Monday, November 30, 2009

Almost December

Yesterday was our oldest son's (Kristopher) 30th birthday - The Woman talked to him on the phone ( as she does almost every Sunday) because he lives far away. It is sort of weird thinking that we have children that old - cause The Woman and I are so young( at least in our minds )
That is the most annoying/amazing thing about getting older. In my mind at least, I do not think I'm old- Until I look in a mirror, or try to do something physical without thinking first. ( I remember a few years back playing basketball and trying to save a ball from
going out of bounds - my mind told my body what to do and as my old outstretched
body went for the ball I took out two people and barely touched the ball )

Anyway The Boy had a good birthday - as he celebrated a belated Thanksgiving with some other Americans. I have been taking it easy lately as most of my energy was spent on the Leg Lamp II for the previous two days. I need to get on to stretching a canvas for some new paintings - cause you can't make prints of non existing paintings.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Leg Lamp II

Leg Lamp II

After a wonderful Thanksgiving Day brunch ( we usually eat around 2:00 ) I went back to work on the new Leg Lamp

I had created a 12 foot tall Leg Lamp for the front lawn of our house a few years back( Check out the blog posts for November 2006) . It last two seasons and on Christmas Eve of the second year ( almost on cue from the movie ) it broke.

The first one was made of wood - this time I took a different approach - I went with steel. This meant that I had to quickly teach myself how to MIG weld ( I got the job done - but my hats off to people who do this for a living )

The Woman gave me until 6:00PM on Saturday - It was up and my mess cleaned up in the garage by 5:00. So in less than three days the Leg Lamp lives!!!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is my second favorite holiday - as all you really have to do is tolerate relatives and eat way too much.

The pressure is on though to get something created for the front lawn - The Leg Lamp was destroyed in a winter storm two years ago and I have since not decided to replace it or found anything else that I would like to make. The Woman and Chelsea have sort of decided for me that I need to make a new Leg Lamp.

This one will be made of steel - the last one was made of wood ( a big part of why it was destroyed in the storm) . The only problem with the steel one is that I'm really not a welding type guy. I will be in the garage forming this up this weekend - I have until Saturday evening at 6:00 PM - No Pressure .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Printing still costs money

The problem with printing ( and with everything really ) is that you run out of stuff. I always wish that I had the same deal as the woman in the Bible that befriended the prophet ( I think it was Issiah ) and he said here flour and oil would not run out while he was there. That would be so cool.

I used to think that if I ever ran across a genie in a magic lamp that just happened to be giving three wishes that I would be ready - first wish: Superman's powers - second wish: to speak and understand all languages - third wish: the ability to travel through time .

While those are a good list I've thought of other like - a wallet that always has exactly the amount of money you need in it, or food that is always in the refrigerator or cabinet, or in my case right now ink and canvas that never runs out. It seems that I am always in need of some more supplies to finish or start a project.

Where is that lamp!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Better than expected

The ballparks turned out better than expected and I should be able to hold the $50.00 price per print. They are a little ( not much ) more expensive than the paper prints, but they are so much better looking. The main thing that I've been working at is a perception of value with the consumer, I want them to look at the product and think they are getting a bargain that they can't pass up.

I will be ordering more canvas and picking up some more ink for my printer. With any luck these will pave the way for the new Epson 7880 that prints 24" wide and allows me to print paintings full size. Although I will have to work out the issues of image distortion.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Whole New World

The Woman had to work last night ( at least that's what she told me) so I spent the evening trying to master the art of stretching the canvas prints over the wood blanks for the new product line. After a few attempts I've come to a few standard size pieces and have figured out the finery's of mounting them. They are really pretty cool looking - and they really do mimic the paintings in the way that they are wrapped - little mini paintings.

I took some prototypes to work and they first of all couldn't believe that they were prints ( which is just the response that I was looking for ) and second they really liked the proposed price.

I should be able to get some ballpark prints out to the Shops at Grand Prairie by this weekend, that will be a large test for the marketability of these. I also have a Christmas sale event at the Art Guild early in December so we will see.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Got Some Canvas

I've been waiting for supplies this past week - hanging out with The Woman and mainly just relaxing ( even to the point of sweat pants and sweat shirt after work ) it's been pretty cool. Yesterday I received a roll of canvas I ordered to print on and things are starting to change ( although I still had on basketball shorts and t-shirt ) I cut some of the canvas blanks and printed several paintings on them - they turned out pretty cool.

Tonight I will be making some of the wood blanks that I will be stretching these canvas prints over - so I might have some finished product by tomorrow. The 24"x48" paintings are the ones I'm working on now and they should finish out at about 10" x 22 " when I get them mounted. Hopefully I can get them to market soon to take advantage of the Christmas gifting public.

The ballparks are proving a little more difficult - I did print Wrigley and it looks great. The problem arises when I try to fold it so the sides are covered ( this mimics the paintings and saves money on framing ) the images are so tight that part of the ball park is folded over the side. I've been working in Photoshop expanding the canvas size so the original image stays on the front of the canvas and still gives the appearance of painted sides. This is a sort of time consuming task and I've yet to see if my efforts are working.

The Woman is working tonight and that will leave me alone to try out some things - so wish me luck.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Playing in Peoria

I have been wrestling with lots of different ideas that keep popping in my oversized head. Some of them involve paintings of varied styles. Some are of the display system that I would like to come out with for artists at outdoor shows. What am I going to do for a lawn decoration for the Christmas season - Leg Lamp or something else? Then there is the random weird thoughts that pop in my head - like the one yesterday.

The problem is the way I see it - that the Peoria art community is very fragmented - each with their own agenda / mission statement / client base -- whatever! We are all trying to shoot fish in the same barrel. So with a limited "base/barrel" we need to expand our reach. The problem with this is the cost of advertising is astronomical, and even if you had unlimited resources ( which none of the art organizations possess) you still are not going to reach the masses.

The secondary problem is the way that art is perceived by the masses - It has an elitist air. That art is for rich educated snobs - that hang out at galleries and drink with their pinkies sticking out. We need to bring it back to the early 70's - Art is for everyone . Picasso said every child is an artist. It is sad that people have lost that joy of creating something with their own hands.

The music industry has perfected the mass appeal part of the art realm - the masses flock to concerts ( and pay huge ticket prices) to be entertained for a few hours. So why wouldn't they spend a part of their money for a piece of art to look at in their homes - something to entertain them for a lifetime?

Which brings me to the title of this entry - Playing in Peoria - I took a gamble and purchased the domain name. We will see what become of it - tonight I'll be attending an opening with some of my art friends and may share some of whats been bouncing around in my dome. We'll see if they are at all interested - or have any more useful ideas that we could incorporate under this banner.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hanging around

Tonight I have to go to hang ( install ) some paintings at the Bertha Frank Theater in Morton. A friend of mine Rose Hubbard is in charge and ask me to show their this summer. According to Rose there hasn't been any sales from the venue but all free advertising is good.

Still recovering from the weekend trip and awaiting fresh supplies. Might have to start some type of painting so I don't get rusty. Maybe a couple of those cartoon ones. I'll see what I can do.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Awaiting fresh supplies

This week I'm taking a little break from painting and have been messing around with Photoshop - trying to learn some new techniques that will help me when I do start painting again. The other evening I learned how to turn a photo into a line drawing - this should help out a lot when I go to sketch out a painting. Have been also wanting to experiment with new smaller paintings with a more cartoon feel - like a coloring book of local scenes - this could be cool.

Also have ordered some new supplies - at the last show I was thinking about printing on canvas and stretching on boards ( I've seen many photographers doing this and it gives the illusion of a painting - without all the work) So I thought I would try to work it out for the Christmas season and see how sales are. I've got a couple of opportunities to set up displays at Christmas events in the next month and a half.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Des Moines has potential

I showed at the Metro Arts Show in Des Moines this weekend and it was a great show. The ease of entrance and exit into the Hy-Vee Center was excellent. ( I showed up about 1:00 on Friday and was one of the first ones to leave after the 4:00 close - on the road out town by 4:45 ) Sales were flat as all shows have been this year. There were several factors that may have played a negative effect on the show though. The weather outside was gorgeous - really it was the best weekend outside in months - I'm sure that many people just took advantage of it and did something with their families. Second was that Saturday the fourth ranked Iowa Hawkeyes played football and everyone in the state was glued to the game.

I did at least manage to get the photos that I wanted for a few more paintings of Des Moines. I also met the director of The Other Show that is put on during the summer at the Iowa Fair Grounds. ( I am very interested in attending this show ) I also met a gallery owner that has a gallery in West Des Moines at the West Glen shopping center - By the Jordan Creek Mall - very upscale area of Des Moines. It looks like I could expand out a little into the Iowa region by next year.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Des Moines state of mind

This weekend is the art show at the Hy-Vee Center in Des Moines - I get to see my wonderful daughter and possibly make some money in the process. The Woman will be in Rockford at a woman's retreat (partying with her friends from school) . The painting above is the first of the Des Moines paintings that I am planning ( they have two show each year in Des Moines that I want to attend) I hope to have some more finished before the summer 2010 art show.

So wish me luck as I drive through the many corn fields on my way to the Iowa capital city.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Enjoying Life

These past few days I have been just trying to relax and enjoy the wonderful moments of life. Trying to remember that work, although necessary to pay the bills, doesn't define what we are. I finished the painting for this weekends show and surely could find more things to do if I went into the studio the last few evenings, but why? Maybe I'll get in there to make some prints this evening, it's just that I have had such a good time lounging with The Woman.

I guess I should get on the stick as I need to make some product to sell this weekend - Then when I return I have to drop off paintings for a month long show in Morton. I also have to get some prints framed up for some shows coming up in December. There will be time for all that stuff - today though - everything is pretty good.

Monday, November 02, 2009


It is November already - to celebrate I turned the heat on at home for the first time - much to the delight of the kids and The Woman. Maybe they will shed some of the blankets they have been wearing around the house. The Des Moines painting is finished - I survived Halloween weekend ( I not sure why so people have so much affection with the holiday - they spend untold amounts of money for a minimal return - that just the frugal side coming out again - remember I just turned the heat on at home )

I got a call from my art friend Amy, Saturday ( I should screen those better ) She is all excited that some guy Rocco is coming to Peoria. Evidently this guy is a big cheese in Washington DC - I've heard from other people in the art community that he is the head of the NEA ( National Endowment for the Arts ) I've also heard that he sort of slighted Peoria in an article that appeared in the New York Times. Well - Amy - ( the unofficial poster girl for all things happening in Peoria ) decides that we need to paint the windows in the lobby at the theater were Rocco will visiting to see a local production of Rent. So Sunday afternoon we tried to make the lobby a more artsy place.

The Des Moines skyline is finished and I will be leaving Friday to make my way there. I should make some prints this week of the painting so I'll have something to sell ( I think that is the point of going) But as a bonus I get to see the beautiful Charlie ( if I can tear her away from her exercise routines) The Woman is going to a retreat in Rockford to meet the author of a series of books she has been reading. It seems that everything that is happening in the month of November is on this next weekend.

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