Friday, May 4, 2012

Nothing Plain About Red Rock

The First Annual Plein Air Convention (April 12-15)  in Las Vegas at The Red Rock Casino was historic.  RayMar was a sponsor and Emily and I filled a mini van with panels and carriers and drove over from Phoenix.  Billed as the largest gathering of plein air painters in history we were ready for the “Plein Air Show”.  It promised to be unique in the annals of conventions and it delivered… complete with a marching band, show girls and Elvis. After all it was Vegas.  It was three weeks ago and the buzz is still going.

 At the onset there was a feeling in the convention hall that something historic and hugely successful was happening.  Artists and sponsors along with the Plein Air staff sensed the bar had been raised and a new standard set for artists to learn and paint in a convention venue.

 The floor layout put artists and sponsors together and it felt more like a reunion than a convention.  We frequently heard, “Oh I’ve used your panels and carriers for years”. We squealed with delight meeting long time customers and new ones and thank everyone who stopped by to share their stories. Morgan Samuel Price showed me her seasoned carrier from 2002. It was still in service and I wanted it for our archives.  She inscribed the old one “To Cathy, great wet painting carrier!!!!” and I swapped it out for a new one.
Morgan's old carrier!
Emily, Morgan Samuel Price, Richard Lindenberg, and Cathy
Pat Welsh, Cathy, & Chris Adessa at the Plein Air Convention

Alexey Steele "traveling light" with RayMar carriers at Red Rock

The inspiring lectures and demos energized the artists and our sales resembled a feeding frenzy.  We even sold our samples to a New Zealand artist who said they had nothing like our product.  The creative energy was “over the top”. Tony Pro told us he sold everything he had…all his demos and DVDs.

Later as we packed up two banners and a logo table cloth the General Pencil Co. sponsor in the next booth asked, “ if that was all we had to pack”?  We answered “yes” and he smiled and said “Show off”.  We felt euphoric with solid confirmation that artists like our products.  We felt like an overnight success that took 14 years.

I imagine an artist has a similar feeling when their artwork sells.  The joy is overwhelming when someone is moved to purchase your work and we’re pleased that you like our “work”.  I don’t know how the Plein Air staff will top this event but we’ll find out when we see you at the 2nd Annual Plein Air Convention next year.

Cathy and Emily Dietrich      

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's Show Time

     It all began in January with the Putney Painters' week at the Scottsdale Artists’ School and exhibit at The Legacy Gallery.  Since then my show attendance and collecting have escalated.  After I won the silent auction dual painting by Kathy Anderson and Stephanie Birdsall , Stephanie invited me to Tucson for pot luck before the Settler’s West Gallery annual miniature show in February.
     I arrived and unacquainted with most of Stephanie’s artist guests switched into artist-speak for some intense hob nobbing. I met many brand new seemingly “old friends”, among them Tim Newton of the Salmagundi Club, Albert Handell with his signature tomato soup colored suspenders and Stephen C. Datz, stellar landscape artist from Colorado.  Chatting it up with Anita Mosher and Carol Swinney I realized I need to be with artists to fuel my energy and passion. Back at my hotel I felt like a “born again artist”.
     The 30th annual Settler’s West Gallery miniature show was a big hit. Gallery director Stuart Johnson indicated it’s the gallery’s most successful show.  This year 322 pieces from 220 artists were exhibited.  I tried to resist slipping my name into the little white numbered boxes but to no avail. My name was announced for my two favorite paintings. Eureka!
      Next up was last Thursday's opening reception at the Legacy Gallery for Robert Coombs, who was our first grand prize winner in 2005.  I also met with Kate Sammons who encouraged me to set up my studio, Romel De La Torre, who was a contest finalist numerous times and Mary Qian, the OPA top prize winner in 2010, who planned a career in animation but changed to fine art.  We’re glad she did.
    General Manager Scott Jones is thrilled with the entries for Legacy’s 2nd Annual Salon in April.  It will be preceded by their auction on March 31st.  It will be my first auction and I look forward to viewing originals by Charles Russell, Howard Terpning and Oscar Berninghaus.
     RayMar has some upcoming shows too:  The 1st Annual Plein Air Convention in Las Vegas in April where we have been designated The Official Panel of the Convention and our third Weekend with the Masters, this year in San Diego in September.
     We look forward to meeting you, viewing your wonderful work and discovering the supplies you want us to create to enhance your painting experience.

Happy Painting, Cathy 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Putney Painters Paint Scottsdale

We heard they were coming!  Scottsdale Artists’ School hosted Putney Painter workshop week January 16-20. And nearby in the arts district the Legacy Gallery advertised a Putney Painters and Friends exhibit with several ticketed events. Emily and I were intrigued and signed up.

For some background; nine years ago when Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik relocated to New England they invited artists to paint and learn from them at the Village Art Center in Putney, Vermont. Thus the Putney Painters formed and later expanded to include artists from other areas of the country.

Emily met Casey Baugh at WWM in Monterey and invited him to enter our contest. He entered in the last month and was a prize winner!  She also met Kathy Anderson at the New York Intensive hosted by American Artist last June. So we signed up for Casey Baugh’s demo at the School, Stephanie Birdsall and Kathy Anderson’s swinging brushes dual demo and Nancy Guzik’s slide presentation at the gallery.

Casey painted Stephanie Birdsall’s daughter Marion in an all day demo at the school and mesmerized us. Then at the gallery Nancy shared paintings from the past that inspire her and showed some special works she and Richard created over the years. I had never seen two artists paint on the same painting and it was a thrill to watch Stephanie and Kathy create one.

Bids seemed stalled in the silent auction for their dual painting. When Scott Jones, the General Manager of the Legacy Gallery, announced bidding would close soon I put my name down a few times and overheard someone say “that painting is mine”. I got caught up in other conversations, then got a surprise tap on my shoulder and was shown the clipboard with congratulations written next to my name. The painting was mine!

I couldn’t imagine how the evening could have been more perfect, until Daniel Keys invited us to go to dinner with all the Putney painters.  As I chatted with Michelle Dunaway and Kathy Anderson, I looked over the table of more than twenty top professional artists including Nancy Guzik and felt so proud of our products and contest that brought us into this world of artists!  

Cathy Dietrich  

Kathy Anderson (left) and Stephanie Birdsall (middle) and the painting the artists created with Cathy Dietrich (right) who won the painting in the silent auction. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Absolutely the Best and the Brightest

The Scottsdale Artists’ School in Arizona presented their annual juried student show, the Best and the Brightest, now in its twentieth consecutive year.  The show had the look and feel of a prestigious gallery opening.  And for artists hoping to be a professional, inclusion in The Best and the Brightest increases their cachet significantly.

Elizabeth and I attended the show on January 5th and were impressed with the level and diversity of talent. One hundred fifty two works were juried into the show from three hundred and fifty entries. Anticipation filled the air as awards were presented for exceptional work in oils, water media, Drawing/Pastel and Sculpture.

RayMar sponsored the Best Oil Painting Award.  We presented a $250 merchandise certificate to Brenda Lee Gibson for her sensitive portrait, “Instinct” of a young girl cradling her doll.  Brenda was visibly thrilled as we gathered around her painting for a photograph. After the photo when Brenda turned to me and said “My painting is on one of your RayMar panels and I just love them”, we felt like winners, too. – Cathy Dietrich