Sergio Lopez - North SF Bay Area Fine Artist

Upcoming Shows and Events

•Spoke Art: April 7, 2016. "The 5th Annual Moleskine Show." San Francisco, CA.

•Bakersfield Museum of Art: April 9th, 2016. "Kern County Plein Air." Bakersfield, CA.

•Christopher Queen Gallery: May 1st, 2016. "The Golden Hour." Duncans Mills, CA.

•Abend Gallery: May 13th, 2016. "Contemporary Figuration." Denver, CO.

•Paso Arts Fest: May 26th, 2016. "Signature Exhibition." Paso Robles, CA.

•Los Gatos: June 18th, 2016. "Los Gatos Plein Air." Los Gatos, CA.

Sonoma Plein Air: September 10th, 2016 "Sonoma Plein Air." Sonoma, CA.

•Modern Eden Gallery: September 17th, 2016. Beautiful Bizzare Invitational Show. San Francisco, CA.

•Christopher Queen Gallery: October 2nd, 2016. "A Splendid Journey: 40th Anniversary Show." Duncans Mills, CA.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thoughts On Winning The Grand Prize

I have just come back from winning the top award at the Sonoma Plein Air festival. I am feeling all sorts of different things right now, and I feel like the best way to get it off my chest right now is to put it down in written word. This is just what I am feeling in the moment, so bear with me.

As those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook have seen, I have been posting just about everything I've done in the last week for the Sonoma Plein Air event. A little background for those who don't know: Sonoma Plein Air is one of the most prestigious plein air events in California, and maybe the nation. As a Sonoma County native and plein air painter who admired the work as an outsider for years, it was a big deal for me even be juried in. I know a handful of people who haven't been able to participate despite multiple years of applying. Point is, it's not easy to get in.

I arrived a little late to the hanging for the evening gala. So when I got there, most of the work was up already. Let me tell you, the work was STUNNING. So much great work was there on display. The judging was done by anonymous ballot by the fellow artists. We obviously couldn't vote for ourselves, so began the tough task of choosing one favorite amongst the bunch of amazing pieces. Time was up, and so I was almost undecided, and practically had to eeny-meeny-miny-mo to choose my favorite.

When the time to announce the winners came up, we all gathered around the announcer. Start with honorable mention #1: Anton Pavlenko. One of the paintings I went back and forth between. Honorable mention #2: Greg La Rock. The OTHER person I went back and forth with and eventually settled on. So with my two favorites down, who was left??

"And the Artist Choice Award goes to...

Sergio Lopez."

What?? Are you kidding me?? First time participant? Second-youngest artist?? Among this caliber of artists? I was stunned. Ecstatic. Overwhelmed. All I could do was take my prize, shake hands, and thank everyone who voted for me, because it was going to take a while to process. And the awards! The only recipient of awards! $1000 cash! My painting on next year's promo material! An ad in Plein Air Magazine! Wow! Unbelievable. Let me collect my thoughts and roam around for a while, as I take this all in...

Now for the silent auction. I haven't been a fan of silent auctions for a while now. They create bad habits in collectors and don't usually do what they are supposed to do, which is drive the price of the painting up. What tends to happen is that everyone waits for the last minute to bid, creating the "Ebay effect" of trying to get the lowest price possible. All the artists sell their paintings on this night in a silent auction, except the winner, whose painting goes to live auction, complete with auctioneer and everything. When it was my turn, I was invited to say something about my painting. I was so rattled with emotion, I forgot the name of my own painting! Blanked out. Had to peek at the auctioneer's cue card to remember. I had it all in my head how I was going to make a little speech thanking everyone who voted for me, and all this other stuff hyping up the crowd, etc etc. But I'm such a shy creature that it all went out the window once I got up there and froze up. Would it have helped? I dunno. I sell 16x20" pieces for $1975 normally. My "Buy Now" price tonight was $2500 (award winner's premium). My stupid opening bid was $1200, so that's what they started the auction at. "$1200, do I hear $1300?" It took way too long to get to $1300. Oh no! 1300 going on 1400? Even longer... shit. $1400, going once, twice, sold! Great, so not only did I fail at getting even what it was worth, but everyone in the entire place knew... Ugh, leave it to a silent auction to bring you back down to Earth.

How did everyone else do? Well the good news is that most of the work sold. The bad news is that most of the sold work went for or just about minimum bid price. Is this a good or bad thing? Depends on how you look at it. I've done many events. A lot of them have had silent auctions. If  20% of the work sells at all, that's a decent sale. Here, most of it sold. Theoretically people should be happy. So why is everyone kind of bummed out? Did they expect too much? Is it because the organizers said it was an OK auction? If this was the result of every event I've done, I'd be pretty darn happy. Attitude is everything.

Aftermath: What does this all mean? So many questions keep flooding my head over and over again. Does this mean I "arrived" in the plein air world, finally? What does it mean to "arrive?" Will I be invited to all the prestigious plein air events? Am I making a bigger deal out of it than it is in actuality? Where does this put me in the grand scheme of the art world... it is a small world. Will they know my name out there, and will it matter? Where do I go from here? Do I pursue plein air even harder or do I keep on going back and forth between figurative and landscape painting... big picture stuff. Let's zoom in on the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow is the main sale day. Will my prize translate into many sales tomorrow? Is the silent auction result a harbinger of disappointment? No answers tonight. I'm tired. The forecast says rain. Fingers crossed. I hope for sleep.
"A Rare Day In Bodega Bay" 16x20 in. oil on linen board. SOLD.

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