The Great Fundraiser

So the day finally came.  And I was a nervous wreck.  No really.  I was quiet and reserved because my nerves were a mess.  And this is why.  Yes, it was an amazing idea.  And yes the artwork turned out beyond my wildest dreams good.  And yes, the PTA was beyond kind about the whole process.  But....what if no one bought them?  Oh geesh.

I'd brought my personal show displays for the work since I knew they'd all fit.  Around 4:30 we had the artwork all set and ready to go.  I ran home to change and grab William then back to the school I ran.  Ready to meet and greet and show off all our hard work.

As families walked out every child came running over to proudly show their parents which painting was their class'.  Most were so complimentary.  And I just beamed sharing the how we accomplished such amazing work.  I do have to say there were a few snobby Mommies in their decked out heels and make-up who turned their noses up.  I seriously wanted to punch them in their overly done faces....one even said "I have no use for a truck painting."  OMG.  Not only did ya stab me a good one, you just stabbed your own child!  Urgh....there were several of those type of comments.  I also had to remember that not everyone appreciates the same type of art I do.  I know this.  But most families did  love them.  The ones who bid were super excited to not be bidding on baskets full of A1 sauce.  Many were confused though, as to the process and how to bid.  Some were taken back at the starting bids, which we set at $50.  (Now I must interject here, we are by no means rich.  With money that is.  We have a budget for everything.  We've been down the dark road before and have NO intention of ever seeing it again.  I won't share my entire budget with you, but will tell you that we spend $150 on groceries a week, $130 on gas and we get $100 to spend eating out or on entertainment.  Last week for instance we went to Wings and Things.  It was $48.  So that meant we had $52 for the rest of the week.  And spring fling had to be a part of that money.  We also have extra in the budget for spending on things like auction items.  I had a limit for my bidding and once we hit it I had to back down.  Mailey got that.  And was fine.  Of course I can always have her class paint me one.)  Anyhoo, I share that personal information with you because $50 was not unreasonable to start the bidding on a painting that is priceless no doubt.  But I was made painfully aware that $50 was just not feasable for many families in our school.  And it broke my heart.  Because many were ones who really wanted the paintings but could not bid.  Does this make sense?
So every painting sold.  The lowest bid being $50, the highest being $300.  Gulp.  As I wrung my hands out at 9:30 Friday night my worst fear had come a teensy bit true.  Although we made money.  Let me be clear about this.  Made money.  More than the basket auctions in the past, but it still did not meet my expectations.  My expectations.  The PTA however, turned to me that night and said, let's do this again next year.  We learned a few things this year and next year it'll only be better.  So they were again being ever supportive and ever optimistic.  I love those women.
And truly in the end, yes the money was important, but more importantly these children were given an opportunity unlike any they may encounter again.  They had the opportunity to work with a real artist on a real painting to sell in a real auction.  Hey, just like Horton's little speck, our school is huge to these students and they made history that night by selling their work.

Next year, I'll be teaching here again and I am sure students will be offering many an opinion about what to paint.  We'll see about that.  I do have issues with control and doing things my way...hahaha....and expectations.  Not that I intend to lower them.  Next year I'll have this year under my belt and can be a little more realist about our outcome.  Oh and below was Mailey's class painting...the one that had the bidding war and ended up at $300.  Like I said, I can always get them to paint me one, right?

Anyhoo, I can not thank you guys ENOUGH for your support of this project.  It made the evening so much better reading your comments on FB, getting sweet texts and of course your comments.  It's always lovely when you know you are loved.  And I certainly felt it.  Puffy heart that.


Woven Together

I don't really feel like this painting needs explaining.  Just says it all with those two little words.  Woven together.  Yep.


Flying Hearts

I am really into kites right now, and hearts.  So here I combined the two thoughts.   I have a black sketchbook of silly sketches and this is one that's been percolating for a spell.  I just love the way it turned out.  These birds are just out for a day of flying their hearts.  Simple.

You know, putting your heart out there in the wind is not always easy.  But if you never do, how will you ever know if it can soar or not?  Putting this Paint Something workshop has been kind of a vulnerable thing for me.  I don't know why.  Scratch that.  I know exactly why.  Because I was afraid I'd put it out there and no one would want to come.  There said it.  But you are! And had I not put my heart out there for you to see, you'd not have come.  Just like flying a kite you've got to have a person to fly the kite and a kite to fly.  Thanks for being my persons.  :)  I am beginning to scheme big time for our weekend together.  Like goodie bags and stuff like that (teaching part is always in my head).  Wheels are spinning.  It's going to be so good!


The GRAND Fundraiser Idea

Sometimes I get grand ideas in my head.  And instead of just thinking about the ideas and keeping them to myself  I tell people about the ideas and the next thing you know I am swimming in the ideas looking for the dang foam float.  Yep.  But hopefully this idea will pay off LARGE. 

Let me back up my long story with this little tid bit for you.  Art teachers in our county at the elementary school level are paid for partially by the PTA.  Yes, you just read that right.  Our PTA has to bust tail to raise money to pay for my salary, and I think the school nurse.  May be wrong on that one, but definitely mine.  The county pays for X number of hours and the PTA has to make up for the rest to have me there the 30 hours a week I teach.  And they have to pay for all the supplies we use up at a rather swift pace.  So there's a little background for you and why, oh why I decided to tackle this insane fundraiser idea.

So the idea.   Each spring the PTA throws a super fun Spring Fling event.  You know the kind....carnival rides, silly games, cotton candy, DJ, cake walk (Oh my favorite), cokes, candy, hair spray the works!  It is a family night of total chaotic fun.  Alongside the crazy fun for the kiddos the PTA asks local businesses for donations for a silent auction and each classroom is responsible for a theme basket of goodies to silent auction as well.  And every year we buy 1-3 of these baskets.  Because I know this money goes to the good of the school (it wasn't my salary until this year).  We've bought a BBQ basket complete with enough A1 sauce to last me until the year 2020.  No lie.  One year we bought an awesome craft basket I think we're sitll using to this date.  I'm not saying the baskets were all bad, but enough was enough.  It was time for a change. 

So in January I emailed the president and said I needed to talk to the board about an idea.  Most of these moms know me, so they were very open to me coming and throwing my idea into the pot.  So here's what I proposed:
1.  instead of baskets for each class I wanted to create an original painting with each class, totally 23 paintings. 
2.  I wanted to use my art work as the inspiration for each of the 23 paintings with each grade level a different theme.  We decided as a group that the following would be the class themes: k-nest, 1st- bird cages, 2nd- long flowers, 4rd- whimsical landscapes, 4th-bikes, 5th- trucks, Special Ed-cake
3.  I wanted them to be framed in the salvage frames
4.  I wanted the PTA to buy the frames and ask the students for a small donation to defer the costs of these
5.  I wanted to get the images up on the school website at least 3 weeks ahead to get parents excited about this and get them to the event
6.  I wanted the PTA to get the Square app so we could take credit cards
7.  I wanted to do all this during my regular art time slots with the kids
8.  I wanted to be totally done by Spring Break.
9.  I wanted to make lots and lots of money
10.  I wanted them to trust me that I could indeed get #1-9 done exactly as planned.

And well, they loved the idea!!  So Phillip made the frames, and I picked them up as seen here:

 These are LARGE paintings.  Like the smallest is 20x20 inside frame.  The big skinny ones are an awesome 12x36!  Super great sizes.  My 5th grade helpers then rolled the wood canvas with black primer.

Once the black was dry I set out drawing the 23 canvases.  It was effortless getting these ideas out and onto the wood canvas.  I also started talking to the kids about the upcoming project and got them very excited!!

It took 2 weeks to finish all the paintings....I see the classes 3 times in a two week period.  (Except K and pre-K.  I did have to go to them during my planning periods.  I don't teach those grades.)  We set up a table in the back for canvas work and while the rest of the class worked quietly on another project I called about 3 kids at a time back to work with me.  And although not one person did more than the other they all felt a part of the process.

As the paintings were started we emailed the teachers what we were doing.  I have to say doing something NEW is always difficult.  I am still not 100% sure the teachers understand what we've done, and I know parents are clueless as to the amazing final products that the kids have made.  Every Thursday the PTA group wanders down and just grins at what transpired.  I think they too had some "is this really gonna work?" monsters in their heads.  But I stick to my word and do what I say I'm gonna do.  Even if it did burn me out of my own studio time!  Whew.  And we are all getting the auction bidding eyes on.....unfortunately there are 3 Mommas I know I'll have to contend with for Mailey's class painting!!  Maybe more!!
So here are some of the 23 paintings we'll have for sale Friday night.  I can not wait!!  I just know I'm gonna cry.  Because seeing the paintings all hanging is going to be an unbelieveable sight for these sore eyes!!

 The above bike is Mailey's class painting BTW.....I am really into kites these days!!!
So, I WILL be taking loads of pics of the night and let you know the sales totals.  I really hope we aren't disappointed.....I don't see how we can't make tons of money on these amazing works of art!!


A Sticky Note Post

So here's a sticky note list for you...incase you didn't already have enough on your plate already.  These are things I think you should add.  hehehee.....aren't you glad to have a friend like me?

1.  Like Jenni Horne Studios on facebook.  It's where I post the inside scoop on things like #2.
2.  Sign up for a Paint Something workshop!!  More information here.
3.  Tell your friends about #2 and bring them along.  We are going to have a FABULOUS time.  And there will be give-aways.  Cool stuff.  You know, like stuff I've made and all.  Ooo...and food.  What good Southern gal wouldn't have yummy food at her partay? 
4.  Come find me at the Dunwoody Art Festival.  It's my semi-retirement party from the circus, I mean art shows.  I may be doing some deal breaking sales.  It's Mother's Day weekend.  That's 2 weeks actually I have 3!! from now.  I am not panicking or anything of the sorts.  No really, I'm not.  I just literally unloaded the van from the last show right by the back door so all I gotta do is load and roll.  Well, pray my van starts this time.  Orange van really should be the color yellow. I think in it's previous life it was.
5.  Start following the 52 Canvases journey.  I'm 6 weeks into the project.  BTW, I am thinking I should have started backwards because it's making me feel older counting forward.  So I am 6 weeks older than when I started.  Geesh.  I thought 40 was old.  Now I'm just older.

Well, that's it for the notes.  I do hope you'll join me for the Paint Something workshops in my studio above.  I am already so thrilled with the sign-ups!!  See you back later this week.  I've got SO many paintings to share.



Alrighty.  So as well as "being there"....."kindness" is right up there on the list these days.  How about you?  What's right up there for you these days?  Patience is going to be next just so you know.


Art Shows and New Plans

I just have a few more things in regards to the show weekend....it's been an interesting week.  Monday the Acworth Festival directors sent out a survey for those of us who participated to fill out.  I didn't think a thing about it, filled it out very honestly and went about my day.  There were questions about sales totals, thoughts on the venue, thoughts on the visitors, thoughts about hotel, etc.  Basic stuff.  I didn't have anything bad to say.  I signed my name to the survey.  Well I'll be danged if by a day later we got an email from them saying they hear us, thanks for the feedback and the main concern on everyone's heart was the lack of sales.  Wow.  I mean, I didn't have stellar sales but I made some money.  But throughout the weekend I heard the rumble.  The, "this is the worst show sales ever for me" rumble.  People mad.  People not happy. 

Now, for many this is their way of living.  Their income.  Their life.  Many I've gotten to know over the years.   And their work.  And how their work has stayed the same, and their displays.   You see, with every show that rolls around I feel like I've gotta be like the Ringling Brothers and put on a new show.  A great show.  New products, new paintings, new banners, new displays.   It is......exhausting.  I think this crazy need to be over the top new is from being a retail owner.  I know as a buyer I always wanted to be wowed with new with every season.  But as an artist I need to remind myself that really what is inside me is just me.  There is not a team of designers, product developers or an endless flow of cash to create a new line behind me. 

The biggest thing I found this weekend was that many artists are desperately searching for a new way to survive.  Survive.  That's kind of a scary word for me.  I don't want to just survive.  I want to thrive.  I want to be proud what I create and know that it is authentically from my heart and hands.  I am not going to compromise my style for the times or trends.  Or reduce prices because the venue suggests it.  Heck, would you take 20% off your paycheck this week?  Because when you ask an artist this, that is exactly what it is.  This perhaps seems random and out of nowhere, but we were also asked in the email to commit to coming back next year.  And although I didn't have terrible sales and had a lovely stay I am thinking that perhaps my time in the circus is over.  Really.

One friend said she's got to find a new way to make a living, that shows were wearing her out.  I laughingly said, "I think my new life found me".  Teaching is and always has been my lifeline to a whole-hearted life.  There were a few years where I tried to wear a few too many hats and fought the teaching hat.  But honestly this weekend put a giant silver lining on my way to finding true joy.  I'm glad I decided to embrace it.  And really, really look forward to sharing my "paint something" series with you.  (there is a page tab now at the top with information).  And maybe even an online class is in the near future.  Who knows.  Without the stress of getting ready for shows there is NO telling what I'll have time for now.  Oh, and yes....I am taking a year off from shows.  I mentioned this already to a few.  But now I am telling you.  Whew.  That was easy peasy.  You'll still find me in the galleries listed in the side bar.  And at Marist in October (for selfish reasons, that's my Christmas mad money show!  and it's already paid for).  But other than that, my plan is simple.  Teach and paint.  Paint some more.  And maybe more.  It is by far my favorite medium and it's time I showed it my full attention.  

Sending great big thank you's to all of you who have come out to support my shows in the past.  I am not going away.  Just plan to be coming at you from a different angle.  It's all a part of the big picture.  So join me.....paint with me.....and maybe even attend a workshop or two!  Looking forward to this new adventure!!


Acworth Art Fest...

Show time....ahhh...there is something about getting ready for a show that exhilarates me.  Part of it is honestly because I love the feedback...yep.  Call it what you want, but everyone needs their ego glass filled every once in awhile.  Don't act like you don't.   And as an artist if you don't put yourself out there then you will never get feedback.  Never.  Now with every show there is excitement, yes.  But there is also a certain amount of fear.  Flat out fear.  Will it rain?  What if my tent blows away?(saw that Sunday, no really I did)  What if no one comes in the tent?  What if I don't SELL anything?  What if my car breaks down and don't make the show?  What if I over sleep?  What if something happens to my family while I'm gone?  What if.....yep.  There is that.  All that.  But as an artist who wants to make her living as a thriving artist, I have to learn to adapt to all the situations above and learn from mistakes.  There are expectations that sometimes are met, sometimes not.  But with every show a new experience is gained and how I react to the situations that arise, well that helps shape my character now doesn't it?  I wouldn't trade this life for any other.  Let's just say that.

So, with this rather lengthy post here's what you will find in case you decide to stop reading now and just look at pictures.  DO read the LAST PARAGRAPH.  Here's a little glimpse at the whole setting up process.  Yes, I was the fool taking pictures of my process, and honestly wishing I'd taken more from the very start of the weekend...because I don't know if you as a reader really get what being an "artist who does shows" means.  Kind of like my husband being a Representative, no one but the people in this house truly understood the time and energy it took for Billy.  Doing shows is not all glamorous or that profitable.  But when you truly love what you do with all your heart, being there and meeting even just one person who falls in love with your work makes being there worth every second you are missing not being elsewhere.  So here's how it went this weekend:

-Actually the whole process started Thursday night.  Billy helped me load the orange van.  I was beyond thankful for this because instead of pulling up to a storage unit and loading in 10 minutes, it took a good hour going up and down from the basement.  A fabulous work out no doubt!
-Friday I worked all day teaching, came home to get Billy and William off to their tournaments and get Mailey to Girl Scouts.  I then bolted home to get the last of the paintings in the van and my over night bag.  I should mention here that I'd let the van sit in the driveway since loading it.  We have 3 cars, I drive the Jeep most days.  I said a quick prayer to get me safely to the hotel and to have a lovely weekend.  Hopped in the van and I'll be danged if it didn't start.  No, seriously.  DEAD as a doornail!!!  This happens every time we leave the doors and back open for long periods of time, like loading the van for art shows and when moving.  Billy was out of cell range, Mom was at a concert, the friends I called never answered their phones(all at baseball practice), Dad is hours away and well....I just about lost it.  I was shaking.  Total freak out mode on my part.  My van was LOADED and ready to go and it was so dead!!  We couldn't even get the doors to open to put my stuff in the neighbor's van(yes, they offered their van!).  Long story short, the neighbor's helped me get the bad battery out of the van, get a new battery in and high five me on my way to Acworth.   Whew.  Needless to say I stopped once safely in Acworth at Publix for Cabernet and cookies(my favorite food group remember?).  I didn't sleep at all from anxiousness...would the van start in the am for one.  Finally I gave up.
-It's 5am Saturday morning.  I quickly got ready and ran down to the van.  I had to sit a minute to get the nerve up to start it.  I was beyond relieved when it started right up!  Whew.  Good sign, right?  A quick drive through the 24hr McDonald's for coffee and sausage biscuit and I was off for a great start!
-By 6:30am I am through the first check point and making my way to booth #79.  Checking in is always a process.  Sometimes you have to wait a spell for there to be room for your vehicle to come through.  Luckily I waited only about 15 min.  I was anxious to get started!!
-This show director is a guru with helpers and magic wands.  LOVE the Splash Festivals for this.  The helper bees are on you like Lily at our dinner table as soon as you stop at your spot.  They help unload, get your tent up and get you moving your vehicle within minutes.  It is fabulous.  Believe me, NOT all shows are like this.  I usually unload and set up said tent SOLO.  Sucks.  Not Splash though!  Woohooo!!
-As you can see, it is dark when I unloaded and moved the van to the vendor parking lot and walked the mile back to set up.  Oh and yes, my spot was sweet right behind the Wine Bar. 

 -I always map out on paper my tent set up.  I knew ahead that I had a corner spot as well.  In fact I paid a penny extra for this sweet spot.  And I will never go inside again....a corner rocks!!  First I make sure the tent is anchored down well.  VERY important.  I literally watched in awe as a tent on Sunday that was not anchored down lifted up, turned on it's side and landed backwards into the building behind it.  Stupid.  Not only can people get hurt but you can loose all your inventory quick this way.  And it was a small gust of wind.-Next I bring in the display pieces.   Having a corner spot meant I could really open the space up and create a walk through tent.   I carefully decided which side to place the right angles as well for flow.
 -I also added a double folded solid door to the display mix.  I found this one at a local salvage yard for $15!  It was perfect for all the small paintings I'd worked on for this show.  I don't usually have such a  large number of small paintings.  I have one of my wire grids set up all the time in the studio to hang work on and knew without a doubt that the small pieces would literally get lost on the open grids.  So although heavy as crap, the white panels were perfect for the job!

- Next I start the table scape.  I love the fabric and it's colors.  Makes me happy.  This time my only small items were glass pendants, bag tags, magnets and a $5 grab basket. 

-Then the sun starts to come out and I quickly realized that my set up was NOT going to work. You see, all the small paintings I had were actually encaustic....wax. Which after about 30 minutes of full sun would not get drippy but would get glistening and sticky. And prime for finger impressions since everyone wants to touch them.  So I grab a helper bee and we quickly re-arrange the tent so I don't have that stress to worry about!

-Everything gets tied down with zip ties.  Like everything.  I have a love affair with zip ties during shows. 

 -The set-up ended up even better this way.  And all the waxy goodness stayed cool in the shade the whole show!
-My super fun outfit for the day waiting to get put on.  I don't like to set up ready.  I also know that at Splash Festivals there is a sweet hospitality area where I can safely change.  By safely I mean no porta potty possible incidents....YUCK!

 -By 10am the magic was done, I was dressed for the show and ready to sell!! 
 -I love all the frontage being on the corner.  The new paintings just Pop and scream happy art in here!!
 -I made a new banner of course featuring parts of the new work in the tent. A little teaser to get some who are "window shoppers" to come in.   And since I've decided to focus on painting, not jewelry for these shows, the old banner had to go.  I don't want to feature what I don't have, right??  These are just $9.99 at Wolf Camera too in case you are wondering how I afford to change them out every show!  I made the fabric part permanent with the 12x36 banner an easy peasy changeable paper banner.
 -I kind of extended my space a bit and put the tees on a cute orange stand at the back outside corner of the booth.  They sold like little hot cakes there!
 -And by 10am the crowds were beginning to trickle into the show!  Look at the tent city.  Isn't that the coolest site?  I love to look down the tent tunnel when the crowds are like a school of salmon.  Such a wonderful feeling.  Anticipation for what is going to be said of your work....is indescribable.
 My bike dress was a huge hit!  I am super glad Joy spied it for me at Anthropology that night!  Overall the Acworth experience was good.  There was a constant flow of patrons.  And several paintings, framed tiles and tees found their way to new homes!!  Wooohoooo!!  I was of course tickled to be by my artsy peep Joyanne of Joya Jewelry.  I also got to see so many old art friends.  And make amazing new ones! 

We had a 2 hour dinner Saturday night discussing the state of our careers and the steps to take next.  It's so energizing.  You'd think I'd be beat like rug today but I'm not.  I've instead got this huge sense of accomplishment and pride in the work I am doing right now.  Teaching is definitely helping to foster the organizing of my life.  And also forcing me to make some decisions about the directions to take the future of Jenni Horne Studios.  Especially after one patron said this about my work; "whimsical" (I kind of put that word in her mouth because she was fumbling for a word)...she continued to say, "yes whimsical, but there is such sophistication in your use of color and placement of the subjects".  Wowsa....thanks for noticing.  And I can not tell you how many asked when....WHEN are you going to offer those workshops in your new studio??  Well.  Soon.  Very.  I'm ready now.  Crazy.  But you have to be ready to let go of that part of yourself.  To share the intimate place you create your work.  Where you make dreams come true for yourself.  I am ready to open that up now.  This weekend just confirmed it for me.  Yeah!  So the first one will be in June...I'll be offering weekday and weekend workshops.  Still working on exact dates and pricing.  I can't take too many so be sure to kept checking facebook and here for details!

I'm ever thankful for you being here with me in this journey.  Even if you didn't make the show I know you were sending me good thoughts.  I felt them....no I'm not a whack-a-noodle.  I just did.  This show was not the top sales event of the year, but there was something else there this weekend.  Not sure exactly what yet, but am sure it will be revealed soon! 


Be There

Are you?  Just sayin'...may want to think about it.  And then think again.  Because while at the lake it's all I thought about.   When life spins out of control.  I think about it the most.  Being there.  When needed the most.  Am I?  

And then I calm down and start creating again.  Because here seems to where I am truly myself.  I am here.  Promise.  And thanks for being right here with me.  Puffy heart that.


Weekend Plans Anyone?

This is one busy weekend for the Horne family.  Crazy how everything falls on one weekend, right? Well...come to think about it everything falls every weekend for us come Spring!  William and Billy will be attending the State 4H BB Gun tournament Friday and Saturday.  I am officially William's coach, like pictured below....but you'll see why Billy had to pinch hit for me in a second.
Then they will drive like mad men to get William to Lagrange for day two of a baseball tournament.  Yep.  He's missing all the games on Saturday to shoot BB guns.    We have the coolest hobbies.  I am being serious. 
 In the meantime, Mailey Grace is hanging with her Nana to do Girl Scouts Friday night and a Saturday walk about collecting for the local pet shelter.  Working on that Bronze award!!  Dang she is cute in that uniform.
This one is headed to Happy Times.  Literally.  It's called that and it is that for her.  She LOVES her camp weekends.  Like comes home so bezerk telling us all about it love.   The cats are on their own for the weekend.  I am thinking they are going to be doing their own happy dance to have us humans and that dog out of the lair.  (oh and photoed with Lily is Roo.  he'll be at Nana's too)
And then there's me.  Momma bear.  Who is so beyond excited to be headed to a new Art Show!!!!

Yep.. Show time guys!!  Come on out this weekend to Acworth, Georgia for the first ever art festival in their community.  Acworth Art Fest!!!!!  Very exciting.  Very.  I am going Solo, although many artsy peeps are in the show as well.  I'm staying in a hotel.  Oh geesh.  A hotel.  By myself.  Dear goodness I can not wait.  I've not had a night to myself in so long I am hoping I actually wake up in time to set up!  (that would be 5am guys....did you know that?)

I hope to get to see you here!!  I love to meet blog readers.....oh yeah!  Woohooo..selling art.  Making friends.  It's gonna be great!  Especially if I sell lots of ART!
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