Just came back last night from a weekend in a Denver suburb called “Evergreen”. A very serene little town where the legend of “South Park” was born. But on Saturday was dedicated to an arts & crafts show at the local high school. I left Friday morning and was traveling 285 north from Santa Fe. I never went this way before, but the reason is to check out where Evergreen and the high school where the show was taken place on Saturday. I wanted to know where this was, to help avoid less stress. I’m pretty anal that way! But as the old saying goes, “Enjoy the journey, not the destination”, I tried to take that to heart, as I was taken in by the scenery. I did manage to stop at this small town called Salida, which is a cute little arts town in the center of Colorado. It was in the middle of nowhere, which is probably why the residents love it. But I wanted to stop and see it for myself. And it was great, I highly recommend to visit there.
Upward and onward, I got a chance to see the Rocky Mountains up close, and then went through them, yes through them! It was lots of farmland, cows, and very small towns. I went through this town called Fairplay, which was 10,000 feet in elevation! I couldn’t believe people lived there, but the scenery was amazing. I couldn’t really stop too much, because I was trying to beat out a possible snowstorm that was predicted to hit the region, so I really had to fly in the car. Plus I wanted to get to the hotel before dark. I did get to Evergreen after all the winding roads filled with evergreens and mountain towns. I found the high school where the show was and was content, then I drove to the hotel in Lakewood to rest for the night. I was on the road for over 9 hours, so I was too tired to check out the Denver nightlife. By then it was snowing, I just made it to the hotel in time before dark.
And now it’s showtime! I got to the show for set-up around 7:30am, had lots of volunteer help from some students. The help and commitment was way above average. This show I managed to do some different things, like set up a portrait display advertising “Portraits while you wait”. Most vendors were seated on the first floor and there were about 10 vendors on the second floor including myself. Lots of natural lighting but got darker as the afternoon went by. I then had an idea about using my own lighting. I brought a flashlight and shined it on a sunset painting, which seemed to illuminate it quite well, great effect. People noticed it and commented, “How did you paint that?”. They didn’t know that a light was shining on it!
There was a decent turnout too, but being upstairs and all, I don’t think many people ventured up here. Part of the reason was that I did pay for the least expensive booth, but I didn’t want to pay twice as much for a premium spot, especially that I didn’t know the layout of the booths and I wanted to conserve my booth costs for other future shows. Also, this was more of a crafts crowd, and not a fine arts crowd. I saw people walking around with Christmas ornaments and pinecones on a stick. I can’t compete with that! I started getting that, “Uh, Oh, what am I doing here?” For hours, I had just lookers and lookers, while I’m smiling and telling people about my stuff briefly, trying to make connections. But you can’t make anyone fall in love with your art, I was just trying to make a good master of ceremonies.
But there was a ray of hope who appeared! A woman came by the booth, saw one of my small church paintings, loved it and….bought it! She just loved it, enjoyed everything about it. I finally sold a painting here! To me, a customer is a fan for life, and it meant so much to me. I hope she understood that.
So after 4pm, the show finally was over. I sold 1 notecard and 1 painting. Collected some email addresses and met some cool people. I went to the hotel afterwards and went home down rt 25 the next morning. I did stop at Manitou Springs for some breakfast burritos. I’m sorry to say though I was disappointed at the customer service at “The Spice of Life” cafe. They were a bit rude when I didn’t receive my receipt. But I made it up by going to a local arcade where there were nostalgic video games and pinball machines, one of my favorite things about that town.
I finally got home Sunday night, where I worked on some computer stuff and went to bed. I wish I had a more dramatic ending to share, but it really wasn’t. Sure sales could have been better, but I’m still paying my dues and sooner or later (hopefully sooner), I hope to have a great show. If I could just only paint more than I’m on this computer!