Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Artist Project

Inner Reflection / 72" x 54" / acrylic on canvas

Whew! Just recovering from this huge event! It takes months and months to prepare for a show of that magnitude. Not just preparing the paintings themselves but wrapping and transporting large scale works is very physical. I wish I had taken some photos of that process but was much too hot and bothered to even consider snapping shots. Fortunately I had my good friend and fellow artist, Demetrios Papakostos to help me with the loading of the paintings since my studio is on the third floor of an old mattress factory this involves the use of dollies and freight elevators.

Demetrios has large paintings as well so we managed to figure out the puzzle of how to fit all the pieces in the rental van the night before leaving. With the van loaded we hit the road for the six hour drive to Toronto bright and early the next morning.

Demetrios on arrival at The Artist Project in Toronto
We arrived in a bit of a snow squall and had to unload with great care so as not to blow away with our paintings acting as sails! Next we got straight to work, setting up our booths. This takes time as we try and retry different paintings in different spots until it feels right in our bones.
Holly Friesen Booth / painting from inside the landscape

another angle

Notice the cool little cubby space for storage.

Ipad slide show of other paintings running in the corner.

A bit of a rest and then it's Thursday, a few finishing touches...

Julie Desmarais, also from Montreal doing a little bit of last minute painting.
Finally, they open the doors and it's opening night.

Rob Croxford and I sharing a toast to a successful week-end!

And now there are people, hundreds and hundreds of people, in a steady stream for the next three days straight.This is a mixed blessing. The people are genuinely interested in looking at the artwork and there are some interesting and lively conversations but the days are long, 10 hours of standing on your feet and talking about your artwork becomes a sort of endurance test after a while. By Friday night I could hardly walk my hip was so sore from standing on the concrete floor.

Demetrios Papakostas manning his booth of bold, colorful abstract paintings.

 We were a group of Montreal Artists in our aisle whom had requested to be placed next to each other since a lot of us traveled down together. We had a lot of fun as we got to know each other better over the next few days. I had the gorgeous, lush greens of Julie Desmarais' landscapes directly across the aisle from me.

Another friend, colleague & abstract painter, Janice Tayler was just down the row as well.

And of course my wonderfully fashion conscious booth neighbour, Rob Croxford was a
joy to be beside. He kept me smiling when my feet were at their sorest and my mouth was parched from talking so much.

Fun was had by all. New friends and connections were made and even some old friends dropped by to support and encourage, which is always a wonderful bonus at these events.

With Camille Watts, talented musician and dear friend.

Will I be back next year? Hard to say right now but I will find the solitude of the studio a relief for the next little while.

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