Well, I’m home and starting to catch up on sleep from Fall Arts Festival in Jackson Hole. This is my mega-networking-socializing blowout each year – boozing, schmoozing, and precious little sleep.

The economic downturn does seem to be affecting gallery sales a bit, but it’s uneven. The crowd, and bidding, at the Quickdraw were large and enthusiastic, and many things went for above retail (including mine, whew). The JH Art Auction, which took place on Saturday afternoon and included a lot of deceased art, did fairly well (from the one update I heard mid-afternoon), with the biggies going for big prices (eg, Howard Terpning’s piece selling for $750K). However, the Western Visions show at the museum didn’t sell as many pieces as usual (again, hearsay).

Fall Arts is an invaluable opportunity to yak with other artists about business – I encourage anyone who is working in western/wildlife representational, and serious about her career, to come to JH at this time of year to hang out with the many well-known artists and ask questions.

OK, enough about “I brushed my teeth last week” and on to the Big Commission (B.C.).

Last winter, an oil exec saw my work in Legacy Gallery (thank you, Legacy!) and contacted me about a commission of his barrel-racing daughters. I followed up, didn’t hear from him, forgot about it. He called me again in June to ask about dates when I could come visit, I followed up, didn’t hear from him, forgot about it. (There’s a lesson I could stand to learn here about being persistent in my follow-up…a true salesperson would probably cringe at my lack of follow-through!).

He called again in late August and wanted me to come visit within a week due to the departure of one of the daughters for college; fortunately, my calendar could be cleared, so after he sent an airline ticket I headed off to his beautiful ranch in the northern Rockies (useful tip: always have a valid passport on hand!). Movies have been filmed at his ranch, and in fact a movie crew was setting up while I was there. I spent several days photographing the daughters on their horses, both at the spectacular ranch and at a high-school rodeo, and came home with 800 or so photos to work from. The daughters were all slender and gorgeous and looked great on their horses.

While at his ranch, I had the entire top floor of a breathtakingly remodeled barn to myself – bar, kitchen with acres of granite, sauna, hot tub, etc. And a limo driver who chauffeured me to and from the ranch/airport (60 miles each way). Sometimes, you gotta suffer for your art.

Bar N.jpg

Next installment: negotiating the deal and first sketches.

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7 Responses to “Fall Arts & Commissions…”
  1. larry jewett says:

    Last winter, an oil exec saw my work in Legacy Gallery (thank you, Legacy!) and contacted me about a commission of his barrel-racing daughters.

    You gotta ride (and paint) quick if you are going to keep up with those oil barrels (and their price).

    BTW, you forgot to change the name on that image. Or perhaps it is a diversion to lead us astray? (or is it “artsy”?) :)

  2. larry jewett says:

    BTW. When I was a kid, we used to have “coffee-can races” with our bikes.

    Oil barrels were simply not within my means (still aren’t).

    Sure, oil was a lot less per barrel (I won’t say how much less), but i was only getting about 50 cents allowance per week too.

  3. larry jewett says:

    Life is rough for some starving artists. yes indeed.

    I don’t know how you managed to survive the experience.

    I just hope (for your sake) that you don’t have to go through it again. (You can send me next time)

  4. Tania says:

    Pardon me while I pick myself up off the floor… all that drool made my chair very slippery.

  5. Suzanne Ellis says:

    You go girl, congratulations.

    What do the horses look like?

  6. Julie Chapman says:

    Larry, Tania – LOL. This is my first time with an experience of this sort! I know this kind of thing does happen for other artists – but I was pretty wow’d by it all. Suzanne, they had a variety of QHs in chestnut and bay – no paints or anything unusual. As part of the weekend, I accompanied the family to a high school rodeo an hour’s drive away, which was highly entertaining. Like HS rodeos here, it’s very informal and very supportive of the youngsters. Unlike a pro rodeo, where the team ropers burst out of their chutes and have the steer lined out within 10 seconds (so you gotta be fast on the shutter button), the HS team ropers may gallop around the arena several times trying to get the ornery cow to cooperate, and there are loads of photo opps.

  7. Suzanne Ellis says:

    I was hoping you would say there was a white horse. No one paints white better than you.

    Enjoy – you deserve it. It is about time a woman artist is appreciated – yay.

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