Sunday, February 28, 2016


So, yesterday was the horse expo.
After spending every spare moment I've had working on my illustrations and my altered photography,
I was finally ready.
I was right up to the wire.
Friday morning I set my alarm for 4:30 am, so that I could do the final coat of sealer on the last batch of work and give them enough time to dry.
I had extra prints that I had thought to sell but decided at the last minute not to take them.
I figured that it might not be a good idea to give people a cheaper option to buy.
It would also cause me to have to deal with giving out "change".
I had signed up on Paypal to get a "reader" that plugs into my phone so I would be able to swipe debit/credit cards. The first reader is free and they only charge a minimal fee if you swipe a card and in this day and age when hardly anyone carries cash I thought it would be a good idea. Unfortunately it hadn't arrived by Friday but my friend who is the organizer of the vendors had one she wasn't using, so I was glad to borrow it.
Lily, my niece had promised to help me.
She's a great salesperson and she was really pumped up for it.

Lily lives across the river, where we both work and I drove over and picked her up and we headed for the stables.
It's only a 15-20 minutes drive from where we work and yet it's like another world.
It goes from a populated and new construction area and suddenly it turns country.
Lily and I had a nice talk on the drive out and when we arrived, everyone was very friendly.
It didn't take long to set up.
Here's the display and Lily -

The girl who used to work for me was there and she took her horse out for me to see.

About an hour later, one of the receptionists from work, a very sweet girl and now a friend of Lily's, came out to add moral support.
The stall behind us had the horse "Oliver" in it.
Most stalls were empty and the horses were outside but a few did have horses.
Oliver's owner came over and opened his window.

So then I had three helpers.

Lots of people stopped by and I had many nice compliments on my work.
Almost every owner of the horses that I had taken a photo of and altered, stopped by and was surprised to see their horses. They hadn't been there when I took the photos, so I hadn't been able to ask if it was OK, but they were all nice about it.

The woman that owns Oliver and also this horse-

bought his print.

Three or four people took my business card and asked if they could email me their horse/dog/cat photos and have me do an altered photo.
I told them - maybe.
I would have to see the photo, as it doesn't always come out right.
To be honest, I see photos all the time that people think are great, because I'm assuming that they have tunnel vision and just focus on their pet's face, but they haven't noticed the things in the background, the lighting or the angle of the face or ....
Anyway. I'll try but I've tried before and it really didn't translate.
Besides, I pride myself in the fact that it's MY photo that I took....
Sigh, whatever.

Another woman came by and asked me to set her horse's print aside and she'd be back to buy it.
After that, I had a lot of people stop and look and... nothing.
Lily was very outgoing and chatty and I was friendly and answered questions.
Finally a good friend of mine, whom I've done TWO big commission pieces for in the past
and who I still need to finish smaller pieces of her 5 dogs, arrived.
She had me set aside the Palomino illustration for her as she used to own one and then after doing some other shopping, she came back and bought that and the Dachshund photo print.
She stuck around and we all chatted as she used to work at the clinic with us.
Finally the event was over, the stable manager had another horse owner give the lady whose horse print I set aside, a call to see if she was coming back for the print.
I could tell by the expression on the face of the woman who was calling what the answer was.
She looked at me and shook her head "No"and I quickly said that was FINE.
She hung up and said that the woman had changed her mind.

So - I sold a grand total of THREE.
I'm kinda in the hole with exhibit fees, and supplies but I did have a very nice donation towards that, and it helped greatly with that sting.
Yep, everything is good.
We started to pack up and I told the manager how great it was to be around all the horses and she said for me to remember that I'm welcomed to come out anytime!

It was kind of long day. I definitely don't know how artists and crafters do that so many weekends.
I'm in awe of that ability.
This is the third time in my life that I've done an event/show.
Each time I've had lots of people praising my work.
The first time I had done painted furniture - chairs, chests, bed headboards and such, with animals and things painted on them.
The seconds time I had done little signs, and door draft blockers made to look like long Dachshunds and I had stuffed fabric and painted dogs and cats and also pins and necklaces.
Lots of people oohed and aaaahed and....
each time I ended up in the hole.
Yep. I'm done with doing that.

Lily had fun though.
She's a cat and dog person and never really thought about horses
but she was in love with Oliver before we left.

We had another good talk as I drove her home.
I told her to think about her FIVE year plan.
I told her that I wasn't trying to tell her what to do but just to help her.
I said that no one had ever told me to plan and that I drifted for way too long.
I told her that I'm still struggling and drifting.
But that maybe she should think about where she wanted to be in 5 years.
I told her that she had so much time and could do whatever she wanted to do
but that also, there's a saying that goes something about God laughing at those who make plans.
I wasn't getting religious with her I said, I just meant that unexpected things can happen but it's not bad to have a plan to work on.
Then we got to talking about how we have both gained a lot of weight and
how we are both our heaviest ever and
how we are both stress eaters and how we need to get motivated to get some weight off.
So that's part of a sub-plan.

I drove through the East Village,  Lily lives just blocks away.
They had another event going on.
The area was packed with cars and people.
As I drove behind a convertible luxury car, I said to Lily "See that car in front of us?
The cost of that car could pay off my house, MY car and my credit card!"
We both laughed. Lily thought that was just crazy.
I agreed and we wondered what all these people did for a living.
I said whatever they did, maybe Lily should make a plan to do that! LOL!

After I dropped her off, I had to drive through the downtown area.
We are having unseasonably warm weather.
So downtown Davenport was crowded with people sitting outside the little brewery/coffee shop
and cars were parked along the river
and more on Arsenal Island.
They were taking photos of the Mississippi River.
Since I grew up here and have seen it everyday, I gotta say I don't get it.
To me it's a muddy dirty river.
They are always finding dead people in it and it floods almost every year.
Funny how others are so excited to see it.

I drove home thinking about all the people I drove past,
biking and walking.
People in the East Village and Downtown, just enjoying the weekend.

I was glad to get home though.
I let the dogs outside to potty, and looked around my home.
It was still light outside and I suddenly could notice all the things I've been neglecting around the house.
I thought about how I wished my house was "done" and each room wasn't in an unfinished stage.
I know I need to really just focus on one room at a time, and get it done.
I looked out at the dogs and thought about my plans for the yard.
I want to level out the yard where it dips down and expand the fence.
I will need to get the hill weeded and cleared again and this year I hope to choke out the weeds with Zinnia's and Sunflowers.
I let the dogs back in and looked at a few things online...
but gave up and went to bed.

Tomorrow is another day.


CheerfulMonk said...

That sounds like some day! I'm glad you got so many compliments on your art, and that even though you didn't sell as much as you would have liked, you have plenty of things to sell in the future.

I love Oliver, too! It sounds like a great place to have an art show. I agree, though, that it sounds like it was a long, tiring day. I hope today was restful.

Thanks so much for telling us the details.

Cindi Myers said...

Yes, now I have Art to put up at work.
and also at the Art/Antique place.

Honestly being around the horses, Oliver and others, got me wanting to learn to ride again.
For years I wanted to but was always discouraged. I've loved horses since I was small.
So I'm going to learn!
If nothing else, at least the time spent there confirmed that.

Today was a day of reflection and thought, as I cleaned a bit and did laundry.
Also I spent a fair amount of time on Pinterest, looking up Art ideas and
alternative retirement plans! LOL!
Thanks for everything!

Anonymous said...


I have had a lot of friends who are gifted artistic people and all of them have hated doing exhibitions of their work because people can be so insensitive about critiquing it in front of them. It's wonderful that everyone who came by on Saturday was nice and complimentary. I'm sorry more of them didn't buy something.

Your conversations with Lily reminded me of the talks I sometimes have with the college students I work with. Although I do think it's important to plan for one's future, the students I usually see are so overly obsessed with their future plans that they are not really enjoying the present. It's as though they think they have to have their whole life mapped out right now before they even know who they really are. That makes me sadder than seeing people who don't plan at all. Usually when people fail to plan it's because they're enjoying themselves so much right now. :D


tammy j said...

the pictures on this post are wonderful!
adorable lily.
and oliver!
and her friend coming over too... how sweet was that.
I wish you could retire to an artists community.
where everyone has a wonderful vibe.
and people GO to actually maybe PURCHASE ART!
not just mosey around and ooh and ahh... and then NUTHIN'.
the honkin' big envelope flew today! LOLOL!!! XOXOXO♥

Cindi Myers said...

Thank you Grace!
Whether or not you intended to do it, you have reminded me to stop worry so much about the future and enjoy the NOW.
Truly, thank you!

And with Lily, I guess what I was really trying to have her figure out was, whether she really wants to be a vet tech or not. Right now she's an assistant but that's a bit of a glorified title. she's more like their personal servant who needs to be there every moment at their beck and call. She stays and endures it because she loves animals so much. I'm actually not around to see it but I've had many people at work tell me that it's just wrong, how she is being treated. Lily is even worried about leaving the room to go to the bathroom because if she's not there at the exact second we want her, they announce loudly that they can NEVER FIND HER! WHERE IS SHE? in front of the vets to make her look bad.
So if she doesn't really want to be doing that, I think she should make a plan and find a way out.

But you are right. Living in the moment and having some fun is what Life should be all about.
thanks again!

Cindi Myers said...

I'm glad you like the photos!
I think I was lucky and got some good shots of Lily and of Oliver! LOL!

An artist community? like a little town where everyone has their own little eclectic houses and it's safe to walk up and down past the homes and the little shops and galleries and people travel there just to see and buy the art work?!
oh god, that would be the dream.
where is this place?
no seriously, where is it? I'm packing up and ready to go!

honkin big envelope! I had to stop and think for a moment and then I realized!
LOLOLOL! and thank you!

tammy j said...

eureka springs arkansas
quaint houses
the right size
and everything YOU said above.

Cindi Myers said...

I Googled Eureka Springs.
VERY pretty.
Thanks! LOL!

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

Great photos. That's great that you sold three! I wonder if you could find someone to split the costs of a booth? Because it would be more economical to both. xoxo Su

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

What you said about the Mississippi made me smile. Just yesterday I was saying how people who live near the ocean rarely go to the beach. I think when we grow up with something we take it for granted.

Art shows or craft shows can be a pita. So many people are just looking. I admit I'm guilty of that too.

Just keep on doing what you love and remember that it's never too late to have a plan.

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

Cindi, so sorry that more purchases weren't made at the event. Maybe you need to think about the art you're doing. Maybe your heartfelt renderings touch people by reminding them of their own precious pets and sparks a desire to see your art done with a memory of a good time they want to recapture. I may not be saying this right, but trying to say it sparks a more personal note with people. So, maybe you should do what you probably don't want to do...use the events to display artwork for sale AND inspiration for people to contract a piece done of their pet. (I know you're hating this, but hear me out ;-0) Increase the price for contracted pieces! Double the amount you charge. Create a contract and require a non-refundable deposit of half the money upfront. The other half to be paid upon completion. Let people take the contract home and send it to you with their deposit. Ask them to take an extra contract to someone they might know who has a pet they may want a piece of art done too. Market, Market, Market your skills. Get yourself known. Time to fly girl! And, we love Eureka Springs, but Asheville North Carolina or a town like it, would get you much more artistic freedom. Eureka Springs has a really small local population so you would have to depend on tourists. Asheville is artsy and has many retirees who love animals and would flock to your work, as well as the tourist trade. Last of all: Have you got a 5-year plan? If not, your good advice needs to work for you too.

leslie said...

i love the pics of oliver helping.

i think with events like this, you have to look at your being there as marketing. you never know what can end up happening because of them… maybe just not right away.

i've always scoffed at five-year plans, but man, do i ever wish i had taken them seriously.

Cindi Myers said...

Thank you.
Yes, I must focus on the fact that I sold three... although 2 of them I could have sold by displaying them on Facebook as she already had commented over there about the ones she liked.
The booth space wasn't that expensive, it was more the cost of the canvases, the prints, the supplies, the time... but oh well, that's life! LOL!
I have noticed though that at some of the bigger Art/Craft shows in town, that they are all shrinking in size. I can't help wonder if it's more to do with the fact that so much can be bought online,
Yes, I have a lot to think about.

Cindi Myers said...

You are completely right.
My Dad told us when he was small, how his family drove up from the middle of the state just to see the Mississippi and how excited they were to see it.
Maybe I would feel that way about the ocean but that's hard for me to image.
My sister lived for a while by Lake Michigan and she still goes back several times a year just to visit the lake.

And...I'm still working on my own plan!

Cindi Myers said...

Thanks for this great comment.
I do like the idea of a contract and paying half up front.
And also, I agree with the idea of their own pet.
People liked my photos but you are right, they lack that connection.
I think, no I KNOW, that I need to focus on my illustrations.
I like my altered photos but my heart is in my drawings.
I got a bit off course.
And there's the fact that it was a Horse Expo not so much an Art fair.
I need to get rolling on my original plan of illustrating my books, doing cards and prints and such.

I Googled Asheville and it looks AMAZING. I 'm going to send for a brochure from their tourism dept.
I noticed that they are very pet friendly! Lots of cafes where you can take your dog! :)
I did get to thinking about my Mississippi comment and I decided I need to look around and see if I'm missing something around here. (Kinda doubt that I am but LOL! Who knows!)

and about my plan.
It's not a 5 year, it's a very loose 7 year one that I've thought about A LOT this last week!
I will do a post probably about it soon.
Thanks SO MUCH for your words of wisdom!

Cindi Myers said...

Yes, one never knows!
and... I got to be around horses!
So that's a good thing. LOL!
and I'm working on my plan now too.
Better late than never!
Thanks for commenting!