Friday, August 20, 2010

Memories from HOOT (Heart of Ohio Tole convention)

Ya, this "report" is really long... was going to break it up, but thought "what the hay", lol. It'll give you something to read with your coffee.

Whew, well HOOT is but a memory for another year. The theme this year was "Painting is a Buzz". It is a well-run and fabulous week with tons to see and do: project room; art competition; charity of painted bras - seen in person they were dynamic and moving, especially when you learned that a couple of them had been painted by those who have personally and bravely won the battle with breast cancer - my friend, Donna Scully and also Barb Jenkins; HOOT Boutique; class sales area; memory box painting area; demo area; raffles; Trade Show; monitor/teacher room; banquet ticket table; registration table for registrants; table for teachers and vendors; info booth and more that I've probably over-looked in this senior moment.

Andy Jones did win the "People's Choice" award for his "play on art/words" watermelon bra, but in my eyes, each and everyone of those donations and artwork were winners. $1600 was raised through the silent auction and donations for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research (Jamie Mills Price took home Andy's Watermelon Bra as the highest bidder)! Now I do have to say, I think Andy's rendition would've "won" regardless of whether we knew who painted it or not... it was great. But again, I think they were ALL winners and the "buzz" around the display was positive and "uplifting". Heeheehee. It was all in good fun, with lots of "pointed" jokes and innuendos and so well received.

I arrived via plane on the Sunday (August 8) and waited around for a bit for my friends to show up so I could join them in the room. I'd brought my own large checked bag, a large computer bag and a small carry-on suitcase full of miscellaneous booth supplies (cash box, pegs, sales books, lots of notes, bags, pens, etc., etc., etc.). Monday was my day to check out the convention area where the ladies of HOOT had done their organizational magic. I checked in and got my Exhibitor package after I'd told my roommates where they should register (in the hallway between the Hyatt and the Convention Center) and then checked out the book to mark down which classrooms "my" teachers would be in (so I'd know where to "run" and find them if needed, lol). Then I helped out in Willow's class (Basic Bluebird). One of the ladies in the class was 95 years young! She was an absolute doll and we spoke again as we met each other over the next several days. Sure hope she does get to come again next year. What an inspiration!

Tuesday we started to set-up our booth and I helped out in Willow's second class (Gentle Flight - Hummingbird). Wednesday, we finished putting the booth together then went to get a light meal before the Trade Show opened up for the registrants. It was a great opening night. I don't think I put my head up once, so if you came by our booth and I didn't notice you, I apologize. It was all a blur, lol. After the opening show, we went to the Hyatt Regency Ballroom for a reception and to celebrate Betsy Edwards' retirement.

Thursday was a really busy day, and this is where my awesome friends come in, Shirley Edmiston and Janet Thompson. I worked the booth 'til about noon then joined Willow in her classroom. Actually, two rooms that the divider had been rolled back to make room for close to 100 students! This was her Special Event. Janet and Shirley, bless their hearts, met me in the room and jumped in and helped set up each spot for the students with all they would need to make this a great class. After they'd done all the set-up, the doors were opened and the students rushed to take their seats. The monitor assigned by HOOT took the attendance and made the introductions of Willow and the class was on. Willow had divided the class up into sections and called up each section individually to step through the initial instructions. As she finished with each group, Janet, Shirley and I circulated to make sure all was well. Being a Willow Wolfe Certified Instructor, I was able to offer further assistance and clarification to some of the painters. The class couldn't have been better or run more smoothly (between the help and the awesome teacher). Almost each and every student came uber-close to finishing and at the end of the four hours, there were glows on their faces and they had nothing but compliments for Willow and the project. It was awesome. A truly amazing event that you had to experience.

I finished out the day in the booth (my home away from home, lol) and then we went to dinner at a local Italian Restaurant to discuss the day and sit back and relax. It was so nice to share it with my friend, Janet (Janet is from London, Ontario and flew in to help me with Willow's Special Event and take in all that is the atmosphere of HOOT; she was able to sign-up for a couple of classes that had openings).

Friday was not quite as busy on the Trade Show floor, but it was steady. I got a little bit of time to check out the other booths and pick up a couple things on my wishlist. Not a lot of time to visit with my fellow booth friends, but did manage to say quick hi's.

Classes for attendees were busy all week. I had short, but frequent conversations with friends as we passed in the corridors. Even peeked in on a couple classes to see what was going on. Sure wish I'd had some time to partake of a couple of the classes. Another time.

Friday night, the Trade Show closed early so we could all prepare for the Banquet. Dress code ranged from ultra casual to really dressy. It was awesome. I'm not sure how many were there, but my best "guess" would be about 500-600. I think the show's registration was just shy of 1000. The place was packed. The speeches and introductions from the Head Table were short but informative and the table decorations were simple but so-thoughtful. Everyone got a note clip (a wooden clothespin painted with flowers, bees and/or ladybugs painting the flowers) with a painting tip clipped to it and the oldest at the table won the centerpiece. Janet, Denise (friend of a friend who helped in our booth) and I sat with Lorie, MaryJo and Joan from the Gateway Decorative Artists in St.Louis, Missouri. The meal was very tasty and the service great. The company, conversation and ambiance were something you need to experience. Glad we went. And again, sharing with my list buddy from and friend, Janet, was the icing on the cake.

Saturday was very quiet on the Trade Show floor. I was able to split my time between the booth and Willow's last class (a repeat of Thursday's special event, but on a much smaller scale - about 30 students). When 2 pm came, we started the long pack up. 5 hours later we had everything inventoried and boxed and on it's way to it's destinations. Dinner and a relaxing evening then early to bed for the trek home on Sunday. Of course, it wasn't uneventful. Not as long as some of my friends (Kathy Swigon's 20 hour trip home), but an extra 2+ hours of trepidation on whether or not I would get home as they'd oversold the flight and my name was pulled. But... finally made it and have been playing catch up ever since. As an aside, picture me sitting on the floor in the Columbus airport handing over stuff I really didn't HAVE to take home (peanut butter, crackers, hair gel, honey, extra plastic bags I was saving for our next show...) and offloading from my checked bag to my two carryons, lol. Good thing I left plenty of time knowing this would probably be the scenario .

I got some brief time to meet some new-to-me faces and chat with some of the teachers in the monitor room where the class supplies are oh-so-organized. Met Earline Padgett and chatted away with her. I could listen to her melodic voice forever, lol. My friends were lucky enough to take one of her classes. Got re-acquainted with Shelley Hankins, from the UK. She was teaching a couple of classes (Sunflower in oils; single poppy in acrylics) and taking a bunch as well. What a fabulous painter and teacher. I took her double poppy class at the SDP Convention last year in Peoria and wrote then that she was one of the most relaxing teachers I have ever had the pleasure of painting with. Quite something when you can say that on the very last class of the very last day of a long convention when most of us have "hit" that wall, lol. Would take with her again in a New York minute. Lovely lady. Met Nancy Dale Kinney-Stout. What an elegant southern belle. She and my friend, Donna Scully, are best buds and Donna's always imitating Nancy's drawl. Too funny.

Of course Tina Norris, Pat Lentine, Janelle Johnson, Bobbie Takashima, Rebecca Baer, Maxine Thomas, Joan Dixon, Sharon McNamara Black (and hubby Marty) all got big hellos from me. Also, many more of my fellow exhibitors (Jo Lutness of Painters Paradise, Linda Heller and Brett Cohen of PaintWorks, Jamie Mills Price and Don of Between the Vines and Valhalla Wood - THAT was a busy booth, Brushes and More, Bear With Us...). I talked with many more when I could "escape", lol. Our booth was across from Robert Warren's booth so we talked and kibbitzed with Robert and his lovely family (wife Donna and daughter Amanda) and of course salivated over his paintings. I took home a couple of his packets and am anxious to play with one of them and while I don't have his talent (or the special mediums he has) I am looking forward to attempting them. He's definitely on my list of teachers I would like to take a class with someday and what a really, really nice person (as well as extremely talented).

There were a few new products, packets and books around the show. Our booth showcased the new "Twinks", lol. Love that name. Twinkling H2O's and Radiant Rain misters. Beautiful glittery results on our painted surfaces. Lydia Steeves has been playing with these products and creating beautiful backgrounds for her artwork. The results are stunning. Willow carries these products and they just flew outta our booth (along with Lydia's new book, Pause for Painting 4 and Willow's new book, Painting Home Decor, which is almost, what I'd describe, as a technique book as each project steps you thru an additional add-on, embellishment or technique to use in her paintings. I picked up a few extra of each book as per requests from friends "stuck" at home, lol). I will be making time soon to update Willow's site (as
soon as I'm a little more awake and can function, lol) so keep watch.

So much to see and do. Am looking forward to next year's HOOT Convention and the theme will be Painting is a HOOT (LOL). Can't believe in 30 years that they've never used that theme! Amazing.

Am still so very, very tired and trying to play catch-up. Next on my list is the painting convention in Calgary (PIA - Paint-in Alberta) September 9-12, 2010, then I'm off to Boucherville, Quebec for my final convention of the year October 14-17. Hope to see some of you there.


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