Tuesday, October 16, 2007

With a whimper

What if they gave an art fair and nobody came? You'd have Arts and Riverwoods. Why is it the show with the highest booth fee had the fewest visitors? I'll refrain from analyzing this and other questions in this space. The show organizers were tireless and the committee may have raised a lot of money from the Preview Night, but we artists were lonely standing at our booths listening to the blaring PA system that night. Most of the rest of the weekend, there were more vendors than customers in the big tent. I'll stop now.

The official art fair season is over for me. I've decided not to pursue the "Holiday" shows. They're mostly for gifts, decorative or practical, and most shoppers aren't looking for fine art. However, if you're interested, you know where to find me!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Student Show

Congratulations on the fine work displayed by the artists at the Chicago Botanic Garden! I am inspired by your dedication to representing botanical subjects. Many of your works made some not- so- beautiful plants have a definite beauty to them.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Really Big Show

The Reed Turner Botanical Artists (a group of which I'm a member) are planning to hold a group show at Brushwood, at Ryerson Forest Preserve, in February and March of 2008. It's the same place I held my exhibit in April. Since there are at least 10 of us who plan to participate, we'll have the entire building to hang our work. An opening reception is planned as well. We can dress up, hold wine goblets, and discuss various arty subjects. We will also have a group exhibit at the Ela Library in July. I'm already looking forward to these shows. After Arts and Riverwoods next month, the paintings otherwise would be stashed in their containers for 6 months.

Six Down, One to Go

Here's the post- Wilmette Arts Festival report: The weather was ideal, the crowds were smaller than I would have liked, the location was good, and the Wilmette Arts Guild, who organized the event, were tireless. They are generous, too. I didn't win an award, but the dollar amounts of the awards are not small! Maybe next time!

I'm assuming that the community wasn't yet aware of the new location and time of year. Being in a visible commercial area has potential, though it seemed that there was an invisible barrier between the Saturday morning farmer's market (very popular and well-established event) and our show. Produce shopping and art shopping are not necessarily compatible, I guess.

All in all, I enjoyed the weekend, though sales could have been better. It's a relief to setup and take down in cool weather for a change. Oh, and a certain coffee chain has just moved into the vicinity, always convenient!

Monday, September 3, 2007

All's Well That Ends Well

I'm in the process of reorganizing my stuff after the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Artisan Guild show, as I do after every show. Here's how it went: NO RAIN!!!! Besides that fact, I enjoyed it, and had my best sales of the season so far. We were very close geographically to the Deer Path show, which confused some customers, but allowed my regular customers to find me when they couldn't find me at the other show. This happened a number of times, though I tried to make it clear in my mass e-blast, many people either don't get my e-mails, or just forgot.

I do believe our much smaller group siphoned off a small bit of sales from the very well-known (and quite excellent) Deer Path show. At first, I was still annoyed that I wasn't in it, especially since I was informed that there was a space available for me there a few days before the show, but I declined the offer due to having made the commitment to the Artisan Guild earlier. On Sunday, though the weather was great, the crowds were small, and it was discouraging. Monday, also with perfect weather, brought more people, many of whom were existing customers, and more sales.

We had live music, which was very enjoyable and conducive to enjoying the art, and a food vendor. I believe they helped attract attention to our location. The organizers were diligent and welcoming. All in all, like every show, it was exhausting, but, unlike every show, I feel this was a worthwhile experience!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nobody Puts AG on the Wait List

Well, maybe they do. But, if one show isn't convinced it wants me, another one does. I've accepted an invitation to exhibit at the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Artisan Guild art show, only one block away from the square. Just go north, to the Lake Forest Bank. I'll notify all of my regular customers, occasional customers, and everyone else on my e-mail and snail mail lists of the slight change in location. This show has been organized by some very dedicated people, I'm looking forward to participating.

The heavy lifter and I visited the Art in the Park show in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin last weekend. It has been many years since I have been to Lake Geneva, and I was favorably impressed with the town. It doesn't have that ticky-tacky look some resort towns have. The lake, parks, and businesses look clean. Everyone looked happy and relaxed.

Oh, and the art show. I knew many of the artists from the local shows. All that I spoke with were happy with their sales! This show may have potential for me. Something to consider in the future.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Best In Category!

I was awarded first place in watercolor at the Evanston Lake Shore art fair, one of the many good things about last weekend. Other positive things:

  • I sold one of my favorite paintings, 'Gold and Silver' a goldfinch perched on silverfeather grass.

Though it was hot and humid Sunday, Saturday was cooler than average and cloudy. Also, the heavy rain was only at night. By the way, the Trimline was watertight during a night's worth of rain. I will never overcome my fixation on weather.

My neighbors were nice. That's rarely a problem, but our booths were shoulder to shoulder, and we made the best of it.

The prints sold well, cards did okay, too.

Not positive things:

The volunteers never actually volunteered when I needed a break. After one came around early to offer assistance if needed, I never saw him or any others again.

Biting flies.

I got a parking ticket. It's Evanston.

Since the booths were in close contact during many hours of rain, mildew formed on the top and sides, which I will battle with Windex.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Good weather at Glenview

The Glenview art fair went well! Both days had good weather - cloudy with no rain the first day, completely clear but not too hot the second day. The setup of the Trimline and mesh panels was time consuming, but the finished look is a great improvement. Print and notecard sales were good, and I saw a lot of repeat customers.

Next weekend, Evanston Lake Shore. . . I'm hearing reports of 90s predicted ( am I paranoid about weather, or what?) but of course, nothing I can do about it now, or then, for that matter.

I've been on the wait list for the Deer Path show, and they won't give me any clue about my position on the list. There's not much chance I'm going to be in that show, but there may be an alternative. More on that later.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mesh Panels, Galleries, Weather

The mesh panels are here. Tomorrow is setup at Glenview. I'm optimistic that we can assemble the Trimline and panels easily with far less shlepping than before. The weather forecast for this weekend is excellent!
I met with the owners of the Woodland Gallery in Long Grove today. We plan to show some of my work, most likely prints, later this year.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Time for an upgrade

The heavy lifter has decided that we must find an alternative to the 2' x 6' grid panels we've been using to display my paintings. Since I have upgraded my booth from the rain-catching EZ-Up to the dome-topped Trimline, the grids don't attach as well to the interior, and on top of that, they look haphazard and weigh a ton. Today I ordered the Mesh Panels from Flourish Co. These panels attach to the booth interior and provide a neat and orderly background for my art. Their website is: http://www.flourish.com/. Best of all, they're lightweight and portable. Anything to make set-up and take down easier.

Here is a picture of the Mesh Panels. That's not my artwork in the picture!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Being Judgmental

Today I was an awards judge for the Lincolnshire Art Festival, along with two other artist/judges. We were to grade all exhibitors, 180 of them, based upon several criteria. After all of us were done, we met to total the points, and awards were to be given to the highest scores in 6 categories. The weather was hot and sunny, and the judging process took me close to 5 hours to complete. I talked to most of the artists, many of whom I knew from shows that we had been in together, and though it was time consuming, it helped me to learn much more about their work.

Here's what I learned in the process:
  • The quality of the art in this show was superb.

  • The photography was the hardest to judge, as I know very little about the process, but I was greatly impressed by the artistry and technical skills required to be a good photographer.

  • Most of the artists are so devoted to their work that they cannot be doing anything else.

  • My favorites were the creations that were previously unknown to me.

  • It doesn't hurt a bit to talk up the judges, it's like making a sale. I must learn to do this when I am being judged as well.

  • My booth display could use some more curb appeal. This entry formerly contained the word "pizzazz", which needed to be changed. I just changed it.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Drawing in the garden

Our meeting of the Reed Turner Botanical Artists group was Saturday. We sat in a beautiful wildflower garden on the property of Ms. Reed Turner. Butterflies and dragonflies were as abundant as the sunshine. Until then, I had always taken a cutting of the plant I wanted to paint, set it up at my desk, and hurried to sketch it before it changed. When drawing from nature, it was hard not to be distracted by, well, all of the natural distractions. All in all, it was a good first experience.

We also discussed the possibility of having a pre-holiday sale of our work at the nature center. I'm all for it, as that may be my only chance of displaying any work in the off-season. We will need publicity to draw potential buyers of nature artwork to the center. We'll continue to discuss this, I hope.

Link to Reed Turner Woodland website:
Long Grove Park District: Reed Turner

Friday, June 29, 2007

My latest work

I have just completed a new watercolor/graphite work, "Nasturtium and Magicicada, 2007". I have tried in the past to combine watercolor and graphite in a botanical, and have not been satisfied with the result. I have seen this done successfully by other artists, but when I tried it, it was hard to incorporate the pencil into the painting. Now, I'm happy with the final product. Here it is:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Second Place in Painting!

Though the weather was hot and sales were off, I was delighted to receive the second place award in the painting division at the Hinsdale Art Festival last weekend. My booth location was shady but overall, the heat and humidity were not conducive to buying much artwork, at least in my case. I do plan to return next year to give it another try. Here's something new: I have been asked to give a demo on drawing pet portraits at an art league in the area. This is a good opportunity to go in a new direction- teaching art to other artists. I have learned a lot this way, in informal groups. More on this in the future.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


This is in the wrong order, but this one is fully mature.
This is how a cicada looks after emerging from its shell, but before it's fully mature.
A cicada and its shed exoskeleton.

In the process of becoming an adult.

I'm now able to upload photos, so here are some pictures I took of the 17-year cicadas in various stages of growth. They are now nearing the end of their life cycles, but are as noisy as ever, though many of the dead ones are littering the ground. Though they can be annoying they are a remarkable phenomenon and it's kind of difficult to think of what may be happening in the world 17 years from now.

Monday, June 4, 2007

No More EZ-Up

The TrimLine Canopy has been assembled and is ready to go for the next outdoor show. It has been withstanding rainstorms and high winds for 2 weeks with no collapse or rooftop accumulation. Every piece has been labeled and color-coded with a Sharpie, but it will probably not be a smooth setup right away. It's heavy and expensive, but if it allows me to not panic every time it rains a few drops, it's a good thing. Anyone want a used EZ-Up?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Brood XIII

The 17-year cicadas have emerged! Last time I saw them, well, let's say things have changed. I will post pictures of their emergence as soon as the upload capabilites on this site have been restored. Just think- 17 years ago I had no computer, never heard of the internet, no digital camera (what a wonderful invention) and no teenagers. Couldn't help saying that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Here Come Da Judge

I have been asked to be an awards judge for an upcoming art festival. I'll be the one with the clipboard and the sticky dots. I'm not going to tell which show it is until after it's over; but I'm looking forward to the experience!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Difficulty of Painting Tulips

I don't grow my own tulips, so I bought some at the grocery store. I knew that the large pale yellowish white ones would be a challenge to paint, and they are. The pink ones were small and closed. Gradually they have grown like 10 serpents, their stems lengthening and reaching in all directions. It's a race to paint them as they change from minute to minute. The yellowish ones have changed little, the pink ones are mutating into floral hydras. Who would have thought?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Thank you, Reed Turner Botanical Artists

Thanks to Barb for inviting me to join the Reed Turner Nature Center Botanical Artists group. The show was a delightful (and profitable) experience for me. All of the artists that I met are welcoming as well as talented. I look forward to learning more about "official" botanical painting.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I love Art2007

April 28 & 29 was the North Shore Unitarian Church's Art 2007 show. This is my favorite show of the year, not because I sell the most art there(though sales were good this year) but because it's an enjoyable experience. The show is run entirely by volunteers, and it's a major fundraiser.

Thanks to everyone who made us artists feel welcome.

Also, thanks to Friends of Ryerson for inviting me to exhibit my paintings.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Win a Few. . .

Unfortunately, the Portfolia Show at the Morton Arboretum in July will not be held. I was looking forward to exhibiting there, but there are not enough artists to participate! It would have been a good venue for me, being that most visitors would be likely to have an interest in my work. Better luck next time, I guess.

I do have 20 paintings on display at Brushwood at Ryerson Woods, though, please stop by until April 27.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Let the shows begin!

I am pleased to announce that in April I will be exhibiting my paintings at Brushwood, formerly the summer home of the Ryerson family and currently the offices of Friends of Ryerson Woods. This historic building, surrounded by the Ryerson Conservation Area forest preserve, will be an ideal venue for my work. If you would like to learn more about Friends of Ryerson Woods, here is a link to their site:


Monday, January 1, 2007

My Bio

Anne Gilna was born in Chicago, Illinois, growing up with a love for drawing wildlife and nature, particularly birds.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University, with emphasis on classical oil painting, portrait and figure drawing, graphic design and artistic anatomy.
Soon after, Anne worked in various Chicago commercial art studios, learning many aspects of art production. She also maintained freelance accounts, further developing her skill in portraiture.

Anne has been studying watercolor painting since 1999 under the direction of botanical painter June Hill Pedigo, learning the art of traditional botanical painting. She has merged this technique with her lifelong study of birds to create detailed yet simple works of art.
Anne has been exhibiting work in area art fairs as well as galleries and nature centers, such as Suburban Fine Arts Center, College of Lake County Community Gallery of Art, Artcetera, Deer Path Gallery, Ryerson Conservation Area Visitors Center, Rivershire Nature Center, Wild Bird Centers and the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago.
She continues to create custom portraits in graphite, colored pencil, or charcoal for numerous clients in the Chicago area.

“As a portrait artist, creating a simple likeness of the subject is not nearly enough. My goal is to capture the energy of the subject. Many of my clients plan to give the portrait to a friend or family member as a surprise. It is tremendously satisfying to later hear from the recipient telling me how much they appreciate the work I’ve done.”
“My goal as a painter of botanicals and birds is not only to depict their characteristics accurately, but for the viewer to understand the beauty of the subject matter. I hope to bring that out using composition and color.”