Archive for the “Reports” Category

Folks – here’s the latest on this. I emailed Mr. Gervais (he’d sent me an email thanking me for my original blog post) with:

Dear Christopher,
You might want to check on the responses to my blog entry about your magazine – there are some people who do not feel they have been dealt with fairly.

Since I’m a businessperson myself, I always like to make sure that I know how my clients and colleagues feel – and I like to do everything in my power to make things right, if there’s an issue.

Best regards,
Julie T. Chapman

This was his response:

Dear Julie:

I have not spoken to any of these people that have written on your blog. So the fact is not one has called and engaged in a conversation to me or my “Interns” since I have no intern. No such person called on Monday by the name of Lori Lemanski.

I will remind that you are legally responsible for any information that is posted on your website (as you are the owner) that is false. I have enough attorneys to consult on this matter. I will not permit false and misleading information to be spread about the magazine.

If your groupies want to be critical, do so to the former Wildlife Art that took everyone money when the ceased operations.

Western & Wildlife Art Magazine
The International Journal of Western, Wildlife Art & Conservation
Christopher J. Gervais, Editor & Publisher

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My prior post led me to reflect a bit on my own artist residency experiences, to which I will now subject all of you.

In 2002, I spent 2 weeks in early June in Rocky Mountain National Park as an AiR (Artist in Residence). It was wonderful! There’s an historic old cabin built of stone and logs, circa 1860s, inside the park for AiRs…big wood-floored great room, a huge covered porch outside where we sat every day and watched the elk grazing in the big meadow across the road from us. We rescued a hummingbird from inside the cabin (it was flying against that big window), watched storms roll in, and were amused by a ground squirrel that attempted to climb up on our snack table – while we were sitting there! – on the front porch.

RMNP AiR cabin inside

RMNP AiR cabin porch

We spent each day as I do in Yellowstone: driving the park roads, taking gazillions of photos. RMNP requires AiRs to give a lecture each week to park visitors (mine was “How I finally got to paint bears”, or something like that), and that the artist donate a piece of work. I painted my first, and so far only, pika piece and gave that to the park. I had great luck getting photos of elk, moose, pikas, and marmots (among other things).

Bottom line: lodging provided, artist pays own travel and food, gives lectures, donates work. A fabulous experience, and RMNP has plenty of applicants each year.

In January 2008 I spent a week at the National Museum of Wildlife Art as an AiR. The museum does two residencies each year: a very short winter one and a month-long summer one. I can’t imagine being away from my studio and business for a month, so I applied for winter. The residencies are open to artists who are either in the museum’s collection or are participants in the annual Western Visions show (only the latter for me). The artist is required to be at the museum 10 AM – 3 PM each day demonstrating, and willing to talk to the public; I worked on a bighorn piece during my time there. Early each morning I was out in Grand Teton taking photos of the gorgeous deep winter scenery, and I’d cruise around again in the late afternoons.

The museum also asks that the artist give a lecture in Jackson Hole High School, which I did, and give a docent lecture. This latter was especially fun – it was a chance to get the docents acquainted with my work and what inspires me, and then we went back into the galleries and I picked out some pieces of Bob Kuhn’s to discuss.

Bottom line: The museum pays travel and food costs, lodges the artist with a museum benefactor, and provides a stipend. You need to be comfortable with constant interruption, repeatedly answering the same questions from visitors, and working under a microscope. The museum staff are incredibly kind and supportive of the AiRs. I stayed in the guest apartment of some collectors of mine who are also museum supporters – the apartment was exquisitely done and luxurious in the extreme. It was like being a rock star for a week!


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Sandra Blair, a wildlife watercolor artist and a prior participant in my workshops, recently spent a month as an artist-in-residence at the Montana Artists Refuge in Basin, Montana. I asked her to share her experiences with all of you.

The residency experience at the Montana Artists Refuge was absolutely incredible. I wondered if I would be able to focus on painting on a daily basis for a full month…would I get bored?…would I be lazy? But I found it quite easy to just paint and paint and paint! I was housed in an efficiency apartment so my work was setup on a long folding table right in the apartment. Great big windows with north light! (My first experience with north light and it is addictive!) I’d get up, have breakfast then paint…take a lunch break then paint…eat dinner then paint…read a little then go to sleep. I stayed focused and in the zone so I accomplished so much more than when I can only paint two days a week. I know this will make you crazy just thinking about it (I can just see you rolling your eyes), but I finished one painting (14 x 22”) in three weeks and have the background completed on another. That’s fast for me!



Basin Montana is definitely NOT a hot-spot! Tiny, tiny, tiny!!!! Town is about 5 blocks long, no stores, businesses or gas stations…just a bar (of course) with an attached café and a pizza joint. Certainly nothing to distract an artist from their work!

Sandra’s work is very detailed and time-intensive, so this was a wonderful chance for her to do nothing but art for a month.

You can see more of her work at her website. To learn more about the Montana Artists Refuge, visit their website:

I’ll share some of my own A-i-R experiences in a post in the near future (at least, if anyone’s interested).


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This report comes from Susan Fox, who – along with many other artists – had planned to participate in this show, which was to be hung at the Cow Palace (Bay Area, CA).

It would appear that the organizers of the show were either delusional or deliberately dishonest. The show was actually held, but show artists have had problems with:

  • Getting their artwork returned
  • Dirty or damaged artwork when it is returned
  • Art not in original packing (some have lost expensive Airfloat boxes)

…among other issues. Susan has more on her blog. In the meantime, stay very far away from:

  • Grand National Artist’s Society
  • Santa Barbara Fiesta (contact the organizers for current info on who is running the show)

If you were involved in any of these, or know an artist who was, be sure to email this person.


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In the vein of stuff that might possibly be useful to someone else: reports from some recent shows. First up, Kelly Singleton talks about her first outing at SEWE (the Southeastern Wildlife Expo) a few weeks ago, Feb 2008:

My experience at SEWE was apparently typical of the first-timer there – hardly any sales. This year in particular was bad for everyone – sales were down for everybody. Even John Seerey-Lester I was told sold none. He was overheard saying that he’s not coming back. The economy was mostly being blamed for the dismal sales. I sold one painting, on the very last day of the show, and that was to a collector of mine. I talked to many of my artist friends that had shown at SEWE before, and they all told me that they had terrible first showings there. They all encouraged me to come back next year though, that once you get the first time under your belt, it should be better. From what I gathered, it seems that the people that attend SEWE do not take the artists seriously until they’ve been there a few years. I heard the same thing about the Waterfowl Festival in MD. I was told SEWE’s featured artist this year, Peggy Watkins, even sold nothing her first year; second year she came back and nearly sold out; third year they invited her as the featured artist and she did extremely well.

I noticed that pencil work and loose painterly work was what was selling. Detailed work was not moving at all . . . There was also a lot of work for the viewers to take in, over one hundred artists, I don’t know if this necessarily helped matters.

I should say the show was very well run by its staff/organizers. And the PR was excellent; it was well advertised and promoted. This is a huge event in Charleston and the amount of people the show attracts is incredible – something like 40,000?

Thank you Kelly for sharing these thoughts and experiences!

I attended the Peppertree (Santa Ynez, CA – near Santa Barbara) last November. That was my second time to the show; I’d previously attended in May 2006, I think. At the prior show, I sold one piece; this time, I sold none, despite having what I thought were some very good paintings there (of course, I’m hardly objective). What did seem to sell: more traditional things (nothing with the kind of contemporary edge I lean towards), especially with horses and kids; and work that I, being the total art snob I am, would call kinda gimmicky – paintings on stone, or over-the-top giant black walnut animal carvings (things 6 and 10 feet high). About 20% of the work sold – a statistically rigorous survey based on walking around counting up red dots – which is not a high enough percentage to entice me back. So the trip was a tax writeoff; given that it was snowing in Montana, and 75 in Santa Barbara, we made the best of it.


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