Monday, April 8, 2013

I WANT TO PAY TAXES

Edge Painting Day in the Studio.
Cake Shop, 42" x 42",  triptych, acrylics

First Day on the job in the Art Business. Regular studio hours have been decided upon after much consideration of my other obligations: 10 AM to 1 PM; 2 PM to 4 PM. I opened my doors at 10:11 and  docked myself for tardiness. My excuse was feeble. I had started the laundry. But given that I had worked yesterday, I wasn't hard on myself. 

Yesterday was 'Paint the Edges' Day for my pastry triptych, which has been leaning against a wall in the darkest corner of my space for months. I've decided to hang it. I really like painting in units. I like pastries. Hang the rest of the world, except for Thibaud.  I put on the finish coat of a mahogany colored mix of acrylics. I used the Dick Blick brand I had bought months ago and hated it. I had to use more colors to get just the right color I wanted' and there was something about the consistency that didn't have the same quality as Golden Acrylics. Obviously, you can't save a buck. But the paint was good enough for edges. 

It is a pity that there isn't a full range of colored 1 1/2" edging tapes out there and I don't like carrying the painting around the sides of the gallery profile canvases. The designer in me thinks that looks like stretched fabric.

I also finished my self portrait in hood #2 and initialed it. This charcoal taught me a lot. I prefer Willow to Vine. I adore my knead eraser more than stubs. I adore my mahl stick. And I still want to find a blacker black. I also started a charcoal on canvas. Sharon Wright's work enticed me. 

Self Portrait in Hood #2, 9" x 11" Charcoal
Learned my charcoal supplies need to be expanded.
All of my industry has been sparked by my visit to the Lawrence Street Art Gallery to pick up the notebook from the Art and Business workshop I missed.  I took a look around and knew I had talent and should stop dabbling and get busy. I knew I was a gallery artist first, online, perhaps second?  Honey recognized that also and was extremely interested in the pricing. It jived with what we thought. I 'hired' him as my agent and he accepted. His first job (and I will probably tag along) is to investigate the other galleries in the various communities around town. Saturday mornings will  suit us just fine.  

I have always thought that artists needed an agent--someone who knows business, isn't invested in the production and can analyze the product's spot in the marketplace. Artists can be too emotional about their work--the time spent, the problems that popped up and had to be solved, the high cost of supplies make it seem priceless. It is not. Honey knows that. Honey has years of business experience. Honey's my guy.

Reading the notebook over the weekend, I realized the truth: I'm not ready to go to market. I didn't get past number one in Laura Hope's workshop synopsis: Make art your job.  Till  today, I've been a part time dabbler, albeit regularly, and my subjects and mediums have been too varied.  Aside from setting aside regular hours, I also decided acrylics for landscapes; oils for portraits; charcoal for value studies. Professional artist is my goal. As I told Sharon Wright, I WANT TO PAY TAXES. 

Post Script: Make sure your photographs are all signed with your name. People who use Pinterest like to gather graphics for their graphic boards. Noticeably signed, pinned work could serve as an advertisement?
 

28 comments:

  1. Thank you, Linda, for the link. I appreciate that. But, you put me to shame, you do not mess about do you. I wish you phenominal success!
    Love the 'Cake Shop' and am surprised....it just isn't a subject I would ever have thought of. Love the SP and the expression that has become more gentle. I use carbon or black pastel for a blacker black.
    You have good advice here, perhaps I should also go to work.....I fear I have been waiting for customers to find me for over twenty years!

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    1. Just because I write it, doesn't mean I will carry it through. Sometimes the writing of it tells me why the idea is ridiculous. At this point, my agent idea isn't ridiculous; I don't have to pay him. If I had to pay him, you can best believe I would be making some amount of money from my art--I would be further along in building my business. Right now, I'm just getting my name out--business card, two sided brochure to leave with gallery owners, folded note cards to use for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. Next a photographic portfolio of the type of work I think is original enough to attract interest. It takes five years to build a business. It takes five years of start up monies to build a business. At seventy two, I don't know the kind of time I have? I do know, thinking progressively, getting involved, being energized, improves the quality of life. That's a great payoff right there.
      Hope spring eternal.

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  2. I like both the pastries paintings and your self-portrait (a little Greta Garbo feel to it).
    I like that you keep working on things, even if you don't like it. You really prove that one can work kinks out. I should do the same, unless it sucks really bad from the beginning off-course.

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    1. You've seen those before. It's time I got them ready for hanging. I still have to varnish. I like the same varnish I use for oils; the sheen is richer than the acrylic answer to a finished coat.

      Charcoals are studies--subject, values, composition... I do them to see if I want to put the time into translating that subject into paint. Me in a hood is not worth a translation. Indeed, the hood charcoals pointed out I want to work in a larger format and then crop these works to size if they turn out well. Both hood portraits were done on a format that was too small.

      I have two large waste baskets in my studio space of works we don't talk about. :-)

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  3. Very interesting thinking at all levels, business and art. Can't get my head around it either but don't have easily accessed expertise to draw on. Looks like muddling on for a while yet. Food for thought.

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    1. I have a list of books Laura Host included in her workshop notebook. I'll post them. Wanting validation for what you do everyday is universally human. Finding just how much validation will make you content is something to think about. I was a little over the top and unrealistic with my post title. --But I do know, I do not want to paint small pictures and sell them online. I do like broad strokes.

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  4. Molto belli i tuoi quadri e anche il ritratto,sei bravissima!
    Ciao,felice settimana!

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    1. Beh, se non una settimana felice, un grande giorno dopo il tuo commento. Grazie. I dolci sono un po 'strano, ma non ci sono calorie in pittura la loro bellezza. E ho fatto catturare la mia ingenuità nei miei occhi. E 'una buona somiglianza.

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    2. My reply translation to Franz's complimentary comment about the art, not my thoughts on the art business: Well if not a happy week, a great day after your comment. Thank you. The pastries are a bit odd, but there's no calories in painting their beauty. And I did capture my naivety in my eyes. It's a good likeness.

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  5. Good luck in this art business, hope you get to the highest tax bracket! My goal has always been to pay a million bucks in taxes!

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    1. Sounds like you've been beating your head against gallery doors. Realistically, I don't think I will ever get to pay taxes in the art business; I'm over the hill and time is short. But I sure do think that young artists should know what being in the Art Business is all about and it should be a required course in all art schools. And I really do believe artists should have agents--preferably who they don't have to pay--like Honey--or any other retiree who really didn't want to retire. I'm also for production art like glicee prints priced low for the masses and gallery representation for original works. --I'm not sure I'm spelling glicee correctly, forgive me if I'm not.

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  6. Vos pâtisseries semblent incroyables !... Votre talent tout autant !...
    Je suis tout à fait d'accord avec vous nous ne sommes jamais très objectifs nous autres les artistes et il est mieux de laisser aux agents la tâche de vendre notre art !... Toutefois il est aussi très agréable de rencontrer les "parents adoptifs" de nos oeuvres...
    Gros bisous à vous... je vous souhaite plein d'impôts !

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    1. Je ne pourrai jamais payer des impôts sur le bénéfice de mon art. Je suis sur la colline. Mais je ne crois fermement que les jeunes artistes en herbe, passionnés de jeunes artistes ne sont pas toutes leurs études dans les écoles d'art à l'égard de gagner leur vie grâce à leurs compétences. Et ils devraient être. Une fois qu'ils découvrent combien de temps et démarrer fonds sont nécessaires, il pourrait lui aussi pense agent. Je did't dites-vous prendre hors de l'équation. Réunion de l'artiste est quelque chose que le propriétaire de la galerie est responsable. Bien sûr, vous devez assister à un spectacle de votre gal.

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    2. The translation of my reply to Martine's comment that agents are good, but there's satisfaction in meeting the people who buy her art: I will never pay taxes on earnings from my art. I'm over the hill. But I do feel strongly that budding young artists, passionate young artists are not fully educated in art schools with regards to earning a living with their skills. And they should be. Once they figure out how much time and start up monies are required, they too might think agent. I did't say to take yourself out of the equation. Meeting the artist is something the gallery owner is responsible for. Of course, you have to attend your one gal show.

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  7. You are really getting full organized Linda. Super! I love pastries. These look good enough to hang in a Pastry Shop and make customers crazy. :)

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    1. Everybody wants to hang them in a pastry shop, I don't. I'm going to hang them in my dining room. I would hang them in my kitchen, but my walls are limited in width and filled. Even if they weren't, I've got a wall in the dining room that will give them enough wall space to breathe, plus the lighting is excellent.

      Honey is going to object, but I want to see these paintings installed so I can judge how to do such paintings better--less colorful, less busy, more elegant--he lives with an artist, he'll get over it.

      It's not enough to just observe your work in the confines of your studio to see how to improve it or the next one. I think hanging it in a public setting gives an entirely different perspective that may have an effect on what comes next.

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  8. Dear Linda, for three watercolors done for a graphic design studio I had the honor to pay small taxes! It will be a good omen?
      Understanding the difference between the world of a professional who is listed on the square inch, and how thinks an artist who has always(well) lived of this ... compared to my way of seeing and thinking, was the result of a meeting that has given me, by chance,the fate.
    Now I just have to act accordingly.
    It is not easy, but change mentality and way of doing things is the only way for me to one day have the pleasure of paying large...  taxes!
    Best Wish for your work and great future&great taxes!!!

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    1. Luck does have a lot to do with success--being in the right place at the right time sort of thing. But there's a lot more to do when systematically paying cold calls: portfolio (artist as product photographer skills required--or hiring an expenditure); business cards; brochure--something to leave behind if interest is shown, an expenditure. Business start up costs. Time alotted to spreading the word; word-of-mouth is how businesses grow. Art show presence--juried is better--best of show prizes would be great IF the show has clout. Thick skin above all for all the rejection coming your way. Luckily, gallery owners are a mostly a friendly lot--at least in appearances, but one must never forget they are running a business and want to fill their walls with art that sells. A tremendous amount of work and luck is needed in the art business--or a wealthy backer who doesn't mind losing money for about five years. While I said I wanted to pay taxes, I really don't think that will ever be achieved; I don't have that much time left. But I sure do want to get out of the dabbler category and I'd like to make the effort.

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  9. Hi LW, just catching up here....I was chagrined to read about your hard drive in the post below. Has the matter been resolved? Did you get your photos back? Love your pastry series and the charcoal self portrait is beautiful. Coincidentally our art discussion group is talking about "business schedules" tomorrow. I certainly do see the value of keeping hours. I wish I could send my honey in to represent me...but his track record reveals that there is a likelihood that he'd start talking about other subjects instead of selling my paintings. haha. I'm afraid it's all left up to me. (though I see the merit in your idea). I'd be interested to see your brochure. I know a big color of one of your "tangled" paintings on the front would be gorgeous!

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    1. No photographs back as of yet and I haven't had a chance to nag them. I'm thinking no news is bad news.

      So far Honey and I have just talked and compiled gallery lists. Studio hours is a great goal, but so far I've only been successful one day this week; family has been getting in the way--but what else is new? I really don't think I will ever get to be in a tax bracket in this racket--too little time, too late. But I'll give it a push. I'm trying for a painting a week, but know that a painting every two weeks would be doable given the layers I add on. Production regularity is first. An uncomplicated, simple brochure to leave behind as a memento of my visit is something I can work in too. Also a well photographed portfolio. My success begins with me. Honey advises and keeps my feet on the ground, --I'm working on a new tangle painting now.

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  10. I'm totally in tune here, Linda. I've been trying to work proper hours for years, it's practically impossible isn't it? So many demands on our time.

    You and I have chewed over marketing a few times, and I'm finding things have changed since I did it in earnest in the 1980s. Still if you can get established when the market (economy) is flat then it bodes well for when it picks up again. You have the hard bit - talent - sorted out no problem, it's down to marketing. You have Ellis and he's worth his weight in gold. So Fingers crossed!

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    1. Luck and hard work too is what it takes. Lots of planning and calculating.

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  11. Linda, I read you loud and clear. For years, I was frustrated because I felt I could not be a "writer" because I had to earn a living. Then I read an article about Herman Melville, who sold only 300 copies of Moby Dick in his lifetime. I realized that I had to declare myself a writer by making it my job. Teaching became a secondary career to earn extra money. Psychologically, it changed my life. BTW, I love Cake Shop!

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    1. Thank goodness somebody does. Thank you JJ. You are absolutely right. After years of working for a living; it is so hard to realize that money--earnings--have to be forgotten. It's been three and a half years since I retired. And I haven't gotten getting paid for my efforts out of my system--and really should, since that isn't going to happen in this arena in this lifetime.

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  12. A wonderful post !!! I'm SOOOO impressed with your pastry series, Linda!!! You did such a wonderful job on them.. SO professional and would be perfect in any Bakery!! I know I would be the first on line after seeing it....and your self-portrait is finished beautifully!!

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    1. How about someone's kitchen--dining room? I'm going to hang it in our dining area, which is part of the great room, (midwestern for living room), as soon as Honey leaves the house. Thanks. The little charcoals are still my favorite way of easing into painting--no big deal.

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  13. Linda!
    Love the self portrait! Dramatic and compelling!
    Great job on the pastry series! Love the colors and so much more!
    Bravo my art buddy!
    Michael

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    1. Thanks Michael. Not many of us walk around the house dressed in a hooded sweater looking for just the right lighting and a blank backdrop so we can take our picture with our iPad and use it for a reference. Just a tad wacko if you ask me, but Honey is tired of being shot as he naps, as he puts on his shoes, as he--well, as he goes through the day. I just want the practice. This one looks a bit angelic to me, but. The eyes did come out great considering how they started out.

      The pastries still are not up on the wall so I can get a sense of them hung in the room. Honey hasn't left the house long enough for me to install them. Maybe tomorrow?

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