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That is what the title of artist means: one who perceives more than his fellows, and who records more than he has seen.
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Friday I'm in Love


The song by The Cure, Friday I'm in Love, is what I wake up to each day.

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's gray and Wednesday too...
Followed by Phil Collins' Son of Man (from Tarzan) and then by Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard. With that playlist as my alarm clock, every day is fabulous :)

Today was a particularly good day. If you recall the search engine that I was building for work, today was the day that we indexed the files for the beta site. Most awesome.

My body is responding to the daily bike ride to and from work. The great thing about muscles is that they remember and come back quickly. God blessed me with very strong legs, so my legs are singing on the ride. I hope that I'm able to ride a bike until the day I die. It's the best.

Picked up the boys from school and we went to a local game spot and got a SpongeBob game for the XBox. Then to Barnes & Noble where Austin loves to listen to music. Jacob and I played tug of Dad while Austin was jamming out. And then we all went upsatirs upstairs for Jacob to play with the Thomas train set. I picked up Red Scarf Girl, which was mentioned by Kris recently. And then home.

I got home to find that red fish mentioned another painter's site. Duane Keiser paints a postcard-sized painting each day and then sells it for $100. He does very nice work, and he sells the work.

Which leads to a question I've asked myself lately: what am I doing with my art?

I'm new to painting, but I know that I can paint (see my gallery if you're unfamiliar with my work). At the moment, I'm in a period of wax on/wax off. I'm trying a lot of things and reading a lot to get an education in art that I never received. But once I'm done with that, yes, I intend to sell my work.

So how will I sell it?

Most likely through PayPal. They take credit cards now and you don't need to sign up for PayPal to use the service. Works for me. In the past, I've had Internet merchant accounts for software that I sold through my business web site. I think the PayPal method will work just as well for this.

About 1/4 of the books in my library here at home are business-y books. And about half of those are marketing. I broke out Thinkertoys yesterday to begin re-reading that.

One concept is the Idea Box. The blueprint for the concept is to:

  • Specify the challenge (selling my art)
  • Identify the parameters that determine the success of the challenge (such as the quality of my work, the media I use to generate buzz, the price point, and the distance I have from the buyer - more about this in a minute, etc)
  • List the variations
  • Finally, try different combinations
It's something like scenario planning, where you pick scenarios to posit different problems and then see which approaches most uniformally provide a resolution.

So what appeals to me? As Bella might say, how do I best follow my bliss?

The quality of my work is driven by the time I put into it. With my five kids, three of whom live with me, and other factors, I can probably put out a larger painting once a week. Or I can go for smaller work and finish it in about 1 to 3 days. I don't want to scrimp on the quality though for volume's sake. I need to like it before I expect anyone else to like it...

The media to generate buzz - when I'm ready, I'd like to crack open my guerilla marketing books and see what I can do. Certainly having a blog helps because I can be googled or yahoo'd. (I'm currently the number #1 hit on Yahoo for "watercolor painting blog," for example.) But I can't rely only on good search engine placement. "If I build it, they will come" is an Internet myth that popped 4 years ago. So the buzz will have to come from elsewhere, in addition to blogs (and thank you to those who link to me :)

Price point... this is tough for me. I don't like $100 art. It's out of the reach of the average person. I mean no disrespect to Duane or others who do this, but I have a hard time limiting good art to just a few. (It ain't my bliss, although if that's the better way, I can be educated if it's the difference between success and no success.) What I would like to see is for people to be able to get prints of my work for around $20. Anyone can afford $20. But at that price, I need volume, and I'll also need a large gallery of work.

So I don't know about price point... you have an opinion you'd like to share?

And then there is the distance I have from the buyer - or, how personal is the art? Do I just paint whatever I feel like painting, or do I paint by request, as some artists do? I suppose if a commission came in, I'd take it as a good challenge and get right to it.

So, I have some questions in front of me, variations to consider, and some labor in marketing in addition to building up a gallery of work.

I love all of this.

I'll leave you with a haiku by Evelyn Lang:

perfect summer sky -
one blue crayon
missing from the box


Tags: my life
by Brett Rogers, 4/29/2005 11:48:42 PM



Oh my GOSH! I hadn't thought of Friday, I'm in Love in ages. Every now and then I sing "Lovecats" to my kittens, but but not Friday! Ahhh...the Cure. I will be on a kick now for sure!

It's exciting to see you planning for your art---I know you have the talent and drive to do it, and people will love it. Be careful though.... once you start doing it for other people, it always kind of risks losing it's joy, y'know? I had a quote I used to use as my signature line...I think it was Moliere, but I'm not don't quote me :-)

"Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love. Then you do it for friends. Then you do it for money."

Cynical, yes. But a risk we proably take anytime we put what we love up for public consumption. I guess the real trick (the one that makes me scream, she said/the one that makes me laugh, she said/threw her arms around my neck----D'OH! ) is finding balance between joy and commerce. I hope to find that with writing someday, and I hope you find it with your art.

BTW, now that you've quoted me about giving up sugar and finding bliss, I am now completely convinced that I am the token hippie around here.



Posted by Bella, 4/30/2005 5:33:44 PM

The balance between joy and commerce... that's a cool way of putting it. But you know what's odd? We're comfortable saying that about art or music or writing, but not about programming or accounting or waste management. Why is that right-brained activities get the extra burden of a balance, but left-brained or regular jobs do not?

Art has to be about connecting with the audience - otherwise it's the proverbial tree crashing in the forest with no one to hear it (or maybe no one who wants to hear it). Sure, I can do it for my own enjoyment, but I want to do it full-time, which demands a paycheck.

I know that I can't be Jackson Pollack and I know that I can't be the guy who did crucifix in a piss jar. I like the smile on another person's face, so I'll be aiming to give something positive in my art.

And you're no token hippie... you're a good friend and someone unafraid to chase what's good in life :)



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 4/30/2005 10:57:38 PM

About selling your art:
With Glass, there's was pretty specific formula that I would follow, it entailed 1) My years of experience 2) The total square footage of the peice 3) The number of pieces and their level of complexity in cutting and 4) The cost of the glass and materials.
When I did commision pieces it was materials plus an hourly rate.

With watercolor, I'm not sure. I imagine it would entail some of the same principals.
Materials, experience, level of complexity...

One thing I always wanted to do with my glass is show at one of those cheesy art/craft shows. I've gotten the materials to sign up for this fall's arts and crafts expo at Hy-Vee Hall, but I'm always afraid I'll not have enough product. I have friends who have done this and they walk home with $5 - $10K dollars for about 6 months of work. Some make more, so it is definately worth putting together a big display unit. I just don't seem to have the nerve/time/display unit to do it. And a lot of the stuff at these shows is CRAP. CRAPPY CRAP CRAP. But about 10 - 20% of the booths are really good artists. I know that this year they are looking for NEW artists, not crafters, because people have been asking for those.
If you want more info, let me know, because I think the registration deadline is the end of May.

Also, I don't think I'm gonna be able to make it to the sketchers even today. I've got a lawn to mow, and not a lot of opportunity to do that since my som is with me so much, and I cant really leave a 22 month old sitting inside getting into things while I'm outside mowing. Today he's at his dad's place, so I have that rare chance!



Posted by Stefanie, 5/1/2005 10:58:19 AM

Also, the hobby lobby internet coupon this week is again for the artist:
Artist Pads and Artist Papers.
50% off.



Posted by Stefanie, 5/1/2005 11:00:19 AM

Ah hell, maybe I'll show up.
Got no clean clothes so I'll look like crap, but I don't think anyone will care.



Posted by Stefanie, 5/1/2005 11:23:16 AM

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