Supernumerary's walk-on at Salmela

View from boat house at Taidekeskus Salmela (Note: Huge swarms of mosquitoes hang around in damp, dark boathouses in Finland.)

There was a surprise mini heatwave last weekend, and it luckily coincided with the opening ceremonies (PARTY!) for Taidekeskus Salmela's grand summer exhibition. The gorgeous weather brought with it a huge crowd and a general good mood (unless you sat in the direct sunshine for too long, or in the shadows near the water where the mosquitoes lurked).

I went to the party with husband and baby girl in tow. (I left the rest of the teeming horde of children at home with grandma.) I'm always a bit timid at these sort of public functions, and I hid behind the prettily dressed baby most of the time. Unfortunately for me, the baby-as-social-manager only really works at family/friends sort of dos, helping avoid small-talk awkwardness (who doesn't have something to say about a baby, cute or not). At large art events, people are sizing up each other, their networking angle and the art (in that order), so babies are more like messy accessories that need to be avoided (and kept away from the art and hors d'oeuvres).

Of course I enjoyed bumping into a few familiar colleagues and friends. I really should get out to these events more often, for the news and gossip, not to mention potential exhibition opportunities I've missed out on. My spoken Finnish is still halting and limited, so I (pathetically) relied on the English proficiency of everyone else.

I did dash out in front of the cameras once (though it could have ended badly with me embarrassing myself, or maybe I did anyway), at the closing-ceremony/speeches, when all the exhibition artists stood for a photo-op and flowers. There wasn't any artist roll call, and I didn't shout an introduction for myself, so maybe that little sprint was all for naught.

From what I was told, my paintings, hanging in the bar-corner section of the Kesäheinä restaurant are in a 'cash'n'carry' type of area, meaning that if they were sold and the buyers decide to leave with them then and there, no one else will see them later in the exhibition. I can't decide how I feel about that; on the one hand it would be fantastic to sell everything, and on the other, a drag that they wouldn't be on view the entire summer.

While we were there a red mark had been put next to one painting, so I quickly took pictures of the set-up, just in case, for posterity. Here's what they looked like as of 11.6.2011:

Poi'itus / Calving and Mummi and Baby

Veden lumous and Ajatusten vaihtoa

Interior view of restaurant

(If anyone visits the show later in the summer and could give me an update, that would be fantastic!)

Summer Show Lineup

I will have portrait/figurative and abstract works in three group shows this summer, two in Finland and one in Stowe, Vermont. I don't have the promotional/opening invitations as of yet, but I thought I'd post the information so anyone traveling in these neighborhoods could have a heads-up.

Westers Garden (Puutarha) - arSboretum 11

Three of my new portrait/figurative work will be shown in the Westers Garden gallery space. The arSboretum 11 exhibition is open from June 4th to August 27th, 2011 (4.6. - 27.8.2011), and the opening evening is on June 4th 12 - 6pm. More information can be found at www.westers.fi.

Taidekeskus Salmela - Summer Exhibition (Kesänäyttelyt)

Four of my newest portrait/figurative work will be shown in the exhibition center restaurant, Ravintola Kesäheinä. The summer exhibition is open from June 11th to August 7th, 2011 (11.6. - 7.8.2011). There will be an 'information opportunity' where the exhibition artists talk about their work (and which I will be attending too)* on Tuesday June 7th at the art center. More information about times and place at www.taidekeskussalmela.fi.

AstilboidesWest Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park

Two of my abstract oil paintings and some abstract watercolors will be included in the upcoming group exhibition (the exhibition will spotlight artists Rebecca Kinkead and Adelaide Tyrol). The exhibition runs from July 9th to August 7th (9.7. - 7.8.2011). The opening reception will be on July 9th 6 - 9pm. For more information go to www.westbranchgallery.com.

*As I can only attend either the information session or the opening party, I decided to be fabulous at the opening party. Hopefully no one spills/falls into/takes a fork to my paintings during the opening party brunch, which will be at the art center's Restaurant Kesäheinä. I'll be there to defend it, either from metaphorical or edible slings and arrows.

Life after a deadline (also, Portrait Show!)

The portrait exhibition in Helsinki's Galleria Pirkko-Liisa Topelius is open for one more week (and the abstraction show at O. Jauhiainen Museum in Kiiminki just closed on the 20th), and the everyday routine at home is back in force. It seems strangely quiet 'round here without all the exhibition deadline anxiety, short tempers and sleepless nights (well, those still exist, but for other, pre-terrible-two reasons). Before a show I always panic about the quantity (did I underestimate the gallery size?) and quality of my work, and any last-minute creativity can either be a stress disaster on canvas or a gift from the muses. Luckily, preparations went smoothly, the shows were a joy to hang and the openings were gratifying.

So gratifying, in fact, that I had a bit of a post-opening boost of inspiration. This is my first portraiture show, and going into it I was a bit apprehensive about how my work would be viewed. What I have heard, so far, has been all encouragement, and what I haven't heard I will assume is good too (have to be an optimist in this field, or at least in denial half the time). I've got a to-do list of ideas for more portraits, but I lack a plan, at the moment, on how to extend my model pool beyond the immediate family. My traveling capabilities are a wee bit limited due to the holiday season and the imminent arrival of another family member in January, but those are temporary-ish hurdles to vault. Anyone interested in a chance to be immortalized in a recognizable-yet-unmistakably-distinctive way? Here's another example to spark some interest:


And another: