30 December 2006

Call To Arms...

I am declaring War.
If I had a glove I would slap someone across the face and call them a scoundrel.

I refuse to put up with substandard, rude, uncaring, inadequate, inept, and down right piss poor customer service!

Enough I say. What the hell has happened to the service industry? What happened to courtesy? What happened to a job well done?Why do we continue to put up with bad service? Doesn't anyone care about the customer anymore?

It seems that practically every where I go, I get poor service. And by poor I mean: Not being greeted in a friendly manner, or just not at all. Employees who don't know their jobs and or don't care to learn their jobs. Employees that give a half-assed or no effort at their jobs. Employees who are unfamiliar with soap, shampoo and other personal grooming practices. Employees with IQ's lower than my dog. Employees that do not comprehend basic English.
Employees who would rather talk about how cool Paris and Brittney are. Employees who would rather talk amongst themselves than help a customer....
I could go on for days with this.

When did being a slacker become acceptable? When did people start thinking that world owed them something? What happened to this countries work ethic? Has the job force really gotten to the point that there are no good prospects left? Or have I just not been paying attention?

If you are thinking to yourself, "Mad William, you're just getting old."
Give your self a good hard bitch slap from me.
This is not a generational thing. This attitude of "who gives a shit" is nation wide, affecting young and old. There is no blaming Canada or the French for this. This is our own doing. Welcome to a country built on "Politically Correct".

One of these days we are going to wake up and the rest of the world is going to have passed us by. The whole "World Super-Power " thing is going down the toilet. Have you never heard of "Out-sourcing"? As much as we want to believe it, we are not privileged by birth or geography. But I digress!

Join me in my effort to take back what we all deserve.
Decent customer service and respect.

Be warned. From now on. I'm calling you on it.

26 December 2006

Resolutions...

For the last month I have been listening to people talk about what their New Years Resolutions will be. I have never been one who made resolutions. It always seemed silly to me. I have never understood the whole New Years Eve thing either, but that is a different post.

People make resolutions to be better people and do things they think they should in order to be better people. I never understood why they didn't aspire to do those same things all the time. They make a resolution. A week later they have broken it and it's as if they had to wait until the next New Year to try it again. I don't get it.

This year I am going to try a few new things. I am not Resolving to do them, it is just a coincidence that these new things will begin on or around the New Year. Semantics.

There are the things I have been working on for the last couple of years, that will continue.
Spending more quality time with my wife and son.
Spending more time in my studio painting and shooting photographs.
Working on my French tongue. Maybe I will try Spanish as well.
Sharing my madness with all of you.
Finding a cure for dullness...

The list is too large to go on and on.

The big thing I want to try.

Wait for it.......drum roll.....

Life without television.

No, seriously. Think about it. What would I really be giving up?

?????

Wait, I'm thinking about it.....still thinking......still thinking......
Alright, I give. What?

Every month I spend $80 so we can sit and stare at this box in the corner and complain that there is nothing worth watching. Sure, I love the Cartoon Network. Sometimes the Travel Channel. I have grown a fondness for Studio 60, but that's about it. Most of the time I spend in front of the tube is endlessly flipping channels or watching reruns of things I have seen thousands of times. Honestly I don't even need the TV for those. I can play them in my mind. And I can watch them in my mind without commercials.

On average Americans watch one to two months worth of TV per year. If I'm average, I have lost about 5 years of my life so far to TV.

How sad is that?

More important is that I don't want Mr. Man to grow up thinking it's alright to waste his days and nights in front of the TV. Already I watch in horror when his eyes glaze over and his expression goes blank. You can see his little mind turning to jello before your very eyes. I want to try and shield him from the world of materialism, greed, corruption and violence that fills the airways, for as long as I possibly can.

I know that turning off the TV wont solve the worlds problems, but it's a good place start.




25 December 2006

19 December 2006

Happy Stinkin' Holidays...


Christmas has always been a time of mixed emotion for me. From the time I was 11, I have not enjoyed Christmas. I could never figure out how the world seemed to have forgotten what Christmas was really about. The commercialism of it all made me sick. Still does.
Until we had Mr. Man I had always tried to avoid the holiday as best I could.

Now that we have a child something struck me. I'm Santa!

I started to think about the holiday differently. I could now teach my son what I believed Christmas to be about. Now I get to see Christmas through his eyes.
The sights, sounds and wonders of the time that have long been gone from my memory.

It should be a wondrous time for humanity, not just Christians. A time of peace, love, charity and all that goes with it.

Maybe I have been reading too many mommy bloggers or I am just getting misty. Who knows, who cares.

The holiday is more than gifts, shopping, greed and inhumanity in the name of more more more, me me me!

Treat people with love and kindness and you will get love and kindness in return. It's so crazy and simple, it just might work.

16 December 2006

There's No Place Like Home...



Where do I begin?
The last few days have been wild.

Thursday we(Precious, Mr.Man, Ivy Dog and I) went to Portland to deliver some art.
On the the way home the rain was coming down harder than I have ever seen. With about 20 miles left to the coast we were stopped. The highway was closed because of downed trees. It was about 3pm. After an hour sitting on the road without moving I drove up the wrong side of the highway past the line of other cars to Camp 18. It was only about 1/4 of a mile. Only about 20 others had thought of doing the same thing.

Camp 18
is a restaurant, 18 miles from the coast. It was built 20 years ago to resemble a logging camp. It's very cool. Large, well built, big fire place, bar, food, all the necessities. Once there we learned that power was out all over Oregon and Washington. The Camp has its own generator.
We kept hearing conflicting reports about how long we would be stuck. While we were there trees had fallen behind us as well so we could not go back to Portland either.

Long story short. We were stuck for about 20 hours. We spent the night at Camp 18 with about 30 others who came inside. The rest spent the night in their cars. Crazy.

Mr. Man and I spent most of the night under a table in the loft with an other family with two girls.


The woman was on her way to Cannon Beach for her wedding. I'm not sure she made it.


Mr. Man played most of the evening with the two girls which was a huge help. He could not figure out why we could not go home. He kept asking to leave. Precious did not want to leave Ivy Dog in the car all night so she spent most of the night in the car. Around 4am we traded.

At about 10am Friday morning a guy came in saying he had just cut a path in the highway between Jewel and Astoria. Anyone who wanted to follow him could most likely get to the coast that way. Most of us jumped at the chance. Highway 26 was going to be blocked for sometime. Up to 100 trees were reported down.

Camp 18 is the greatest for letting all of us stay and feeding us. They were life savers. We met some very nice people while there. It could have been much worse.

Along the drive we saw this heard of elk. About 200 head. This only part of it. I had to stop. The rest of the cars drove off. The storm was coming back and the winds were getting stronger.



Just up the road from the elk I slowed as this tree was coming down. I'm, glad I had stopped for the elk. The power pole on the left was bouncing up and down about to break. I drove under it anyway. I wanted to get home.


We finally made it home around 1pm Friday. To no power. About 1 million people across Oregon and Washington were without power. The radio was saying it would be Sunday or Monday at the earliest to get it back on.

Thank God, it came back on at 5:45pm Saturday. On the up side we are well stocked with fire wood, canned goods, water and other survival stuff. It was quite the adventure.

This tree was just down the road from our house. I can't believe it missed this coffee hut. How lucky was that?


Anyway, everything looks to be back to normal. At least for awhile. We're home. Safe. Our power is back. Our phones are working again. I have access to the outside world again. It's time for a Martini!

13 December 2006

Ethics...

For as long as I have been in the art business I have wondered how "we" get away with the things we do.

There is so much that comes to mind I have no idea where to begin.

Andy Warhol
Cy Twombly
Thomas Kinkade
An instalation of "Farts" in the London Museum


Those were just the first things that shot through my mind. I could write volumes about why I think they are hucksters or why people are so sheep like, but I have other bones to pick at the moment.

As a few of you know I have been taking courses from an international organization, so I may be an accredited fine art appraiser.

For years I have been working with appraisers and answering questions for them so they can get paid to do appraisals. I figured that I should be the one getting paid if I was doing the work.

Almost every appraiser I had ever met was a member of one of the three top appraisal organizations. All of them offer classes. All of them preach about being a member and the benefits it will bring.

Needles to say I picked one and signed up for their classes.

From the beginning they like to go on and on about Ethics. How important they are to the business of appraising. How anyone not a member of one of the organizations could not be Ethical.

ethics |ˈeθiks| plural noun 1 [usu. treated as pl. ] moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior : Judeo-Christian ethics. • the moral correctness of specified conduct : the ethics of euthanasia. 2 [usu. treated as sing. ] the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles. Schools of ethics in Western philosophy can be divided, very roughly, into three sorts. The first, drawing on the work of Aristotle, holds that the virtues (such as justice, charity, and generosity) are dispositions to act in ways that benefit both the person possessing them and that person's society. The second, defended particularly by Kant, makes the concept of duty central to morality: humans are bound, from a knowledge of their duty as rational beings, to obey the categorical imperative to respect other rational beings. Thirdly, utilitarianism asserts that the guiding principle of conduct should be the greatest happiness or benefit of the greatest number.

The more I learn about the business of appraising, the more problems I'm having.

Let me explain.
First. Not one of any of the organizations will tell me about their disciplinary practices. I wanted to know how often they discipline members for Ethical violations. Not one of them will answer that question.

Second. I have come to find out that there is no governing body that watches over appraisers. Meaning, anyone and everyone can be an appraiser of anything. No matter what your education, or background or what ever. Legally, anyone can be an appraiser of anything. No questions asked. Membership to any of the appraisal societies is not required or necessary.

Third. Any object can be appraised for what ever amount you want it appraised for.
An antique can have an appraised value of $200.00 or $10,000.00 for the exact same object, and both would be legal. If you get an appraisal for the IRS, you want it have a low value so you don't have to pay taxes on it. An appraisal for insurance replacement value you want to be high in case you lose or damage the object. It can get much more complicated than that.

We are talking about the same object. Maybe it's just me, but that does not sound very ethical. Screw who ever you are doing the appraisal for as long as you come out ahead. That's how I see that. There are ten chapters that explain how and why these things are done but it all sounds the same to me.

What it comes down to is. An appraiser has to be able to justify the findings in court, should the appraisal be questioned. That is what the classes teach. How to justify your appraisal value, depending on who you are talking with.

Am I missing the point of ethics?

10 December 2006

More "Wine"ing...


This is the Wine painting I had mentioned in the last post. "Abstract Wine No. 2".
It's 8 x 24 inches, oil on canvas. I spent about two hours, over three days on this one. It could have used a little more time with the back ground.

*****

I have decided to start painting in the gallery. This time of year(from Nov to April) is AMAZINGLY slow in this little town. This month we have had, maybe, two dozen visitors. None of which have the slightest interest in actually buying art.

So I might as well put my free time to good use. I am going to set up a mini studio area in the front side window. It will allow me paint. People who are walking past can see what I'm doing and I will still be able to see if anyone happens to come inside.

*****

We are searching for new, undiscovered artists to show in our gallery. The amount of people who "paint" and think they should have gallery space, makes my mind wobble.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's great that you all want to paint. Keep going. But don't think that just because you paint, that you are an artist. The two are very different and do not always go hand in hand.

We need quality, consistency, craft, motivation, vision, originality, personality and blah blah blah.

Any medium, photography, sculpture, you name it as long as it's good.

Anyway. Pass it around. Any of you out there knows an aspiring artist(s) or knows someone who knows someone. Let me know. Good work is getting very hard to find. I am sure that one of you knows someone.

08 December 2006

Back In The Studio...

I started six canvases this week. Two "Wine" Theme. Finished one. No photo yet. The other I may have let go too long. I am having a hard time returning to it. And,
a realistic portrait that is having the same problem. I have been looking at her for too long.

These three however, came to me with much less effort. All are 8 x 10 inches. Oil on canvas board. All of them have paintings under them. Their Souls.

The first was painted on Wednesday night between 10:30pm and 1:30am. There is a Pop version of "Cosmic Cow" under her. It would have been part of the "Cow" series, but No.


This painting and the next were painted Thursday night from 11pm to 2:30am with just a couple of touch ups this morning.
Both have other versions of portraits under them.





These works are part of an on going group called the "Chadettes". If my count is correct, these are numbers 38, 39 and 40.
Of everything that I paint, these girls are my favorite. I painted the first one about a year and a half ago. It's been fun to watch them evolve and grow. The first few were young and some what cartoonish. They are getting older, scarred, more mysterious. Or is that just me?

I have yet to give these three names. I still haven't named the two before that either. Any suggestion?

07 December 2006

Where Do Loyalties Lie...?

I am wondering about human nature as related to my world. Fine Art.
People that come through my gallery, or any gallery, look at us as sales people. No different than cars, vacuums or household fixtures. I have spent my life studying art. And yet, sales are sales. To most.

The difference is that I will not say things just to make a sale. No matter what gallery I have work for I have a terrible habit of telling potential collectors exactly what I think of a work or of an artist. Often it has cost me sales. In my mind, I want the collector to know they can trust me. I would rather they passed on something now if it meant they would come back to me later. A lie now might make a sale. Truth will make a client. I want clients.

The art business is about relationships. Art is unlike anything else people buy. Art can be immortal. It will(if cared for) last for hundreds of years or more. Art will almost always hold its value. Quality work will hold its value at worst. At best it will grow to limitless amounts. Art is a reflection of ones personality. Most will go through several sofas, chairs, window treatments etc over the years. The art they will keep. It will become a family heirloom and be passed down from generation to generation.

One of the things I have a hard time with in this business is client loyalty. I expect clients to be loyal to me, because I have earned it over the years by being honest with them. Even if they want to buy a work that I don't handle, I always think they should ask my opinion or ask if I can get them the work. If I think it is a good work at a good value I tell them to buy it. Keep the client, build relationships.

Being an art dealer I get to know some clients very well. We are a part of their lives in a personal way. We are invited to their homes. We know the families. We talk to them about getting married, divorced, having kids and sometimes death. When was the last time their car or refrigerator salesman was involved in their lives like that?

We had been in San Diego for eight years before coming here to open our own gallery.
Eight years is longer than most marriage's last. They stop being clients and become friends. At least, to me.

Having been in this same business for as long as I have, I realize that when I change galleries, most of my clients will not follow me. No matter how well I know them or how long I have know them. They will stay with the gallery not the consultant.

Every time this surprises me. I still think to myself, they should be loyal to me. Not the gallery. Clients are all over the world. They very seldom came to the gallery in person. They would call, ask for me. Or email. I provide the service for them. And yet they are loyal to the gallery, not me.

When we decided to move from San Diego to come here, I talked to the Director about clients. He was worried that we would take all of his business. I remember telling him that most of them would not follow us. And now, I am still surprised that they didn't. Even though I knew I shouldn't, I expected their loyalty.

We still talk with many of them. It's awkward now. Like talking to an old lover. It's polite but with a nervous tension. You both know it will never be the same. Eventually we will stop talking.

I know that the longer we are here, that we will make new clients and friends. I know that when we leave here, that most will not follow us. Each time this craziness starts over from the beginning.

I don't get it. Never have, most likely never will.

04 December 2006

Thanks For Playing...

Many thanks to everyone that left a comment or emailed with answers to my questions.
See last post..."Hide and Seek".
Welcome to those of you who were first time visitors. As well as my few regulars.

It was like I had imagined, for the most part. It also confirmed my thoughts that most of you are great people. Whether or not it's real or just how you come across on your sites, I don't know. Nor does it matter. I am going with great people! So if you are not, I don't want to know.

I did learn a few things and came up with a couple more questions.

I have a site feed. What's a site feed? Does everyone have one? Where do I find them?

I have no idea what that is but it sounds cool. Thanks Dave for subscribing.

I learned that my french really needs some help. Thank you Laurence for sharing my questions with your readers.

In answer to my own questions...
Those of you have read this blog for a while already know who I am. I show my art as well as have a link to my art site.
I started with what is a 'sort of' alias. William is my given name but I have never used it. I didn't and don't see the point of giving too much personal info. Too many weirdos.

Although I do mention my wife and child I don't and wont use their names. I am overly protective of them. My wife has the same fear as Scott's wife. Being kidnapped by freaks.
The problem I face, and the reason I asked all the questions, is that I want people to know my art. To make this happen I have to let people know who I am. I am kind of a hermit. I don't care for the spot light. I've had it before, in another life. It didn't work for me.

I guess I'm only kind of hiding. Besides, how often do you get to use your pirate name? I would never put anything on this site that I would not say to your face. I am who I am.

Thank you all again for your time. Fell free to ask of me as I ask of you. I always have more questions.

Alright I'm rambling and I'm done.

02 December 2006

Hide And Seek...


I have a question for you. Ok, several really.
I know, there is only about five of you who actually read this site. Well visit, I have no idea if you read it or not.

Anywho, I have questions for you. I would also love it if you would pass this around to the other sites you visit. I am looking for some feed back.

Here it is.

Do you let the world know who you really are with your blog, or do you hide behind an alias?

If you are up front with your identity, has it ever been a problem for you or your family?

If you are using an alias, why do you feel the need to be anonymous?


If you would rather send your answers/comments via email instead of leaving a comment, please do so.

Thank you for you feed back.

01 December 2006

You May Begin...

Alright, it is now December. Thanksgiving is over. You may begin to look forward to Christmas.(or the holiday of your choice) Remember, one holiday at a time.

Now that we are ready for Christmas, every child's room needs "Snowflakes". When Mr. Man wakes up this morning he will find these hanging around his room.





I also started three paintings tonight. I am working on patients. These will not be rushed. Maybe I will take photos as I go. Most often if a painting takes more than one sitting it never gets finished. Once I see it in my mind, it's done. The hard part is getting it on canvas. These three will be a test run. Day one: One hour thirty minutes.