Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Event Review: Bast Brother's Spring Festival

This past Saturday I participated in the Bast Brothers Garden Center's Spring Festival. It was a beautiful day with the best weather you could hope for in April! I wanted to have ample time to setup so I arrived around 6:30AM and began unloading my truck. I setup my Pro Panels and print bins then was able to start unloading my inventory before needing to park.

Since I practiced my setup at home in my garage, it was breeze to hang up the metal and framed prints. I referenced pictures I took from my practice run. I was really glad that I took the time to figure out where everything would go because I feel like that is one of the most difficult parts!

Before the event started I had some time to walk around inside the greenhouse and met some really great vendors. Marion of KakeMi 90 Second Cake was so sweet and we talked about ideas of how to enhance her setup and new products ideas. I also talked with Kristin of Milkmaid Paperie about her awesome products and how important a story is for customers to connect with our artwork.

The event was very well attended! There was a constant flow of people throughout the greenhouse the entire day. I met a lot of great people who have not seen my work before and had conversations about custom paintings or products. I look forward to bringing those ideas to life!

Since I was doing the event solo, I didn't have time to walk around but I was lucky to have a couple of friends stop by to allow me a break to go to the bathroom, which was greatly appreciated! Below are some pictures from my practice as well as the day of the event. Enjoy!

Practice Setup

Practice Setup

Practice Setup

Practice Setup

Monday, April 16, 2018


I have some great news! Two of my paintings were accepted into the Riverfront Renaissance Center of the Arts exhibition titled AgriCULTURE: Celebrate the Garden State with Art. When entering it was really difficult to only choose two paintings to submit. As most of you know, the main source of inspiration for my paintings comes from the agricultural landscapes of southern New Jersey. I am so honored to be apart of this show and to see the other artwork featured. Below are the two paintings I submitted.

 The opening reception is this Friday, April 20th from 6-9PM at RRCA 
22 North High Street Millville, NJ 08332.

"Distant Vista on Shirley Road" - Acrylics on Gessobord - 11" x 14" by Kimberly English © 2017

"Autumn in Daretown" - Acrylics on Gessoboard - 5" x 7" by Kimberly English © 2017

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

ArtC: South Jersey Arts Panel Discussion

This week I had the privilege to attend the ArtC Panel Discussion at the beautiful Eagle Theatre in Hammonton, NJ. The event was organized by Bill Horin as an opportunity for the South Jersey artistic community to come together and identify challenges as well discuss ways to improve visibility of the arts in our area. Attendees included: visual and performing artists, galleries, profit and nonprofit organizations.

The night was structured into two 45 minutes panel discussions with various panelists answering previously submitted questions. To read about the panelists who were in attendance, please see the image below. Some questions were specific to the panelist's art form or organization and how artists can find opportunities.

Excerpt from ArtC Pamphlet

In the first panel discussion, I really enjoyed Paul Herron's talk about the 3 different types of artists and ways in which to be successful. The most important aspect of being an artist is knowing how to brand and market yourself. He stated that people who purchase art, invest in the artist and to "Appreciate yourself as visionary" which was very inspiring.

The perspective of Katherine Stanek, owner of the Stanek Gallery in Philadelphia, was also very interesting. She discussed why she opened an art gallery when most are closing their doors. She also explained, in great detail, the reasoning behind the commissions that galleries charge. This was very insightful, especially because Stanek is both an artist and gallery owner.

One of the most sought after panelist during the first discussion was Allison Tratner, the interim Executive Director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. One of the most important topics of the evening was obtaining more funding for the arts in South Jersey and having more representation. Allison did an excellent job explaining the funding the state receives and how it is allocated. I learned there is a provision that 25% of the 16 million dollar budget must be available to South Jersey organizations and nonprofits. She also encouraged attendees to sign up for the email list to be notified of art opportunities.

During the brief intermission, I introduced myself to Allison. I invited her and her colleagues from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to come to the Salem County Arts in Bloom Studio Tour to experience the art happening in our county. I provided her with brochures and explained the different activities and offerings that will be happening during that weekend. I hope to see some representatives from Trenton!

The second panel consisted mostly of fine and performing artists who work and reside in South Jersey. They discussed the challenges that artists face and different ways to find opportunities. Joanie San Chirico explained public art projects and ways to find them. Gwenn Liberty Seemel is an artist and blogger who talked about Patreon, a site that allows an artist's followers to fund their work. An interesting concept for artists seeking financial endorsement from their patrons.

My favorite panelist from the second session was Tyrone Hart, a self taught artist from Atlantic City. He encouraged attendees to observe and pay attention to details in order to be successful. I really enjoyed how he explained the ebb and flow of an art business. To make his point, he stated that most of the time artists will eat oatmeal and on occasion they will eat steak.

I am really fortunate that I was able to attend this important discussion about the arts in South Jersey. A lot of information was provided and exchanged during the evening which definitely was a motivational experience. If you'd like to view the entire interview, please click here.

Photos by Steve Jasiecki/ArtC
I'm on right, third row back in the mint green shirt

Photos by Steve Jasiecki/ArtC

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Problems With Painting Parties and How I Intend to Address Them

Chances are you've seen them or participated in one: painting parties. A social phenomenon that has swept the nation and social media with group pictures of finished projects.

Years ago while I was a tenured art teacher, I would search the internet to see what other art educators were doing in their classrooms and somehow through the tangled web of the internet came across studios offering these, then unheard of to the east coast, painting parties. After doing some further research, I realized that there were not many, if any, places offering them around the Tri-State Region. I thought it would be a great idea to offer them after school hours, but let's face it, as a teacher there were not many hours left in the day.

Fast forward to when I resigned from public school teaching to stay home to care for our daughter: I started my own art business and after some demand, began offering painting parties. I have met some wonderful people and shared many laughs through painting parties! I believe they are a great way to engage people in the creative process through an approachable format. However, as an art educator and professional painter, I have found some problems with painting parties:

EVERYONE is offering them as a service
Like some sort of sorcery, people are coming out of the woodworks as, ahem, "art teachers", and jumping on the bandwagon of offering painting parties because of the overwhelming demand for this social phenomenon.

It's not enough time
During these two or three hour workshops, I have found that it is not enough time for participants to learn and implement new techniques. Most of the time I have to abbreviate a certain type of painting technique to fit it into the time allowed for the workshop. While some students who have painted with me for a while can be more independent and creative, newer participants don't have the experience or confidence.

They are creating a need for more in-depth instruction
This is actually a great problem for me! A lot of my regular adult workshop participants have been asking for more in-depth instructions on painting and other artistic subjects like drawing and photography, just to name a couple. Which got me to thinking: If they are asking to learn more than just replicating a painting, there has to be more out there that want to do the same. Right? As a certified art teacher with experience teaching vast mediums and age ranges, I'm totally up for expanding people's knowledge in the art world!

In order to address these issues, I will be offering more in-depth painting classes for those interested in investing the time and effort it takes to truly learn how to paint. It will be structured as a small group lesson where students will be painting images of their choosing. I will guide the group both collectively and independently to a successful completion of an acrylic painting.

For more information and to sign up to be notified when I will be offering these painting classes, please click here