Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Time Flies.

Time really does seem to fly. Especially when you use it! The past week has been a blur. I have done a lot and a lot has happened. Of course I've spent some time painting, but with the cold, my hands just weren't steady enough. I found that mason that likes art and now I'm just waiting for the cement to dry and I'll have some heat. In order to get the heat I'll need a few things which will require me to spend some money. Thats okay though, because this week I got TWO, count them 2, commissions, so I've got some cash to do it.

I bought a grate for the fireplace, a screen, an axe and a maul to chop the oak that I've been aging for over a year in the back yard. The grate is called "The Grate Wall of Fire" and it supposedly makes your fireplace work like a fire box. Don't run out and buy one just yet... I'll keep you posted and let you know how it goes. My fire place is an odd set up so I had to get a custom sized screen for which I wasted the better part of the day surfing the internet to find. I ordered them over the internet, so they'll probably arrive just after this cold snap ends. But hey the seasons just beginning so I'm pretty excited about having heat!

Another thing that occupied a lot of my time this week was my NEW DOG. He's only like the most awesome pup ever. He's a Golden Retriever named Nicklaus (thats how I'm gonna spell it). His owners named him after Saint Nicholas because they got him for Christmas. But I like the whole Jack Nicklaus "Golden Bear" tie in. (see... he's big and golden, and perhaps even somewhat bear-like) Don't get me wrong, I love Santa too. (and if he's reading I'd love a really big stainless steel crock-pot for Christmas and... maybe an orange in my stocking... Why did he always used to do that? The Superman toothbrush I could understand. After all, it made brushing fun... and still does. But what the hell was I gonna do with an orange? Anyway... Where was I... Oh Yah!) So I'm gonna spell his name like the golfer, not the Saint. But honor both in the process, because after all it's Christmas and unless you're a blauthor, how often  do you really have to spell your dog's name?

I really haven't talked too much about art today, but I did mention earlier that I got two commissions. So that was something. If you are an artist, and you have motivation problems, I recommend adopting a pet. Not just any pet. A needy, slightly neurotic, large breed dog. So far, it has done wonders for me. We live in a pretty urban setting so I have to walk him... several times a day! I can no longer sleep in and hit the snooze bar until noon.... or one. This morning at 0-dark-thirty I awoke to a 75 pound Golden sitting on my bed with his paws on my chest and his leash in his mouth wagging his tail at 90 MPH. How can you say no to that? So, I was up and out and working bright and early. The further we go on our walks, the longer he sleeps on my feet in front of my easel or under my desk. So, we go on long walks and my feet stay warm while I work. Plus, I'm getting a lot of healthy exercise.(... as opposed to the unhealthy kind..?...)

Which brings me to the moral of my story... Don't buy a puppy because they're cute. This time of year too many people do just that. It is a big responsibility! If you DO want a pet and understand the responsibilities and time it will take,(the next 10 to 15 years of your life) consider rescuing one. Poor Nicklaus had a wonderful home, he just got too big for the nice older couple that had him, so I got a beautifully trained dog with out the hassles of puppy-hood, not to mention warm feet.

Until next time...
Click HERE and you can help feed him!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Just Hanging...

Not too much going on in my world today. Painted for the better part of the afternoon, four more seascapes in the works. It's been kind of a quiet contemplative day, no conversation, no noise, I haven't even played any music.  I'll check back in when I have more to say...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Where the Starving Part Comes From...


It has been a few days since my last post. Part of that has to do with the holiday, a lot of it has to do with not having Internet for the weekend. I'm glad that it was on Comcast's end because if it had been that I'd forgotten to pay, you wouldn't be reading this now.  My income as of late has been reduced to the money I make from the ads on my blog ( A whopping $15.61 this month.) and the paintings that I sell. Which brings me to today's subject...

There are quite a few things that you have to give up in order to be able to live as an artist. (Hopefully not for long... The title of the Blog after all IS; Making A Living As An Artist...)  Looking back to the not too distant days of steady employment I think of the things that I took for granted, like having a car, going out when I don't feel like cooking, etc.

Here are some things that have changed in my life:

---> I no longer have a car, I have since traded to a much greener form of transportation: a bicycle. It is not a problem, really. I live right in the center of Hyannis, so everything that I need is easily accessible. I can ride to the supermarket (And I have my choice of several within a few miles.) There are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby. There are two art supply stores, although they are actually those big chain "craft stores" and they suck! ( but that is a topic for discussion in itself.) One of the drawbacks is that Hyannis is not nearly as green as I am. The only people that seem to ride bicycles other than me are those who can't drive, whether that is because of finances or more likely because they are no longer in possession of a drivers license. Because of this, there doesn't seem to be any bike lanes, or bike racks for that matter. In fact the only places that I've found bike racks in this town are where the homeless seem to hang out; the homeless shelter, The methadone clinic (not that I've actually stopped there...), the mall, and the package store.(Yes, I have actually used that one!) Another draw back is stupid drivers. People either don't see you, or don't know what to do around you. For nighttime riding, I got myself some nifty flashing lights so that I stand out. People don't quite know what to do around them either. The front light is a blue-ish white, and the rear is red, they flash and alternately. Not too long ago, I was pulling out of a side street, and I accidentally "pulled-over" an older woman in a Toyota Corolla.

---> Television. It's a distraction. I could watch CNN all day. Not to mention the cost of cable is through the roof. So I got rid of it. Not just the cable, but the T.V. as well. Since Internet is a necessity, I now watch anything that I need to see through my computer. Having lectured for a living, I also have the luxury of having a digital projector. So now, not only do I watch what I want when I want, but I get to watch it on a ten foot screen.

---> There are some other things... A kitchen renovation has been put on hold. Of course, I was halfway through it at the time. So, now my kitchen consists of a dorm fridge, two hot plates, a toaster, a microwave (which I never use...), and a George Foreman Grill. Apparently, this is more than you really need, because I am eating like a king. I'm doing the dishes in the shower, but I'm eating like a king.

--->Heat. It really hasn't even gotten that cold yet, but one of the things that I miss the most is most definitely heat. The thermostat has been set on fifty-eight degrees and does not go higher. That's cold. Remember, the last place that I lived for any length of time was Florida. Fifty-eight degrees is winter coat weather. To try and compensate for this I've moved my studio to the empty dining room, upstairs , out of the basement, next to a radiator.  I just had the chimney inspected hoping for the best. I need some work before I can light a fire in there. Oh well. Does anyone know a mason that likes art? So for now, layers! and if I can find some fingerless gloves....

---> Lastly, sociability. I really just don't have the money to go out anymore. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. I get more work done, especially on a weekend where Comcast just doesn't work. But I do miss having people to talk to.

All in all, I think that these are pretty small sacrifices to make in order to do whatever it is that you want to do. But, if you find yourself in the neighborhood, feel free to drop in. (Just wear a sweater.) Or, if you or someone you know need any paintings buy one from me. I'm gonna need some grocery money next week... So until next time, stay well.


(Psssst... click here if you want to buy a painting)

http://www.yessy.com/MaxPowers/

(Or here if you want a gallery like mine)



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a quick "Good Morning" and "Happy Thanksgiving" to everyone. Thanks for checking in today! It is a holiday and any excuse for me to take a day off will always be well used. I'm headed out to watch a football game and eat with family and friends. Remember, just the fact that you're alive to read this is plenty to give thanks for. Hopefully though there is more on your list.

Until next time... have a great day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Back to My Art

My last couple of entries have been centered on the business end of things. In fact for the last few days my business brain was in overdrive. I've been caught up in the world of counting my stats and clicks and even the click throughs and really haven't done much about my art. The fact of the matter is the business should always be secondary. If I'm not painting, I don't have anything to sell. With nothing to sell it doesn't matter if there are a million clicks, it was all for not. So today, I'm back in the studio.

The first thing I'm really noticing is what a flippin' mess it is. I jumped right into painting last week and never really organized things. I still don't seem to have the proper flow going. My work areas are spilling over on to one another. There are recent half-finished paintings mixed in with my older half-finished paintings, and oddly enough very few finished paintings. Lights set up for photographing work on one side of the room that are stolen from work areas on the other side. I've been painting on a sheet of luan that is pretty much just strewn across two saw horses. My easels are either buried in corners under piles of supplies or full with huge half finished works that I'm hesitating on finishing just yet because the price point will be too high to sell on Cape Cod in the winter.

My mind is going in several different directions:

1.) I feel the need to paint. More specifically finish painting three paintings in a series that I've been working on for about a month.

2.) I don't want to paint them on top of that damn sheet of luan because there is no support. It has become a taboret and an easel in one. Not a good situation because there is too much flex in the luan and my cup of water, my cup of tea, and my cup of brush cleaner keep bouncing around and almost spilling on my work.

3.) My brain is struggling between using repetitive keywords over and over again, and actually sounding like I have a halfway decent vocabulary.
    
4.) Shouldn't I just be painting, screw the damn Blog?
    
5.) Should I just stop painting and writing, organize the studio and paint later.

6.) Will the feeling in #1 still be stirring around inside me when I'm done blogging?

7.) What should I have for lunch?

8.) Tomorrow is Thanksgiving:
      A.) Am I supposed to bring something?
      B.) How am I getting there, I don't have a car?

Until I work these things out in my head I will bid you adieu. Check back later, I'll put up some pictures of anything that I actually accomplish today.

    

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Results

For those of you who are fellow artists, I just wanted to post a quick follow-up on last nights follow-up. I listed some work on Yessy.com. (follow the link below if you'd like to try it.) I sold one painting with-in an hour, that sale also lead to a commission of another work. This morning I listed a large abstract which is now sold as well. The buyers were actually people that I knew, so I'm not sure what has been generated as far as new business, but regardless it has given me a forum in which to actually generate an income... and the set-up required very little work.

To check out the gallery that took me minutes to set up check out this link:

http://www.yessy.com/MaxPowers/


Or if interested in setting up your own gallery at Yessy, click this link:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Selling Your Art

I just wanted to ad a quick follow up to my earlier post. I talk about "making a living as an artist", but I haven't made any attempt to show or sell my work since I've been doing this. So today after I talked about doing, rather than just thinking or planning (Not that those steps aren't important... just that they are pretty much useless without the whole doing part too.), I put some of my new works up for sale on yessy:

http://www.yessy.com/MaxPowers/

I really did it as kind of an experiment to see where it goes. I tried eBay once a while back but didn't get too much of a response. In fact I only sold one painting on eBay and it was for a penny. The rat bastard stole it from me. A friend once recommended yessy to me so today I figured I'd try it. Tell me what you think of my gallery. Or, if you'd like to try and sell your art on yessy , click here:




<a href="http://www.yessy.com/1463737357.html"><img src="http://www.yessy.com/img/ad2.gif" border="0"></a>

Art Vs. Business: The Art Entrepreneur's Conundrum

If you're going to paint like it's your job, should you be a nice boss and give yourself weekends off? I thought about it, but really, I just got to the point where I couldn't keep myself out of the studio. I didn't go in with a mission or set any goals. I just went in and looked around at first. Then, I was drawn toward a couple paintings that just needed some work, and I found myself tweaking them a bit. I really like the way they shaped up. I then picked up some blank canvasses that I had prepared last week and started a few more paintings, just started them, with no sense of urgency. I like where they are headed as well.

I learned a few things by doing this. One of which was that I can't rush my art. This is not an excuse to procrastinate, or avoid working. (The last thing that I need is another excuse to do that.) It simply is what it is. I can't really say, "Today, I'm going to COMPLETE three paintings...", which is what I did last week. I can START three or four or however many I feel inspired to start. But then each individual work has to emerge. Each in its own time, each one creating its own pace. This sounds way to earthy crunchy for my taste. The whole reason that painting hasn't been my "job" is somewhat because of that kind of "artsy' attitude; "waiting for inspiration", "not quite feeling it today". There is a trap there that I don't want to let myself fall back into, but on the same note there IS a creative process that, really, can't be rushed. So, realizing that, and being a business person that understands that time IS in fact money, where is that happy medium? Not only where, but how do I find it?... And how do I balance the business end of this with the creative end? How do I do it in such a way that they are not only both amply fed, but allowed to actually prosper?

They are hard questions to answer. If I had answers sooner, I'd be further on my way. But isn't that the story of all of our lives. "If only I'd known then what I know now..." The fact of the matter is simply this: "YOU CAN'T!!!" No one can. We can speculate, we can try and predict, plan and prepare, but until you actually go down that road, you'll never know. So here I am, on that road. I'm not quite sure what I'll find. Could I be better prepared? Maybe. But, I could spend my whole life preparing and run out of time to DO. You can sit and dream forever, but it will never happen if you don't actually do anything.

If your looking for help there are some great sources out there. Most of the ones I have are stuck on my other computer. One that doesn't necessarily provide all the answers, but gives great food for thought and some inspiration is: http://www.caku-art.com/  There are a lot of great ideas and some real useful information.

Until next time, take care.

Friday, November 19, 2010

How To Sell My Art... ? (A.K.A.: Will Paint for Food!)


(Disclaimer: These works are UNFINISHED.)

I didn't blog yesterday, mostly, because my day was the exact same as the day before. Therefore, my post would have been pretty much the same. The last thing that I want is to bore my readers. So, today, rather than bore people with my hum-drum life as an artist;"Today I went in the studio, picked up a brush and... yadda, yadda, yadda...", I'm going to fill you in on what went through my mind after deciding NOT to lull you into a virtual coma with my musings on painting.

Okay, I'm painting again. I can paint somewhat prolifically. I already have a pile of art work collecting dust. So now, what do I do with them? :

 "GETTING MY WORK INTO A GALLERY":
(As a blogger I've learned to put certain things in bold type that will catch the eye of search engines... bare with me.)

It's the middle of November, this is Cape Cod... There are only a small percentage of galleries still open. Actually getting my work in just one is a long process. It takes time to find the right one, make the connections and then have them just hang it on a wall and sit at a desk and play on the computer while potential buyers walk around being ignored and made to feel like inferior beings that probably can't afford art anyway.

I'll do the gallery thing, but just not yet. First, I have to build a homogeneous body of works that are of flawless caliber, that are sale-able, and... Yawn.

Okay, right now I'm pretty much broke and can't wait for that. So last night I lied awake in bed thinking about what to do, "HOW CAN YOU MAKE A LIVING AS AN ARTIST?", I thought. (Again, the search engine thing...) Here are some of the ideas that I came up with. I would love you to comment, good or bad, on what you think about these ideas. I would also love it if you would leave a comment with some new ideas for me (and my readers) to potentially use.

BEGGING: Not actually begging and asking for a handout. But perhaps standing on the street with some art work and asking people to buy it. Hear me out! I don't want to devalue my work and SELL it for less than I should, but rather USE my art work to keep me living in the lifestyle to which I've become accustomed. Anyone living in Hyannis has seen the guy standing at the Sam Diego's intersection for the last year. He must be doing alright on that spot.
        A.) Because he hasn't found a new one in at least a year. If something is not working out, you    change it. Right?
        B.) His clothes. Not over the top. He doesn't stand out there in a Tux or anything, but he has appropriate clothing for the weather. The right jacket, good footwear, he's never out there freezing his ass off.
So, the way I see it, it must be a pretty good spot.

What if I stood there? Not to beg, but with some paintings and a sign that says, "Buy me lunch at the bar at Sam Diego's and I'll give you this painting!" Would you do it? Would anyone. (there's a comment section down below, please answer...)

Sam Diego's is not my only vice though... I love to cook. I also love to accompany that meal with a nice bottle of a complimentary wine. So... What if I took my paintings and stood out in front of Trader Joe's?
Not to sell the work, but more to trade or barter. Instead of prices on the back. Suggestions for a trade. For example: $ Two well marbled Fillet Mignon (together totaling at least one lb.) and a nice left bank Bordeaux. I'm not panhandling. In fact, I'd be generating extra business for both Trader Joe's and The Wine List, quite a bit with the way I eat! $ A duck liver pate with shaved black truffles, a hunk of blue cheese, some seedless red grapes, and a Cotes du Rhone.(how do you type that with an american keyboard?) Seriously, that's like twenty, maybe twenty-five bucks. You get to walk away, knowing that you fed a hungry person, the businesses behind me are making money, I get to eat. There are so many wins to this, I can't see how it would be bad. Are there laws against this?

So while we are on this whole barter thing, just so you know, I will paint for food. I also would really like a nice stainless steel crock-pot. I don't have a gallery on line yet, but if in my posts you see a picture that you'd like, let me know. My prices (if you could really call them that) are reasonable. I also still accept cash and gold bullion.

Until you pass me on a curb somewhere... Have a great day

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Painted All Day...



I made my coffee and had my usual breakfast, then I found my way downstairs to the studio. I had spent some time digging through old photo files last night, so I pretty much knew what it was I wanted to paint. The question was ,"what would  I FEEL like painting this morning?" Once I got settled in, got the computer files opened., arranged my canvasses, I was pretty much decided that the images that I had chosen last night were the right ones. After a minute or two of procrastinating and trying to find something else to do I just started painting. I squeezed a couple of colors onto the pallet, picked up a brush, and painted. Pictured here are a few of the chosen images...  




As I sit and look at the paintings laid out in my studio, I'm okay with the finished product. They are not what I usually paint. I do an occasional sea/landscape, but never wanted to be that cliched "Cape Cod" painter. In fact I used to make fun of those "little old ladies" who painted cottages and hydrangeas, and seem to fill up every painting class on the Cape, as well as every artist association along it's shores. I still don't want to paint cottages and hydrangeas. But... To "make a living as an artist" need to paint things that I could potentially sell. These are the kind of scenes that, presumably, someone could buy as a reminder of their vacation. When you look at the galleries scattered about the Cape. This is the type of painting that you see on their walls. I don't have an actual count of the galleries on the Cape, but there are a lot! Each of those galleries must (and this is an assumption on my part) sell multiple works every year. Perhaps multiple works every month, maybe per week. That is a lot of paintings. If I'm trying to make money, I suppose that I should focus on what actually sells, take it, and make it my own. Tailor  my style to the subject matter. Am I wrong about this?




There are artists out there that may say that I am selling out, that I'm compromising. Maybe to a certain extent, I am. The thing is that as a former gallery owner and curator, you really need to provide a product. (... and yes even though it sounds like I'm lowering "Art" by calling it "product", that's what it is. Art, when put in a gallery, or even when just painted with the intent of eventually selling it, is a PRODUCT.) Simple economics would say that the more potential buyers that your product appeals to the better your chance of selling it. So, and PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong, it would make more sense for me to spend my time painting a more marketable product. Right? But... Can't I, just sometimes, do this?




Enjoy the rest of your night!

P.S. Does anyone have any suggestions on photographing my work? These photos suck.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm Painting...

Okay! Here we go... I finally found some pictures that I could use. Some were actually my own. Found a spot in the studio where I could get comfortable and just paint. I stopped fiddling with the lights, stopped looking for the right brush, trying to find the right colors , and just got down to painting. and it actually felt pretty good. I sat and painted. and didn't stop until I was done. Not overly impressed with the results so far but, for those of you who aren't familiar with painting, it's a lot like your golf game:

Your favorite club is like your favorite brush. Your studio is your favorite course, the one where you know each and every hole by heart, which club to use, where to put each shot. If you play like me, how to get out of each and every bunker. The thing is, I haven't played in a while, not just that November through April thing. I mean a while. Like I used to play in High School and now that I'm retired I'm picking up the sport again. The secret to getting good is to get out on that course each and every day and practice. Even if you shoot triple digits, it was still a day out on the links.

Today I spent some quality time in my studio. I haven't played this course in a while, but I still remember where to place some of my shots. All in all it felt pretty good. I'm still a little stiff, but I've got some game left in me.

If anyone's looking for me I'll be at the nineteenth hole.

Until tomorrow....

(I won't be at the nineteenth hole until tomorrow.  I'll just be there for a little while. I'll be back here writing tomorrow. For those of you in Hyannis, I don't literally mean that I'll be at the "Nineteenth Hole" on Barnstable Rd., I meant it figuratively, as in.... Oh, never mind.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

From Digging Out to Digging In...

I have so many supplies! Putting them away has been a formidable task. I'm supposed to be a painter, an artist, not an organizer of things. So I have shoveled a hole into the middle of my pile of art supplies, pulled out the necessary equipment and set out to paint my five paintings for the day. "Set out"... apparently, "setting out" to do something and actually accomplishing it are on two different planes of reality. Five canvasses, "Check". Paint,"Check". Brushes, "Check". Ideas, inspiration, motivation... Not so easy. I'm ready to paint. My mind is there. The tools that are necessary are there. I have an idea in my head as to what I want to paint. Honestly, I don't want to be full of excuses as to why I'm not painting, but all the pictures from my last "photo safari" are on another computer 1500 miles away. I just don't have access to them right now. Before you yell at me for coming up with an excuse let me continue with this current line of thought. I can tell the difference, especially in my own work, but even in the work of others. Thomas Kinkade! Those cottages don't exist. They never have existed. They never will exist. I can tell and I HATE them. In my own work I can spot when I fudge something. The way the light is hitting the trees, the way the land meets the water, The sky; these things are glaring to me. I am not even a realist, but I want what I paint to be a literal translation of what I see, through me own eyes, filtered through my own unique perspective, and put forth onto canvas by whatever ability I have. 

So, where then do I get the subject matter for my work? This morning I went online. I searched the internet for photos of the Cape. I live in such a beautiful place, but sometimes, when you see it through another's perspective the images just don't move you as much. In fact, looking at them today, they seemed almost contrived or cliched. When you use pictures that you take yourself, there are a number of things that linger in your mind that the film just doesn't pick up. Colors for example, I have an excellent memory for the colors that I see, and when I see them live and in person, I actually calculate the layering of different colors that I would use to get a similar effect on the canvas. For some reason that sequence stays in my mind, and when I see the photo again, I am able to recall it. Without this I'm stumped as to what to do. Until then, I'm going to stop my bitching, keep digging and find a few images that I can use.
Yes, I'm stealing images off of the internet, but for self improvement purposes, so I've justified it in my own mind. I hope that that does not offend you.

There are a few more hours in this day and I will continue to work until I feel that I've used them appropriately. So wish me luck. I will show you the results whether I like them or not in a future post. Until then, take care of yourselves.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Still Digging...

Sorry I'm so late, but hey, it's a Sunday and I'm working.

It is amazing how much absolute CRAP you can accumulate through the course of your life. I'm talking the literal stuff not the emotional... well, not 'literal ' 'crap', but actual 'stuff '. I couldn't tell you how many times I've moved over the last 10 years. (actually I could, and if you count two ships, It's 13) Each time, I weed out the superfluous, yet I still have enough to fill an entire 12' x 21' room. (and that is just the art supplies...)

Todays job is to continue organizing and setting up my studio. I was kind of hoping that I'd be done by now. I've found enough small canvasses that I have decided that next week, which starts tomorrow, I will paint five (Yes 5!) paintings a day (M-F). It sounds like an incredibly daunting task. It sounds impossible. But, even if I only reach half that goal, I'll still have a dozen paintings. I'm going to stick with smaller sizes (8' x 10", 10" x 12"--ish) and fairly simple seascape/landscape subject matter. So come friday at about 2:30 PM we'll know where I stand on my self-test. In the mean time if anyone has any nice marshy-beachy scenes that they can send me I'm going to need some. Most of the pics I've taken are stuck on my computer in Florida.

So, I know that this has been a fairly short entry, especially considering how much I can generally go on.  (and on... and on...) But, I'll be back tomorrow, maybe, with some pics of my studio in a pseudo-state of completion and some comments on how well (or not...) my challenge is going. I'll keep you informed all week, bounce some ideas off you, maybe I'll ask some technical questions in case there are any working artists out there secretly following. In the mean time everyone take care and enjoy another gorgeous day on Cape Cod, or wherever you maybe.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Getting Down to Business

I guess being a working artist is like being in a twelve step program. The first step is admitting your an artist. I've done that.  However, there is no local support group that I've found yet. So I guess it's up to me to figure the rest out.

I would say up to this point I've been a poser. I say I'm an Artist, but what have I done lately? Step two then must be the creation process. Easier said than done. Where do I create? With what? On what? Not to mention, what the hell should I paint?

Let me address the first part : Where. Every good artist needs his space, his lair, his "fortress of solitude". So todays mission is to create a studio space where I can work. I have claimed a room in the basement. Unfortunately, there is no natural light but I'll deal with that for now. I've emptied it and swept it out. Now it is time to make it a working studio. As I carry box upon box of supplies and older artwork into the now empty space I'm realizing just how much I've accumulated over the last 20 or so years. Here is a brief inventory:

Paints:
- 54  2oz. Acrylic paint tubes
- 14  4.64 oz. Acrylic paint tubes
- 36  1/2 oz. Acrylic paint tubes
- 7  1 pint tubs of heavy body acrylic paint
- 5  7.6 oz. tubes of extra heavy body acrylic paints
- 62  bottles of liquid acrylics
- 13 1.25 oz. tubes of oil paint
- 20  oil sticks
- 8  quarts of latex house paints
- 12 gallons of latex house paint
- 12  cans of spray paint
- 3  cans of primer
- 4  cans of polyurethane
- 7  jars of various matte mediums
- 8  spray-cans of sealers
- 37  black sharpies
- 2  purple sharpies
- 1  green sharpie

Tools:
- 108  paint brushes (all shapes and sizes)
- 2  T-squares (one "F"-ing huge)
- 6  mat knives/exacto knives
- 1  mat cutter
- 2 pencil sharpeners (1 20+ years old)
- 1 set of french curves
- 3  pair of scissors
- 4  lights
- 5  easels
- 2 print racks
- 5 pallets
- 11 pencil sets
- 1  tripod
- 1  mono-pod
- 2  digital cameras
- 1  Pentax K-1000 camera
-     crates of Art/ Art History books
- 7  journals
-     Support building materials (clamps, glue, nails, sanders, hammer, pliers, mitre-saw, etc.)
-     Various rolls of masking tapes
Supports:
- 26 pieces of unstretched canvas
- 8  sheets of foam core
- 4  rolls of paper
- 10  pads of paper
- 10  sheets of black Cansen paper
- 25 pieces of panel to paint on
Artwork:
- 30+/-  unfinished paintings
- 50+/-  finished artworks
- 6  sketch books full of ideas

Please tell me that you didn't read all of that!

Today I am organizing all of that and trying to set up a nice workable area where I can start to paint. There is, apparently, no lack of supplies. So, once my space is ready, I should be able to start on my new adventure.

I think that I would like to put a small "thinking area" in there as well, with my desk and computer, and a spot to just sit and get focussed.  I will check back in tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll be able to add some pictures, but currently I'm working with an 8 year old computer and it just doesn't want to "upload".

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 12, 2010

So... Where was I?

Aside from the many amazing feats of my young impressionable years, I continued creating through High School, which eventually lead me to Art School. I never really was the best student. I apparently had gotten by up until that point on my wit, charm and dashing good looks... Okay, so maybe I just slipped through the cracks like so many underachievers do. My motivation was sidetracked by my curiosity and desire to find new and exciting things and, eventually, I settled for a job in sales, making myself damn near miserable for the next fifteen or so years. My creativity just wouldn't flow as long as I was working a "real job". There were brief times in my life where I would take time away from traditional employment. Somewhere after the de-stressing from the job and before fear of poverty set in I would be able to really create some great works. But, the breaks where never long enough to allow me to tap into a "flow"; That point where the creative juices just seem to pour out of you effortlessly. Inevitably, I would find myself back in a sales job planning my next escape, dreaming of painting once again.

On one cold January day soon after Christmas, for the first time in my life, I got fired. My boss's parting words were "...maybe you should go sell art...". I heard those words and really started to dream about it. Instead of job hunting I found myself sketching or painting. I would really just create and daydream for most of the day. The funny thing about dreaming is there really is no limit as to what someone, especially a creative type, can dream. In dreams you can really do or be anything or anyone...

I chose "Max Powers" and things just seemed to take off. The next thing I knew I was designing what was considered the flagship of the arts district. A gallery in South Florida which promoted the best of the emerging artists in that area. I would have openings and art events with huge crowds waiting to get in the door, spilling out onto the streets. This was a lot of work. Not that I have an aversion to work. I actually enjoy it. I like getting lost in it and completely losing track of time, suddenly realizing that It's eight o'clock at night and you've forgotten to eat lunch. (Okay... I rarely missed lunch... but you get my point.) I wasn't painting though. I was doing event planning, designing invitations, designing advertising, building and maintaining websites, curating shows, finding new artists, selling art. I was the flipping janitor for crying out loud. I was doing everything except for painting. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but I loved painting more. So, I left...

I had an incredible resume after all that. I decided to look for a happy medium. I went to work for a gallery.... on a ship. I got to travel the world, be surrounded by art, (and I mean ART... Amazing that should be in a museum... ART. Like ,"Oh my god there's a Rembrandt on my desk" ART! "Don't drop the Picasso" ART!)and it's a great job, but it's hard to fit canvasses, paint and an easel in your carry-on luggage. So now, I'm home. I'm between ships and I want to see if I can make it " Making a Living as an Artist." You can spend your time dreaming about doing something, or doing it. You can try and maybe fail, but at least you tried. If you just dream about it, you'll never know. Then again, if you try, I mean really try, You just might succeed!

I'll be back and I'll keep you updated as to how it goes. I'll share some insider tips on getting into a gallery, on showing your work, on pricing, on how to make the most money on your artwork. I'll share some ideas with you on marketing yourself and your work. I'll ask questions when I need to know how to do something and hopefully someone out there will answer...

So until next time...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In the beginning...

Welcome to my very first Blog experience. I guess my first task is to explain what the hell I'm doing here, how I got here, and how and why this blog has come to be.

First off... I was pretty much BORN an artist. One of my very first memories is of me "creating". My mother hates this story,  perhaps, because like any story, I tell it the way that I remember it. What you are about to read is my perception of the way it happened and in my world perception is reality. So...thus being said. At three or four years old, or three or four feet tall, I'm sure it was one of those... I created my first masterpiece. My parents were teachers and because of this there were always school supplies around; paper, pens, glue, paste, all kinds of your typical school needs. My chosen medium for the day was ball-point pen on blue lined paper. One other interesting supply that I had at my disposal were little brass binder/fastener "thingies" that I found absolutely fascinating at the time. Hey, you use what you've got around you. Michelangelo would never have been a sculptor if there hadn't been marble readily available to him. So, I set out with my blue ball-point, my blue-lined paper, and my brass fasteners and proceeded to create life-sized, (to me anyway, I was three feet tall.) posable, action figures of Adam and Eve. The fasteners made the perfect tool for me to make their joints move. Did I mention that they were anatomically correct? Somewhat anyway... Her breasts became spinning pinwheels with the brass fasteners for nipples, and he had certain parts that could sway in the breeze. This was not only an artistic accomplishment but through the wonders of those little brass fasteners it was also an engineering marvel. I was truly the DiVinci of Mrs. Manning's morning kindergarden class. Excited by my successful completion of the task I ran to show my mother.

Upon entering the room her chin dropped. The sheer look of awe on her face as she took in the sight of her youngest, most innocent child's construction made me proud. I knew she must be impressed. In fact she was speechless. I was sure that a devout Catholic woman such as herself would have been impressed by her young son's rendering of such an important biblical tale. However, her focus seemed to linger on their anatomical correctness.

The rest of that afternoon is fuzzy to me. I believe there may have been a small fire in the back yard and perhaps a rosary or two was said on my behalf. I do know that since that date, on humid days, I still get the faint taste of soap in my mouth. My masterpiece was never seen again.

I made several more efforts to duplicate my brilliance. My next work was an installation piece. A tasteful hybrid of interior design and modern art.  I found among the families collection of school supplies, a wonderful bottle of glue. What a fun bottle. It had a clear liquid glue, not like that messy Elmer's that you'd find in Mrs. Manning's art bin. The top was a pink rubber applicator that could be directed with amazing precision. I pondered what medium would be the most complimentary and would best demonstrate the accuracy of the adhesive. I then remembered my mother's beautiful collection of silk scarves which she kept tucked away in a dresser drawer. What a waste of that delicate beauty. Such a collection should be prominently displayed. So I promptly took each and every one of them and arranged them on the dreary walls of my room. Family, friends, and neighbors gathered to see my accomplishment. It moved my mother to tears. I believe that if you look back at old retail records you will see a spike in Coco Channels sales around that very date, no doubt from a number of copycat artists. After that, art and craft supplies were harder to find around the house.

So those are two of my earliest memories regarding my creative endeavors. I will be back to tell you where I went next with my art, and to keep you up to date with my latest attempts at making a living as an artist. Until then, have a wonderful day.