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The Story of "Pirates"

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Pirates - Sketching

 

This one will be both fun and aggravating, I can tell already. Hopefully it comes out right, but to prepare, I'm doing something new - sketching it out roughly as a separate piece before I jump in. I want to work through the trick of some of the shadow work and the edges that I'll encounter before I start on the real thing.

This one will take a me a while. No rushing through this one...

 

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by Brett Rogers, 3/4/2006 10:50:15 PM
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Pirates - Day One

 

After rough sketching and thinking about it last night and the approach I wanted to take, I started in this morning.

This is almost all small brush work, which is unusual, but then it's very detailed and lots of face work, so big brushes are out for that.

It occurs to me that people might wonder why exactly I post and snapshot the work as I go. Two reasons:

1) I do so at times when I need to step away and clear my head of its assumptions before I return to work. Taking a picture of it lets me see it in a fresh way and I often spot problems early on in this fashion, which leads to a better painting.

2) I think it breaks down the "mystery" of painting. Often, we only see the finished work of an artist, and seeing it in its early cumbersome stages makes it more a process and more human. For example, notice that the girl taking shape has her right arm both downward and out to the side. Why? Because I can't decide at the moment which is better for the composition. Hence, I'm taking a break. It's my opinion that anyone can paint. I would hope that, by seeing the step-by-step development, someone might be less intimidated by art and be more prone to try it themselves. It's one shape and one color at a time - that's all.

ETC: A bit later, and time for another break.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 3/5/2006 9:18:22 AM
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Amazing Face

 

The face is an amazing thing. It's so full of contrasts and hue.

As I work on the face of the main person in this piece, I marvel at the human face. It conveys so much. Indeed, it's the first thing we ever know when we're fresh from the womb. Fascinating, to study a person's face.

Anyway, just one of those "Wow" moments when life's simplest things give you great pleasure.

ETC: Stopping for now... more later.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 3/5/2006 2:58:32 PM
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Pirates (Getting Closer)

 

Currently...

I have two more girls to go and then it's lights out on the slumber party.

On December 3rd, I started this little exercise into greeting cards. Today, the printer told me that they have received the 600-dpi jpeg files of my first eight cards and I should be able to proof them in the next couple of days. Sometime next week, I'll pick up the order. At that time, I'll have 1,000 cards, 125 of the first eight.

Then comes the task of finding retailers. I initially wanted to start with ten. I've trimmed that to four. That's managable. I get to put on my salesman cap and trot door-to-door in the venues I've selected to approach. Need to practice my pitch...

I've actually done a lot of door-to-door sales. Back when I had my window washing business in the 80's and early 90's, I went to residential neighborhoods and would walk up to the door, smile, and ring the doorbell. The man or woman inside would answer and look me from head to toe. I held my pickle bucket in my left hand, squeegees hung from the ringlets in my pants, and towels were draped over my shoulder.

"Can I help you?" they would ask, one eyebrow raised.

"Hi. My name is Brett Rogers, and I'm a window washer in the area. I've done a few houses in your neighborhood, and wondered if you'd like an estimate to have your windows cleaned."

And then I would wait, smiling firmly and kindly.

Sometimes, the decision was immediate. Mostly "No," but occasionally "Why, yes. Go right ahead." Other times it would be about 20 seconds before I would get an answer.

If "Yes," I would walk around the outside of the house, gauge the number of hours that it might take, and then report back with an estimate for $20 an hour.

More often than not, they went with the estimate, and usually I would get started right then.

It's interesting to me that they would then follow me around as I worked. First, screens out of the windows and gathered and taken outside to hose down and set against the house or fence to dry. Then back inside, laying sheet down on the floor to keep it clean, and then I went to fill up my bucket with clean water. But they would follow me the whole time, and I would ask them questions.

"Live here long?"
"I see you have kids? Are those recent pictures?"
"Did I catch you in the middle of reading your bible? What are you reading?"

And so it went, the conversation started with a complete stranger and soon enough, I was hearing things that few people would hear.

"I can't believe I'm telling you all this."

And then they would continue right on from there.

Some were accountants, or retired executives, or doctors or dentists, or housewives. All of them were well-to-do. I saw some great homes, and a ton of ideas for interior decorating.

"Where'd you get that?" I would ask, pointing at a knick knack. "That's mighty interesting..."

"Oh, we got that on our trip to Africa. You know, Dave always said..."

And the story would go on.

I don't mind door-to-door. Some of my best experiences in life came from my time window washing. I met some great people, and some of them shared quite a bit of wisdom with me. It was pretty cool.

Going out to drum up retailers feels a bit like that. So of course, I'm looking forward to it. Minus the pickle bucket, which was a 5-gallon green bucket from Burger King that held, as you might guess, pickles. Perfect for window washing, and back then, a Burger King would give me one if I asked. They always had an empty one handy.

What's nice is that I'm about on schedule with my plans. I'd like to have a couple more paintings done, but I'm content with my painting progress. I'll see if I can finish this one tonight. Hope so. Late night ahead!

ETC: One more girl...

 

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by Brett Rogers, 3/8/2006 9:53:22 PM
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Pirates (3rd Row)

 

I've almost filled the rack halfway :)

Off to Kinko's...

(What would I do if they actually kept regular hours?)

 

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by Brett Rogers, 3/9/2006 2:48:47 AM
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