This is a chatty little note for the regulars, and has nothing to do with history, war or politics, except inasmuch as it relates to my own personal history.
This month I have successfully completed one year of chemotherapy treating my second bout with cancer. 'Successful' means that the tumors have gone, and have been gone for more than six months. If and when the little buggers reappear, I'll let you know.
Tomorrow is our SCV Lee-Jackson Banquet and auction. The 'auction' part constitutes our major fund-raiser for the year. Last year I brought nine original watercolor paintings, and all sold. Not for much, you understand, but as a maiden voyage into the art world it was pretty satisfying, not to mention mind-boggling. This year, I'm bringing twenty paintings. For a while there it looked like there'd be a lot more than that, but health issues and the move to a new area ate us alive in terms of time.
It's probably a good thing I didn't paint more. Finding frames is a chore; I don't like to use the cheap drugstore kind of frames, and having the paintings framed professionally costs an arm and a leg. So I haunt the thrift stores; Catholic Charities is a good source, as is the Salvation Army. So I get the frames, some of them quite nice, for between 50 cents and five dollars, though a frame has to be pretty special for me to pay five dollars for it. Did I mention I was cheap?
Some of the frames are pretty banged up, and filthy. My sources tell me that a banged up frame can be ok, in that condition they're called 'distressed'; but I don't like the finish to be scarred right down to the wood, and I will not show a painting in a filthy frame. So for several months I've been engaged in cleaning and refurbishing the frames, an activity which cannot be done indoors, because of fumes.
In addition the paintings need to be matted. I've learned quite a lot about that process over the last year, and the reasons for matting a painting (other than aesthetics.) I'm beginning to show a little skill in that area, but I still have a long way to go. Mat board is expensive, but its purchase can't be avoided, since it is consumed by each painting, and generally speaking can't be reused (though I have succeeded in reuse in a very few instances.) The equipment is relatively affordable, and I think I have what I need in that area now, so equipment shouldn't be an issue in the coming year.
Last year, I borrowed some easels from the local museum for display; transport, collection and return turned out to be worse issues than I expected, so this year I built hinged display units of 2' x 4' pegboard pairs. Just the material cost was around $30 for each pair, but that's over unless I need more display units in the future. But I suspect trying to display more than 20 paintings at a time is pretty futile, unless one is displaying in an art gallery, and they have their own display units.
Overall, I'm pretty perky about the whole painting thing. I'm doing painting at a level which I never expected to reach, and people have paid real money for my paintings, even if it was actually a donation to the camp. Tomorrow we'll find out if the process is extendable to more than one year, and expandable in number of paintings. I may branch out and try to sell some paintings outside the camp cocoon, but that will entail my having to keep records and pay income tax on the proceeds. I don't mind paying the income tax nearly as much as I mind filling out the forms, but we'll do that if the game is worth the candle. We'll see.