The girls recently came back from their art exhibit, Art for Animals at the North Hills Art Center, and I’m just getting a recent painting of Mimi, “Mimi’s Little Visitor,” ready to go to the center’s member’s show, opening next week, along with a couple of non-feline paintings.
It’s been a busy year for art exhibits for me, the first time in many years I’ve submitted artwork to exhibits. Most were virtual but those at the North Hills Art Center hung the art in their gallery with Covid-safe openings and gallery visits. It’s been very exciting to re-enter this part of my life.
Ironically, the emergence of virtual art exhibits was the perfect way for me to re-enter the exhibit circuit, a part of my art life that was critical years ago as I built my reputation as an artist. I constantly entered art into events and won quite a few awards too, which bolstered my confidence and which I’ve missed in the years I couldn’t participate. The painting of Namir that’s the identity of this site won an honorable mention way back then, when feline artwork wasn’t always respected.
Dating back 20 years, when medical issues with my mother and brother began to take more and more unexpected time, participating in exhibits was one thing I regretfully let go of, not being able to meet deadlines to complete artwork, or artwork dropoffs and pickups before and after exhibits. I thought I’d just have to take a year or two off and maintained my memberships and communications with the art organizations I had joined because I loved being able to talk shop with other artists, at least, and participated in exhibits here and there where I had a backup who could transport my art when I couldn’t. In time, even finances prevented me; I get the impression people think shows are free, but exhibits are how organizations and galleries fund their business, so you pay dues for membership, or you pay a gallery to host you, and then you pay entry fees to the exhibit and often for each piece that’s entered. Many shows are juried for entries and not all your entries, in fact sometimes none of them, are accepted into the exhibit. If the show isn’t local, you need to transport your work a distance or ship it, and arrange for return shipping. A percentage of any sales goes to the organization or the gallery. All that sounds like a lot of trouble and money, but it’s how you get your artwork out in front of people, and as I say about entering contests generally, it’s also how you increase the value of your work.
At the end of 2020 I entered a regional art exhibit that featured “Pennsylvania Winter” and would be virtual, and I was hooked. I used a portion of my pandemic unemployment last year and this to finance my reentry into the art exhibit world. As a bonus, I could enter art that had been sold—typically you can only enter unsold art because the gallery or organization also has an interest in their percentage from a sale, but in all the exhibits I could enter work I’d sold, and even art I’d shipped to a customer if the exhibit was virtual only. In January I entered my painting “Studio Morning Shift” into an exhibit at the North Hills Art Center to benefit Hello Neighbor, an organization that helps resettle refugee families in the Pittsburgh area, with the theme of “home,” along with two non-feline paintings. “Studio Morning Shift” won an Honorable Mention.
In March I entered paintings and photos of various genre into two back-to-back exhibits through the 2021 Westmoreland Art Nationals, the Westmoreland County Community College Exhibit and the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival, including my new painting of Mariposa, “Bath Interrupted” which was accepted into both, while only one other painting was accepted into one of the exhibits! This year both exhibits were entirely virtual or I would have had to transport the paintings about 50 miles to the exhibit space. Each exhibit was juried separately, and that means an individual or team determines which pieces will be in each exhibit. To give you an idea what that means, I entered eight pieces—four paintings, four photos—kind of excessive, but it’s been years since I had the chance to enter an exhibit and I went all out with what I’d produced in the past three years, as directed by the show prospectus. Only two were accepted into one exhibit and one in the other. The first exhibit is the Westmoreland County Community College exhibit, and you can see all 159 pieces of artwork, including paintings, photos, sculptures, woodworking, and more, on their Facebook page.
Yes, it’s my little butterfly Mariposa giving me that “I’ve so got you wrapped around my fluffy tail” expression as she pauses in her toilette to pose for yet another photo.
In June I entered three paintings and three photos into the Images 2021 juried fine art exhibition of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts including “Chocolate Bath,” which I’d always wanted to enter into a general art exhibition and at that point still could, though it is sold and shipped to the customer, and at the end of the three-year span of time required by most exhibits. None of the other works were accepted, but “Chocolate Bath” was.
One of my goals for this year was more new artwork, and I’m happy to have two cat paintings done, though I had planned others. Both are themes I’ve been wanting to pursue for years but never really had the time for all the detail. And I still have several months to go!
Where to find this artwork
Each of the images in this post links to more information about each here on The Creative Cat. Links in those posts will take you to product posts for the artwork and gift items that can be found on www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!