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.