Sunday, August 30, 2015

My Book Cover

So the basic outline of the buildings are finished. Next comes the water and bridges and then the detailing of the buildings. Putting the window in and then the silhouette of the lovers. 
Moving and buying a new house ... never an easy thing to do. Never.

Friday, August 28, 2015

My book cover

Here's the outline of my book cover on a 16x20 canvas. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Most Empty Feeling Part II

Earlier in this posting, I talked about my strained relationship with my father in law. My wife is black. Does that matter? Not to most educated and civilized people in the world. But some people are assholes and race relations mean so much to them, that they’d prefer not to deal with people whose skin color is different. My father was a racist at heart, and I believe my father in law is too. Nothing I’ve done has ever been good enough for him. 

I could go through a whole list of things he never liked about me, but it would be pointless and unnecessary. Imagine having someone in your life that, no matter what you do, it’s never good enough - whether it’s an ex girlfriend, or family member, or boss - it’s never good enough, and you’re always the problem ... never them ... you. Okay ... enough of that. 

My religious background was never good enough for my in laws. Mind you, they were never dedicated church goers, but as far back as I can remember, I was always in church - twice on Sunday, once on Wednesday, prayer meetings, revivals, you name it. The reason I’m bringing this up is because even though my father in law was never really into church, he always knew more about the bible than I did, and my ways of raising the children was wrong. Plain and simple. Oh yeah, my beliefs were wrong too. 
A few years ago, he started going to church and became a regular church goer. At the same time, he began studying on the side with a Jehovah’s Witness - gotta love those people. In time, his pastor was wrong too ... my father in law knew more than the man who was preaching. 

At this time, I had quit going to church, as I realized the belief system I’d been taught was bullshit. By this time, my father in law was full on Jehovah’s Witness. Just for those of you who are not Jehovah’s Witness, they’re very anti politics, anti military, just absolute weirdos. Nice people ... just weird. 

Remember how I said that most of my early professional work was political and military related? Yeah ... father in law was given a lot of it. But now that he was a Jehovah’s Witness, he could no longer have that stuff in his house. Anything political and military related artwork was thrown in the trash. 

I’ll let that sink in. 

When I give someone my artwork or sell it to them, I have this attitude that, it’s theirs. They can do with it whatever they like. I’m not attached to it. It belongs to them. It wasn’t that my father in law had trashed the artwork that bothered me the most. Of course, it bothered me greatly, but the fact that I’d put him in charge of my artwork upon an untimely death. Imagine if I’d passed and an entire legacy of work, years and years of training, thrown in the trash. It’s no different than what ISIS did to the art from the city of Nimrud. Those artists who will never be known - their legacy reduced to rubble. 

That’s what would’ve happened to my legacy had he obtained my work. And everything I worked a lifetime to achieve would be shit now. Everything.

The saddest part of the whole thing ... the part that really pisses me off, is that he later realized that some of the beliefs he had were bullshit. He didn’t even have the audacity to call. He put a posting on Facebook to apologize. Imagine that - imagine he had obtained all that artwork, destroyed it, and then realized he shouldn’t have done it. 

The feeling I have in my stomach is so empty. I wish I could end this post off in a positive note, but I can’t. It’s just ... empty. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The most empty feeling Part I

This posting is going to go ALL over the place. But there's a story in there ... I think. 

A few months ago, the terrorist group ISIS blew up some of the most amazing archeological treasures from the ancient city of Nimrud. These treasures were priceless, and as an artist, quite haunting to look at. The only thing we have to remember them, are the stories that were gleaned while they were intact, and the photographs that were taken. Everything else ... gone.

I can’t imagine what that must be like - to create a priceless treasure, only to have it destroyed by a religious fanatic. 

Throughout the years, I’ve created hundreds of works of art, and for the most part, am very generous with it. I’ve sold thousands of dollars in art sales, and at the same time, I’ve given pieces away - ranging from free portraits, to landscapes, you name it. My father was always supportive of my work but at the same time, he could be discouraging. Like most people who are not artists, he told me (along with just about every adult in my life - pastor and guidance counselors included) that you can’t make a living as an artist. You have to go and get a job and hopefully you’ll become famous. You make your money as an artist after you’re dead.

Kinda sad ...

When I first got out of the Army, most of my early professional work was either religious, political, or military related. Rarely was it a basic landscape or something serene; there was always a story behind it. I couldn’t just paint or draw because I had talent, each piece had to have something behind it that made it worthwhile to look at. 

Fast forward a few years ...

As much as my father and mother adored my artwork, they never really took care of it. We had roaches growing up, and many of my pieces were destroyed because of roach shit. Serious. Even now, when I go visit my mom, any pieces on her wall have some marring blemish on it. Some have creases, some aren’t framed ... it’s sad to look at. My father in law however, always took care of my work. When I’d send it to him, he’d immediately frame it. He had his garage and a room in his house with my work displayed. Even though he and I never really got along, I knew that he loved my art. He praised it and there was a sense of pride when I’d go to his house. My artwork ... damn ... made me smile.  

My favorite movie of all time is the 1956 ‘The Ten Commandments’ with Charlton Heston and Yul Bryner. That’s in my opinion, where they should’ve refrained from any future remakes - it’s done. Leave it alone. Don’t remake it anymore. It’s like Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ ... leave it alone. You’ll only embarrass yourself if you try. Remake a different song. Please.

The reason I bring that movie up is because there’s a scene where Sethi is talking to his advisors about who should take over the kingdom of Egypt upon his passing. His advisors ask him, “who else, but the son of your body?”

His response? “The man best able to rule Egypt will follow me. I owe that to my fathers, not to my sons.”

That line has always had an impact on me. Many leaders have a desire for their family to run their business or empire after they pass on, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, many businesses and empires have failed because the family - usually the sons - have no idea how to continue on in the legacy of their father. Dad was a brilliant businessman, so son must be also, right? I mean, it’s good in theory, but often times, never the case. A good example is Walmart. Sam Walton came up with a brilliant business, but after his passing, the company, in my opinion, is going down the tubes. Customer Service - which Sam Walton was praised for - is god awful. I avoid Walmart like the plague and go there as a last resort. 

The reason I bring all this up is because when I pass on, I know that the art I have, will need to go to someone. If I don’t leave it to someone in my Will, the state comes in and can do whatever they’d like with it. Why not my children? They’re too young, and I’m not sure they’d know how to best handle it. I guess I can leave it in a trust or in storage until they’re 30. However, upon my passing, my father was the last person I wanted to get my art. I knew that, even though he admired it, he and my mom wouldn’t know how to preserve it, or even care enough to do so. 

So I spoke with my father in law, and asked if my wife and I were to pass suddenly, if he’d take all my artwork. He was more than happy to. Ecstatic to say the least. There was a sense of relief that, if I died, he’d be there to take over and preserve my artwork. I have a shit ton of art supplies that, I know my youngest would get a kick out of. There ... that’s settled.

Or so I thought. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Commissioned Abstract

This is a reproduction commissioned piece. I am not the creator of the original piece. I, unfortunately do not know who created the original piece. I was commissioned to reproduce it.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Gofundme transparency

Some of you are aware of the gofundme I have set up for the self publishing costs of my book. In an effort to keep things honest and straight with those who donate, I am posting a screenshot of the bank account associated with the gofundme. If you'll notice, the payment starts off with just over $500. This is my own personal money I've put up. In the gofundme, at this writing, there's just over $300. So why is this account over $1000? Because the goal is to raise $3000 whether it's through gofundme or other sources. Anywhere that you see WePay - that is the organization that gofundme uses to transfer the money from them to the account. This is my way of being transparent so that you can see that no money is going to obscure resources.

Here is the link to the gofundme:

Monday, August 3, 2015