Saturday, August 28, 2010

Still no progress in the studio.

I have tried to do some work in the studio, but after half an hour I have to give up. I'm still in constant back pain. Physio helps short term, but it is a long painful journey. I try to keep pushing, mainly to improve my mobility, and to loosen the muscles that are in spasm, but in reality I am just giving myself more pain for very little effect.
I am unable to work, it is impossible to concentrate while in pain. The upshot is I am not painting at all.

At the same time I don't want to labour the point either. However it is impossible to talk about my work on the blog when I am not doing any, and cannot even plan work to do. It has now been almost 3 months, without producing any meaningful work. I hope I can start working again soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The cost of everything and the value of nothing....

I had a recent discourse with someone who thought €50 too much to charge for their painting. While not exactly a masterpiece it was quite competent, and of saleable quality. It left me quite shocked. How can someone who claims to be an 'Artist' and feels their work is good enough to sell not value it at least at minimum wage levels?
It is bad enough that people who don't either appreciate or understand the value of art cannot see it does have a monetary value. Even as an hourly labour. That someone who professes to 'love' art and who calls themselves to quote, " a good" artist cannot see that art deserves paying for in my view is scandalous.

Even without the cultural value of art, painting, sculpting etc. deserve at least a skilled labourers hourly rate for the work that goes into producing it. Whatever the 'value' of a finished piece of art as an object or piece of furniture to someone decorating a room, I cannot comprehend someone who says they love their art not valuing the labour that goes into it as of less value than a menial piece-work job.

With artists like this, it is a lost cause trying to educate a public that has very little knowledge of the value of art. A painter decorator is seen as a skilled labourer, and is paid a good hourly rate to paint a wall magnolia. Why should an artist be paid less for the hours spent painting a canvas with a multitude of hues and tones, more importantly how can someone who knows the work that is put into it not actually see the elementary comparison.

Some people love to paint paintings as a past-time, they enjoy it. I can accept it is a lovely hobby for them. Some people enjoy D.I.Y. and decorating, and do carpentry, decorating etc. as a hobby. This does not mean that the value of a skilled labourer or tradesman is any less. Art as a hobby as opposed to a career should not mean the value of an artists labour is non-existent either.

We have come a long way from the times when artists were seen as skilled tradesmen, more valued as a career than many other trades. Now we are expected to starve/suffer for our art and accept our labour is not worth as much as serving behind a shop counter. Forget the old style apprenticeships, we now have third level colleges educating/training our artists for years, or other artists spending years practising and learning their craft. The value of this?
Under €50?
If I go to the doctor it costs more than this for a 15 minute consult - if it takes longer I'm asked to book two! A repair man will charge €75 minimum to call out to fix something, plus charging full retail for materials.

I accept there are market forces. I accept they will dictate what the 'value' of things are. What I cannot accept is that someone who claims to value art, can actually think it has so little value, even in hours labour.

The reality is if artists cannot hold onto the value of artists and their need for a reasonable return for a days work, how can we educate non artists to the fact?

Answers on a postcard please........

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The importance of being....

The Arts Council of Ireland have published a new survey of work-life-pay and conditions for professional artists in Ireland.

It makes interesting reading, if a little bit academic in language. I note with a wry smile that many of the artists views are almost identical to mine. I wouldn't consider doing anything else, I'd do it all again- but I would not recommend the life to anyone else...

Sadly once again it is official, we suffer for our art, certainly financially compared to other careers and professionals.
In a way it is a little bit useless, in as much that the only people who will take any serious notice of the findings will be the artists. I don't believe it will have any effect on government policies, and it certainly won't convince the general public to spend more money on art. (even if it does I'm sure very little of it will come my way LOL)
In reality it is not telling us anything we don't already know, with the exeption of adding figures and statistics to the general knowledge, the facts have been known for a long time and it is a world-wide trend.

Artists are not seen as professionals. The arts are not seen as a proper career/job and while many accept the cultural and social benefit of a healthy arts culture it is not seen as having monetary value. People will not spend their money on arts, with the exeption of a few novels and popular music events. While the public in general accept educated professions outside the arts should be paid accordingly, educated artists are not seen as deserving of the same rate of enumeration for their work. The world needs plumbers, mechanics etc. and pays them quite well to fix leaks or other problems, but while art is seen as being needed in society, it is not seen as neccesary to pay artists to work.

In truth we don't do it for the money, but at the same time we cannot eat job satisfaction, nor can we pay the mechanics or plumbers with it either.

Ahhh one day my Utopia wil come... in the meantime I'll go fishing occaisionally and create my art, secure in the knowledge that there are a few patrons willing to pay the artists for their labours, even if a little too infrequently....

I'll leave the post with a quote from Pablo Picasso (thanks Molly)

I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunshine in the garden and the studio.

I spent four hours in the studio this afternoon. I was painting away, and the work went very well. Now, however, I am in severe pain with my lower back. I obviously over-did the standing and painting thing...........

I totally re-painted a work that was almost finished, a view near Cashel bay, Connemara. It was a mix of reds and ochres when I started. It is now a pleasing combination of Blues and greens...It is amazing how a couple of tweeks in tone can lead to a total repaint and change of colour. The whole work is transformed from a struggling landscape into a painting that offers summer's enjoyment with the influence of today's colours. Blue skies where were grey, lush growth, verdant where it was dry dead foliage has transformed the piece into a cheerful painting instead of a cold and barren landscape/seascape. sometimes I surprise myself
Instead of 'fixing' a nagging doubt not fully resolved in the painting, I let my subconcious loose and attacked the whole work with abandon, allowing the now into the painting. It is still in effect a painting of Cashel, and Connemara, but more as one would expect from a John Hinde postcard depicting an Emerald Isle, with glorious sunshine and deep blue waters. I am not worried though, it is what the work needed, updating into the summer sunshine of today, rather than the early spring/end of winter the original sketching was done in.

Enough for now, I'll look again with fresh eyes tomorrow.... who knows? it may drift back from the light a little.....

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Boys and their toys....

I bought a new toy, well to be honest it only cost €29, with a credit for €29 thrown free.
It is a Nokia E63 phone, complete with wireless internet connectivity and a qwerty keyboard.Isn't it amazing how fast and how far internet technology has come in a short time. This means my new (6 months old) notebook is now obsolete....I just need to take my phone with me.
I have been playing with it today, it arrived in this mornings post from vodafone, and I nearly know how to operate it now. LOL.
I am wondering what the battery life is going to be like, but it seems fine so far. It comes complete with video phone capability, camera with built in flash, the usual bluetooth, 3G and quadband and also has office and email capabilities (I've set up the email and internet already) plus GPS and sat-nav with download capability for more apps.....who needs more applications....I can't handle what I already have ??????????
I am not going to try to upload a photo to blogger with it at the moment, though it probably is possible...

that's all for now....back to play....