Miniature painting sells; profit is $2.46

November 6th, 2009 | 2 Comments

As a friend of mine says, “Anything worth doing is worth not doing for money.” And I completely agree: If love to do something, you don’t care about the stuff that happens after you do it — the happy byproducts, such as sales or awards. The work, itself, is what matters. The work is its own reward.

miniature paintingminiature paintingminiature painting
Three miniature paintings: I have exhibited in Think Small series of miniature art shows in 2005, 2007 and 2009. Above are Tgxgncvkqp 34, Omnicron’s Dilemma, and Telomir 9. Each miniature painting measures 3 inches square.

I was reminded of my friend’s maxim last night, when I was informed I had sold my miniature painting on display at the Think Small 5 miniature art show, called Telomir 9. (The buyer was a friend of a friend … and my friend was in the show, too … and his work sold, as well … but it all still counts, right?)

I decidedly priced this framed miniature painting, which measures 3 inches square, “to sell” — at the low, low, randomly determined price of $47.10. (I used the integer generator; I asked for a number between 4000 and 6000, and out came 4710. Perfect, I thought.)

Sure, selling a work of art is gratifying. And I was naturally pleased by the news of the sale. Yet, somehow that wasn’t enough; I soon found myself puzzling over the financial side of the experience, scribbling a profit and loss calculation on a scrap sheet of paper:

Sale price $47.10
Gallery commission – 23.55
Cost of shipping – 14.70
Cost of frame –   5.39
Cost of materials (estimated) –   1.00
Gross profit $  2.46

The above calculus deliberately excludes the cost of transportation to the shop where I bought the frame, as well as overhead. Were I calculating net profit, there wouldn’t be a profit, I am sure.

I also began to consider how much time was invested into making the work. I actually had to make the painting twice, because I wasn’t happy with the first iteration. All told, I believe I devoted five hours to the process of making, and maybe one hour to fitting the painting into the frame, packing and shipping. That means six hours, or 41 cents per hour.

What does all of this mean? I don’t know, frankly. And I really don’t care, either. If I were to make paintings purely with profitability in mind, perhaps I’d frustrate myself horribly — even though it does sound tantalizing to produce a glossy, Fortune 500-style annual report, detailing all art-related financial activity for my collectors and interested parties!

Contrast this experience to news about the new wave of art auctioned at Christie’s and Sotheby’s this week. The latter auction raked in $181 million on Wednesday; Kees van Dongen’s 1910 Jeune Arabe, alone, was claimed for a record $13.8 million U.S.

All I need to do, now, is sell 15,000 paintings, just like this, every year. Then I’d be in business!

Next show: Miniature art show Think Small 5

October 28th, 2009 | 2 Comments

ThinkSmall5 exhibit runs from November 6, through December 20, 2009 at Artspace Gallery in Richmond, Virginia

miniature art show
Telomir 9: Exhibiting in miniature art show Think Small 5.

For the third time, I will be participating in miniature art show ThinkSmall, held every other year in Richmond. This year will be the fifth ThinkSmall miniature art show; the first was held in 2001.

This time around, I will be exhibiting Telomir 9, which measures 3 inches square, and is acrylic on canvas, mounted on panel. No work of art in the show may exceed 3 inches in any dimension.

See a list of contributing artists at I’m in there somewhere.

For further reading: The painting I exhibited at Think Small 4, in 2007. Celebrates 10 Years of Delivering Fresh, High-Quality Pixels

October 12th, 2009 | No Comments

Ten years ago today, I registered I would like to bake my fine art web site a cake to celebrate, but it does not eat. What to do?

If anything, perhaps this is an appropriate time to express appreciation to all of the people out there who have helped me learn how the Internet works. Without the advice of others, would not be the same.

To commemorate all that has changed in this sector of cyberspace, I offer you this screen capture of what my site looked like in 2002.

fine art web site

By the way, when I registered, it was a Tuesday, as well as the 507th anniversary of Christoffa Corombo running aground in Hispaniola. Here in Phoenix, the mercury surged to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). And shares of (ASKJ) closed at $68.50; the previous day, the stock surged 35.4%, after Microsoft announced it would expand its use of the question-answering service. Not surprisingly, none of us got rich when that happened.

Yes, it feels like 10 years have passed.

Nonetheless, I look forward to continuing this giant fine art web site experiment for 10 more years, if possible.

Chaos Theory 10: A solid Phoenix First Friday art show

October 9th, 2009 | No Comments

People often ask me whether I show my art at Phoenix First Friday. Until recently, my answer was “Years ago, I was really into it, but I haven’t lately. Last time was 2006.” Thanks to Randy Slack, I can offer a very different answer now.

I am very happy to say I am showing in Chaos Theory 10, which opened at Legend City Studios on Friday, October 2. There, I am showing SuperAcid Autobacs-Ambilify!.

Randy Slack organized the show, which is truly one of the best Phoenix First Friday art shows.

phoenix first friday art
Here, SuperAcid Autobacs-Ambilify! hangs between works by Greg Esser (the three pieces at left) and Adriana Y. Claudio (right). Image by Rafael Navarro.

Chaos Theory 10 brings together the work of more than 50 Phoenix artists, many of whom I’ve exhibited alongside at either the Arizona Biennial or the Tempe Center for the Arts Biennial. The show lives up to its name because there is no theme. As Randy Slack says in this interview, most of the art in the show doesn’t arrive until three days before the show opens. Until then, he has no idea what people are going to deliver.

So far, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Chaos Theory 10, so you might want to check it out. It will be on display during business hours, more or less, until the end of October. I suggest contacting Legend City Studios about exact hours, though.

Arizona Biennial closes; Chaos Theory 10 opens Oct 2

September 30th, 2009 | No Comments

As one long-running Arizona art show ends, another is set to begin.

Over the weekend, I finally got to check out Tucson Museum of Art’s Arizona Biennial 09, which closed Sunday, September 27. And as I took down Open System from the wall, I felt truly honored to be a part of such a highly esteemed event, which brings together some of Arizona’s best art works every two years. Indeed, Arizona Biennial is consistently one of the best Arizona art shows. I’m already debating whether I should submit work to the 2011 show!

arizona art shows
Open System — now in a private collection — right before I “de-installed” it. (I love that word.)

Thankfully, I have Chaos Theory 10 to look forward to. Organized by artist Randy Slack and his colleagues for a tenth year in a row, Chaos Theory brings together many of Phoenix’s most well-known artists. For me, though, this will be my first time showing in Chaos Theory, which also is one of the best Arizona art shows. And I’m thankful to Randy Slack for inviting me. Read Arizona Republic’s coverage of the event here.

arizona art shows

There’s more to Arizona art shows than the Cowboy Artists of America show. Trust me.

Geometric Abstraction: Fall 2009 Collection of Paintings Now Online

September 22nd, 2009 | 1 Comment »

With the arrival of the autumnal equinox, at 21:18 UTC (2:18 PDST), I present to you my very own “fall harvest”: my Fall 2009 Collection of paintings.

I call it Circles with Corners, and you will find it in this gallery of contemporary abstract paintings.

The collection brings together 18 works that I have painted since early July. It encompasses 10 full-scale paintings, 2 smaller works and 6 studies. All are acrylic on canvas. Although I worked very hard to produce as much, I surely wish I could have made more. I always do.

For that reason, I very well may add more pieces to this collection over the next couple of weeks. There remain a few more ideas I’d like to explore; the autumnal equinox arrived before I could give them form.

Why do I call this collection Circles with Corners? For one, there is a literal sense: The controlling design, which I continue to return to throughout this collection, has a rounded hexagonal shape. It is like a circle with corners, and it embodies my idea of “geometric abstraction.” Two, since I continued to revisit the same design, there is a circularity going on; yet, I also took it in new directions — I turned a corner a few times.

Will there be a Spring 2010 collection? It all depends on how well this concept is received. If you demand one loudly enough, I just might oblige!

I must admit that focusing my creative energy on one goal — a unified collection with a controlling theme of geometric abstraction — has been an exhilarating experience. I’ve learned so much about my art-making process, and I’ve reconnected with my instincts, creatively.

I hope you enjoy the collection, and I look forward to your feedback.

An update on my Fall 2009 Painting Collection

September 4th, 2009 | 1 Comment »

Of late, I have been working with notable alacrity on my fall 2009 painting collection, which I will unveil on the autumnal equinox: Tuesday, September 22, 21:18 UTC. More about the idea behind the collection of paintings.

fall 2009 painting collection
My painting table on September 4, 2009, as I near the home stretch of completing my fall 2009 painting collection.

Despite the occasional “big decision” about where this painting collection is headed, I am very much enjoying the process of making this painting collection happen. Making is what art is all about, after all.

So, as I write this, I have completed 12 pieces thus far. In other words, I am 80 percent of the way toward my stated goal of 15 works. The painting collection could approach 20 works, if I’m fortunate to have the requisite time.

I would show you images of these new works, but I don’t want to diminish the suspense.

To speed the process of giving form to my ideas and sketches, I have begun to use canvas panels — which is a surprise, because I once discounted them, albeit wrongly. Panels have freed up my time tremendously; I don’t spend hours stretching canvas over stretcher bars, only to remove the finished canvases, and roll them up, later.

I have discovered that canvas panels are perfect for painting studies, and variations of paintings. They enable me to test new ideas economically.

I once thought that every painting I made had to be as huge as possible. Now I’m enjoying the economy of expression afforded by making smaller modern paintings, in the range of 20 – 30cm.

Long story short, I’m finding that one painting is easily translating to the next. And dare I say it, painting is fun again.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Can’t wait to unveil the collection.

Fall 2009 collection of paintings to debut September 22

August 22nd, 2009 | 1 Comment »

fall 2009 collection of paintings

Exactly one month from today, on the first day of autumn — September 22, at 5:18 p.m. EDST, to be exact — I will debut my Fall 2009 Collection of paintings. The collection will bring together approximately 15 paintings that I have been working on since mid-July.

I will publish the collection of paintings as a complete gallery on my site’s Paintings gallery.

I have initiated the following countdown clock to keep track of the time remaining before I launch my Fall 2009 Collection of paintings into Internet space.

What is my motivation behind producing a Fall 2009 Collection of modern paintings?

Essentially, I’m jealous of how fashion designers (fashion houses) customarily showcase their collections according to a set schedule. So much creativity and planning is funneled into a set of points situated throughout the calendar year. When a fashion collection is unveiled, it’s a big deal — a defining moment — and the world takes notice.

In the sphere of visual art, things can be very different. An artist creates new works one at a time, over time. Yet, without an exhibition to work toward &#8212 or a simple deadline, even — the process of making art work just tends to flow along.

Goals are very important to my artmaking process. When I’m working toward a goal or deadline, my process making art goes into high gear; I’m much more productive and focused. I find that I spend more time making and less time thinking about what I’m going to make.

Art psychology aside, I thought the first minute of a new season would be the perfect moment to launch my Fall 2009 Collection of paintings. If things go according to plan, I will repeat the process again in December with a Winter 2009-2010 Collection.

There’s one piece to the collection of paintings that I have yet made concrete: Whether I will show this collection in the physical world. I am currently entertaining an idea to show the collection at a boutique, shop or gallery in Greater Phoenix, Arizona at some time in late September or early October. I will certainly make those details known as plans unfold.

Anyway, it’s back to work for me. Thanks for stopping by to check things out. More soon, I can assure you!

Painting and color

August 7th, 2009 | 5 Comments

painting and color

Where do I get my ideas for painting and color? Like many artists, I’m sure, I find inspiration from just about anything.

I never know what will inspire me to create my next painting — and color is often source of my inspiration.

Right now, a textbook I enjoyed as a first-year in college is inspiring me. The book is titled The Meaning of Life: Questions, Answers and Analysis, edited by Steven Sanders and David R. Cheney.

In school, the chapter titled “Nothing Matters” really resonated with me. Today, it’s the book’s cover, designed by Infield/D’Astolfo Associates. My next modern painting and color scheme are very much a tribute to this book’s jacket.

painting and color

The intense clash of violet, ultrabright orange and white — and mixtures thereof — turn my eyes absolutely stark-mad crazy!

At my mixing table, I did my utmost to match paints to the cover:

painting and color

Yet, as I modeled this on my computer, I found that I wasn’t thrilled with using white.

Below, the first and second images are with white The third image eschews white altogether (Leave it to Verner Panton to talk me out of using white!), offering a variant of the second design.

painting and color

painting and color

Of these three, do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments below. I’d appreciate your feedback.

All of this proves that, just like the meaning of life can be anything to anyone, inspiration for painting and color can be anything to any artist.

New art works: July 31, 2009

July 31st, 2009 | No Comments

Building upon the series of reductive art works that I embarked upon recently, this week I completed the third and four new art works in this series.

New Art Works
New Art Works
New Art Works
New Art Works
New Art Works

The first and second new paintings in this series of new art works are light blue and deep red. To switch things up for the next pair of paintings, I chose a more achromatic approach to color.

Going forward in this series, next I shall produce an olive-green painting (with white and brilliant blue) and an orange painting (with burnt orange and purple, all very Phoenix-Suns-meets-Braniff-Airlines-seat-fabric). See the Braniff seat fabric here.

Like what you see here? I invite you to check out my Minimalist Art Gallery.