Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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03/21/2005: "All painted up, and no where to go"

There are many fears and stresses involved in putting a show together. What if no one comes, or nothing sells, or it gets bad press...believe me, if there is something to fear, I'll find it. But worse than that, worse than anything, is putting all this blood, sweat and tears into a show and then finding out in the 11th hour that it's not going to happen!

You heard me right folks, due to circumstances beyond their control (i.e. city construction that has restricted access to the building) the owner of the Friendly Planet that houses my very favorite gallery space in town, the Loft Gallery, let me know today that they were going to have to cancel the show. It isn't their fault, it's's just so fracking late in the game! I've already done the invitations, wrote the press release, invited everyone that has come into the library in the past several weeks...Rick timed his visit to see this show, talked me into it as a matter of fact, and this is the month of the Alaska Folk Festival, my whole inspiration for the show.

I feel like I've been sucker punched.

I mean, I have a lot of $$$ tied up in this show and now I've lost my main venue for selling the work. I've had several people already express an interest in purchasing several of the pieces that aren't even finished yet but if I sell them off piecemeal through my website I won't be able to show them as a body of work, which is the entire point really (in my mind).

There is a very cool woman in Baltimore who wanted me to have a show there this summer but I didn't think I'd have enough energy to create a new body of work by then (July). I could see if she thinks this body of work would go over very well there, but I doubt folk music is very big in the chic neighborhood in Baltimore where the gallery is at, not like it is here in Juneau where people (including me) are mad for it.

The other option is to hold off selling or showing anything until next April and get another show during the Alaska Folk Festival and by then the paintings should be perfect and I could get prints made up ahead of time like Iím always saying Iíll do but never have time for.

The irony is that this was going to be my last show for an entire year. I was going to take time off from exhibiting to work on technique and be more experimental without the pressures of working within a theme. Oh well. Oh top of it all I think I'm getting a cavity. It's really hurting tonight, I think my tooth is upset that the show was canceled. I know how you feel buddy!

Replies: 14 Comments

on Monday, March 21st,">SB said

Don't be so sure there is not a great interest in folk music in Baltimore. I don't speak from experience, but I would check it out as a possibility still, with the woman's gallery, before making a final decision.

on Monday, March 21st,">SB said

I am trying to send a link, an aol favorite place...Baldwin's Station mentioned there, a wonderful place I have been to one time for my favorite SingerSongWriterGuitar player...but there seems to be a fair amount of activity....

on Monday, March 21st, joan said

Wow, Elise, I bet you do feel sucker punched - right in the old bread basket. It sounds so disappointing, but I wonder if it may be a blessing in disguise. The Baltimore gig may just be the ticket to expand your audience base and get your name out. I think you have made reference to that in the past. And if that venue does not live up to expecations, you could always go with your second thought of waiting till next year. Even if you had to fill in a couple of blanks created by selling pieces in the mean time. Just a thought.

For now, I suggest taking a deep breath and kicking back to relish your unexpected break. Have a glass of wine - or several of your choice, listen to the tunes (the new Jack Johnson is quite nice) and peacefully relish your time with friends and family. Since there doesn't seem to be an immediate solution, might as well take advantage of the schedule change. Hope that doesn't sound too Polly Anna to you!

And sorry to hear of your potential cavity. That is the nuts.

on Tuesday, March 22nd, dave from Nebraska said

Is the gallery rescheduling your show?
I agree with Joan. Everything happens for a reason. This is a time for reflection. Consider your options and have a good time with your Rick and visiting your Sister.

on Tuesday, March 22nd, Elise said

Well, they might be able to reschedule but they're not sure at the moment. This construction could go on for quite some time.

The gallery is in on the second floor of their store which sells interesting and beautiful pieces of art and furniture from around the world (with socially concsious business practices). They also function as a community hang out with poetry readings and music and such. It's a really gorgeous place and who knows what kind of impact this restricted access is having on their bottom line. It seems really unfair to them but I'm sure the city isn't reimbursing them for lost business.

Anyway, I will try to look at the positive side of things and not get too down about it.

Thanks for the station suggestion SB, I'll try and check it out.

And thanks to everyone who has hleped me with this show. I'm still going to finish the paintings, it's not all about sales and exhibits after all...

on Tuesday, March 22nd, Nietzscheswife said

I am extremely sorry to hear that your show was cancelled. But...

There will always be a new show and you know you are a terrific artist. If you do not then you should.


on Tuesday, March 22nd,">Jackie said

E: Is there any other possible space you could use for your show? What if you went in with some other artists and held a group exhibit? Maybe you could do it later this spring - even if you can't have the show on during the folk festival - perhaps there's another time and venue that would be happy to exhibit your work. I'd hold out for that, rather than sell individual paintings off. But I wouldn't wait an entire year - till next April, to show the work.

I'm so sorry that your show was cancelled!

on Tuesday, March 22nd, Elise said

I did email a guy who has connections with folk fest about the possibility of getting space in Centenial Hall where the festival is acutally held. It's a long shot but...if that doesn't pan out (which it probably won't) then I will look into other venues. The Friendly Planet may be able to reschedule the show but I don't know how far out they're already booked. Hopefully something will turn up, I think you're right that waiting a year isn't the greatest idea.

And thanks for the kind words Nietzscheswife! Takes some of the sting out of it all...

on Tuesday, March 22nd, holly said

Well, crap! I'm really disappointed for you, Elise. I remember how unsure you were about the last show you did and how much I enjoyed reading about the smashing success you had, and I was looking forward to reading the same about this show. But there will be another show and it will be fabulous.

So, if you're not using those paintings, can I have a couple of 'em? ;)

on Tuesday, March 22nd, Anna L. Conti said

Elise, I'm sorry about your show being cancelled but this could work out really well. You have a good body of work ready to exhibit... what a switch from the recent past (always worrying that you won't get enough done in time.) Relax! Go have fun with Rick. When you get back, something will come up. Now you can "take time off from exhibiting to work on technique and be more experimental without the pressures of working within a theme" because if anyone wants a theme, you got it covered.

on Tuesday, March 22nd, Elise said

I know Holly, I'm pretty disappointed too but hopefully I'll find another place to show's just so deflating when you put all this time, money, and energy into something and it falls through. Like what if you bought all your gear etc. for you big research trip and then the grant fell through at the last minute?

Well, actually that would be *much* worse, and it won't happen I'm sure...but you get the idea.

on Tuesday, March 22nd, Elise said

You're right Anna, sometimes something happens and you feel like it's the worst thing in the world but then it ends up leading to something even better. Maybe that's what will happen here...and if not, well, I can't even remember the last time I didn't have the pressure of a show's going to be really nice to just relax for a change.

I'll just have to be more disciplined than ever to keep painting everyday. Shows normally push me to work hard; I just hope I can sustain that when I don't have a deadline staring me down.

on Tuesday, March 22nd, Marja-Leena said

I'm sorry too! I second Anna's comments! I am one to make most of the work, then apply for a show. I could not take the stress otherwise and I think my work would suffer too. What a good time to do those experiments you have been wanting to do, Elise, and apply to other places at leisure. Good luck!

on Tuesday, March 22nd, Elise said

Yes, Marja-Leena...the more I think about it the better I feel. After the initial shock wore off I started to see the potential advantages of my situation. I am so full of ideas, and I'm longing to get back into mixed media work again and the things we discussed regarding projection and shadows etc. I'm feeling pretty enthusiastic at the moment. If it weren't for the financial situation this puts me in I'd be even more enthused.

For example, I ordered a bunch of Giclee prints of pieces from my Rain Country show, which were scanned a long time ago. I planned to have an art bin at the opening for those wanting prints as a lot of people wanted them at the time of the Rain Country show but I didn't have them made up until after the fact. Now I'll have to pay those printing fees up front without any immediate way of recouping costs.

I guess I've learned not to put all my paintings in one basket, as they say. Maybe I can set up a shoppingcart system and try to sell some through this website but it won't be the same as patrons in an exhibit induced feeding frenzy. Anyway, I still have plenty of extraneous organs I can sell! Kidney anyone?