Thursday, May 2, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
Last week my cactus plant, I call him Spike, flowered again.
I love it when he does that and even though he's really only done it once before, about 4 years ago, it's the rarity of the event that makes it that much more special.
The thing about these cactus flowers is, they weren't there yesterday but they're here today and they're gone tomorrow. So, if you're not paying attention, it's easy to miss them.
That I did notice it and took the time to take the picture is somehow reassuring to me.
In the face of all the noise and distraction that is the current clusterf@#k of a world we live in and even as jaded as I feel myself becoming, the larger part of myself is still paying attention to the real world around me and remaining grateful for the small things that are God's quiet work.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
I'm just about a month at the new art gallery gig and since I've gotten a few questions on how it's going, I thought I'd post
As I expected, it's been "interesting". . .
I learn something new every day. (like a designer/art director makes much better money than fine art salesmen)
It can be "frustrating". . .
With the help of my gallery director (a good man who could sell snow to an eskimo) I sold a $40,000.00 oil painting and started imagining how I'd squander the healthy commission on the sale but the next day the knucklehead buyer called and cheesed on the deal.
(god only knows how pissed I was)
The gallery gig can also be "exciting". . .
I'll spend some time with a potential buyer in a private showing room after I've noticed the one piece among many that has caught their eye.
I hang it in the intimate private showing room.
(now the piece is a solo act)
While I'm closing the sliding doors and bringing down the house lights, my potential buyers are sitting comfortably in the dark on a soft leather sofa, basically isolated from the rest of the world.
Then it's show time. . .
I formally introduce my captive audience to the piece. . .
It's title, the medium, the artist.
I'll help them really see the piece, directing their attention to it's "sweet-spot", the focal point where the eye finds comfort. (and subconsciously the reason they liked the piece in the first place)
Then slowly, so very slowly, I'll begin to dim the direct lighting on the piece.
The sweet-spot holds it's value as the lights grow dimmer and the background fades to black.
(now the potential buyers are sitting in a totally dark room, and usually impressed)
My intention at this point, as I so very slowly bring the direct lighting back up, is to encourage their love of the piece.
(I can't sell it if they don't love it)
The exciting part is watching their eyes widen and spark up with that, "I have to have it" look at the end of the light show.
So, while I've got their undivided attention, I start
running numbers. . .
Whole price, artist's consideration price, consultant's best price, financing price and terms.
Then the client asks for a business card, says they want to take a walk, have a beer and think about it.
They leave the gallery and head up Duval Street,
never to be seen again.
I have to admit, as an art creator, I'm one of the best.
But as an art salesman? Not so much.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Epitaphs are phrases or statements chiseled as an inscription on a tombstone in memory of a person who has died,
to perpetuate a lasting impression.
Many epitaphs are respectful and solemn but some are
I learned of one such humorous epitaph in Key West's historic cemetery and decided that I wanted to see it for myself.
I knew I could ask the sexton where it was but finding it on my own would be a game I would play for the better part of my twelve years in Key West.
No, it's not like I spent a lot of time hunting it down; it was more like every few months I'd ride my bike or walk through the cemetery on my way to work or to Fausto's and just kind of keep a casual eye out.
Then one day, quite by accident about six months ago,
I found it.
Before she died of a heart attack, Betty Pearl Roberts (better known as Pearl) told her husband what epitaph she wanted engraved on her tombstone.
Even though she'd had at least 18 operations, mostly on her stomach, she had a lot of trouble convincing friends and family that she was really ill.
She had complained about pains in her stomach and back but no one, not even her doctors, took her seriously.
Her husband Nathan said that part of the problem was, she never lost her sunny disposition nor her sense of humor.
Friends and family would say things like, "how could you be sick, you're always smiling"; and they were saying that until the day she died.
Still, Pearl knew she wasn't long for this world and picked out her favorite pink dress then told her husband, "no jewelry".
And the epitaph she wanted. . .
Pearl died at age 50 at the Florida Keys Memorial Hospital and was laid to rest in the family plot at the city cemetery.
She was survived by her husband Nathan, her son Harry, her daughter Nellie Anderson, four sisters, one brother
and two grandchildren.
Friday, March 15, 2013
There's not a whole lot to say about "The Blue Hole" up on
Big Pine Key, some 30 miles northeast of Key West.
It was, by all accounts, a limestone quarry that was used for Henry Flagler's Overseas Railroad and the original roads on Big Pine. After all that, it was abandoned.
Today it's a tourist attraction and part of the National Key Deer Refuge. A lake that is mostly fresh water, it has no inlet or outlet to replenish it so, "The Blue Hole" depends on rain water and whatever salt water might flow through the leftover limestone underground.
It's a place alive with life. While tourists and knucklehead photographers, like me, might visit "The Blue Hole" for a few hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon, there are all kinds of other life forms that call it home all year 'round.
There are Key Deer, Green Iguanas, snakes, bugs, birds
. . .Yep, alligators.
I was only there for a few hours so I didn't see one but
the sign says. . .
Anyway, "The Blue Hole" is yet another quiet sweet-spot in the Keys and, like I said, not much of a story but a target rich environment for pictures of God's green,
(or in this case, blue) earth.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
After the Blue Paper went out of business back in early November, I was fortunate enough to afford to forget about working for a while and enjoy this beautiful place
where I live.
There was time to go to the beach, get a little better at sailing, do a handful of new paintings and read. All that lasted through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. But by the end of February I started getting buggy.
So I sent up a few flairs to continue my career as a designer and art director. I got some great response, mostly from Miami, and then I realized that my getting back to art direction was sort of a knee-jerk reaction. I really wanted to do something new, something "Key Westie"
I took a look at the KeysNews classified, just to see what might be out there. I found ads for "front desk agents", "barber/stylists", "pipe fitters", "cooks & crane operators", "landscape maintenance workers" and "housekeepers".
And under each ad it also said, "experience required".
Well of course all those gigs are good honest work but I don't have experience in any of them. And then, at the bottom of the listings column was, "Local Gallery - Sales Position".
Now, I've never been in sales but I can do the "art-speak" thing all day and then some and, like I said, I wanted out of my professional comfort zone.
So I called the gallery, said I'd be by the next morning and
that was that.
The next morning I grabbed a shower, put on my cleanest dirty shirt and headed over to the gallery, half expecting not
I walked in the gallery, sat down and talked to the gallery director for ten minutes and FLASH!! I had the job.
Well, I learned quickly that standing around on a tile floor doing very little or nothing for seven or eight hours is, even in my most comfortable shoes, very hard on the feet and legs.
It's a lot like the first few times you go sailing. The boat pitches and rolls, you don't know how to plant your feet because you don't have your sea legs yet.
After a few hours it gets uncomfortable.
But I've just started this new gig and, feet and legs aside, with time, I think I'll get good at it.
Meanwhile, I know several of KWTB's followers visit Key West from time to time.
If you're planning a visit, please drop me an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'll reply with which gallery and where it is.
I'd enjoy meeting as many of you good people as I can.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Monday, February 18, 2013
Once upon a time, February 22nd was George Washington's birthday in 1732.
So it's probably not such a coincidence that on February 22nd, 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated. At 555 feet, it was the tallest structure in the world and today must, by D.C. law, remain the tallest building in the capital.
Anyway, now the day is dedicated to all our Presidents.
(as if they all deserved it)
So what I've done here is a short video montage of all the "official" Presidential portraits, so far, with a little music behind it.
You might be thinking I used "Hail to the Chief" in the clip
(it would make perfect sense after all) but I didn't for a couple of reasons. First off, it's not long enough, it's not a particularly good tune and marching music drives me up a tree. So I found something just as patriotic, much more interesting and a better representation of my left of center political views.
Enjoy. . .
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Valentine's Day is the day set aside to remember not only who, but what we love and to be thankful that we can feel the joy of love at all.
Yeah, I know sometimes love hurts and I know it's the worst hurt in the universe. And it's all too rare when it's right.
But when it is, you feel like you're walking on air, like there's nothing you can't do and, you can't wipe the silly grin off
Enjoy it my friends.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Today is an anniversary for Maxine and me.
On February 9th, (in the year of our lord) 2000, we rolled into town, settled down and began calling Key West our home.
I've long since come down off the edgy, corporate advertising angst I came here to escape and Max?
. . .Well she's become a fearless fighter of the large dogs that get walked past our house every morning.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
What grabbed me was the contrast between shadow and light and the contrast between the defensive battlement attitude of the architecture and the welcoming joyful noise singing out