Monday, November 16, 2015

Art of the Carolinas

I got a call a couple of weeks ago from an artist friend here in town, asking me if I'd be willing to be the pastel demo artist for Art of the Carolinas, the annual art expo hosted by Jerry's Artarama. As I always take my vacation during AOC, I was already off work that week so agreed to do it. Once the date grew closer, I began to get quite nervous - What was I going to paint for the demo? Would I be able to answer questions about process and materials satisfactorily? Am I good enough to even be doing this??

Before I knew it, Friday morning had arrived and I was at the Hilton setting up my booth. For that first day, my booth mate was a very experienced painter, Dick Ensing, so I was initially a bit intimidated and worried about my serious lack of experience at less than three years painting compared to his lifetime as an artist. Dick was very friendly and engaging, however, so I soon relaxed, and the fact he was demoing oil paints gave me something interesting to watch during my less busy periods too. Being the first day of the expo, Fridays are always a madhouse and this year was no exception. This turned out to be a good thing, though, as I was too busy to worry about much of anything other than talking to people about art and doing a little painting as well. My first demo was a 9 x 12 soft pastel.
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - One Touch of Nature - soft pastels on Sennelier La Carte Pastel Card 9" x 12"
Throughout the day, I got to talk with so many interesting people, along with a lot of my artist friends who were kind enough to stop by my booth during their shopping, and it was a blast watching people try pastels for the first time. I think many folks had no idea how much fun this medium is until they tried it, and it was wonderful seeing those big smiles break across their faces as they played with the soft pastels and the oil pastels - and more than a few headed straight over to buy their own starter sets of pastels and surfaces!

Saturday was a little slower, and I was delighted to see some of the same people stop back by my booth to let me know they had either taken a pastel workshop or signed up for one, and were having loads of fun. I enjoyed talking with more new folks as well as having additional artist friends come by and visit, and managed to turn out three mini demos Saturday. My booth mate for Saturday and Sunday was one of the regular staff at Jerry's who has helped me with my shopping in the store many times prior, Greg Halloran. Greg was demoing oil paints and created some very intriguing paintings with the help of any visitors to the booth he could persuade to pick up a brush and join him!

After the two long days on Friday and Saturday, Sunday was a little shorter and quite a bit less busy, so I actually had time to do a little shopping of my own, picking up some pastel paper and several frames during my break. But I still got another mini demo done, and even had a pencil artist stop by who had never tried oil pastels but wanted to see if he could do a painting with them. He ended up painting a lovely little snow scene which I had him sign and take home to keep. I don't have a picture of that one, but I did put four of the little minis I did over the weekend on my easel all together for a "group photo".
© 2015 Tammy Kaufman - Clockwise from top left: Quietude, oil pastels on Ampersand Gessobord; Listening, oil pastels on Richeson Premium; Melodious Thoughts, soft pastels on Richeson Premium; The True Nature of Things, soft pastels on Richeson Premium - all 5" x 7"
It was an honor to be part of Art of the Carolinas as a demo artist, and I am forever grateful to Kimberlee Maselli, Ophelia Staton, Sharon DiGiulio and everyone else responsible whose name I may have missed, for providing me this opportunity. I'd also like to extend my gratitude to Jerry's Artarama as well as their vendors who make the event such a success year after year.

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