Main Street Square Farmers Market, Rapid City

13 May

The more serious side of the booth

My daughter Cheri (above) helped me sell an amazing quantity of pottery for a first day of market, early spring, distressingly chilly day. We arrived a few minutes after 7 am, found our parking space, and began hauling out boxes. Selling pottery isn’t like selling jewelry. Everything must be carefully packed for the journey down from the mountain, and the unsold pieces have to be rewrapped, reboxed, and repacked when it’s all over. Only the kettle corn guy remained with us as we loaded the last few boxes, carefully placing them so they couldn’t slide around in the truck bed.

And here are some of the wackier pieces. I call them ‘whimsical.”

People wandered about, laughing and talking, coming together into groups and then scattering like birds. Musicians strummed and sang and mothers commanded, “Don’t touch, now!” Alas, Cheri and I were shivering under our nice shady awning, but one can’t have everything. Sales kept us busy, and  that more than made up for the seasonal chill. The Main Street Square staff did a great job getting the word out, and the people of Rapid City responded not only in numbers but also in shoppers looking to buy. That it was the Saturday before Mothers’ Day no doubt helped a great deal, but I now have high hopes for the rest of the season.

Keeping Track of Trimmings

12 May

Don’t you just hate the way those little clay shreds fly everywhere when you trim the bottoms of your pots? My system doesn’t prevent ANY trimmings from going flying, but it does confine them to the space in front of the wheel, which as you probably know, is a lot easier to clean up.

My Trimmings Tub

After going through cardboard screens, cardboard boxes and a few other unsuccessful ideas, I finally found this large tub. I’ve had it for a long time (as you can see), and I don’t remember where I bought it — Walmart, Shop-Ko, Runnings — somewhere like that. If you try this, you need to make sure that the diameter of your tub at wheel-head height is large enough to clear the wheel-head and anything you might put on the wheel head — trimming bats, Giffon Grip, etc. My splash pan is removable. If yours isn’t, this idea probably won’t work for you. I cut the tub with a utility knife, and it slides under the wheel head and just sits there, kind of wobbly – like. 😉

The Tub in Place on the Wheel Head

The hole in front is just large enough for me to get my hands in there. Sometimes it’s a little bit confining, but I manage. It’s soooo much better than having trimmings flying out everywhere. If you only work on fairly small pots, you could also cut the tub to make it shorter, but as I often make larger pieces, I’ve left it tall.

Trimmings in the Tub

You can see how the trimmings collect around the perimeter of the tub. If you have many pots to trim, you’ll need to scoot the trimmings toward the back and tamp them down a bit. Otherwise, they’ll tend to fly out the front more than is necessary. And be sure to remove the tub carefully and regularly to empty the trimmings into your reclaim bucket. If you let the tub get too full, not only does it stop working so well, but it becomes nearly impossible to get it off without major spillage! The above picture demonstrates the tub nearly at capacity. After I snapped the photo, I emptied it.

Gearing up for Summer

11 May

Odds and Ends

I’m going to market! Market Square in Rapid City, SD is holding a weekly farmers’ market and I got invited to participate. I won’t be selling beets or bananas or beans, but if you want pottery and maybe a bit of art, stop by and say hello. The farmers’ market runs from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Hope to see you there!

Big Purple Onion

3 Mar

Big Purple Onion

My daughter came over yesterday and we each painted a version of this still life (comprised of stuff from the pantry and ‘fridge, arranged in one of my pottery bowls ) using Prismacolor colored pencils.

I didn’t get to scan hers before she left, but here’s mine. It’s on 9 x 12 Strathmore bristol vellum. I didn’t like the background as it was, so I melted it with some turpenoid, which I think has helped at least a little bit.

Choosing an Electric Kiln

23 Jul

Electric Kiln Firing

I just came across an article, “An Introduction to Electric Kilns,” on the Ceramic Arts Daily site that I think may be helpful to some of my readers. If you’re interested in pottery/ceramics, you may want to explore and/or subscribe to this site. They always have loads of interesting and helpful information.

Eared Grebe

22 May

Today I painted a picture of my friend the little eared grebe. You can see his photo on the last post. Here he is in watercolor, hot pressed paper, 6″ x 4.”

Eared Grebe

Three Aspens

21 May

I painted today in my yard! Hooray! It was supposed to rain, but it was breezy and kind of sunny once in a while. Chilly, though.  Anyway, my first plein air of the season, used my new “French” easel (made in China) and had to keep yelling at the dogs because they wanted to eat our little visiting Eared Grebe. Here he is:

Eared Grebe

I started to try to draw him, but he noticed me looking at him and wouldn’t come close. Or maybe it wasn’t me; maybe it was the dogs. He’s been here for more than a week now. The pond is very small, but he’s a very small grebe, so maybe he’ll stay a while. He must have gotten separated from his group. The bird book says they travel in huge flocks and fly as little as possible except for their migrations. He’s so cute and fluffy. I want to cuddle him, and so does my daughter, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Since my little buddy declined to pose for me, I decided to paint trees. Trees are good, reliable models and they never complain or even need a break. So, here’s what I painted today:

Three Aspens

It’s watercolor, 9 x 12″ rough pressed paper. I have recently been tempted by beautiful oil paintings and oil painting books, but I don’t have any oil paints. I have lots of acrylics and acrylic retarder medium, so maybe I’ll try something with that one day soon.

First Watercolor Portrait

14 May

I’ve been taking a watercolor class (as I think I probably mentioned in my last post). Here’s a portrait I just completed of my daughter. There are always things one would change, but I’m pretty happy with it. The saddest thing about it is she’s all grown up. (sob)


Sylvan Lake Watercolor Paintings

5 May

Sylvan Lake is a beauty spot in the central Black Hills of SD, and one of my favorite places (not that I’ve seen anything like all my potentially favorite places!) For more images of Sylvan Lake and more beautiful Western South Dakota scenery, you can visit my Journey Into the Black Hills blog. How’s that for a shameless plug?

That said, I’ve been taking a watercolor class for the last several months along with my daughter and now, my mother as well. It’s kind of a cool class in that we do pretty much what we want and the instructor wanders around, asks and answers questions, and gives tips and advice where needed. Here are a couple of paintings I’ve recently completed:

Sylvan Lake Dam, Lakeside View

This one is about 13 x 22, on Canson cold press watercolor paper from a photo I took last spring (2010) I’ve been wanting to paint this photo ever since, and have only just now gotten around to it. Yet another good reason to take a class; to make myself do the things I want to do.

Sylvan Lake Overflowing

This painting is smaller; about 8″ x 13″; again, on Canson cold press watercolor paper. From another photo taken on the same day as the one above. I really enjoyed making these paintings. Perhaps I’ll do more soon. I certainly have enough pictures on the computer to keep me busy, even if I never painted any other place. 😉

Owl Artist Trading Cards

9 Mar

Here are some cards I finished a couple of days ago for an ATC swap. They’re all watercolor with ink details.

To display the full-sized picture, just click on the image you’d like to see.

Thanks for stopping by!