A sign.

So, I run this ‘store’ up here for my grandparents every weekend. The bulk of the ‘stuff’ in the ‘store’ is just that; stuff. Some of it is very old and some of it is collectible, and some of it is just interesting, and some of it is plain junk or totally unidentifiable. And as I have mentioned here before, one entire wall is consumed by my art. There are currently … 21 works for sale there (25 canvases; two are triptychs: 1 2 ) I believe. More in the works. One that is available there but which I certainly shall not hang on the wall there any time soon, perhaps not ever. Ooh, plus that one I mentioned in the post I just made, which I will have for sale online and at the con (and if it doesn’t sell right away, in the store) next week or after.

But mostly right now the store still stocks all the stuff my grandparents have collected over the years. There’s quite a bit of very nice stuff. Hand-crafted sterling silver and turquoise jewelry, plus a variety of rugs, all made by native americans my grandfather knew personally. The remainder of a carousel collection that has been selling nicely, piece by piece. Hand-made ceramics. Coins from all over the world. And more and more and it’s a wonder anyone ever brought such diversity into one little shop.

And my grandparents own an acre up here, right on the highway (87), and we rent out shop space to other people, too. And I believe that right now every shop has a sign out front proclaiming their existence (and more generally, what they are offering) for all to see… except ours.

So I’ve been working on re-conditioning a sign left behind by one of our old renters (he left the beaten-up sign along with over five dumpsters full of garbage and quite a large bit of possibly-useful wood, plus assorted other mess) to use above the store. Sanding and painting and varnishing it… It’s not perfect, by far, but it’ll do well enough from a distance. And I was about to the part where I wanted to stencil on the actual lettering tonight. And I had the time and energy, and plenty of light where I was working, so I got out the stencils and started looking at the layout… when I discovered that the largest stencils we have are 6 inches tall. And the sign I’m working on is about 36 inches tall and 71 inches wide. And all I’m putting on it is “The Old Settlers Gallery”. I worked the other day on a layout for that, and I plan on making it three and a half lines tall. (‘The’ half a line above ‘Old’, but the rest on individual lines with visually pleasing alignment.) But… That sure would look odd floating in the middle of such a large space.

So I picked up the stencils, switched off the light, and came back up to my room. I’ll just have to do it all by hand, or create custom stencils with my computer. Which actually, I seem to be doing quite a bit more of these days. I was thinking a few months back, wondering about how I could integrate digital and physical artwork, and I had some ideas (I’d already done the one with the penguin, taking a digital comic and portraitizing it on the canvas, and I did get the idea to try to get the Creative Rights Management/Digital Rights Management issue out onto the canvas, but hadn’t fully realized it by then), but nothing concrete. I couldn’t work out how to integrate the digital realm and my paintings so that they worked together, serving my artistic vision instead of being forced to work together in place of vision. And I didn’t notice as I began creating images on my computer, stylizing them the way I wanted, printing them out and creating stencils and transfers from them to get the concepts begun on the computer, out onto the canvas, that I’d begun doing exactly what I’d hoped to. So, probably that’s what’ll happen. I’ll make a 36″x71″ workspace in Photoshop, create the sign, break it up into manageable/printable peices, and transmit it from the digital realm onto the sign. Likely, the lettering and overall appearance will be much nicer than the plain block letters would have turned out to be.

Oh, and the name… My original (admittedly vague) plan was to just say “Old Settlers” on the sign, but when my grandfather brought it up last week and I mentioned that, he said “I thought you were going to put ‘Old Settlers Gallery’.” Because the ‘stuff’ is really only temporary, until it sells out or we have enough other merchandise to replace/displace it. I’ve got my art there (an increasing amount; I’m painting more than ever now), and my father will be, before too long, hand-making furniture at least part time. Eventually full time, we all hope. Plus, I already have three sculptures in there he’s created at one time or another in the past, so his art is already present. So really it is gradually transforming into a gallery. That makes me feel pretty good. For a while I had a nagging feeling I was selling my art in a junk shop. It turns out my art is helping upgrade the junk shop into a proper gallery.

Strange thing: This will be the fourth (I think there are only four) ‘art gallery’ in Pine. Pine, population under ~1000, art galleries: 4

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Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.