Starving Artists

In my recent post “Horn Man” I went into an overly long essay on how I went about creating an original piece of art. I’m positive I could have done a better job on a photo essay with clever captions. During the sixteen week period during which I made four Intarsia pieces I thought a lot about the business of selling art. Could I make a living doing this? Could I even make any money at all doing this?

I thought about Michelangelo and Da Vinci  and the remarkable work they did. How did they survive? The simple answer is they had patrons who supported them in return for their work. Michelangelo’s sculpture of David took him two years or more to complete. It is not easy chiseling a larger than life-size man from a single block of marble. I wonder if he had any “oops” moments during that time. I had many “oops” moments during the making of Horn Man, but glue and more wood made it easy to either fix the “oops” or to remake the part. Da Vinci had a list of patrons as well. He lived with them while he learned the trade and then worked for them afterwards. When a patron lost his place in society, and could no longer afford to patronize an artist both Michelangelo and Da Vinci found themselves new patrons. While unpatronized they took part-time work by doing commissions for the wealthy.

Getting back to my thoughts about selling Intarsia art I pondered the value of my work. Would I charge by the hour and if so, what is the value of one of my hours? I know what I made while working as an engineer, would I use that value? If  not charging by the hour, then charging by the piece would be the next way to sell. I have seen Intarsia artwork at craft fairs but never at art fairs. The pieces I see are very simple and flat in form indicating that the crafter did not put much effort into the work. I have never been satisfied with the flat style of Intarsia. My pieces become three-dimensional and sculpted. That is why they take me so long to make. If you look at my bass, or the Blue Jay you will see that these pieces are more lifelike than a flat work. The value I see on Intarsia pieces at fairs ranges from twenty dollars to one hundred dollars, unless the picture has hundreds of discrete parts. In cases where a customer commissions a complicated work the value  can jump to thousands of dollars.

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Stripped Bass

Blue Jay

Blue Jay On Apple Blossoms

Largemouthbass

Large Mouth Bass About to Eat

When I completed Horn Man I had logged one hundred and five hours on the project. At the current minimum wage of $9.80 per hour I would have to charge  $1039.00 for the Horn Man. If I use my hourly rate as an Engineer the price is $6300.00.

Horn Man

Horn Man

Let me assume I sold each of these four pieces at one fair, and I charged the minimum wage; I would have netted twenty-seven hundred dollars. Divide that by sixteen weeks of time and my gross salary is $169.13/week which extrapolates into a whopping $8794.50/year. No wonder people would rather be on welfare.

The reality of doing something I like loses to what I have to do to make a living wage.  Some of the latest spin by Liberals about why we need the Un-Affordable Care Act is that a person would be free to pursue his dreams if he didn’t have to worry about paying for health care. I recommend reading two recent articles, the first by Avik Roy who wrote a piece published by Forbes and a quote by Nancy Pelosi on Redstate.com

The idea of forcing me to pay for someone else’s dream smacks of slavery. It is different if I choose to patronize that person. Neither Michelangelo nor Da Vinci had healthcare benefits but they followed their heart’s desire to become experts in their field of art and invention by getting a job working for a patron.

Obama is transforming America into a socialist Utopia(Utopia is a place where pigs fly), and to do that he has to make the middle class worker like you and me into a tax-slaves who pay for those who follow dreams without a job. I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck would rather be free to work my ass off as I see fit, and to spend my wages the way I want to.

True Hero

North-Heroes_Proved_horiz

The name Oliver North came to my attention when he was implicated in the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan presidency and forced to resign. Tho He came across like a true marine, tough, honest, and dedicated to America. North was among the first to name radical Islamist terrorists.  Oliver North is a decorated Marine and recipient of the SIlver Star, Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts. In addition to being so decorated as a military man he is also a novelist. I was not aware of that until a fellow blogger recommended this book.

The story of Heroes Proved takes place in the year 2032, just twenty years from now. The transformation begun in 2008 by Barack Obama has evolved more completely. The current president, a woman from the Progressive movement, is a real bitch. Her number one aim as the most powerful leader on earth is not the state of the country but rather winning the next election. Her focus is on getting to fund-raisers.

The story opens when a terrorist group pulls off a successful bombing, and kidnapping in Houston. I would have thought in twenty years the Transformed USA would have eliminated terrorism in the world. It is not so, in fact, terrorism has spread into many new groups and countries. The world is somewhat ruled by the United Nations, but rather weakly at best. Oil is still in big demand and the Houston attack has sent oil soaring toward five hundred dollars a barrel. Gasoline at the pumps is six dollars a gallon.

North’s story covers terrorism, the twisted administration of a woman president, drug cartels, a nuclear Iran, and some very dedicated ordinary people who become the main characters. Technology has progressed to supreme states in identifying and tracking us no matter where we are. People have tiny electronic id’s implanted in them. You know, like those used by Veterinarians to track a lost pet. Facial recognition identifies anyone captured on corner cameras posted everywhere within minutes. In other words, the Progressive Transformation of the USA has made us into a total spy state, all under the guise of keeping us secure.

The story switches between the search for the perpetrators of the attack on Houston to finding the kidnapped scientist, to the citizens who plot to find and rescue the scientist, and the sinister woman president on her quest for re-election.

North lost me a bit with his use of military acronyms, but the characters are mostly ex-military and government employees who tend to speak that way. At the end of book, I found a fifteen page glossary of terms which he used to tell the story. Had I known it was there, I would still be reading because of the many times I would have referred to the Glossary. Instead, I formed a picture in my mind of what the devices were and continued reading.

As is usual I found the first fifty pages very slow as the characters developed I also found it confusing as the acronyms overwhelmed me. After that, the read went into high gear and it became a “I can’t put it down” story. I did just that, I spent two nights reading instead of playing solitaire in front of the TV. I got to the point where all was going well, and I began to feel the warm glow of a happy ending coming, and then it happened. Oliver North delivers a last chapter that will take your breath away, and change any opinion you may have of about who the real enemy is.

Are You a “I Hate Guns” Liberal?

Here is a liberal solution to protecting yourself from the evil of guns. Promise not to wet yourself laughing.

Don’t Under Estimate the Winking Owl

I have a saying in my house,

“I only Serve the Best Wine. Bring Some.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My wine rack now holds several bottles from a winery labeled WINKING OWL. It is a red from Merlot grapes. The wine has a deep red color and a very nice hang time on the glass. The nose is fruity and smacks of oak. The tongue enjoys hints of plums and berries. The finish is smooth. Those of you who are Winking Owl aficionados know what I am speaking of. This evening like most evenings I enjoyed two generous pours of this mellow red. The buzz I enjoy is venerable. During the buzz I write quickly and sometimes incoherently, but I write. Sometimes, I piss people off. Recently a follower left this comment, “you lost a reader with your ignorance.”  Because I read the comment after the Winking Owl had worn off with a good night’s rest, I undertook an analysis of the piece which incited the follower to conclude my ignorance

I touched upon several points in that post. 1.) I likened progressivism to communism, and equated liberals to both. 2.0 ) I cited facts about countries that control guns and confiscated them.  I followed those facts with reports about the effect of the experience on an unarmed population when the government choses to  massacre them. 3.) I offered my opinion about not trusting Obama to do the same in this country. 4.) I very coherently offered a challenge  that I would accept gun control when Hollywood gave up making movies loaded with gun violence.

So where did I go wrong? The facts about governments confiscating guns are true, so I am not ignorant on that point. An opinion is a judgement about something not necessarily based on fact, and the challenge to hollywood is valid. I believe that people commit violent crimes because of conditioning that teaches a disrespect for life from watching too many movies loaded with gun violence. You can argue with me on that one, but unless you can show me facts to the contrary, that’s what I am believing.

That leaves my number one argument which compared Progressivism to Communism. In order to change my mind about that, one would have to argue with solid facts. The progressive mind-set believes in equality for all, and that is the credo for communism too. Besides, I grew up in a family that had relatives directly affected by communism. My mother and father read the letters from their siblings in Europe telling their experiences about communal properties, and the effect of sharing the wealth upon the populace. Those many letters are congruent with Occupy Wall Street and their hatred for the one percent and other leftist cries for the defeat of capitalism. I can see it happening. I also so see a like comparison to the Castro take over of Cuba to the exploits of Obama. These are not ignorances, they are experiences indelibly etched into my psyche.

Anyway, it is my stolid conclusion, made with clarity only possible by consuming copious amounts of Winking Owl, that I am not ignorant, nor was I ignorant in that post. I simply pissed off a liberal, and that folks is the Winking Owl meaning for my life..

Too Bloomin’ Funny

I don’t know why I have such a mean streak, but I do. It seems that when I find something that makes a liberal look like a dumb-ass I fall in love with it. The following news article is one of them.

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