Reinvention of the Artist

 

As artists with each brushstroke or each written word, we reinvent ourselves. With each painting and each article or story, we leave behind a piece of ourselves. We are expressing ourselves… we are finding our unique voice.

 

Reinvention through art becomes our focus. Without reinvention, the we repeat ourselves and work becomes stale. Today brings frustration… tomorrow resolution. Today the masterpiece is mud or a jumble of words… tomorrow, the message surfaces and gives voice to our art.

 

The Muse inspires “reinvention,” and we must put actions to that our transformation.

 

Actions to “TaDa”:

 

  1. Practice – We have much to share and we must practice our craft daily to become more convincing.

 

  1. Failure – Each brushstroke or written word is not going to be successful… a good reason to practice.

 

  1. Persistence – Another way to say continue to practice.

 

  1. Failure – Even though we practice and persist, failure is inevitable. Rinse and repeat. Professional athletes serve as good examples. They miss a basket or a touchdown and they immediately get back in the game. It’s persistence.

 

  1. Experimentation – We must step outside our comfort zones and try new techniques. As we do so, we become stronger. Our menu of choices becomes greater and be come closer to that “aha” moment.

 

  1. Failure – Not all experiments are successful, but we learn from these failures.

 

  1. “TaDa!” – That moment when we can exclaim “Look what I just did!” Finally, success.

 

Practice, persist, experiment, (add your own action), and reinvent yourself as you achieve your  own “TaDa” moment.

 

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I Would Rather Clean a Toilet Than Clean Brushes in My Studio

Jerry Hardesty, Artist

I Would Rather Clean a Toilet Than Clean Brushes in My Studio.   Please don’t tell my wife.  I soak my brushes in  water and Murphy Oil Soap.  If I don’t clean them often enough, they begin to smell, actually stink.  I then swear a little, well maybe a lot.  I then sit down, have a glass of wine and procrastinate for another week or longer.

 

I never know what to do with the muddy water.  I used to pour it down the drain until my mentor told me it would eventually lead to a very expensive plumber bill.  For about a year, I placed a bucket outside hoping it would evaporate into the atmosphere.  Hmmm, I wonder if that affects climate change?  Now, well I shouldn’t tell you, but I throw it in the street.  It’s just muddy water. Slap my hand if you must.

 

This afternoon, I finally did it…  I cleaned the damn things.  I hadn’t cleaned them for some time, probably before Christmas or longer.  I had over 50 smelly-stinky-muddy brushes.  Now, I have 50 relatively clean brushes, and smelly-stinky hands.  Probably won’t clean brushes again for about three months.  By the way, I buy cheap brushes as I know I will either abuse them or completely ruin them.

 

Time for another glass of wine, then it’s on to the toilet.  Just kidding… I wouldn’t do it to suit my wife.

 

 

 

5 Steps to Seeing Abstract Paintings

   

Talk to Toastmasters Club.

This morning, I gave an art talk in which I presented a process for “seeing abstract paintings.” This is closely related to an article I wrote and published two months ago, “Art Does Not Speak for Itself – It’s Our Job As Artists.”  In both the talk and the articles, I asked  “Have you ever heard an artist respond that his or her art speaks for itself?”  C’mon, art does not speak for itself…  it’s our responsibility as artists to speak about our art.

 

Wannabe Collector.

Have you ever heard a wannabe collector view an abstract painting and state, “It doesn’t speak to me, and it won’t match the couch.”  Duh!  The wannabe collector really means he or she doesn’t like the piece or cannot afford it.  He or she doesn’t want to be a collector very bad.  A painting doesn’t have to match the couch.  I believe in mixing styles and decor and colors.  It makes it more interesting.

 

Tongue-tied.

I recently studied with another artist who insisted I needed to develop stories or at least statements about each of my paintings.  He insisted it had to be more than eye candy, and he repeatedly asked “What’s it all about?  What’s it all about?”  I had embarrassed myself at a garden show when a collector asked me to tell him about my art and I stumbled over my tongue.

 

Need to be More Articulate.

I expressed in my talk that I need to become more articulate.  I may have answers but I need to verbalize those answers in an unrehearsed manner.  I involved my audience as I presented an interactive Role Play – 5 Steps to Seeing Abstract Paintings.

  1. My audience became my viewers or wannabe collectors as they were ushered into my studio to select a painting.
  2. I showed them two paintings of which they knew nothing, not eve the titles.
  3. I asked them to view each piece with an open mind, avoiding any negative statements such as “Any 5-year-old could do that.”  I encouraged them to allow themselves to have an emotional journey with each piece.
  4. After several minutes, I revealed the titles.
  5. I then fielded questions about the paintings and eventually shared the meaning “Under the Paint” as to really “Seeing Abstract Paintings.”

This activity accomplished two things: it gave the wannabe collectors a process to “Seeing Abstract Paintings” and it boosted my confidence in my ability to speak about my artwork.

 

The painting at the beginning of this article was one of those presented.  Here is the second:

 

 

5 Reasons I am Deleting my Artist FB Fan Page

I thought this image of “Sanctuary” would entice fans. MY FAN PAGE.  I Drank the Cool-aid and Opened a Facebook Fan Page. I’ve been maintaining my page, Jerry Hardesty Studio, for quite some time now. I am flattered to have collected over 400 fans. If you are a fan, thank you for clicking “Like.”   LIKES.  If you clicked “Like” because you knew me from a previous life, shame on you. If you clicked “Like” as a return favor to me, shame on you. If you truly like my artwork and clicked “Like,” you’re my hero – my kind of fan.   So you would think that a Fan page would be more lucrative… wrong! It’s not! Not even much feedback.   INFORMAL SURVEY.  I posed a question to some artist friends on FB, “Who uses a FB fan page? If so, do you boost your posts or use paid ads? Do you receive any benefits from it?” Without using names, here are some of their responses… people rarely comment or even like posts… these expenditures [boosts and ads] were a real waste of money… only moderately valuable… people are not on FB to buy art, they are there to …

I thought this image of “Sanctuary” would entice fans.

MY FAN PAGE.  I Drank the Cool-aid and Opened a Facebook Fan Page. I’ve been maintaining my page, Jerry Hardesty Studio, for quite some time now. I am flattered to have collected over 400 fans. If you are a fan, thank you for clicking “Like.”

 

LIKES.  If you clicked “Like” because you knew me from a previous life, shame on you. If you clicked “Like” as a return favor to me, shame on you. If you truly like my artwork and clicked “Like,” you’re my hero – my kind of fan.

 

So you would think that a Fan page would be more lucrative… wrong! It’s not! Not even much feedback.

 

INFORMAL SURVEY.  I posed a question to some artist friends on FB, “Who uses a FB fan page? If so, do you boost your posts or use paid ads? Do you receive any benefits from it?” Without using names, here are some of their responses… people rarely comment or even like posts… these expenditures [boosts and ads] were a real waste of money… only moderately valuable… people are not on FB to buy art, they are there to be sociable.

 

Wow! That last response rang a bell. It’s so true, people are not there to buy art. Duh!

 

After much thought, I’m moving forward. Here are my 5 REASONS FOR DELETING MY FAN PAGE:

  1. Too time-consuming
  2. I compared a post with images of my art with a frivolous post about three guys in a boat who got a surprise. Guess which got the most attention?
  3. Very few if any “likes” – what do “likes” mean anyway?
  4. Less comments than “likes” – takes more time to post a comment than click the “like” button
  5. I refuse to pay for boosts or ads

 

SOON GONE.  By March 1, my Fan Page will be history. I would like to move my fans to my email list for Jerrys Studio Scoop. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I can do it legally. If you’re a fan, please log into either one and sign up. Who knows, I may gift you for doing so. Thanks.

 

Please follow and like me:

5 Reasons I am Deleting my Artist FB Fan Page

I thought this image of “Sanctuary” would entice fans.

MY FAN PAGE.  I Drank the Cool-aid and Opened a Facebook Fan Page. I’ve been maintaining my page, Jerry Hardesty Studio, for quite some time now. I am flattered to have collected over 400 fans. If you are a fan, thank you for clicking “Like.”

 

LIKES.  If you clicked “Like” because you knew me from a previous life, shame on you. If you clicked “Like” as a return favor to me, shame on you. If you truly like my artwork and clicked “Like,” you’re my hero – my kind of fan.

 

So you would think that a Fan page would be more lucrative… wrong! It’s not! Not even much feedback.

 

INFORMAL SURVEY.  I posed a question to some artist friends on FB, “Who uses a FB fan page? If so, do you boost your posts or use paid ads? Do you receive any benefits from it?” Without using names, here are some of their responses… people rarely comment or even like posts… these expenditures [boosts and ads] were a real waste of money… only moderately valuable… people are not on FB to buy art, they are there to be sociable.

 

Wow! That last response rang a bell. It’s so true, people are not there to buy art. Duh!

 

After much thought, I’m moving forward. Here are my 5 REASONS FOR DELETING MY FAN PAGE:

  1. Too time-consuming
  2. I compared a post with images of my art with a frivolous post about three guys in a boat who got a surprise. Guess which got the most attention?
  3. Very few if any “likes” – what do “likes” mean anyway?
  4. Less comments than “likes” – takes more time to post a comment than click the “like” button
  5. I refuse to pay for boosts or ads

 

SOON GONE.  By March 1, my Fan Page will be history. I would like to move my fans to my email list for Jerrys Studio Scoop. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I can do it legally. If you’re a fan, please log into either one and sign up. Who knows, I may gift you for doing so. Thanks.

 

Bigot Like Me – “Black Like Me”

 

As a college Freshman in 1962, Mom drove me to my dorm at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. I vividly remember her saying “I don’t care who your roommate is as long as he ain’t a nigger.” The white townsfolk in our community used the “n…..” word when frequently referring to Negroes. Back to college. Guess what? My roommate was a Negro from Texas. When he came into our dorm room for the first time, I’m certain he could see my disappointment.  I was embarrassed for both of us. It was obvious I was a bigot.

 

In our community, bigotry was ingrained at a very early age. I recall asking for a Daisy Air BB gun. Mom said they were too dangerous, but Tommy Crozier across the alley had one. We were playing in his backyard when he let me hold it. I was so excited! That day I shot a black kid in a neighboring yard in the forehead. I thought I was in big trouble as he grabbed his head and said he was going to tell. Though he apparently wasn’t hurt that bad, at least not physically, I have been plagued that I would have done that. Telling this story does not absolve me of my sin, but it symbolizes the bigotry that was imparted to following generations of white bigots in our town.

 

Shame on me if I had remained a bigot. Sometime during my Freshman year at college I changed. Was it the group I hung with… Jim Burgess, a black kid from Kansas City, Missouri was part of the group? Was it because I had a crush on a black girl? My parents would have been pissed. Was it due to reading Black Like Me? Probably these and other events and relationships led to my release from being a bigot.

 

John Howard Griffin Wrote Black Like Me.  In 1959 as an experiment, John Howard Griffin, a white man, changed the pigmentation of his skin in order to live as a Negro in the deep South. As a black man Griffin encountered the same racism a Negro would, and was often denied a glass of water. He was unable to use restrooms that he could have as a white man. Griffin wrote Black Like Me as an account of that life. I was dumbfounded, and grew to empathize with the plight of blacks in America. Unlike Mom, I stopped using the “n…..” word.

 

I recently reread Black Like Me, the  “50th Anniversary Edition,” which included several sections that the original did not.

 

In 1979, twenty years after his trip, John Howard Griffin wrote:

 

“In Black Like Me, I tried to establish one simple fact, which was to reveal the insanity of a situation where a man is judged by his skin color, by his philosophical “accident” – rather than by who he is in his humanity.”

 

As a result of his first-hand exposure of bigotry, Griffin became a part of the Civil Rights Movement and deserves a seat on the podium along with other notables such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X.  Black Like Me generated a lot of controversy. Griffin was ridiculed. He was severely beaten by the KKK and left for dead. That did not deter him from continuing to write and to lecture. At one point, Black Like Me was banned; however, it has prevailed as required reading at various levels of education.

 

Read Black Like Me or reread it with an open mind and allow yourself to be empathetic. Move away from being a bigot and be tolerable of all races and religions.

 

Do Charities Want Quality Artist Donations?

Strength-Dance, Acrylic, 36×36

 

If Charities want quality Artist donations, there has to be a benefit for the Artists. Their sales pitch that “it will be good exposure” just doesn’t cut it.

 

They contend “it will be a tax-write-off.” According to the IRS, the only amount an Artist can use as a write-off is the cost of his or her materials. Therefore, it’s free labor, not to mention experience gained through years of practice, education and training.

 

Now the question becomes, “Should Artists donate their work?” See my article of the same title, and a second related article “Mystery of the Lost Painting – Strength-Dance.”

 

If an Artist is successfully earning an adequate income from his or her work, then certainly he or she should give back.

 

When asked to donate, Artists should be prepared to ask questions and establish rules.

 

Juror Acceptance. Will an experienced Artist be in charge of accepting artwork? If not, perhaps volunteering to jury incoming work could be an Artist’s donation.   There should be some standards of quality that only an experienced Artist has the ability to discern.

Attendees’ Donations. What dollar threshold does the Charity expect the average attendee to spend? This may affect the size and price of a piece the Artist donates. If attendees are expected to spend less than $100, the Artist should not donate a $1,000 painting.

Minimum Acceptable Amount (MAA). Establish the least amount acceptable for a piece. It is the Artist’s work and he or she knows the amount he would accept if he were selling it himself, or the amount a Gallery would sell it for.

50/50 Split. Charities/Artists should agree to 50/50 split from a donation, just as Galleries/Artists have the same type of agreement. Artists should expect to receive their payment within 30 days of the event.

Unsold Artwork. Art that is not sold should be returned to the Artist in the same condition in which it was donated. Charities likely do not have the facilities in which to store artwork, nor the ability to do so.

Contract. The Artist should ask the Charity to sign a contract Charity-Artist Contract with the title, size, and MAA for each donation with the above rules stated.

 

If the Charity refuses, it’s obvious they did not want a quality Art donation.