Mystic - Artist Mary Ann Neilson of Westport says you have to target your market when you are selling at outdoor festivals.
That means paintings of boats and beach scenes are not going to do well in the Midwest, but they will be right at home at a place like this weekend's Mystic Outdoor Art Festival.
For Neilson, the subject of her art on display this year is largely Italy, evocative watercolors of her many trips there.
It's not boats or beaches, but it is likely to appeal to an audience of people who travel, people who may have been to Europe recently or are planning to go soon, Neilson said.
"How well you do here depends on what you have," she said. "I need to be in a place where people travel."
On Saturday morning, Neilson's display of Italian fields, cafes and villages were drawing in many of the curious passersby on Mystic's West Main Street.
Neilson and other artists were grateful for the weather, which, defying predictions of heavy rain, turned out to be perfect outdoor art festival conditions: no sun and even a light breeze to keep things cool.
"If it stays like this," Neilson said, "people won't be out doing something else."
Indeed, Saturday appeared to bring a steady stream of art browsers around downtown Mystic for the 55th year of the annual festival, sponsored by the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce.
Artist Vince Pompei of St. Petersburg, Fla., said this was his second year exhibiting in Mystic. Last year was a washout Sunday, with torrential rains, but he did well enough Saturday to want to return.
Pompei has one of the more unusual displays at the festival, and his tent was attracting a lot of browsers Saturday morning.
Pompei makes an assortment of clocks out of found items, like old silver trays and spoons and forks.
He hadn't sold that much Saturday but he knows from experience that people return after they have a chance to browse the rest of the show.
"Sometimes they have to talk their spouse into it," he said.
Even by noon Saturday, some artists were ringing up sales at the festival.
Celeste Higgins of West Hartford and her husband bought two paintings from an artist they have seen at other shows.
They came to Mystic specifically this year to buy the paintings, including one of a set of shutters on an old house.
They were glad for a visit to Mystic, and in keeping with the chamber's business development philosophy of the festival, they were planning a nice lunch before leaving town.