Greetings! Since February is coming up quickly, I wanted to share some of the behind-the-scenes action from our calendar session with Miss Penelope.
By now, you’ve probably had a chance to glance at Artist Dog… and some of you observant souls are noticing something a little awry with the end of the month. Its pretty subtle but a few of you have made a point to ask me about it so I thought I’d give you the story on our little addition to the days of February.
For February’s concept, we wanted to address the amazing artistic talent that is so prevalent in Asheville and it is one of the things that we LOVE about this town. I’ve met some pretty amazing artists here and each person has such unique style, taste and an awe inspiring sense of self. We thought that it would be really fun to have a dog represent the artistic side of town but it took some time to come up with how to convey our love for the artists here. Since some artists use their hands, we translated that to “paws” and the inspiration hit. After mapping out a general idea and finding the perfect rescue dog, our concept took us to a super talented artist studio in the River Arts District where we met with a lovely woman named Court McCracken. Her studio was filled with amazing works and it honestly took my breath away when we walked in the door. If you’d like to see some of her work, please visit her web page here: www.courtmcCraken.
Court was so gracious to open her studio up to us for the February calendar shoot. We knew things were about to get pretty messy so we brought along plenty of wet wipes…I think we even brought a bucket and sponge in case things got REALLY industrial. The idea was to have Miss Penelope get a little bit of paint on her paws and create her own masterpiece with her tiny little paws. We brought some non-toxic poster pains and a few blank canvases and even had a very large sheet of paper on the floor in case the paint went rogue. Secretly, I was hoping that Miss P would pick up a paint brush in her mouth, but mostly I was praying that the paint wouldn’t end up on any of Court’s projects. As we rolled out the paper and set up the lighting, I started to get that excited feeling that this was actually going to turn out really well but it all depended upon whether Penelope would want to cooperate. Fortunately, we brought along some very tasty treats just in case. The last detail was to make sure that she didn’t get paint in her adorable little eyes so we brought along some bright red doggles for protection.
As the paint was squished onto the pallet, Miss Penelope started sniffing around the bright colors and we held our breath. Finally, she tentatively put one toe in the paint and started padding around the canvas. In my head, I was yelling “YAHOOO!” but one paw print does not a masterpiece make, so we waited to see what she would do next. As more colors went onto the pallet, she became more interested and finally started to really get into making a mess. Pretty soon, the first canvas was tastefully decorated and she moved onto the second. Before we knew it she had paint in her hair, her toes and I think she may have had some on her back but it didn’t matter. We were creating art together, Miss Penelope and I! As the session wore on, uncertainly gave way to laughter and I knew that we had some shots that we could use. All in all, a very memorable session with little Miss Penelope.
Now, on to that conspicuous little sticker on the last weekend of February. As we were finalizing the calendar and proofing all of the content, I failed to notice one very crucial error. I can’t believe that I missed it. We looked at the calendar at least 20 different times and tried our best to proof for spelling errors. We made sure that we had photo releases for everyone pictured. We made sure that all colors coordinated. I went back and made sure that every letter “i” was dotted and every letter “t” was crossed. The calendar was even proofed a few rounds at the printer before it ever went into production and somehow this one tiny detail was missed in every proof. It wasn’t until 3,000 calendars were printed and being packaged up in boxes that I got the phone call. “Did you know that February 2014 only has 28 days in it? Your calendar has 31.” You can imagine how sick I felt. We debated and calculated the cost of a reprint but coming up with another five thousand dollars for a reprint wasn’t an option. We had already gotten an amazing deal from the printer but our luck had run out. We tried to get just one page reprinted, but that wasn’t an option. Everything had been stapled together. We looked at every conceivable option. We had no choice but to continue with the plan to sell the calendars. At the very last minute we found our “Hail Mary” pass and I *think* it was the only option under the circumstances. Since the spirit of the calendar was very “tongue-in-cheek” with all the fabulous holidays, we thought that coming up with one more was the only solution: National “Don’t let an artist proof-read” day. When I came up with this idea, I was strictly referring to myself. I think that by creating our new little holiday, I was owning up to the fact that I missed a major error. In hind-sight, I think that perhaps we could have come up with something a little more specific like “don’t ever let Sheryl Mann, (a photographer) proof read any of her work” but obviously space was limited. Now, I think that by labeling it simply “Artist” we perhaps offended a few artists in our audience and I certainly regret offending anyone by that little comment. Rest assured that when the next calendar comes out, it will be extremely accurate right down to the day.
So, now you know about that curious little sticker at the end of the month. Now you also know that I cannot count, proofread or spell. I can, however, take photographs and responsibility.
Here are some of the out-takes from our fabulous artist session with Miss Penelope.