Monday, October 4, 2010

my birthday weekend roundup

Last Friday, October 1, I had my official solo show at King Street Coffee in Leesburg, Virginia. It turned out to be a beautiful, cool and sunny evening, and lots of people showed up that night, as the October First Friday Gallery Walk was in full swing.

Before the festivities had begun, I had managed to set up shop at one of the little tables at King Street Coffee. There I could sketch and draw and sell books and prints and talk to folks. From around 6PM until 7PM it was a bit slow going, then from around 7:30 until 8:30, things were moving full steam ahead. By night's end I sold two original pieces, some books, most of my prints, and got to talk with lots of wonderful people who gave me some real genuine, positive feedback. I had many great and interesting conversations too, so I didn't get much drawing done at all Friday evening!

Above, I decided to go with the advice of my wife Kris, as well as artist Pixo, who both kindly suggested I should try to install some kind of black or white backing paper in my Float Frames, so my art wouldn't get as lost in the walls. Unfortunately I waited until last minute and rushed on over to the coffee house around 3:30 PM, Friday, already exhausted from a week of teaching little ones, and installed some nice, thick watercolor paper. Luckily I had it all precut to the proper size! This turned out to be a wise move, and despite the poor photos you see here, my work looks so much better with the white paper behind it.

My pal and art teacher colleague and all around superb showman Gary Rudinsky kindly agreed to drop on by and play at King Street Coffee Friday night. In addition to being an excellent musician, Gary is an amazing artist as well. He ended up attracting quite a crowd up there that evening, and according to Kimberly, the shop's manager, Gary has been stopping by almost every day for his morning java fix.

One of the first to show up at my opening was my friend and fellow artist Matt Dembicki, with his wife Carol and two boys Adam and Roman. I don't get to see Matt much at all, even though he lives less than an hour's drive away. Life gets in the way I guess, but it was so great to talk with him and Carol some Friday night. Matt claims I'm the best wildlife illustrator he knows, but I beg to differ. If anyone has seen his Xoc and Mr. Big books, I think they'll know what I'm talking about. His son Adam is pretty deadly with the crayon as well, and has his own little book out currently, called "Ant Army". He had a blast knocking out some art of his own at the coffee house's old school desk. (* note: both photos above, courtesy Matt and Carol Dembicki)

The one thing missing from my art opening was my wife Kris, who had been working waaay too much and was not feeling too well all last week. I took her to the doctor's last Thursday and the doctor demanded she take off work for at least a few days and stay home and rest. She felt so bad she couldn't make it, but I was happy she was able to stay home and get some serious rest & relaxation. However, she did manage to make the most awesome chocolate cupcakes for my birthday and for the art show. They were vegan, but you would have never known by the taste of it. I told her, she needs to quit her jobs and open her own bakery. The good news is, she put in her two weeks notice at one of her jobs this morning!

After a Saturday of rest, Kris insisted on treating me out to one of my favorite local restaurants, Sunflower, in Falls Church, VA yesterday afternoon, for my 38th birthday. Our original plan was to visit the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, but I was hoping we'd just stay home and relax some. Still, I couldn't turn down a trip to the best vegetarian restaurant in the area. Heck no! Yes, it was a truly dreary day, but the good food made up for all that drama. Above is the Japanese-style kabob, the "fried chicken" and some delicious desert, all compliments of Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia.

For my birthday, Kris managed to snag me a copy of the limited edition book by one of my all time favorite artists, Josh Keyes, entitled "Sprout", based on his exhibition of the same name. What a beautiful book it is, and it came with a gorgeous signed and numbered print as well. Please check out Josh's work when you can. He's got a new solo show goin' on called "Collision" at the David B. Smith Gallery in November, 2010.

In the meantime, I had a book and a couple of prints left from my solo show at King Street Coffee that I'd like to give away as a means of saying "thanks" to folks who spend some time with my little place in cyberspace. I made the book and prints through Arts Cow, and they're gorgeous. I already had a giveaway at my show, so now it's time for one at my blog. How about the first to drop me a line at this post wins - that simple. I'll get an address I can send it to for you afterwards, and the book and two prints are yours, signed by yours truly. In the meantime, I want to thank all the people who came by to give me support last Friday night - friends and colleagues and folks who had a kind word, good questions and comments and talked with me and simply hung out, and to all those who bought my art - it means a ton to me. I seriously wish I had a chance to take more photos. In the meantime, thank you all!