I Found A Masterpiece

As I move more toward a career in art I continue to struggle with the same problem over and over.  What to charge people for my work.  You never know if you should charge by the hour or the personal value or even how much you “need” the money.  I have read lots of articles on this subject but still question myself.  If I am too cheap people may not respect me, after all I am an educated professional.  If I am too expensive I may not make a sale not to mention I love to see people happy.  I am just not a good salesperson.

I also hate selling my originals.  Copies are not hard to part with but what is the true value of an original P H Younger art piece.  How can I part with something so important to me?  All the time, effort, thought and love that goes into each one.  I know every line, mark, and space that I slowly and methodically added.  Each one has its on importance, it’s own purpose.  Leaving out even the smallest spot would make the piece unfinished or incomplete.    The steps of creating them in my head long before they become a visually concrete piece of work can be exhilarating.

I have had some nice offers on the Thorned Guitar but I can’t place a value on it right now.  The joy and challenge of it I still feel so clearly.  It is a part of me.  As it’s creator, I am a part of it.  Like a finger print.

It is with these thoughts I see God as an artist.  The creativity that went into carving the World.  The intricacies and attention to detail amaze me.  I am not talking about the science of how things are put together, which is incredible as well, but the parts of Him that are all over me.  “He knows every hair on my head” because He placed them there.  Just as I  place every mark on my creations.  I am the masterpiece He can’t put a price on.  The artwork that is priceless.

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Neigh Saying

It seemed like it took weeks to finally get to Saturday.  I was so excited to have a day at home. It was a lazy morning and I enjoyed every minute of it. However, there were things that had to be done, things that were neglected like my yucky house.  I spent the morning trying to knock out the things I hated doing the most first.  I had only scratched the surface with my new guitar project, figuratively and literally.  It sat in my studio all alone.  I even went to look at it once as a reminder that it was waiting for me to finish.  I quickened my pace, even more eager.  Then it happened.  I had to leave my home to take my son to an event.  Noooooo!  The distraction I was afraid of.  I knew once I went out in public my social skills would kick in and my Saturday would evaporate.

We went and yes, it was a wonderful social engagement.  I was surprised by my ability to stay on a good schedule and return home in a timely manner.  This was probably due to my son not being the social butterfly that I am.  I returned home with time still left in my day.  I was focused. I was ready.  It was time.

I set up the guitar and began to sand.  I was shocked at the layers of this particular one.  I had already used a blow torch to burn the clear coating and most of the paint off.  (Side note:  Sometimes adequate ventilation is still not enough, nausea is a good indicator that a mask should be used as well.)  It was after the paint was nearly sanded off that I realized it had a layer of what appeared to be Masonite.  I would not stop until I had bare wood.  No mater how long it took.  One hour later I was there.  Finally.  I took off my mask, and wiped my glasses to take a more careful look at it.  Awesome beginning.  Then I looked around my garage.  What a mess!  I had completely coated everything, including my dog, with dust.  It was so thick it changed the color of my sons bike and my husbands old car.  What had I done.  I had successfully created another Saturday cleaning project.

I was so focused, so narrowed in my purpose I didn’t see all that was going on around me. Once I got started it was like I had on blinders.  Just like the horses I used to watch on Little House On The Prairie.  I looked up why some horses wore blinders.  I never really gave it a lot of thought before but, evidently horses are considered animals of prey.  That is why their eyes are on the sides of their heads.  So they can see nearly all the way around their body.  Their only blinds spots are right in front of their nose and behind their tail.  Without blinders, young, shy horses can become frightened by the wagon they are pulling and they are used on race horses so that they only focus forward, the finish line.  However, a horse with blinders must be led.  It will not go or turn on its own where it cannot already see.  Some people feel that the use of blinders is cruel and inhumane.  I will not debate this since I lack any substantial knowledge on the subject.  In Russia, they do not use them at all.  Horses there learn not to be shy and become more focused over time.

Why did I just give you a short history lesson about horse blinders?  Well, since you asked.  I had my blinders on Saturday.  All day they kept me working toward my goal.  Not too bad a plan but when I got to that goal they limited me.  They caused me to create another task that will take away more of my precious time.

Do we become dependent on things such as blinders?  Maybe people or excuses?  Becoming shy and limited by a harness.  Sure, being focused during the day will help you get to your goal but be careful.  When you have blinders on, you will not go where you cannot see.  You will not see where you do not go.  And you will easily be led to places you shouldn’t be.

Cue the choir it’s the big reveal!

Ahh! Can you hear the choir holding out that long note and see a yellow light slowly getting brighter as if the sun were dawning in super fast speed?  It is the big reveal day!

It all started about five years ago when I bought a guitar that was greatly abused. The finish was dotted from BB shots and the wiring had come unsoldered.  To those of you who know something about guitars it was a Lyons by Washburn and had tribal art on it.

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I decided I would reclaim it, so to speak.  After removing the neck, all the hardware and electronics it was time to find out what was under the paint.  I read and Googled and read some more.  I then choose a process of removing the finish I had never heard of before, blow torching.  It was so much fun!  Just like popcorn flying everywhere and in no time at all the finish had popped off down to bare wood.

I really do not want to bore you with all the details but I do want to hit the highlights.  Yes, they are brutal but if you look closely they have a beautiful quality about them.  Not only do most plants that have thorns produce brightly colored flowers but the vines themselves have wonderful details.  I drew the design and outlined it with a hobby knife. I have always had an appreciation for thorns.  After lots of tedious hours of sanding and carving this is what I ended up with before finishing.

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I finally made my decision on finishing it off by torching it and using a satin poly. A friend of mine recommended a Seymore Duncan pickup and set it up for me. This is the final result.

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I hope to have a video of it being played next post.  As well as the beginning of my next project.

Not that I want to over think this process but when I began with this project this guitar had all the signs of a rough life.  If had skulls and beat up marks and didn’t even play.  It was a long process but with lots of loving care it has become a beautiful work of art.  It progressed quickly at first and then sat wrapped gently in a soft towel, protected, unfinished and unknown.  With it finally out and finished I want to proudly show it off.

Let God give you that re-purposing.  It may take a long time but do not be content with being protected and set aside.  Step out of your comfort zone and BE so He can proudly show you off.

Now Is The New Later

Expectations of 2015

Expectations of 2015

When things are not done that I ask my kids to do I usually get one of two answers, “I forgot” or “I didn’t have time”.  This usually prompts a short lecture on time management and procrastination.  Don’t put things off until the last minute or until later because you may run out of time.  Simple concept, do it when you think of it so it gets done.

As the week progressed I found myself not in my studio…at all.  Why am I not working on “the project” that I couldn’t tear myself away from earlier.  Yes, I have been busy since I went back to work after a two week holiday break and I have had a couple of evening obligations but did I really have no time to work on it, to even touch or reflect on it.  Could it be that my kids learned from the best?  Yes, I am one of the best “I’ll do it later” people in the world.  Not many can procrastinate like me.

The weekend came and I knew I had to get on that project.  I did not want to write a blog that I had failed to make any progress on my journey.  Saturday came and so I had my usual relaxing morning with the knowledge that I had all day with nothing scheduled to pull me away from working on my project.  After relaxing for three hours I realized lunch wasn’t too far away so I decided to clean the kitchen and hit the studio after I had eaten.  Lunch came and went.  The kitchen wasn’t even close to clean and there I sat.  Pulled in.  Almost in a trance.  Suddenly, the proverbial light bulb went on.  What had robbed me of all my time this week?  The goal bandit.  The great thief of my productivity.  It was the television.  Did I gain any worth while knowledge by watching the television?  No.  Was my life expanded or enriched by those hours in front of the television?  No.  Was anything memorable or a treasured moment made through the experience of watching it.  No.  Did I loose valuable time that could lead to achieving my goals.  Yes.

With this awakening I decided the kitchen could wait.  My project could not.  I left the kitchen half done with chairs left in my den from the unfinished mopping.  I could no longer use the later excuse.  It was time.  I went to the studio, sat down and began.  It wasn’t long until time was lost, but this time it was enriched and memorable, it was productive and another step in my journey.  I was creating, being, and dreaming.  Where is this project going?  Plotting and planning each mark of my blade and rotary tool.  Applying sand paper every now and then.  Still imaging colors and the possibilities.  My mind flew completely free with all the unencumbered choices.  Even when I needed to stop two hours later there are so many decisions to still make.  Loving that every one takes me down a different road to a different finished product.  No one better or worse than the other just different.