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Keep in mind that the person to write for is yourself. Tell the story that you most desperately want to read.
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Blog Posts for April 2006

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The Daughter

Next day:

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Read the whole story of "Front Porch"
by Brett Rogers, 4/2/2006 10:26:52 AM
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The Mom

No shadowing on Mom's dress yet, but I'm almost done with this one. I like the blue with her red hair.

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Read the whole story of "Front Porch"
by Brett Rogers, 4/4/2006 10:20:19 PM
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The Son

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by Brett Rogers, 4/5/2006 12:37:49 AM
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Front Porch (Done)

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by Brett Rogers, 4/5/2006 2:05:07 AM
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Sonic Sketches

A few sketches on the guitar this morning... choppy and rough, but down for me to listen to again later for possibly pulling into songs.

Sketch #4

Sketch #3

Sketch #2

Sketch #1

I love my new guitar.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/7/2006 7:46:26 AM
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Giggle

This is an example of a painting that almost made it.

I like the work I did on the mouth, and the hair is okay, but the forehead is out of whack somehow and the eyes are too choppy.

Okay... so as I work on my "Vase and Cat" painting that I'm doing at the moment, I'm going to try and bring this thing to life a bit by finessing the eyes and by widening the painting. I like the joy she has, and I can't bring myself to let it go.

The other alternative is to just repaint it. I don't know... we'll see what happens.

ETC: And now later, I've reworked the eyes and cropped it, and for the card, I've added text for the first time.

Does it work? I'll find out if the market likes it.

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Read the whole story of "Giggle"
by Brett Rogers, 4/9/2006 1:36:09 PM
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Vase and Cat - First Day

I like the colors... color makes painting fun.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/9/2006 11:54:13 PM
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Twelve Cards

Last week, my new card racks arrived. Two of them are the five-foot tall variety, with both horizontal and vertical orientation for the cards, as you can see below.

The rack holds twenty-four cards, and I've filled it top to bottom on two of its four sides. I'm currently painting the thirteenth card.

Gotta keep workin' on the dream.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/10/2006 12:46:53 AM
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Vase and Cat - Day Two

Didn't do much today, but did make a bit of progress.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/11/2006 1:07:51 AM
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Music Gallery

I've opened up a new feature here on the site: the Music Gallery (link on the upper left of this page). I'm not that polished and I recorded it with my Sony Cybershot camera and then converted to MP3 from the MPEG video, but it gets the point across.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/13/2006 3:16:28 PM
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Vase and Cat

Working on the flowers and the vase. The vase isn't done, but I'm okay with it so far.

More later...

ETC: It's now obvious where the cat is. I'm almost done with the vase and flowers. I should finish this tomorrow, and then I hope to finish another by the end of the weekend.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/13/2006 9:16:14 PM
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Card Thirteen

Next stop... "Four Joy."

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by Brett Rogers, 4/15/2006 12:17:52 AM
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Playground

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by Brett Rogers, 4/15/2006 11:51:23 AM
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Business

I've changed my mind on my next card - it's going to a be a vertical-orientation painting of a girl kneeling by some tulips. That will give me 6 vertical cards and 8 horizontal cards, for a total of 14 and enough to begin showing the point-of-sale racks to merchants.

I've made the signage that will be at the top of the racks:

And I've ordered business cards:

Took me a couple of weeks longer to get here than I had planned, but here I am. I should get the next batch of cards back from the printer by April 21st, so I will hopefully have my cards in retailers' hands in time for Mother's Day.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/15/2006 1:59:07 PM
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April - Day One

ETC:

The nice thing about acrylics is that I can rough sketch both position and size by "blocking in" the elements of a painting and then go over it later and correct it. It's at this stage that I can test colors and composition.

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Read the whole story of "April"
by Brett Rogers, 4/15/2006 10:25:19 PM
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April - Day Two

I'm really enjoying this one, and I think it's mostly because I so love the colors going on. I've got Vivaldi and Mozart hangin' with me tonight while I finish this one, and I'm taking a break to go for a bike ride and get some clarity before I return to finish it.

ETC: Done for the night, and not quite finished.

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Read the whole story of "April"
by Brett Rogers, 4/16/2006 11:50:39 PM
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Couldn't Sleep

Went to bed, and then got back up to finish it.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/17/2006 4:37:08 AM
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The First

Got my first retailer, a hair salon in West Des Moines. Here are my cards in their store:

Will they sell? We'll find out. Time to listen to the market...

I also went out and took some pictures for future paintings. I need to do more of that. Here are a couple that I took:

I may take a trip expressly to do that.

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Read the whole story of "Workin' on the Dream"
by Brett Rogers, 4/22/2006 2:54:29 PM
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Outside

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by Brett Rogers, 4/22/2006 4:21:10 PM
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Retailers

I got the nicest compliment today. I dropped off Jacob and Austin at their mom's house and then decided to take the next hour and look for more retailers for my cards. I tried a wine merchant ("If you have cards about wine, we'd be open to it.") and a couple other stores ("No, thanks.") and then went to the local "art" district here in West Des Moines, which is called Valley Junction. I went into a store for local artists to hawk their wares.

I gave my spiel.

"Hi. My name's Brett and I'm an artist here in Des Moines. I've created a line of greeting cards based on my art and was wondering if you folks might carry them. Here, let me show you..." and then I reach into an envelope with three cards and my business card and let them see for themselves.

The woman behind the counter pleasantly reached for my envelope and then pulled the cards from within. A big smile came across her face.

"Oh! You are an artist." She was looking at my latest card, "April."

That was the nicest thing she could have said. She also pulled up my cards' web site and loved what she saw. As did the other woman behind the counter.

"We'll recommend that the owner carry your cards," she asserted. "They're wonderful."

Yayy! More of that, please. If they decide to carry them, that would be store #3. The second would be the cafeteria in the building where I work, which has agreed to carry my cards. They have several other locations, but I want to see how the cards do in my building first.

I also stopped at a deli near the new mall that I like, and dropped off my cards in the envelope. And I have my pitch in to another deli that I hope will carry them. Let's see if I can have 4 retailers by April 30th.

I have 10 racks on order: 5 to be delivered in three weeks, and then 5 more to be delivered shortly after that.

I'm having such a good time with this. I suppose this is a bit of what it is to be gambling, but since I've never stepped foot in a casino, I wouldn't know. I do feel like my odds are better than sheer luck with cards or slots. Time will tell.

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Read the whole story of "Workin' on the Dream"
by Brett Rogers, 4/22/2006 6:36:20 PM
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Get This

Repeat this quote to yourself every day when you awaken:

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
- Mary Oliver
One shot. This is it. Either today counts, or it's wasted. There is no second chance at this day.

Which says that you'd better know what priorities you have and organize your time appropriately.

For me:

  • Kids
  • Work
  • My budding business and being creative
  • My health
  • Friends
And my life is organized around those priorities. Every activity that I do has to be viewed and managed in light of this list, or I'm squandering my one wild and precious life.

My kids come first, because I'm the only dad that they have and I impact their lives every day. They are my legacy on earth. I make the world a better place through them.

Work comes next because it lets me take care of my kids.

Next, executing ArtByBrett and what will follow it because it is my future and will someday be my only work.

My health allows me to be physically able to do all of the above.

My friends, whom I love dearly, finish the list, and I help them and make myself available to them when I can.

Which makes me think that it will be a while before I can consider a relationship with anyone. Unless it is a very deep, trusted, and patient relationship that respects the priorities I have. Cuz I have a pretty full list.

ETC: Ran across this:

"People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something they’re really proud of, that they'll fight for, sacrifice for, trust."
- Howard Schultz, Starbucks (IBD/09.05)
Whoever my future partner is, she and I will both have a deep investment in "us." My one wild and precious life doesn't have time for half-assed efforts. I want full-out, fervent, passionate, joyful...

This is a good re-orienting day.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/23/2006 3:08:23 PM
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Spotless

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by Brett Rogers, 4/23/2006 7:50:30 PM
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Sunset Calm - Day One

I may finish this one before I go to bed tonight. I'm taking a break at the moment because I'm noodling through how to do the blue of the water in the lower part of the painting.

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Read the whole story of "Sunset Calm"
by Brett Rogers, 4/23/2006 10:45:41 PM
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Sunset Calm (Card Fifteen)

I learned a bit about why my acrylics occasionally dry shiny - it's my impatience. In my eagerness to scan them, the glass super-smoothes the slightly wet paint and makes it reflective. You can't see it on this one, but I can see it in the close-up that would be sent to the printer for the card.

I have to stop that.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/24/2006 1:08:28 AM
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Sonic Sketch

Here's me messing around with something I've had for a couple of weeks, but this time with some scat vocals on top of the guitar.

Sketch - April 24th

Just wanted to get the base of it recorded so that I can come back to it later and add lyrics and some bridge work.

I apologize for the crackles... I record these with my Sony Cybershot and then convert them to audio files, and somehow that brings Rice Krispies to the mix.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/24/2006 8:12:50 PM
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Creativity

I've been reading one of the books that I bought from Amazon recently. It's penned by a very Harvard-ish guy who writes thick (slow read for all the big words intentionally used). It's called "Creating Minds," and is a rather intense study of creative folks at the early part of the 20th century. He covers 7 people: Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, T.S. Eliot, Martha Graham, and Mahatma Gandhi. So my immediate reaction to his list was: Freud was creative? Gandhi? But he explains that "the words art and creativity have become closely linked in our society. There is no necessary association: people can be creative in any sphere of life." And he's right. It's like the word intelligence being associated with the retention of facts. They have nothing to do with each other. Michael Jordan may have been an average student, but his physical genius is unquestioned. Likewise, we're all intelligent somewhere, just as I think we all have the capability to be creative somewhere as well - not necessarily in the arts. So Freud and Gandhi fit well in a list of creative folk.

The author, Howard Gardner, argues that creativity is intrinsically linked to our ability to be childlike. Which is to look at something as though you've never seen it before and to ask the most nave and fundamental of questions. "Why is the sky blue?" is a question that removes assumptions. It slows us down and makes us think. The creator will stop to ask the "stupid" question and look at it again, with a fresh set of eyes. Through their vision, we see things differently. I think that's the charm of creativity. The world is new again. Creativity takes us back to childhood, whether by doing it or by observing it.

Freud approached the subject of how the mind works, and in particular, he gained traction with his work on dreams, which started with his understanding of repression. It was on this that he founded the field of psychoanalysis. We encounter potentially upsetting notions and our minds stifle an awareness of these things and we cover them up. Why deal with the ugliness of life, we reason. Freud believed that our brains use dreams to sift through this mess of covered trauma. Therapy then allows us to uncover the buried and confront it and let it out, so to speak. And so we feel better. Despite everyone through history having an awareness of dreams, Freud looked at dreams in a new way and connected a few dots and upon this new thinking, millions of therapists make their living today by helping us work through our repression. Kind of like a masseuse working out the knot in a deep tissue stiffness.

Likewise, I think creativity itself is a means for this. It stirs the soul. Music does this for me much more than art does. There's something about finding a simple chord progression and then singing to it that releases a lot. The pressure of the withheld blows free and escapes me and I'm relaxed. Seeing colors and textures together in certain ways has this same effect, but not as forcefully. And writing, too, now that I think of it. In fact, writing may be the more powerful of the three for me. Or at least the most concrete. Music is a bit raw and primitive. Which is maybe why I need to write. It's like dreaming, for me. Which might explain my abrupted sleep schedule and my prolific nature. I don't know... but I'll chew on it.

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by Brett Rogers, 4/26/2006 12:29:08 AM
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Heart

I don't know how I like this one, but on the suggestion of some friends with whom I work, I've painted a heart card.

My son thinks it's cool, which is encouraging. But a good friend of mine who's known me for years says that it's not "my voice." And she's right. It wouldn't have occurred to me to paint this. But my goal is to be successful, and so I'm open to suggestions. Plus, it was fun to do. Very free-form and emotive. And I got to weave a couple of words into the painting itself. I did think about adding text to the bottom of it, like I did with Giggle, but have decided against it.

Last night, I attended an art auction, which will change the direction of my art just a bit. I bought a 24" x 36" canvas today, and this week I'll attack it. I have a street market scene that I'll paint for it, and I'll have fun with the colors and big brushes. I watched art prints go for $1,000 and such, and it was not only educational to see what people chose, but also to watch the auction process and how they kept the bidders involved and engaged. Much thanks to Annette for the suggestion and the invite!

I've been loathe to sell my work for much money, which sounds very counter-productive to admit such a thing. But in the past three days, I've had a number of people remark on the worth of my painting and say to me that I need to esteem my work and allow people to pay hundreds of dollars for it if they so choose. So I think after my first big canvas painting, I'll do one commissioned painting a month on big canvas and charge $600 for the original. This accomplishes two things:

  • It allows the cost to control the flow of requests.
  • It gives me a portfolio of larger works.
If I get no commissions, then no problem, I'll continue to paint as I have. But if I do get commissions, then I'm able to build that body of work and perhaps try getting my work into a gallery. And with the work that I've built to date, I can show that I'm capable of doing commissioned work to a degree of realism that's representative, and, I think, flattering to the subject.

Because it's about getting my name out there. Through as many channels as possible. Facets are a good thing.

The cards are a good approach, and unique, and so that will serve to push my name out there to folks in a way that I would normally not reach people and that other artists don't reach people. But to sell my work through private commissions and through galleries can only expand my opportunities.

Duh. Of course. I should have thought of this before now.

The goal is to make a living by painting. Does it matter the path? As long as I don't lose myself in the process, no, it doesn't matter. Whatever most quickly succeeds is best.

I love learning. Life is so cool.

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Read the whole story of "Heart"
by Brett Rogers, 4/30/2006 11:19:09 PM
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