Thursday, October 31, 2013

Here's what happened

Last Saturday was a beautiful fall day with clear blue skies that all but assured a good turnout for our Autumn Art Tour.  Twenty of us assembled at 10:15 AM at Woodstock Golf Club’s parking lot, from which some of us carpooled to the various artists’ locations.  The majority, however, apparently preferring to have the flexibility to linger a little longer at a studio or grab a cup of coffee here or have a snooze there, decided to go in their own (mostly) BMWs and Lexuses.  Bruce and I tried to lead the way in our black Outback but it wasn't easy to have a caravan in the town of Woodstock (too many pedestrians crossing near the village green).  Thank goodness for GPS, which comes in handy where there is no cell service as in Willow and Lake Hill.....There were 26 of us by the time we got to Lowell Miller’s studio at 2:30, and our group peaked at 30 during Brinton Baker’s pottery show-cum-reception at Byrdcliffe Barn (6:15).  

As we had predicted art crawlers were fascinated by the decidedly unique styles of each of the nine artists whose studios we visited by appointment that day.  We spent an average of an hour each at every stop, except for Calvin Grimm’s studio and grounds, where we spent 1.5 hours including a leisurely and light lunch.  The group was amazed not only by the art they saw that day but also by the studios, no two of which were alike in either structure type or interior vibe.  Each artist said a few words about their art, their intentions and their spaces.  Each one had an interesting story to tell.  We drove from Woodstock Village to Saugerties, then on to Willow, Shady, Bearsville and back again to Woodstock Village.  

It was heart-warming, awe-inspiring and humbling to see all the fine art that we did see that day.  Every artist has his or her admirers now and they're not mutually exclusive.  I'll be calling each participant to get their feedback re what they're eyeing before too much time elapses.  Some artists are giving our group a courtesy discount that is effective until the end of the year, and in some cases slightly longer.  Others may raise their prices as the art market recovers along with the US economy, possibly by April or May next year - based on what our stock market is suggesting.  While some art crawlers have bought art (they're mostly my close friends and informed me), others are still mulling over what to do after talking it over with their spouses.  I'll be checking with them regularly and try to close deals.  I was after all a salesperson for 22 years.  

Dinner later that night at Red Onion was elegant, crowded, fun and noisy with only a few hitches.  The number and size of the dinner tables changed from three tables of 10 to four tables of eight each, due no doubt to a miscommunication between me and the restaurant manager Jeff.  This resulted in a minor crisis for my seating plan got upended.  The other mishap is that the singer Rachel Loshak came down with pneumonia the day before and was too sick to perform for us.  As luck would have it the singer-guitarist-cartoonist Morgan Taylor, her better half who came back from a road trip earlier that day, came to the rescue and performed for us five beautiful songs.  The crowd liked him.  The last hiccup had to do with the serving of coffee and tea.  It was part of dinner and even I was waiting for it but forgot to summon a server about it, and soon the crowd started leaving.  I asked Jeff the next day why my tea never came.  At a dinner party of this size at RO people are not automatically served coffee or tea even if it is included in the price.  They have to ask for it.  Since we were 31 in a space that he originally said was best for 27, I guess the servers got too frazzled to ask any dinner guest if she or he wanted one.  Wish I had known of this policy then.  We had four additional friends come by for the performance and dessert portion and it would have been nice if they too could have had their coffee.  Dessert was uber-delicious but the serving portions were also super huge for my taste, again probably due to the unexpected guests to servers ratio.  I got full just looking at my family-size slice of gluten free walnut cake and had only a third of it..…..

Four of us took a brisk walk at 9:00 AM Sunday.  Eleven of us showed up at brunch at Oriole9 by 9:45 AM.  A good time was had by all this past weekend.  Tomorrow I'm handing head librarian Amy Raff a check in the (very low) four digits to support the annex project.  This amount may rise and our red ink surely falls if the artists sell enough paintings between now and April 30, 2014.  If so we may even be able to do something similar but not exactly like it in about six months’ time.  Dinner may even be at Red Onion again, but this time in the main restaurant spaces and not on a Saturday during peak tourist season.....

Waiting for Maria, our unofficial photographer and righthand person last weekend, to send me photos to share here.  A heartfelt thanks to everyone for your involvement in and support of our project.  A shout out to Rose Reyes Long for helping me create and maintain this serene-looking blog, upload distinct imagery from artists' websites after obtaining their permission, and produce an overall elegant and streamlined look.  See you all before too long.


  1. What a grand and ambitious undertaking. So pleased that it was well received, that artists sold work, visitors had a great experience and you were pleased with how it turned out. I am looking forward to your next event.
    Cornelia Seckel

    1. Thank you, Cornelia. It would be awesome if you could come join us next time and cover it for Art Times. The event is scaleable. So I'm thinking with my friends as the mainstays for they're all into the arts and are attractive and fun, we'd to reach people with a longstanding fascination with the Catskills and Hudson Valley - not only the landscape but also its bo-bo lifestyle. That would include Frazzled New Yorkers, Cool Chicagoans and Silicon Valley / Bay Area residents yearning for the rustic life, meeting and supporting creative types. That is a huge demographic, wouldn't you say? If only 12 of them came we could probably build the library annex!