The Number of Words in a Prayer

When I was a ten year old boy the church I went to had services that would end like this. The Preacher Man would look down into the audience just before the last hymn and as he was announcing the hymn would select a person at random to come up and give the closing prayer.

I got real good at ducking my head and never ever making eye contact with this person. Most of what I thought about during the hour long service was the fear of being called on to give the prayer.

It wasn't for fear of public speaking. It was because everyone gave the same long prayer using language I didn't understand. Lots of thou's and thee's and such words. I would try and practice in my head using thou and then some other words and then another thou. Maybe try a thine. Some of these folks could go on quite a long time. In my head my prayer lasted about five seconds. Thou, a couple of words, Thee, amen. That's all I had.

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The Artist on "Shark Tank"

Hi. I'm James and this is my business plan:

  1. Sell a lot of large framed affordable paintings that are worth more than I am selling them for.
  2. Let their value be determined over time by the art itself.
  3. Appear very successful, maybe even buying up some of my own work.
  4. Paint another 10,000 hours and don't croak for a while.

To do this I would like to define some words I hear on Shark Tank for you.

Goodwill: What a painting gives to the world. And by the way, you will it to do that and that is good.

Traction: This gift should enhance the world and make people aware. A starting point, a state.

Scaleability: The folks that are enhanced by the art enhance the world.

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The Art Tree

I had an orchard and it was beautiful and small and orderly. This orchard was my life and my fortune. I put a fence around it, I grafted exotic European fruit trees to my trees to enhance and make the fruit more rare and special. The fruit was good and years went by.

It never became the financial success or the spiritual success it was supposed to have become. All types of things were tried over the years. Special fertilizers and special picking machines. Dogs to chase out birds that would eat the fruit. Special imported bees I had to keep. One year I even draped the whole entire orchard in clear plastic and grew lavender in all the rows and this was supposed to infuse the fruit with lavender as it grew. That actually worked but the yield was so low because the lavender fought the trees for nutrients that each bottle of jam that year cost me $114 and it was a hard sell to customers. The market for $200 jam is a very small pool.

I came to the orchard every day. Some days, in fact most days, were terrible outside. This severe weather produced excellent fruit but took its toll on me.

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Why My Punch Paintings Cost $800

Let's begin by discussing the rational laws of Economics.

Economics begins with assumptions of scarcity, no transaction fees, and no taxes. With scarcity, price elasticiy exits. Except price elasticity doesn't apply to art except reversely for very high end collectors(ie trophies).

There is no graph that supply and demand will meet to determine a price for a painting before diminishing returns. The cost of the materials is insignificant, maybe $50. Paintings sell for hundreds to thousands to millions. Cost of materials is not relative.

Thus, the economics of painting don't really fit into my Economics degree I earned thirty years ago.

This is because paintings are outside of time in that they are always present, always giving, always abundant.

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Eye Got Out of the Way

Summer 2012

Twenty two years ago I began the path of being an artist. The first few years it was a selfless pursuit and the path led the way. I was given enough inspiration, meaning "in spirit", to confirm on some different level that I should be an artist. Then I got in the way. The past 15 years I detoured from my the path and just the past two years have I been brought back and surprisingly closer to the end, or at least much farther ahead on the path. The detour was because "I got in the way". My reactions to life often didn't seem to fix things and I now realize sometimes obstacles can make us aware and are actually opportunities.

So in the pun that I titled this show with, change I to eye and you get an example of form over something more real. The eye of our senses reacts to sense objects and sometimes not to our benefit over time. The eye I am referring to here is completely different than the "I "our mind and ego identifies with and is not referring to the use of our senses, or the eyes in our heads.

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The Habit of Summer

Summer 2013

Habits lie beneath the surface. Paint is on the surface of a canvas.

Is a painting of Harbor Springs just a visual representation of the scene? Much more lies beneath the surface. Summer has an essence, a synchronicity, a balance that comes from thoughts, desires, actions and eventually habits that give summer her character and soul. Add a history and familiarity with Harbor Springs and "The Habit of Summer" blends with our own habits, bringing us closer to something very special. We feel a swelling. Gratitude.

This awareness is something we should consider in all seasons. "It is a work of art if it is always present". Being present doesn't have to do with a period of time. So this summer can't just be a period of time. Summer is just like a work of art. Let it be present. Always.

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