I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell –
my designs sell out!

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Warning"

I've gotten a lot of warnings in my life, usually with that sick feeling in my gut that all is not well in the world. I've been thinking about that quite a bit this week because I've been trying to collect money from someone who doesn't want to pay, and I keep thinking of that moment when I set her key down on a table while my insides screamed to hold it hostage. I want to think the best of people, but I've seen this kind of thing before.

When I was a kid, a handsome young man pulled up near me and waved me over to his car. He looked as fresh and perfect as any image I had ever seen of the idealized All-American, but my insides spewed acid, and I didn't trust him. He talked me over, but I also hung back. "Closer! I've got something to show you!" he said, and I angled behind him so he couldn't grab me. More requests and demands to get me closer, and I eventually saw over his shoulder a porn magazine on his lap. He tossed it aside and was naked underneath. I ran.

I wasn't hurt by this event, but I've thought of it through the years. Trust my gut when it says "Warning!" I don't know how I knew the guy was dangerous. I don't know why I knew Stacey was going to rip me off when I turned in the key. I just knew it.

Maybe I should say that I know about contracts, and clear agreements are always a good thing. I've written lots of them. Most people behave decently, but there are those who seem to think the rules don't apply to them. I did web design for a guy with a clear contract, but didn't know his working methods would end up as a raw deal for me. When I tried to renegotiate, he was unavailable, but still managed to send more work while I kept saying "We need to talk!"

I'm imagining a very hot volcano where we can push these people in to save humanity, and artists in particular.

I'm also trying to push these thoughts out of my mind because I have an opening at a gallery this evening. I'm trying not to think about previous patrons who've tried to rip me off in a different way by negotiating prices down. The gallery gets its cut, the companies making frames and art supplies get their cut, and the only one who loses in the negotiation is the artist. Do plumbers have to deal with any of this? They work. They get paid. Nobody says that since the plumber loves his work he should give his time away.

Even so, my gut is peaceful today. The opening will be fine. I guess I needed to vent a bit, and I'm shoving these negative thoughts aside because it's like dwelling on the last bad boyfriend's behavior and projecting his actions on the new guy. Each boyfriend and job has been a learning experience, and in the end, each painting needs to find its home.

This illustration is on scratchboard. I added the red in PhotoShop because I felt like having some red today, but I'm thinking about hanging the original in my office as a reminder to get the money before turning in the key!

42 comments:

  1. Oh Linda, first of all, the illustration is fabulous, it looks so real. I thought it was a photograph! What did you use? Pen?

    Oh as for Mr. Porno Magazine, don't most of them look so nice? It works well. We have this idea that they all look creepy but molesters, rapists, abusers, and retarded perverts like Mr. Porno Magazine look very normal sometimes. Yikes. I think we all have a story or two about this type of incident. A lot of childhood scares on the way to school because of some maniac. It's good to walk in groups so stones may be hurled their way, or best to just run away.

    As for the money thing...my husband wanted to help a friend and loaned him ten thousand dollars. Ugh. I did not know we even had that much to spare. The friend promised to pay the following week but it was delayed by a couple of days. You know, I did not have that sick feeling. I know he would pay. Two days later he paid and gave an an extra $200.00 for our trouble. I felt like a usurer but he insisted. I don't know if my husband accepted the extra $200. A friend at work always borrowed money from me. Not much 10 or 20 but over time it accumulated. They were for lunch. He never paid me and I was too embarrassed to remind him. I kept hoping he would remember. Then one day we went for coffee and I forgot my wallet. I asked to borrow money from him but he insisted on paying. I was hoping he would remember that I have loaned him more than $50.00. Maybe he thought I just gave the money.

    I hate the business of art. We pay the electrician and plumber. People attach a value to the art we make. Some acknowledge it, others think that just because drawing and painting comes easily we can just sell it for cheap. No one haggles with the doctor or dentist. I don't know how to price my paintings or drawings. I decided I will give them to people I love just because that makes me happy but if I decide to sell, I think I will have an agent and not deal with any money transaction at all. If someone haggles I will tell them, I don't need their money. See why I need a day job? I will starve.

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  2. Anytime I have a negative feeling I get it developed into a print as soon as I can. That way I can put it in a drawer and forget about it. Doesn't happen very much these days. Negatives have made way for digital. Now I get pixel feelings. Which is better... :o)

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  3. Heisann!

    Sad and sorry to say, this happens all over the world - some people don't know general roles, how to behave and the word nice they don't know!
    We have a proverb in Norwegian: først meg selv, så meg selv hvis det er til mitt eget beste!

    Good luck with the opening ;:OD)

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  4. Hey Linda, I think this topic is going to touch a nerve- Arrrgggghh! But as usual, there is such an elegance in your art, pure eye candy! I missed commenting on your lovely spring robin last week, (I got a little off track thinking about the paraphernalia...here in California, the laws are somewhat lax, with medical dispenseries all over the place)!
    Sending happy vibes to you as you prepare for your exhibit tonight! Ask your customers if they'd like half a painting, if they want to haggle on prices... Hee hee! I got your back, here! :o)

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  5. Maybe I did touch a nerve? You are all so funny! I love Michelle's idea to sell half a painting, but who's going to buy the other half?! Also loving Rand's suggestion to make a print from the negative feelings and store them in a drawer. Pixed, I mean pixel feelings, seems better than negative ones!

    Online translation says the Norwegian proverb means "First myself, then myself if it's for my own good!" Also finally learned Vilt og vakkert means wild and beautiful. I guess I should of looked that up a long time ago since I never bothered to notice that on your site. (duh!) Lovely name :)

    Ces, you're always such a trip! The illustration is done with scratchboard which is a clay coated paper covered with India ink. You get the white lines by scratching it with an X-acto knife. Some people hate the technique, but I love it. I find it very soothing. You'd probably enjoy it too since you like doing so much pen work? I'm glad you got your big money back even if the coworker seems to have a pretty convenient memory about such things. I think it's just better to say out loud, hey, when are you going to pay me back? The nice people tend to be too nice, and the crappy people are too crappy.

    I think life would be more fun if I could just give things away. All I need is a rich patron who wants to support my art addiction!

    Michelle, Ohio is behind CA in freethinking about drugs, but maybe it will all work out for the best for my felon. He's on a strict regimen that should keep him well behaved for at least a year -- and he's one that could use a bit of supervision.

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  6. Hi Linda! Years ago I ran into a creepy guy, and was so freaked out I read Gavin DeBecker's The Gift of Fear, which was an excellent read about how to listen to your instincts, and not do what society tells us to do-- "be nice, you don't want to offend anyone".

    You always have a story! And a story that we all relate to and makes us think. I love this key!

    Have a wonderful opening-- Rock on, Sister!

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  7. That really stirred some feelings here Linda...I think gut feeling is usually something to trust..it has served me well. I'm glad your warnings in life just made you stronger not scared. What does not kill us usually makes us stronger. Sadly money does seem to bring out the best and the worst in people and I also hope you get your payment before the key is returned. My profession is one of those "vocation" professions where we will never be highly paid but I just cannot imagine doing anything else:life without getting people well again would be so different for me. Luckily for me my jewellery is just a paid hobby!
    I have a "gut feeling" that all will be well at the opening, sending very positive vibes your way and have a great weekend. I LOVE that deep deep red on the ribbon, so striking!
    Jane x

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  8. You are the expert scratcher! I swear they are one of the most beautiful pieces of art I have seen. Labor intensive! Whoaaa! Thanks for not kicking me out. I don't know what wrong with me this week. I have reacted quite lengthily at a few posts! :) I will try to be monepic henceforth. I like the meaning of your name!!!

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  9. Love the key. Please post about your show. I hope it goes great and that you have a wonderful time.

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  10. Thanks everyone! The show went great last night, though people weren't pulling out their wallets. Maybe more important is that I made some great contacts last night, and think there will be future money for multiple adventures. I'm feeling very happy about it.

    @Jane, can't tell you how many times I've said that saying to myself! It must work because people do comment that I'm strong :)

    Rocking on Krista!

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  11. It's really tough to keep a positive attitude after getting burned. Everyone I know who works for themselves has gotten burned one time or another, sometimes by the people they would have least expected it from.

    I really like this scratchboard technique. Is it hard? I like the red added too. Somehow it says "danger" more clearly than the black and white, since it is SO vivid.

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  12. There are sharks (and flashers) in every pond...the trick is to watch out for them. It sounds like your intuitive signals are working pretty well most of the time, at least when the stakes are really high!

    Red...that color of power/strength/groundedness, and coupled with black: stand back!!!. Have a successful and pleasurable opening this evening, my dear...!

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  13. I've had these experiences too, and they are never pleasant. I'm glad your opening went well. The key is so strong, your warning really comes through in it.

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  14. Hey Linda! First of all, I’m so glad you have a cautious spirit when it came to guys in cars. Who knows what would have happened to you! Second... I just read one of your comments and I’m so glad the show went well... sometimes we don’t know how well something went till a few months down the road. Finally... your scratchboard key is fantastic. I love scratchboard. It’s a little tricky thinking backwards, but the effects are so cool. You really know how to handle it! Wow! Amazing!! Great post !

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  15. Hmmm...this ranks right up there with people who adore your work, love the idea that you're an artist, come to all your exhibits, drink all the wine, eat all of food and they never, ever, never buy a thing from you, not even a print! Hmmm...I guess I can't relate much!

    From one artist to another you're an amazing artist!

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  16. Linda, this is fabulous! I, too, thought it was a photo at first. The curl in the ribbon is beautiful, and I love the glint of light on the keyring. The colors really make this piece pop.

    I don't trust my gut. It's gotten me into a lot of trouble. And I am a doormat when it comes to money matters. I've gotten chiseled and burned plenty of times. Hmm, that sounds like an art project.

    So happy the exhibit went well!

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  17. I think Indigene nailed it about most of the people who come to openings. I guess I've been guilty of the same to tell the truth. I ate some great banana bread with chocolate chips in it on Friday.

    I think it's asking a lot of artists to be both sensitive in creating our art, then being practical about collecting money at the same time. It's using 2 different parts of our brains.

    I don't think scratchboard is hard, but you do have to think backwards like Jack pointed out. Instead of drawing shadows, you have to scratch out the highlights.

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  18. This is beautiful Linda, love this, I love scratch board, but it does take a lot of pre-thinking.

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  19. Well Linda, you not only touched a nerve with this, but you seemed to have successfully poked a huge hole on the dam's wall. :)

    Sadly, getting ripped off is one of our occupational hazards, and yet we still willingly go on with it. So unlikely for me to drop it and become a woman plumber, no matter how tempting playing with the pipes seems! Haha..

    Glad your exhibition went well. oxx

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  20. Oh, and your key is marvelous! That red just hit me. POW! (^_^)

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  21. Thanks! And if everyone wants to vent, go for it! I'm happy to give people a place to do it, and that's much better than doing it around clients and customers. I have to admit I'm not going to be a woman plumber either. Working on my ancient pipes makes me want to cry -- but I think maybe all of my plumbing is working properly now? (I hope, hope, hope...)

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  22. I had to think about your post for a while.
    I am afraid I agree with 'Vilt og vakkert' that meeting Mr. Dirty Danger Stranger happens often and probably too often for young girls.
    I also agree with you, Linda, that you (we) have to trust your intuition. But with that not all is said about your key (the key to your heart?).
    I am a mum and I have to learn my daughter the Stranger Danger lesson as well as to learn her to trust her intuition. I also have to learn her to be polite and trust strangers and like Buddhist says 'loving kindness', which resembles Christian 'charity'.
    There is a saying: 'It needs a community to raise a child'. There is another saying: 'I don't like that community'.
    I think we need good community to defend our kids.
    Your key is a great illustration and your texts are always interesting to read.
    Keep going, Linda! Your blog stands out.

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  23. Scratch board art is so cool...really really cool :D

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  24. An awful event yields a beautiful illustration. I hope for a positive resolution to your dilema.

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  25. Thanks everybody! Yes, the thought about the key to my heart did cross my mind when I looked at my thumbnail and saw a heart when the image was small. And yes, there is stranger danger out there, but we can't make our children too scared to live their happy lives. We teach them to look both ways before crossing the street, we should teach them to listen to their guts too!

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  26. Contract horror stories. Gives me chills. But good luck with your opening. I have one on Thursday. Even though my original probably won't sell. I have this feeling in my gut I underpriced it. I hate that.

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  27. Thanks Sharon, and good luck with your opening! Is it really too late to change the price? Think happy thoughts :)

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  28. I love how you added the red in Photoshop. I'm trying to keep my art "unplugged", but the urge to fiddle with spot colors and such in PS is very tempting!

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  29. Hello Linda, well that's great news about the show! Congratulations - but I have a gut feeling that you deserve it.

    You know us poor men have to put up with men like your chap in the car as well. There are some very odd people in the world. Guess we are all crazy, some just hide it better, and some are just a little crazier than others - like sickos. :(

    Your llustration piece is so well put together. Your work is so flawless - not a scractch out of place. The red on the black zings. Just the right tonal balance, and that wonderful compositional flow.... I'm struggling with my paintings at the moment (acrlyic) so I am feeling jealous :) :)

    Good luck with the money stuff. It's sad when people take advantage of you. Maybe you should put them all in the car with your other 'friend'

    Sorry that's unkind :)

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  30. Oh I just checked your 'about section." I am in awe!

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  31. Sarah, I figure if something goes in a frame, it's untouched by Photoshop. Otherwise, who's going to know but me? Though I'm happy to confess when I do manipulate it on the computer. It's just one more tool we have to work with.

    Andrew, it's always funny to me when someone says they're jealous when I've been beating my head for days on a concept. I thought I had a good idea? Grrr... Thanks for the nice words though. They help when I'm feeling frustrated. Kind of like your idea of putting the bad people all in the same car, but I guess we're supposed to be wishing them love and happiness and stuff? I sort of forgot about posting that about section. I meant to go back and cut it down but got tired. Glad you're awed :) It's pretty mutual. I'm awed by how much quality stuff you can produce.

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  32. The power to open and lock doors gives a strong meaning to keys. Which doors should we open and which to be locked? Making choices is the best of life. Nice artwork!

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  33. Thanks for the kind words Amanda! And good point Hudson! I love getting comments :)

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  34. This is a marvelous drawing!

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  35. Thanks Giselle, and thanks for the follow Axel!!!

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  36. Scratch board is a very powerful medium, it forces a value range that most folks are not comfortable with when working from white to black... It was very popular in the 30s and 40s and has had a small renaissance of late. I wish more people would use it. Your piece is an example of how powerful it can be. Nice.
    I make my Illustration students do it at least once in my classes; it always goes over well.
    So sorry you ever had to deal with the idiot flasher... ~~hopes are he did the same to an off duty cop later on.

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  37. Good one Richard! Maybe one of the best ways of dealing with the bad people is to laugh at them? I got interested in scratchboard in a class just like yours. A one-time assignment, but I loved it. I guess I can also remember that some of my classmates absolutely hated it. Those were probably the same people who loved gouache, which I hated. Everybody has their own mediums.

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  38. good lord!
    I had to learn Gouache in school and hated it also!!
    great minds think alike.
    HA!

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