Thursday, July 4, 2013

Why My Posts Have Taken So Long Between....

 What Defines A Monopoly?

                       Sometimes after writing my blog. They sit for days waiting for a fast enough internet speed to upload them to the internet. The more pictures that I add, the longer they take to upload. I really don't know why. I pay for the highest speed internet available in my area. There is only one choice, and unfortunately it is Comcast. I'm working with an older computer, so I thought that that may have been my problem. I recently had it checked out and cleaned up a bit at the local Mac dealer. I had two choices for that incidentally: iCapeSolutions and The Mac Express. iCape Solutions wanted $125 and to keep it for at least 24 hours. The Mac Express did it while I waited and only charged $29... Who do you think I went with? This post is not about where to get your Mac serviced however...

                       With my iMac functioning better than ever, I now was forced to find the real cause of my problems. After checking back in with The Mac Express, on their recommendation, I did a speed test on my internet service provider; Comcast. The results explained it all. Now I'm not a really technical person. So my tech-speak may be a little off, but my math is pretty good. Upon looking at my bill, I can tell two things. I pay just about seventy dollars a month for 20 mbps of internet service. I don't get anywhere near that. Upon talking with the fine folks at Comcast they still wanted to blame My equipment. "How old is your computer?" was a recurring question... "Not nearly as old as yours...", I said pointing over the counter at hers, "do you have fast internet?"After going back and forth for sometime, I was finally able to get her to dig through my account. She thought maybe I should replace their modem. So I went home, got the modem, brought it back to the Comcast office, where they did, finally, give me a new one. I took it home set up my network and... Wait for it... Wait for it....


                          So you can see how slow my TOP DOLLAR INTERNET SERVICE really is, I have included some screen shots of my internet speed tests. To be fair, I tested the speed on all of my devices. (Maybe it is an equiptment problem on my end) Also I tested it several times. So what you will see are the mid range readings that I found. I used my Desk top, my iPhone, and would have used my iPad, but the internet speed was so slow that I was unable to download the App. Here are the results:

 This is a somewhat fuzzy but readable screenshot of my iMac.

This is a screen shot from my iPhone.

                           Does Comcast not like Mac users?

Does Comcast not like me because I don't own a television and get my programming from the Internet?

Does Comcast just provide an inferior service at a premium price?

Is there a way to get fast internet service on the Cape, and any level of customer service?

I would really like to know.
I'll keep you updated on my progress.

In the meantime buy art and support a working artist!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Buh Buh Buh Blinded By the Light...

                       " Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience... "

Baz Luhrmann
(Or that guy who really wrote it, whose name I forget, but apparently he gets royalties from Baz, so I guess that makes it okay...)

                        It's been far longer than I anticipated between writings. In my last post I told you about my adventures in plein air painting. Had I taken Mr. Luhrmann's aforementioned advice, this post would not be necessary and there would be, I'm sure, another blurb on my painting, perhaps a post with some photos of finished work. Unfortunately, I  did not get a painful sunburn... Not on my skin anyway. (I tan pretty well for an Irish/Swedish mutt.) Standing in the bright sun for hours and hours each of those days, staring at the sky and sea and the reflections and subtleties of the light, leaning my head out from the nice shade of my umbrella, my eyes wide open to try and take in every little detail,  what burned was not my skin at all (like some of you may have assumed by now)... But my Cornea. On Friday morning I woke up and could barley open my left eye through the glare of  the sunlight streaming through my bedroom window. It took several hours of adjustment before I could keep it open. Luckily, I work in a dark bar room. 
                       It was not just the sensitivity to light that bothered me but a haze that had come over my vision. I have been bragging about my 20/15 vision for years, even if it is only in my left eye. (My right being just an average 20/20.)  By the end of my shift. I could keep the eye open while inside, but it still reflexively closed in the daylight. For the next few days I had a blurry spot high in the left corner of my eye. I made an appointment to see an Eye Doctor and that is when I realized that it wasn't just the hazy spot, but my vision in that eye was now down to 20/75 and there had been some damage in my right eye as well. The doctor assured me, after a long lecture about the importance of proper eye wear, that the haze that I was seeing was new cells repairing the damage and my vision should return, but he could not guarantee that, "at my age", it would ever go back to my 20/15.  (Yes, he said that... That son of a bitch!) 

                        So what is an artist to do? I can't wear sunglasses that will change the color of everything I see. Perhaps, through Rose colored glasses my paintings would be a bit a bit more appealing? But I really don't want to be seeing or painting for that matter something that isn't really there. My artists perspective already does that for me. So I think, maybe, a hat. Van Gogh rocked one!

                        There are several that I'm contemplating. I'd love some feed back on which you think I should wear. Here are some options:
It worked for Van Gogh, but I'm not sure that I could quite pull it off.

Classic. Sinatra and Deano would be proud.

Not sure if this one is cool, or if it screams,"Gay Cowboy!"?

There's no way.

       Anyway... I'll see you next time!

Can you guess which I went with???

Support a living artist!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Walking the Walk...

                  Yesterday, I finally got out and painted. It's about time! The weather has been awful, but finally we had a nice enough day to take my well stocked "ArtCart" out for a spin. I put on my QR code T-shirt. Got the dog ready, and started to push my cart the five or so blocks to the waterfront. It's funny what you miss even with all the planning you put into things. I had to train my dog to walk next to me as I pushed the cart. He's pretty smart so that was the easiest part. Pushing my cart the first two blocks I realized that I'm no engineer! The axel that I used is threaded and although I didn't know that you could do this... I put it on backwards! As I walked the bolts were actually tightening on the wheels and it go harder and harder to push. I was tempted to turn around and call it a day. It became so hard to push that I couldn't even get it home. I eventually had to turn it around and pull it. The bolts loosened up almost instantly, and thanks to the lock nuts I had put on, they would only loosen so far... So now my pushcart is a pull cart. But it works. I got some odd looks pulling my cart across town. I'll justify it in my own mind as "visibility". At one point, I saw one of our local whack-jobs riding a bicycle with all kind of boxes and flags strapped to it and thought to myself, "what a loon." Then I realized that  people were probably thinking the same thing about me as I tried to pull my cart and walk my dog across Main St.

                     We finally got to a spot where I felt there was a perfect combination of subject matter and visibility. I set up my easels, tied up my dog and started to paint. You can see from the photos above and below that I'm only about ten to fifteen feet from the harbors edge and in the picture below you can see one of the ferries coming back from Nantucket. So the visibility is great. At one point, as I was starting to paint,  the Harbor Duck-tour was going by and I could hear a little kid exclaim,"Mommy, look at that man painting!" So, I'm pretty sure I was seen.

                      There were a couple of minor glitches that I did encounter. One being that I took off my shoes to paint. Well, apparently this beautiful little park that sits right next to the Steamship Authority's Main terminal is where al those poor dogs who are either about to get on, or have just gotten off a two hour ferry ride relieve themselves (apparently, the wealthy don't scoop)... Enough said. Which leads to; Next time I should bring more rags. (and I'll leave my shoes on!)

                      Some less graphic things that I had to deal with we'll chalk up to learning experiences. I'll bring more water next time, a trash bag, and I've got to figure out a way to keep my paintings from blowing over in the wind. On that note does anyone know how to get blue paint out of Golden Retriever Fur?!?

                      One of the paintings below ... or at least from that series, I will be auctioning on Facebook starting on Monday, June 24th (2013). Friend me by clicking HERE so you can be a part of it!
                     All in all it was a pretty decent experience. I did draw some onlookers. Some were impressed. One BITCH came walking over looked at my paintings and said,"Oh, you're just an amateur, I thought you were trying to make a living at this..."(irony is wonderful) And to her I say,"#@!!$ You, M'am!"

                    The paintings above are not finished yet so don't judge me by them, once I finish this post, I'm of to finish them and start a few more.

Support a working artist!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Applying Technology to Your Marketing Plan


                  In my last post I mentioned a few things that as an artist trying to make a living you should have... One big one that I didn't mention is access to QR Codes. If you're not familiar with them, Google it! This is the bar code of the future.. Oh Wait, no they're already here! In an age where almost everyone has a "smart" phone, you need to make yourself accessible to them. I work as a bartender and when I look around the bar at any given point, unless the Bruins are on, about 50% of the patrons are on their smart phones. No one gets up and walks over to someone they know at the other end of the bar anymore, they just shoot them a text. On that note, most smart phone users have a scanner app. Smart phone users who have this application know when they see these codes all they have to do is scan it with their phone and they'll have instant access to information about the business, product, or person who's code they just scanned. My QR code shown above is linked directly to this blog. So when a person sees it and is curious enough to click on it, their phone will instantly open it's web browser and go to my blog. This makes it easy for people to understand just what it is that I do. I keep cards with me that have the code on them so I can show them. Those who are familiar with the codes get it and almost reflexively scan it (sometimes with a little coaxing...). Those who don't are amazed when they find out what it is and how it works.

                  To get a QR Code you can either Google; QR code generator, and do your home work, or Visit; I just download the free one and link it to whatever address I need. You can pay a monthly fee and get all kinds of services along with it. they can track all kinds of information about who's scanning your code, where they scanned it from, yadda, yadda, yadda. If you feel you need this go ahead, but if your forwarding to sites like, or Fine Art America for example, they are already tracking these things for you. Why pay anything for redundant information. Use your own discretion on this. You know what you need from your QR code better than I do.

How do I use my QR Code?

                    Once you get your QR code, what can you do with it? Anything you want! I have mine on T-Shirts (and I'm getting large signs for my "Art Cart" made) so that when I'm out plein air painting people can scan it and go straight to my web site. This is great because I paint in scenic places on Cape Cod in the Summer!!! 1000's of people pass by everyday. one of the spots that I paint in is right by the docks for both of the Ferries to Nantucket. That means tons of people pass by me every day about to embark on a two hour voyage with not a heck of a lot to do... Why not give them my website or my blog to read on their trip?  I currently have it linked to this site, but am working on an online store and shopping cart and once they're up and running  I'll link one directly to that. Think about it thousands of people everyday passing my QR code... some may see it, some may not, but it puts it out there. It puts ME out there! Will everyone scan it? Of course not. Will some? Yes. Will they all look at my site and buy? Probably not. Will I get a few sales from it? I already have. Will it pay for the time and effort that I put into it? Exponentially!

                         If you hang a painting anywhere that it can be seen, place a QR code by it. Link it to your bio, your website, or your online store. It's going to lead to sales. It's going to lead to YOU, Making A Living As an Artist!

Prints of my latest work are available by clicking on this link!

Or you can go here:

"Buy art from a living artist... the dead ones don't need the money!"

-Max Powers

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I'm Painting Again !!!

             As I mentioned in my last post, I'm getting back into it. I've started painting again. The above photo is of my latest artwork. It is SOLD. So although I'm not yet "Making a Living as an Artist", I am once again making money as an artist. The painting is a larger version of one that I did a couple of years back. The original was 10" x 8"... this was 24" x 18". (You can buy a print of it HERE.) I painted it in four layers, it really didn't take me that long to do if you subtract the time it took for the paint to dry between layers, and the procrastination. I'm not really in to scientific formulas but i believe that if there was an equation for this , it would be something like; painting x drying x 1,000,000 = procrastination....

             Another thing from my last entry is my book. Rather than just do a data dump of everything I know broken down into chapters, I've decided to take my own advice and put it into action. I'm going to document the steps that I take and make THEM my book. The biggest problem that I've had in the past is the actual creation of the art work. To get over this, I've decided to schedule my painting like it is my primary job. I have a great situation here to do this. My "real job" gives me five days off. Not actual 24 days off, but five days in a one week period where I have eight hours between 9 AM and 5 PM that I have free. So that means that I have enough time in my week to become a full-time artist.

             I have the benefit of living on Cape Cod in the Summer. Within a ten minute walk from my house is one of the busiest harbors on the Cape. Two things come out of that:

  1. Subject Matter. I have decided to focus on my seascapes, skyscapes, sailboats, Lighthouses, and all things Cape Cod. ( I am going to avoid white picket fences and cottages though...) I'd like to do this without worrying about the cliche of Cape Cod Art. There are thousands of tourists every day in that area. I'd like to monopolize on that a bit and give them what they've come to see. 
  2. Like I said above... There are thousands of people pouring through that area every day. So it will give me one of the key aspects of "Making a Living as an Artist"; Visibility!!! You could be the best artist on the planet, but if no one ever sees your work, how are they going to buy it?
           To paint on the waterfront for eight hours a day is a huge task. I need to be able to get eight hours worth of painting supplies to and from the area. I now have a car, but the parking situation is not ideal. To circumvent this I've come up with a plan...

My "Art Cart"!

                  I've got everything I need right here. Storage for canvasses, paints and supplies. There's an umbrella for shade. I've got a chair to take a brake in, a cooler for my lunch... It is a mobile art studio ready to go. Not to mention the fact that it may stand out a bit on the waterfront, so there's some additional visibility. Just in case there is some interest in what I'm working on, I'll also have my Square mobile card reader (Yes, that is a link. If you're trying to make a living as an artist and you don't have one, click the link and get one! Now!) You do have an iPhone, right?

                 Now you know where I'll be this Summer! I'll be posting my location on Facebook everyday (feel free to friend me if you'd like...)  so if you're in the neighborhood you can stop by and say," Hello!" Also, I'll be auctioning off a painting every week through my page. There should be some pretty good deals.

                 Thanks for reading this far! Until my next post....

Support A Working Artist!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Back At It?

                  Well, it has been a while since I've written anything here at all... I've spent almost two years just bartending and not really doing much else. Not that there's really anything wrong with being a bartender. I just have no outlet. I'm getting frustrated and bored with it. I'm supposed to be an artist. As I may have mentioned before, I have a problem holding a job and creating at the same time. Unfortunately the "responsible" part of me seems to take over and I make it to work and loose that inspiration to create. I end up in a self imposed anxious state that really just sucks...

                  I've been getting some work done however. I recently stumbled across an old series of e-mails between myself and an artist trying to get their work out there. I was pleasantly surprised by how good my suggestions were and had forgotten how much I actually know about these kinds of things. (Click Here To Read It!) So, I've started to write a book on how to make money as an artist. Yes, I really do know how. I've just forgotten the "how to be an artist" part.

                  To get my juices flowing, I've purchased some canvasses and will attempt (once again) to paint at least one painting a week, not in my usual huge 4'x 3' format, but in a smaller size that will be somewhat easier to finish in a timely manner. From there I will market myself as an artist and track it for my book. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may have noticed that a lot of my links to my own websites and stores have since expired. Mac has stopped hosting websites. So I no longer actually have one. I will be renewing or finding a new online site through which to sell both my one-of-a-kind artworks as well as signed and numbered prints. but I will both be posting links to them here, as well as documenting how I go about this for my book. So, if you care to follow along, I'd love some feedback, support, critiques, and suggestions along the way...

Below is a new artwork that I created to help get my artistic juices flowing again. Its looking more like I'll be signing this one Max Powers. 

(Buy it HERE...)

Buy Art from a living artist! The dead ones don't need the money...