After an easy drive out to Sterling I had a little difficulty finding the venue, but like most things that are hard to find it was worth the search. The “gate” consisted of two large trees on either side of the road with some friendly faces there to greet you. Eric, the Arts Director came out and introduced himself, gave me some background on the venue, musicians and layout of the property.
I was lead to my spot, right in the middle of Vendor Row, quickly unpacked my things and set up my tent. Stan, my neighbor in a big white converted bus, was the first to say hello, he gave me a tour of his bus and introduced me around to his travel companions. Stan sells rocks, crystals and anything terrestrial and was going to head to Herkimer to get some more Herkimer Diamonds right after the show.
I exited the bus and was asked if I’d be willing to paint a sign for the Family Village area, a small hollow that sits away from the rest of the venue where things are quieter. I said sure and was handed a beautiful piece of wood that had been reserved for just this purpose. I broke out my paints and started in on it. People walking by asked what I was doing and who I was and it was a good way to meet new people.
I finished up the sign and delivered it to it’s location then headed back to hang out with my neighbors. We had a blast, we were at a lot of the same shows back in the day and shared our various experiences. My other neighbors consisted of chefs Victor and Johnny and their wives, David Clarke a clothing and accessory designer, his buddy Bob and his wife, and Roger Grossman, another artist who works in colored pencil, and his wife. None of us got much sleep that first night, it felt good to be amongst Family again.
Friday I got busy setting up the large canvas to work on and setting up my paints. I tied the canvas from a tree to Stan’s bus and got busy. I found charcoal from Dave’s fire pit and started sketching. I enjoyed listening to people’s comments and other artists would often stop by to say hello and watch me work for awhile.
The music was excellent, every band had some special gift and was able to deliver, one musician that stuck out amongst the rest was Jamie Notarthomas, his song “deet deet deet” made me laugh and reminded me of the feel good music of John Sebastian. I met Jamie that night and decided I’d buy a CD from him the next day. He signed it as did his bass player for me, it is a pre-release of “The Crow Convention” and he gave me one of his more political CD’s when he heard I was blogger. We spent about an hour hanging out together with Johnny, Victor and crew.
I worked for 12 hours on Friday then crashed hard for 6 hours, when I awoke it was as if the painting had wished itself along further in the process, later I found out one of my neighbors got bored and decided to add to the painting, she did such a good job I had a hard time telling what she had done.
Many people signed up to win the painting and I now have a mailing list as a result of my efforts this weekend. In my next post I’ll include some photos and more thoughts on the experience. This weekend there is another Festival that is only 20 minutes away, it is called “Good Omens” and has some excellent musicians enlisted: Half Step, Mega Bodega, Hot Day at the Zoo, Devil Makes 3, Cliff Street, Jack Miller Band…etc. So guess where I am heading.
Cross-posted on HowOd