My Show at Evergreen Design Center

My show went up in time for Evergreen’s “Last Friday” gallery night on September 30, and now it will come down either on Halloween OR before the snow that is expected for this Wednesday. No snow, please. I want to fly off (meaning escape) to Arizona before the snow flies here!

Setting up: My paintings "Badlands Sage" and "Tempest"

Pictures from my opening night:

With friends Brian, Petra, and Terrey

Showing my 2012 calendar cover to store owner Kay La Montagne and fellow artist Carolyn Alexander

Caught in a spazz moment with Linda and Jeff.

With daughter Hillary & husband TJ and friends Gary & Eileen

Many thanks to Mountain Home in the Evergreen Design Center for the fabulous opening night. Peggy made the smoked salmon, which was amazing – all of the food looked like art and tasted as good as it looked!!


RedShift Gallery, Denver

RedShift Gallery, Denver

Is there such a thing as etiquette for an art-show opening? Not to be Miss Manners, but the thought occurred to me after my opening Friday night. What is the proper behavior?

Let’s say you go to a friend’s opening. What is the first thing you do when you see your friend? You say your hellos, get a glass of wine (well, that’s what I always like to do), and then what? Don’t you then say something like, “Where are your paintings” or “Show me your paintings”? That’s always a good starting point.

But what is the proper etiquette if you don’t particularly like their paintings/artwork? Do you find something nice to say about the pieces anyway? Or do you just ask lots of questions, like, “What was your inspiration for this piece?” “How did you choose these colors?” “Tell me about this,” etc.

I actually welcome people’s comments and suggestions. In fact, I had someone offer a critique of one of my paintings Friday night. (Strangely, I’d never even met this artist!) He pointed out an area of my painting that needed an improvement. I had seen the same thing and had thought I’d corrected it, but hanging there on the wall I could see that my fix didn’t work like I had thought! (I’ll have to sneak my paints in there next week…)

What do you do when someone comes to your show, at your invitation, and tries to be the star of the show, telling everyone about their work and their galleries, their shows, etc.? Have you ever had that happen?

I am reminded of a friend who came to a show/sale I had at my house. He brought some of his work to show me. It seemed like an odd time to show me his new work, but I tried to steal a little time to be interested. Then he proceeded to use my show to show everyone his work and drum up business! Very strange – I had to chalk it up to ignorance.

Have you had strange things happen at your openings? What do you like to have happen at your shows, i.e. what do you think is proper etiquette?

The Nightingale Sings

Another wild and crazy week. That’s 2 weeks in a row, or 3, I’ve lost count. Last week started with getting paintings photographed and finalizing plans for my 2009 calendar. The easy part is done now – I have gathered the 13  images I need. Now, I have to design it: which paintings for which months, how do I want to crop the images that aren’t in landscape format, which painting will go on the cover, etc.? Then I have to market it…

Thursday was spent doing more work on my calendar and preparing for an opening on Friday night at Pirate: Contemporary Art in Denver with Claudia Roulier and other friends from our salon group. That evening, we all met at the gallery to hang the show – I entered 3 paintings.

Late to bed, early to rise, and off to paint all day Friday with my landscape-painting class at ACC (Arapahoe Community College). The weather had changed to fall all of a sudden, and we were absolutely freezing. But, amazingly for me, I stuck with it…and I actually enjoyed it again! What’s up with that? My hands were so cold and I was shivering so badly that I could barely mix my paint, and then I could barely aim my knife properly to put the paint in the right spot on my canvas or move it the way I wanted. But, I hung in there and finished my painting before running to my car and blasting the heater in my face for an hour while I ate lunch. This week we painted the same scene as last week, but we added color, indicating the scene as it advanced toward us from the sky/horizon to the foreground.

Copyright Denise Bellon West, landscape ptg. 2

Back to the classroom to watch a video, then I buzzed home, fed my dog and headed for the opening downtown — I took Pasha with me, for I felt guilty after leaving her alone all day. That glass of wine was going to taste pretttty good! I called a friend on the way there to meet me for that glass of wine. I had her take a picture of me with my new painting, The Nightingale Sings, even though I had hat hair (hair spray can work wonders!) and was still wearing the clothes I painted in all day.

The Nightingale Sings, Copyright Denise Bellon West

Alyson Stanfield, art-marketing guru extraordinaire, stopped by with her husband, Rod, to check out the show. He snapped this picture of us by my other paintings. She was pretty in pink.

Denise and Alyson

I had to sit the show on both Saturday and Sunday and am finally getting my groove back today.

Beating Up Frames

Are you tired of lugging paintings around to shows and having your frames get all beat up? Or having them mishandled while being hung or taken down from a show? Well, I am and have decided to quit entering anything into shows that has a frame. Unfortunately, I forgot that decision last month and took a painting that had a gorgeous wooden double frame on it.

When I went to pick it up after the show, I found my painting stashed in the back of a narrow closet, leaning up against all the other paintings. I took a deep breath and very carefully, with the help of gallery personnel, lifted and slid the many other paintings away from mine and slid out my painting. As it turns out, there wasn’t much damage – thankfully.

On closer inspection, I saw that I was supposed to pick up my painting on the last day of the show. Bummer, because I had been downtown earlier that day, in a big snow, and didn’t know. That will teach me to read my paperwork better! But still, I need to remember to never haul another framed painting out of my house.

WOW Show

I will have my painting “Electric Soup” in the WOW Show – a clever acronym for “Wide Open Whatever” – at Core Gallery in downtown Denver. Opening reception is February 15 from 6-9 p.m. at 900 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, Colorado. The show runs through March 2, 2008. Come say hi!

Core Gallery

If you didn’t guess, mine’s the most colorful one…:

“Electric Soup”