Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Personal Responsibility

As an artist I have always been responsible for my art life.
I like being in charge of my work and my PR.
I learned early that a real artist has to be in charge of their own well being.
New artists think that someone will rescue them and make them them rich and famous, that won't happen. Sorry to have to say that , but that is the way real art life is.

ME, I plan to ARTON no matter what happens. This ain't no dress rehersal.
Real artists are personally responsible.

Pardon Spelling

On my first NPR post I spelled guest book wrong, I was in a hurry and jazzed about getting the NPR segment.
So, Mia Culpa.
My website visitor count jumped from 1100 to 3000 plus in three days.
The power of radio is great, the content of the story also had a lot to do with the spike in my website traffic.
The interview took three years to get.
I am glad it happened.

Monday, December 29, 2008

NPR Gets Results

I was interviewed in Novermber 2008, by Alison Bryce who is a NPR producer in Washington,D.C.
Alison did a great job. The story aired on Weekend Edition ,Saturday December 27, 2008.
I am a pragmatic and practical artist, and that came through in the NPR story.
My website guestbook had a spike in people signing in to compliment the story.
The art life ain't easy, but it can be done if one is detirmined to do what it takes
to be an artist.

This goes for any artistic discipline. The NPR story can be accessed by going to the NPR website.
My website is -www.freewebs.com/bobragland.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

No Recognition

Recently my researcher told me that a local news program showed a sculpture by an artist. Well, nothing new about that. The problem was , there was no mention of the artist who made the work, by name. It's as if we artists are not worthy of some national recognition. This happens all he time.
I guess the reporter didn't wan't the artist to get famous, and no orders for work either.
No wonder some artists are surly.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Recession Proof

Real artists are recession proof. These individuals always figure out how to get through economic bad times. I read about artists
who, have some clever ways to keep going. The main thing is , to keep going. I make art no matter what is happening with the economy. I read business magazines, to get new ways to show and sell my work and I always have work priced at an entry level for new people.
So far, so good. I am recession proofing my art life.

Monday, November 10, 2008

More About Time Payments

People will spend two thousand dollars a year on latte and bottled water, then they say they can't afford art. I say too bad. With the present economy people have to make some choices. That's understandable,at the same time, art is long.One thing that I know, every one is not broke. Time payments work, if people want to take advantage of the system. People get the art the deserve.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Being An Artist Everyday

I am feeling grateful just to be able to be an artist everyday, I so am glad I don't have to break rocks for a living. The fall season here in Colorado has been spectacular. The streets and side walks are golden with fallen leaves, I have a series of small paintings in progress to celebrate this 2008 autumn. I just wanted to be on record with my observations and just glad to be alive and artful.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cherry Picking Buyers/Collectors

I am able to cherry pick art buyers and or collectors, because I live on very little money. I designed my art life so that I could manage to be an artist every day with or with out the support of galleries,posers,promisers, etc. I also made it a point to have an artist in residence gig at all times. This gives me some regular income. If I had to scrap in the alleys to get some money to support my art life , I would. So far I have not had to do any thing not related to my being an artist. The NEA says that there are two million full time artists in the work force now a days. I am one of them and intend to keep on being one as long as I draw breath.

Art Education 101 and The New Art Person

I had a visit with an artist friend of mind last week end. The artist makes very cool objects from found objects. The works were priced under five hundred dollars. I asked the artist if he had any interest? He said that three of the works had some interest. I asked why people were hesitant? The answer was no money. I asked if he offered time payments? He said he told them that he offered a payment plan.

I noticed that his price list did not mention in writing that he had terms available. I mentioned that in the future , that maybe it would be helpful to write it on the price list.
People have to be educated about art all the time in my opinion. It's the 101 stuff that the art culture does not consistently do.
Sales are lost because of the neglect of basic art education information in writing.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

On The Road To See Walt Kuhn

I am writing this from Colorado Springs. I took a little road trip to visit the Colorado Springs Art Center. I wanted to see a Walt Kuhn exhibition. The art center has a collection of 27 works on exhibit. The paintings are works that the artist did mostly from memory. I have done the same for many years. The Colorado Springs Art Center has quite a permanent collection and most of all it's one of the most user friendly art centers I have visited.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I recently had a conversation with some one who has known me as an artist for thirty years. The talk was about this person who likes to be self important, not owning my work. I realize he may not like my work. On the other hand, he always says to whom ever he introduces me to, that, I am the best artist he knows. I do have the good fortune to be able to cherry pick the people that I wan t to sell my work to. I wouldn't sell any work to the guy that prompted this post.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Denver Has Art

I had to post this information, last weekend I surveyed several art exhibitions in Denver. The cool thing is that there is a lot of original art available for every budget. The abundance of art is just terrific. To cut to the chase. I saw works of art that started at $25 up to $10,000. The best part is, the art in this range was selling. One exhibition did about $36,000 in sales, another I looked at did $11,000 and one more sold $11,000. The five figure number sales were all solo exhibitions. I wanted to put this on the record, mainly because of all of the doom and gloom foisted upon us at this time. I like to see that people spending money on art no matter what the financial pundits say.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Fall In Denver

The fall landscape is looking very colorful today ,mainly because it is overcast. The colors are brighter and more intense because of the gray day. I will make some notes to make some watercolors to record the season. I am making art these days with out the pressure of having to get ready for some special event. I like the freedom of not having to do that. Fall is a favorite time of the year for me as an artist, it's so scenic, it's hard to describe. I am going to have some creative fun , soon.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Sky Ain't Falling!!!

The sky is not falling, geeze, there's a lot financial news to get people to think the world is coming to an end. that. Real artists last, tough artists last, prudent artists last, believing artists last. Every body is not broke. Tough times pass, real artists last. The sky ain"t falling.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Financial Panic-NOT!!!

Well I guess I won't be getting that high powered ride I wanted. The news is telling me to hyperfocus on the bad money news. The sky ain't falling. All of those fat cats will have to forgo those vacations they were going to go on. Geeze, they will have to give up the second Rolls too. Boo-Hoo! Me, I am going to ramp up my art life even more, since they tell us the world is going to hell in a handbasket. I'm going to pour myself an adult beverage and game plan. I ain't going down without a fight. Pass it on.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Talent-So What!!!!!

Often people comment on an artist's "talent". Talent ain't nohing unless it can be sold in my opinion. An artist can make terrific work , but if they don't get it into the marketplace, it doesn't mean a thing. Talent,schmalent!!! I am old enough to be as mercenary as I want to be, I get paid. Real artists get paid on purpose!!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Genius Grants

It's that time of the year. The MacArthur grants were awarded as of today.
My name ain't on the list, Dang!!!! It's OK- cause' my art life is primo any way. I am glad for the awardees. Mainly those artists that get some dough to work unimpeded by day to day stuff. I think it's very cool. I am happy to be a Non-starving artist every day. I am able to heat and eat thus far from my art life. I am willing to take personal responsibility for my art life, it's part of the discipline. All's good in my art neighborhood. Pass it on.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I recently had a conversation with a colleague about editors. When it comes to decent information about an artist, the best parts get left out of human interest stories. I think that the more one knows about an artist the better. We artists always seem to get little respect in the general press. Entertainment and sports rule and those disciplines get gallons of ink. Gatekeepers rule too. Dang!!

Still Dumb

I went to an a couple of art exhibitions this past week end and as per usual the price lists had no telephone numbers or web addresses on them. What a waste!!!! People pick up information from galleries on a steady basis, it's too bad that the printing is for nothing.

Some Reasons People Can't Buy Art

People always think they can 't buy works of art because, they think they don't have disposable income.
Well if they would give up drinking 2000 dollars worth of lattes and 2000 dollars worth of bottle water , they could, maybe buy a one hundred dollar original work of art from an artist. Hey, I ain't trying to change any ones lifestyle, but we artists would like the business.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Keeping My Feet On The Ground

One of my students said they saw me on television, I made several how to art shows on our local cable system years ago. These shows still run occasionally. I asked the student if they watched the whole thing? They said no, the family said, you see him everyday. So they surfed on. Hey, I won't get no big head if this keeps up.

500,000 Rich People

I have an article that was published awhile back , the article states, there are a half million households worth ten million dollars.
That represents a lot of possible buying power for works of art. At least thats how I think of it. I know that all wealthy people ain't interested in art, I get that. Still there's a lot of possibility. We artists just have to get in front of some of that dough. Me , I am working on that all the time. Shoot! any one who makes 100K -300K a year can afford work of original art. I'll bet that a good part of the art buying public makes less money than the figures I mention here. I am optimistic about my art life and future buyers. Everybody ain't broke or poor. I will ARTON!!!!! ON purpose!!!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Art Taliban

Ok I had to post this thought. There must be an art Taliban. These are the people who don't call to see what an artist has for sale. They also are the ones who want art that shows some Taliban standing by a hut waiting for an artist to come by so they can see if that artist is making art that is in line with the the Art Taliban doctrine. I had to post this after some thinking about the subject.

The Art Path

Doing the right things at the right times and places are key ingredients to having a decent art life. Too try to plan a certain outcome is futile. I think having a art career is like fishing only you don't fish with one hook, you fish with a net. I try to track successful artists that I know , I mean the ones who are getting PAID on a regular basis. I speak often of money , because it gives one time to do what they want on the art side. I ain't pure enough to ignore the money part of my art life. I want to make as much as I need to continue to be the artist I want to be. I love being independent. I saw a Jeff Koons segment on CBS Sunday Morning show-September 14, 2008 and I thought, here's an artist that doesn't have to be too concerned about heating and eating. I realize that all life problems don't go away ,no matter how much dough one has, I do however, realize that making money doing what one wants to, ain't bad. I want my art path paved with Ben Franklins often. That's my story and I'm stickin" to it.

Creativity Rules

I think a great deal about creativity and problem solving. Last weekend I finished a sculpture using an old ironing board. This may not seem like such a big deal, so here's the creativity part. I made a standing figure out of the old metal ironing board that had been in my junk pile for ten years.The figure is playing a flute like instrument. I now have two figures placed in front of my house. I have a good feeling of accomplishment solving this issue of creativity. Creativity rules.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Fun Of Blogging

I am having so much fun with this blog. It's too good to be true. I get to say what I want then , tell other people so they can see what I am thinking about. I have lived long enough to have a few good thoughts about being an artist. I am a good story just because of longevity. I thrive on rejection, I eat rejection to get stronger. So far ,so goooooood.

Career Longevity

I am reading a lot about artist Kehinde Wiley. This artist is the darling of the art world in New York, I went to the Denver Art Museum two days ago to see an exhibition based on the figure and much to my surprise, there was a Kehinde Wiley painting. It is a big painting. I'd guess 6x8 ft in size. I would also guess the artist is commanding some big bucks for his work. I hope he has a long career, he's just 31 years old. I also hope he's saving some dough. Art careers can flame out when artists gets too successful too soon. I like the slow pace art career. I don't begrudge successful artists, but I do appreciate the ones who are successful and have long careers.

The Artists Magazine October 2008

The Artists Magazine is a very good tool for any visual artist. The data is primo!! Artist Duane Keiser is one of the featured artists. Duane is the originator of the Painting A Day movement. I think the PAD movement is just plain brilliant! I am not computer literate at this time to do the PAD thing on the web. I may learn about it later. I am still big on selling my work to people in person, it's just me. It's more personal. I want to also mention another publication that I think is good on the business side of art, the magazine is Art Calendar. Give it a look.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Evidence Of Time Spent

The cool thing about art making is, one can mark time. I have photographs of many of my paintings and sculptures. I get a great sense of accomplishment upon seeing the results of my artistic effort. The Pope's ceiling is visual proof of time well spent in my opinion.William Merritt Chase said "Being an Artist is a noble and honorable profession." We can see his work in many museums, time well spent. One of my favorite artists happens to be Andrew Wyeth, this artist spends half a year on his egg tempera paintings, another example of time well spent. I had to talk about this. Oh , by the way I could name many other artists that fit this criteria.

Sometimes Little Respect

I had to rush right over to my local library to post this. I just left a guy I have known for several years, he was introducing me to his co- workers and he couldn't remember the name of the local museum that my work is in. I'm mentioning this because, the more diligent you work as an artist , you still may not get the respect you deserve. Again , I call these people who don't respect artists, "Artproof". I had to make a note of this occurance , to remind myself to
ARTON!!!! inspite of the people who hold artists in disregard. This kind of stuff just makes me art, faster, more, every day and some nights. Weekends and holidays in cluded. I'm doing good in my art neighborhood, on purpose and will do so as long as I draw breath. I spent the top half of this day welding on a sculpture that I will com plete in the next few days.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Still Living

I would be remiss, if I didn't note I am glad to be alive on this 9-11 to post this. Just think of all those people who perished seven years ago, I will make a work of art to note this special day.
Bob Ragland -a grateful artist.

Art and Sacrifice

Often people think being an artist is a "fun" thing. Well , yes and no. I don't want to do any heavy lifting for fun. I digress. I made up my mind to be an artist by any means necessary, I mean in a practical way. I have worked all kinds of art gigs to have a decent art life, so far so good. I have bread and shelter and a modicum of respect. I don't have any regrets, one exception though, I would have learned more survival tricks early on. I am willing to do what it takes to be an artist. Like a good jazz player I can and do improvise. I don't expect everyone to like what I make art wise , so be it. I just move on. I ain't in Darfur or some other wretched place. Artists are the minority, because the majority can't draw. I wrote that some time ago. This seems like s a good time to use it. I love this blog stuff!!!!!!!! Anyway the art life is the only one for me. Oh yeah, I get show something for the time I spend and that is so reaffirming. Now for I will have an adult beverage. Cheers.

Appreciated While Vertical

Artists should be appreciated while they are vertical. Many of my artist colleague are going in to the BIG studio these days. I have been fortunate enough to see my work acquired by a museum while I am vertical. I mention this to people and often they say they haven't been to the museum , it's in the city. It's the Kirkland Museum. I mention that it would be nice if people would see my work in that setting while I am vertical. Too many people wait until an artist is horizontal to celebrate them. I recently read an art column about Denver artist Dale Chisman, who recently departed this earth. He was a venerated artist and teacher. I was not able to attend the memorial for him, but I understand the room was overflowing with people who paid their respects. Dale was someone who was appreciated while he was vertical.

Richard Schmid Maestro

If you get a chance, Google artist Richard Schmid. I have known this artist for a very long time. I became aware of Richard's work when I went to Chicago to see an Andrew Wyeth exhbition held at the Chicago Art Institute. I was exploring some streets off of Michigan avenue, and in a gallery called the Welna Gallery was the work of someone, I thought was lot older. The work had this genius quality about it. In my opinion , it was just plain, well, brilliant!!! Well , I got to know the artist over the years, he moved to Colorado for a short time.Richard invited Dean Mitchell and my self to visit his mountain hideaway before moving to Vermont. I have several of Richard's books and refer to them often. I even traveled to Barttlesville Oklahoma twice to see his work sell out in about thirty five minutes. It was a grand time. Richard Schmid is a virtuoso artist. He is a maestro. Oh , by the way his work sells very quickly and for some good money to boot.

Art Brothers On The Road

Many of my art brothers are on he road at this time, Dean Mitchell opens a show tomorrow in Georgia, John Encinias is painting in Taos, Dang! I wish I was there too, artist Walt Gonske is either in California or Oregon. The art world is so cool because we artists get to be mobile often. The art life ain't half bad sometimes.


Continue making your art, follow your interest . Don't listen to negative people. Deal with rejection by persisting. Making art is a discipline if one can't be disciplined, one should give up and go get a boss.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Nice Surprise

Yesterday, one of my best art brothers sent me some Pasatiempo Magazines from Santa Fe NM. The artist, John Axton is one cool guy. The box also contained an original oil painting -YIPPEEEEE! Man, I must be living right. I mean ART right. I do dig NM a lot. I try to get there as often as I can. I can drive to Taos in five and a half hours from Denver, it's a place that has so much art energy
it's off the hook. I do love the place, when you say you are an artist, people are so receptive. Artists are making their work and living the art life steady. I go to get my art batteries recharged. I am very fortunate to live so close to this great historical art colony. I always bring back at least thirty pounds of catalogs etc. from my road trips to Taos/Santa FE. I am about due to visit soon , the Fall color is something to see.
Mo' Later

Persistence Matters

Being an artist in spite of the Philistines really matters!!!! Some of us artists just plod along because we have to. I see a lady in my neighborhood who, picks every extra long blade of grass she sees. Me, I go into the studio and continue to work on my art. I'd rathe be remembered for my art than my lawn, which by the way, I pay some one to manage. Anyway , back to the main subject, any artist worth their salt will continue to make art no matter what hurdles are put in front of them. Art making is a very lonely activity, but it has to be done. I persist by any means necessary. The journey is the reward. Many have art ability,but they squander the gift. Too bad ,too sad. I say for those who are able,persistence pays.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bob Ross

A very cool thing happened today in my classroom/art studio. I have freshman, it turns out that many of the art students watch Bob Ross on PBS. I was very surprised that this group of young people knew who the artist is/was. Heck, I watch Bob Ross too.
I am glad this group of freshmen are getting an introduction to art. There are many surprises in the Art Life.

About Money

After thinking about being taken to task about my thoughts on money and art life , I have decided to kick it up a notch. People who are pure in the art world don't want the mention of money. Well yours truly can't live with out the dough to run my art life.
Most of my colleagues understand that having some bread means that you get to be more in charge of your art destiny. A fire wall of Ben Franklins can protect you against art proof people and rejection.
As I write this, two of my colleagues are out on the road painting in other locals, well, this takes money. Dean Mitchell is driving an exhibition to an art center in Georgia, this takes money. Dean is well off enough to pay for shipping, but being the great businessman artist he is ,he often delivers exhibitions him self. I am going to talk about money and art until I get tired. If money ain't important , try having an art life with out it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

All Art, All The Time

I was in the Denver Art Museum yesterday , I went to see the last day of the an impressionist landscape exhibition. I was introduced to a man who was a woodworker. I asked him for a business card, he didn't have one and said it was Sunday. I had to laugh after leaving him. I guess he was rich enough that he wanted no business on Sunday. I will add that to my list of dumb artists tricks. In my next seminar , I will make certain to tell that story. I always carry business cards, I am all art ,all the time.
I am all business, all the time, that's why I haven't had a mortgage payment for ten years as an artist.

Money Matters

I have conversations with artists on a regular basis. Often the talk turns to sales and money. Being pure and poor as an artist is a real drag. I have been taken to task about my mention of money and art. I read the trades and I see the amount of dough some artists make. I wouldn't mind more income from my artistic effort. At my age, I don't have the luxury of being poor, if you get my drift. I intend to be financially successful on purpose. In the art world one can make calculated choices about the kind of success they want. Me I am going for broke, er, getting paid. That's my story and I am sticking to it. Money matters!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Spending Money Can Be Hard

I just left a gallery, I bought a fifteen dollar catalog. The transaction took 20 minutes. WOW!!!!!! Sometimes you can't spend your money. The salesperson had to call tech suppport to find out how to do the transaction. I had my car parked in a two hour free zone, so I was concerned about getting a twenty-five dollar ticket. I got back to the car in time. I need to get some earplugs, as I am writing this in a library a guy is near me running his mouth. I will be buying some earplugs post haste. I got to weld this morning. Yippeeeee!. I have a couple of water colors going in the space I use for this discipline. When I get to do the art part of my life it feel sooooooo gooooood. I'll be back soon.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Celebrated Artist

I enjoy reading about the lives of artists, and it seems in the past that artists were celebrated and held in high regard. Picasso was one the most celebrated artists ever. I know people often say Picasso was not so nice to women. I get that,But he was still respected as an artist. I wonder who the present day celebrated artists are? Just thinking.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Website

My brother Lou Ragland built my website for me. It's been great to be able to have people see what my work looks like and to have a web presence. I am an old retro guy, but the information age is important and I intend to use it as much as I am able to. My web address is, www.freewebs.com/boboragland. It's not fancy, but it suits my purpose.


I really dig the BBC , I listen to the radio on a regular basis. The BBC covers the visual arts and they do a good job. NPR seems to like music more than painters and sculptors for some unknown reason. There are so many good art stories to be told about journeyman artists. The clock is ticking, now is the time to hear some of those stories.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More Selling Tricks Needed

There needs to be more selling tricks published. I am willing to bet that there are some unique ways that artists are selling their art other than the internet. It would be good to see some of the ways that artists sell their work other than the traditional gallery system. I am certain some artists have people who buy their work out right. I often think how cool it would be to have a complete year to work. Alas I ain't on the MacArthur Fellowship list. I'll just have to muddle through somehow. Just thinking.

More Selling Tricks Needed

A Way To Have A Show

I have an idea to show my budget friendly works. I have over the past few years revisited making small works of art. I have been painting oils that are less that 8X10 inches in size. I am going to ask some of the people who own some of my work, to let me bring a few of the works over in a plastic bin, unframed and have an afternoon home show of the art. People can do their own framing. The paintings wouldn't have to be hung , they could be shown on a table or counter top. With fall coming maybe I could get some more work in circulation. hey, it's a plan.

Thomas Kincade Tried

Thomas Kincade has been a commercial success for a number of years. I remember reading that the tried to sell his academic works for years, the public ignored the work. So the artist developed a different style and the public ate it up. It's a case study to see how Thomas Kincade has marketed his mass appeal art. Many artists have a problem with the artist being so commercially successful, I am not one of them. I say get what you can , while you can.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Successful Artists

I had to blog this , I will soon post the names of artists who I am certain, make a good living from their work. I ponder this idea quite a bit. It seems the lay public just doesn't want to accept the fact that visual artists are doing very well all over the map. The local press in Denver will cover the entertainment world like mad and they neglect the many painters , sculptors,photographers,printmakers and other visual art disciplines. There are some newspapers that do a very good job of being champions of visual artists. The Tenneseean, The Santa Fe New mwexican, The Friday New York Times, The Taos News,The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Constitution Journal are the newspapers that tell informative stories about artists in their cities. I try to read at least six newspapers each time I go to the library. I am a newshound for art information.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Abundant Art Press

WOW!!!!! There sure are a lot of art magazines in circulation. I go into book stores and the art magazines are numerous. i mention this ,because I am sometimes baffled by the lack of knowledge that people have about art and artists. Geeze, with this being the information age you'd think people would be more informed . Oh well, horse, water and all that. Just an observation.

Market Or Starve!!!

Any artist that thinks some one will rescue them needs to understand that won't happen. Sitting in the studio and not getting out to circulate is not a good idea. The amount of information that one can garner just by walking around is remarkable. The world is a big university. I get so much data by walking and paying attention. I find money on the street often on my walks, I try take different routes , just to see something new. Getting new information helps one avoid the starving part of being an artist . I embrace the marketing/business component of my art life. Denver is ground zero for the DNC and there's so much energy in the city, there are several artists from other cities here and I have had a chance to find out what else is going on in other places. This is part of my market or starve mission.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I see giclees that are priced at as much as originals. People who don't know any better get ripped off all the time.I say people get the art they deserve. There are artists in communities who have originals priced at less than two dollars a day. People who have one dollar a day to spare can buy original art. Artists always have small works for sale. Reproductions were originally made because the original work was out of a person's price range or unavailable. The market is completely out of whack now a days. I have rebelled against the giclee thing by offering originals for one hundred dollars. I have been an artist for a long time, my mission is to get as many original works in circulation as is possible. To have something unique, no matter the size is special in my opinion. I am certain that people who are operating at warp speed will go out and spend thousands on cliches. Dang!!!!!! too bad ,to sad.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Art Buying 101

Art gallery guides that do not put art education data in them are missing the boat. There's always a freshman class of art buyers. Often the art system forgets that. It's just wrongheaded and cost us artists sales. If I ran an ad in a gallery guide , I would state that I had a time payment plan in the ad, yes I would. The ads ain't cheap, so why not get one's moneys worth out of the ad. Art education is like a work of art in progress. Smart galleries should remember the freshman class of art collectors and buyers. They should write basic 101 stuff down.

2 Million Artists

The NEA has released a report that states there are two million artists who report that they earn their living as artists. The report can be down loaded from the web. Or it can be acquired by regular mail free of charge. I am an information junkie, it helps me cope with all of the artproof people in the world. Knowledge is power. I don't intend to go back to my salad days, I am building a skill set to not have to visit that part of my life ever again. I am doing this with great effort and fore thought. So far ,so good. Cheers,
Bob Ragland

Art Won't Fly

I have not shown in an art gallery for a number of years. One of the reasons is, I can market myself 1-2 hours a day. Many art galleries hang an artists work and hope that some one will come in and just write the check. That ain't gonna happen to often. Galleries have to churn the business to get business. I operate with out too much financial stress these days, this allows me to cherry pick my buyers. I do want to get as much of my work into circulation as I can. I like to sell work as well as the next artist. I am not a victim artist. I designed my art life to be independent of the traditional system ON PURPOSE!!!!!!! The best galleries are the ones that earn the commissions they get . My friend Richard Schmid decided a while back to slowly with draw from the traditional system and do his own thing. He's a virtuoso painter , but more importantly he's a very smart businessman.

Monday, August 25, 2008

People @ Warp Speed

Dang!!!!!! Some people operate at such a high rate of speed they don't have time to notice anything. It's difficult to have conversations with some artists that I meet at the art supply store,because they are always in a rush. I guess it's just the way life is these days. Life goes by rapidly, artists get paid to slow down and notice things. We all need to do that once in awhile.

It's Dumb/no business cards?

I recently had a conversation about artists who don't keep business cards on them to be contacted. I hope those people do not ever carry business cards. I will get their money. I carry my postcards all the time .I want people to be reminded that I exist. I won't ever be so rich and famous to not carry a business card. Business matters in the art game. All the time.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

No Art 101 Info

I was attending an art gallery opening last evening and I noticed some things. They are as follows. In the age of everyone going green,there's a lot of wasted paper produced. The price lists for the art had nothing printed on the reverse side. I always thought some art 101 information could be printed on the reverse side of price lists, for example some books on art appreciaction, some basic buying data, some art terms, and all kinds of other cool educational stuff could be printed in these blank spaces. Dang!!!! Maybe people would hang on to the price lists a little longer, the shelf life certainly would be longer. The green movement would benefit, all kinds of good things might occur. All it takes is some imagination, which seems to be lacking in many instances in the art world. It seems to me that there is a lot of room for improvement in the art game, if people would use their heads. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 22, 2008

People Tolerate Artists

I have a artist colleague who is a diligent worker. Recently one of his drawings appeared on a neighboorhood publication. Guess what????? He wasn't offered one dime , and he didn't think to ask for some compensation-DANG!!!! Double Dang!!! I have recently formed the opinion that people tolerate us artists, but they don't love us,not so much. Geeze- you'd think that the publisher of the little news paper would have offered the artist something. I could hardly wait to post this. This kind of stuff is just dumb. Artists should get paid, and artists should be smarter about asking for money. The public thinks that we artists are dumb about business, so they try to get over on us all the time, we be havin' so much fun. I am going to note here all of the slights to my profession every time I get achance. MO' Later.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dean Mitchell- ARTIST

I have to brag here about one on my art brothers. Dean Mitchell is an example of what an artist can do to be successful. A lot has been written about Dean and his work. Anyone who sees it is impressed by how well made his art is, but what people don't know is, this artist is a planner of how his art career shapes up. The business acumen that Dean Mitchell has acquired is primo. When an artist does the right things at the right time and place, good things happen. Business matters. Dean is an artist who also happens to be free of financial stress as an artist, and by the way, there are many visual artists like him. If you the reader of this would like to see examples of Dean's art, get him by Google. You will be pleasantly surprised. Now that I have this forum to write , I will tell you about more commercially successful artists in the future. The press ain't interested in commercially successful journeyman artists, so I will do the reporting.

Artists Who Don't Respond

Recently I ran into an artist that I was trying to be in touch with. When I saw the person they were very casual about my trying to get ahold of them. This set me to thinking how not smart it is when you try to reach some one and they are out of reach. The artist, who shall remain nameless had a good article in the local paper and I wanted to congratulate them, Well that didn't work. I wonder how many missed opportunities people miss just because, they are too busy to slow down to return phone calls etc. Bad business practice indeed.

Money For Art

I have a report that says people spend $2,500 0n Latte a year. Bottled water about the same. No wonder we artists have a tough time selling art to some people. DANG!!!!!! I tell people that an $500 artwork is less than ten bucks a month from their budget. I sell my work on the Installment plan, so even at $500 acquiring original works of art is not is not impossible. I know a lot of people who don't have any extra money for art. On the other hand there are a lot of people who do. Thank goodness for them. Me , I continue to find those people. All I iwant is, five hundred dollars fro those Latte budgets. Just an practical observation.

Missed Opportunity

I read some where that the artist Marsden Hartley lived in a rooming house and wanted to give the owners paintings in exchange. well, some people being art proof, didn't take the work. Hartley was a contemporary of Georgia O'keeffe. Now those Hartleys are worth a fortune. At proof people are always in the mix, and there's more coming.


Sometimes I wonder why the certain art magazines fail to say in dollar amounts, that many artists are living very well from their work. They don't have to disclose exact mounts of income. I just think the public needs to know artists are not broke and begging. Some artists could buy and sell some art illiterate people ten times over. Thank goodness for the people who appreciate original works of art enough to buy the work. There are so many wimpy art people in the endeavor, it's a wonder artists have any fans. Money matters, there's nothing wrong with the public being told about artists going to the bank on a regular basis. I just don't get the it, people want to support successful people, we artists deserve it. We make our work and hope some notices it in spite of a wimpy people in the art game. Mo' Later.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Old Fashioned Art

There's something to be said about vintage works of art. The magazine American Art Review is a great champion of the works of the 19th century. It is so reassuring to read about art and artists of that time. The shock art trend of the past few years is always something to behold. Gosh, at one time Picasso's art was so surprising, well that is so very much a part of the art world these days its accepted. i still like to read stories about artists of certain regions. They weren't superstars but they all made a difference in the world , with their old fashioned art. Good for them and us in the present day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

English Painters

There's a magazine ,titled Artists and Illustrators, I see it at the art supply store and I buy an issue once in awhile. I am struck by the unpretentiousness of the artists who are featured. Many of the artists are not slick in their technique, they are straight forward in the way their works look. I am a big fan of Whistler's small night paintings, in the book about his small works , a paragraph speaks of his painting kit being able to fit into one of his overcoat pockets. The artist was soundly criticized for the way he painted the nocturnes. Ha! a lot of good that did. Any way I just wanted to note the cool simplicity of english painters.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Art Life Can Be Very Good

I am at a very special place in my art life as of this writing. My house is paid for , the car also and I have no crerdit card debt. Yipppeeeee! I have been able to make the art that I want without trying to find a audience right away. I have always made the art and found the audience later. I have a series of small oils going and by series , I mean for example, if I am painting say,heads I do a lot of heads until I get bored, then I move on to something else. This way I never run out of subjects to paint.I have toiled in the art trenches for quite awhile.I guess something is to be said for persistence.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Visual Artists Are Ubiqitous

When I look at all of the art magazines that I have, I notice the abundance of artists. WOW! there must be an artist behind every window in the USA. This is not a complaint, just an observation. Some gallery rosters in the trades list as many as 100 artists. I am thinking, I have to amp up my marketing game a lot more, to get some more traction. By traction, I just mean to continue to heat and eat from my artistic effort. There's so much talk about the economy these days, I just want all of the $500.-1000 I can get my hands on. Some people drink more than that amount of dough in Starbucks each year. I just will offer my time payment plan more. To my way of thinking, it doesn't matter how many artists there are in the mix, I will out market alot of them, I proceed undaunted. My very life depends on it
www.freewebs.com/bobragland- www.readfive.com issue 12

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prices Go Up.

Recently I heard a person say, that they noticed a increase in the cost to works of art. Well, DUH!!! Why is it intelligent people think art should go down in price. Go figure. Too many people think we artists shoud not get what we ask, for our effort.
In my opinion, it's just plain dumb and wrongheaded thinking. I had to write this. If people don't want to pay what we ask they can be downsized. In other words, FIRED!!!!! Boy that felt good.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I went to an gallery yesterday, there was an artist whose paintings had a very unique color. I asked the gallery person if I could get an information sheet on the artist? I was rebuffed and told "we only give information sheets to people who buy something." This is one of the reasons I sell my own work out of my home/ studio. Man oh man , I get art lessons every day from people like this. What harm could come from me knowing more about the artist? Well it takes all kinds of people to run the art business, I just hope there's alimit on the kind I just described.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Real artists always take resposibilty for their own well being. When I hear an artist say they haven't sold anything for awhille , I wonder what they have done to help themselves sell something. People do not wake up and say they are going to find an artist to spend some money with. At least most of the time. Sad but true. Real artists market as though their very lives depend on it and believe it or not , their art lives do depend on getting some money to continue making art. Responsibility matters for successful art lives. See my advice at www.readfive.com-issue 12.

The Wonder of Museums

People who start and build museums are very cool people in my opinion. I always am grateful that these pepole exist or did at one time. The fact that someone had the courage and the forsight to collect works of art and art objects for uas all to see is wonderous. I visit museums at every opportunity. In this time and age of negative news , it's always a great escape to visit a
museum , this gives me a chance to be some where else for awhile. I went to the Leanin' Tree Museum of Wester Art yesterday ,it's outside of Boulder Colorado, the museum was started as result of the founder finding artist's work to be published on greeting cards. I spent about two hours in the museum. It was a very good and educational experience. Hats off to Mr.Ed Trumble founder of the Leanin' Tree Museum. I will visit it again soon.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Taos/Santa Fe Road Trip

Over the spring break, I went to one of my favorite states, New Mexico. I had a great research trip in Taos and Santa Fe. I go to galleries to look and to see what I can do better in my city of Denver. My art life ain't too bad in Denver, because I take charge of it. I market as if my art life depends on it, and it does. I found acres of well made art in New Mexico, the thing I didn't see in galleries, except one was, terms available signs. I think galleries lose business to new people if the payment plan data is not posted. I come across NEW people to art on a regular basis, who do not know that art can be purchased on the time payment plan. Many gallery people say that they tell people about the e-z pay plan. I wonder what they do when there's a bunch of people in the gallery at one time? Payment plans need to be posted, that way new people won't be shy about asking. The end result is, the gallery makes money and the artist does also. I just had to get this off my brain. This trip was very special, I am energized. No art,no life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I learned early that if I wanted to heat and eat from my artistic effort, I'd better learn the basics about selling my work. I have put together a good set of tools to be able to live the kind of art life I want. I treat marketing and promotion the same way I make a work of art, it's always a work in progress. I shape it, correct it until I get what I want from it. The financially successful artists I know, are very good at the promoting and selling part of their art life.Even as I am writing this , I realize that some one some where is marketing their art. The artist that doesn't want to do the business part of their art careers, makes it better for those of us who do.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I run into so many people who don't realize that there are large numbers of artists who, are able to make a living from their artistic effort. There are I would guess, thousands of artists of every discipline who , are going to the bank and paying their bills with proceeds from their sales. I know I am. I will hazard a guess that the people who don't think artists are able to make it in todays economy must not read the papers and publications that talk about successful artists.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Creative Fire

I have a roaring creative fire going.Since my visit to Las Vegas I have had boundless art making energy. I have about nine art projects going at the same time. My creative channels are open. I hadn't seen my brother and sister in seven years, so I am thinking that once that mission was accomplished my head cleared. Art making is difficult as it is, so when mental hurdles are removed creativity can proceed unhindered.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tamayo Art in the trash

What a story , A Rufino Tamayo painting was found in the trash. See the PBS FYI Antiques Roadshow site for info. The NYT had a good story. Approximate date 11/22/07 or The Rocky Mounain News-11/22/07. I'll bet hundreds of people passed by the painting sitting on the sidewalk between two trash bags. Just goes to show, people in a hurry,on the cell phone,being sooo busy miss out on big money.PEOPLE GET THE ART THEY DESERVE!!!!

Good Life, Art Life

Well the art life continues and it is very good. I saw several art exhibitions here in Denver and believe it or not, artists are selling very well. The recession talk is so much" sky is falliing stuff "/ Dang!!!! I intend to have a great art life no matter what the rest of the world says or does. But hey, that's just me. When I go out and survey shows an see that artists are going to the bank,and I am one of them ,coooool. I aint even worried. As long as there is one empty wall or space, I will find it. Cheers and art. Bob Ragland -NON starving artist on purpsoe.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Picasso Works

I went to Las Vegas over the holidays and much to my pleasent surprise, I was able to see over three hundred works by Picasso. What a treat. I am a Picasso scholar, I like the artist's work ethic. My own work isn't anything like his. It's just that he's a good model for me when it comes to producing. I try to make art on a consistent basis. I read somewhere that Leger approached his art with the same kind of commitment. I think art making is a good way to show how one spends their time. Many artists that I have read about have been productive, and I intend to be the same way as long as I am able to.

No Knowledge

Too many people still believe most artists are starving in garrets. Well, it's just not so. I recently had someone ask me if my art was my hobby or my profession? I was proud to say that I pay my way as an artist. I thought the question was a good one,it gave me reason to contiue to understand, that lay people have no clue that many artists are doing very well financially with their art. I always use the opportunity as a teachable moment to inform the fine art impaired. To be an artist is so special , and to get compensated as one is even better. The media doesn't do a good enough job to let people at large know that there are a large number of successful artists in the population, I mean in every discipline. So many people to educate, so little time.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Not A hobby

I was asked a great question about my artlife. The person asked if my art making was a hobby or my profession? I was glad to be able to say that art is profession. I have paid for my way of life with my artisitic effort. I have and do pay all bills as an artist.I had to write this , because too many people don't realize there are thousands of artists like my self who are successful as artists.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Stuff To DO 2008

Well it's a new year and the art career dance continues. I will make certain that I have bread and shelter from my artistic effort. I'd rather lift my paintbrush and my welding torch than a pick or shovel any day. I will try to get some press to let people know I am still art active in my city. I will do my own PR. I will make as much art as I can, I will do it now and find an audience later. I won't do the gallery thing. I will hold in memory the 300 plus Picasso works I saw in Las Vegas this year January. I will remember that my success is being an artist everyday. I will pay cash for stuff I need. I will save some cash for emergencies like always. I will practice random acts of kindness every chance I get. I will continue to write and send illustrated letters to people. I will continue to research and read in my public library every two weeks. I will savor my art life and be glad for my colleagues successes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Art Life is Good

I just returned from Las Vegas and one of the highlights of my trip was , I got to see over three hundred Picasso works on paper. It was grand. I am a self taught Picasso scholar. I became interested in the artist because of his work ethic. To see that amount of work by one artist is spectacular and it urges me to continue to make as much work as I am able to. Picasso is in the Guinness book of world records as the most productive artist of the 20th century, he made 100,000 works of art. Whenever I get to thinking I have made too much work , I'll just think of Picasso who was obsessed with art making. I do think that each work made is like a deposit to a checking account, a kind of art bank. Deposits can lead to interest,no work is like a withdrawal.