Now I’m not going to tell you that professional painting has been able to support my every whim and desire. It more serves as a means of extra cash than anything. When factoring out the costs of supplies and storage, I more or less break even with a few extra hundred dollars in my pocket. Outside of that, I work doing all manner of painting, typically on signs for local businesses. Currently I have a sign drying for a Clarksville roofing company in my studio. It pays the bills and keeps me going in my endeavors. Whether I do it professionally, or for fun, I always love getting to work though. The smell of the studio, the feeling of paint on my clothes and hands, it’s captivating.

The girlfriend who first sold a piece of my art has moved into my history, yet my current wife is just a big of a supporter of the work I do. In fact, I met her at my gallery, eyeing a piece that I did involving birds on a lake. It was somewhat out of my wheel house, but sitting there at the lakeside one day, fishing, I couldn’t help but be struck by the contrasting look. When I got home, I tried to put my mental image down on canvas. It turned out a little contorted, like trying to remember something from way further back than that morning, but I felt it had a kind of personality.

So did she apparently, because after looking it over for a half hour, she wound up buying it. It’s one of the few purchases throughout my career that I remember intimately. I told her that I would drop the price by ten percent if she would let me take her for dinner, to which she agreed. So needless to say, the art world has provided me with more than just inspiration. Since that point I have expanded the works that I do, and encompassed more professional means of employment in the art world, but I can count myself fortunate as one of those people in the world who can do what I love and make a decent living at it.

I don’t know what the future will hold for my chosen craft though. I can imagine myself old and arthritic, unable to hold the brush, and without enough in a retirement fund to carry myself over. It can be one of the drawbacks of a passionate career path, but in the meantime I try not to worry about it too much. Life can be long, or short, and what we wind up doing with it can make all the difference. Personally, I love the fact that I love my work, and that others have been able to enjoy it too. Who knows what types of emotions they instill in themselves, but to know that I have touched their lives in some meaningful way, makes my life have purpose, even if I don’t get rich trying.

Eye of The Beholder            

I went to school for art, and to be honest, I felt more pretentious at that point in my life than any other. When friends and family would ask about my studies, I would go into long rants about the masters, the meaning behind their methods, the way they captured the barren emotions of their audience on canvas or in sculpture, but to be honest, I spent a lot of my time wondering why I wasn’t getting any closer to unlocking the secrets of the art world. I was still just as confused looking at some of the pieces I appreciated so much, wondering why I didn’t have the innate talent that they seemed to possess in their works.

I knew I had some talent, and I knew that I could replicate a lot of their works, but there was always a dead give away that mine was a feeble attempt at reproduction while theirs was a masterpiece. Whether an eye was too large, or a shadow forgotten, I was always chasing in the footsteps of these giants of the art world. It wasn’t until a few years after college that I started to pick up the brush and bring my own eye to the world. I would sketch and paint before of course, but never in a means to sell any of my works.

My first sold piece itself even came as a fluke, as I had a garage sale one day, and found that my girlfriend at the time had laid out a few of my paintings across the side of the house. I wasn’t even upset to find some of my pieces out there, I was upset that the asking price seemed way too high for this amateur to be asking. Until I found one man standing in front of a particular piece eyeing it carefully, chin in the palm of his hand. When I came up to talk to him he asked me about the artist, whom I told was myself. He looked it over for some time, and then left, and I thought that was the end of that.

He returned though, about an hour later, with the money in hand. I was kind of in shock when he handed over the asking price without any haggle. My then girlfriend laughed with an “I told you so” smile when I recounted the story later. I’m still friends with that man today, and he has always been one of my biggest supporters, but to be the first to ever pay me for my work, he always holds a special place in my heart. I surprised him and his wife with a painting of their wedding photo, it was great to see the reaction on his face, almost in tears as an artist he admired paying him personal respect, but in truth, I have always been more honored with his support than feeling any form of earning it, so it was the least I could do.

One Man’s Art

            I’ve heard every question imaginable, from you call that art? To what is it? I suppose that’s part of the appeal of art, is that it raises questions. I’ve talked to many friends, and others who have stopped by my gallery, looking through the various works I put on display, and found that even though my eye can be a little different than others, there are still times when both myself and the viewer are left confused. I don’t pretend to understand modern art, and I’m not sure how the masters were able to create the works that they were, all I know is that I have a penchant for my own art, and my own style, and have run with it ever since.

I suppose my career started much like anyone else’s in the industry, when I would bring home my mother works that I created out of paste and sparkles in grade school, and my mother would hold them up, think about it for a bit, and then humor me by putting it up on the fridge. When you’re younger, that recognition goes a long way. You have your own personal gallery on the largest blank surface in the kitchen, that everyone gets to see every time they want a glass of orange juice, or dinner. To see people stop and contemplate that work, that made so much sense to toddler you, and yet almost none to anyone else who was looking at it.

I suppose that’s the same feeling and ideas that go through the minds of adult artists, that you can see clearly what it is you intend, the message behind your artwork and yet it takes a particular person, who looks at things a particular way to be able to fully appreciate and understand it. I have made works of all sorts and styles, from paint, to sculpture to metal work and more, all while trying to capture the image, or the message that I had in my head in a visual format. Some times I felt quite proud of my end result, and other’s I stood there just as confused as others trying to decipher it.

Of course it would be easy for me to just play dumb and make up some story, and watch as some pretender smiles and nods at it, talking about the genius of my obvious mistake, but I prefer to think of myself as a little more professional than that, and just leaving those pieces behind in the workshop until the last needed pieces mentally fall into place. No matter who walks through the doors of my shop, I know that someone out there will be able to see past the surface, to the underlying writings, and understand what was going through the mind of the artist at the time of creation, and those are the people I create art for. Whether you understand art or not, I feel that we all have a connection, and that’s what I try to capture.