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.
I am still feeling the wonderful after effects of victory. After battling all the decisions and time that went into making my thorned guitar which, I revealed last week, I have spent this week soaking up a since of accomplishment. I can’t describe the natural high I get hearing it played and seeing it complete. I am trying to stay humble but I will say all the compliments have been so encouraging. It has inspired me so that I have not been idle. I have found my next one and started a two-dimensional piece as well (more on those next week).
I have always tried to answer a compliment with something like, “thank you it’s not that hard” or “I still have a lot to learn” or “you should see…” or even “but did you see the problem with”. Sometimes I even start pointing out the mistakes in the piece. Why did I think that humility meant lowering myself, elevating someone else or deferring the conversation. Could it be that I love being affirmed so much it scared me? I didn’t want to be arrogant or obnoxious but where do you draw the line. How can an artist be confident and promote themselves without being too overwhelming or boystrious? Well, now that I am a mature woman here is what I have learned.
If someone gives you a compliment you must accept it in its entirety. It is a gift given to you and should not be returned. You should not try to best their gift by giving them a bigger compliment either. Allow them to bless you and always say thank you without a but at the end. No pun entended.
Next, never point out your mistakes when receiving a compliment. I have mentioned this before. Focusing on the negatives only brings you to a negative focus. I know that is redundant but it is true. The complimenter is enjoying something you did so don’t ruin it for them. It reminds me of when you go to a movie and with no knowledge of the story you leave the theatre thinking how much you enjoyed it. Then your book nerd friends start trashing it. Before you didn’t care that the main character was suppose to have blonde hair or that there were not suppose to be an elven heroine.
Lastly, deferring is disrespectful to the giver of the compliment. They are complimenting you and not someone or anything else. Be respectful and accept it for goodness sake. There is no arrogance in that.
You can live in victory each day without coming across as boastful and conceited. It is victorious confidence that Christ gives us. Why would we belittle ourselves as less. As long as we carry ourselves with love first the belief in one’s self will keep us grounded.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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