different waves of showers with each one getting more intense until the coordinators had no choice but to close the show at around 3:00 pm. I made a few good sales on Saturday and was fortunate to be awarded first place in the juried competition in the 2-d art category(painting, drawing, photography). NICE! Crowds were a little sparse but I blame it mainly on the weather. I commend the Waxhaw show coordinators and volunteers for doing a great job under difficult circumstances. I plan to do the fall show in October.