Let's talk about money for a minute. For years I worked in an environment where money was pretty present. The stock market has all kinds of characters with all levels of deep pockets. Funny thing is the door to the stock market is always open. Open because there are always newcomers entering and looser's leaving. But no doubt there is some significant dollars walking around and always looking for places to park it, preferably in an upwardly growing vehicle, to use bankese. Oh yes, I can speak bankese very well, I had 12 years to learn it thoroughly. One of my fav lines they used to use was "going forward". My bosses would say; " Going forward, Robert, we would like to see you advancing in the area of...". Well, enough of bankese.
Of course the banking and corporate world has one mandate and only one, to increase profits and satisfy the all mighty shareholders, a fact that plays into the role of CEO's who have very little room in a multi billion dollar budget for helping the less fortunate. Of course in such a case where a handy tax write off is available there is all kinds of money available, oh, and let's not forget that potential for the corporate name or significant donors name to be emblazoned on the front door of the high rise or the maine foyer...always helps motivate a little bit of generosity.
I do, for the record take advantage of tax write offs. As any prudent business operator should. However when it comes to helping and charity we in the business world have to look at how we use our wealth. I am a firm believer in the anonymous gift and giver. Now for certain my writing a blog about it makes me not so anonymous, true, but I am trying to make a point and encourage something important: The anonymous help, gift, support, etc. The No Name blessing.
When you give without expecting return. When you share because you want to not because you need the write off. When you do it in a way that no one, not even the recipient knows who did it and never will. There is the challenge.
There lies my challenge to you dear reader. Random acts of kindness to those who are really in need. Someone close to you, someone you see often and know their need is for real. Their need is for real and so is your money...what a coincidence! Let's do something in the world that we live, in the circles we move within. May not be a homeless person, may not be a food bank (even though I support those totally). It may just be a co-worker who is having trouble making rent this month. May be a child who's Mom and Dad cannot afford a tutor to help them achieve great things in the future, may even be an elderly person who cannot afford the medication they need to bring them some basic comfort.
You stand challenged today, and so do I. Let's rise to the challenge. If you want to tell what you did without assigning your name then I welcome your story here on this blog. What a great encouragement you will be! How good you will feel deep deep down inside.
One last thing: no medicine will cure your heart ache better than an act of anonymous kindness.
What is important in life? Yesterday I visited a friend in Toronto in one of the highest income neighbourhoods. As I drive down his street it's getting dark and now you can see inside the windows of all these swanky many thousand square foot homes. You know they want you to see inside because they leave the shutters open and all the interior lights on. Another side to all this, as I see it, and from the many large (10,000 square foot+) homes I've seen is the unused spaces. Just like you and me they come home from work, use the kitchen, use the bathroom and then go watch the news or whatever. Most of the time all those additional rooms rarely get used. So what's the point?
What's important here? I suggest if you have that much disposable money lying around how about using it to provide rooms in some other building for the less fortunate? Why not make it useful to someone who could really use your help.
That's what's important to me.
Every week I am asked how it is possible to make a living as an artist. The myth out there is that artists are all starving and there is no hope this side of the grave. Anyone who knows me and my work are already well acquainted with the fact that I am living proof that the myth is just a myth. It is possible to generate not only a living but a very healthy living from your art.
To do so there are a number of basic rules which need to be followed. Each of these I have thoroughly broken and learned the hard way how important they are. Save yourself the pain, save yourself the long hard road I have travelled. Do it right! I am beginning a series here on my blog where I discuss my experiences in my career as an artist. Here is rule number ONE:
Stay out of debt!
Before I entered the world of full time painting I failed to ensure that I was free of credit obligations. I had credit card debt like most. According to the Globe and Mail, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/household-finances/average-debt-for-canadians-25597/article2042922/
Canadians average about $26,000.00 in credit card debt. Happy to say that my obligation was well below that, however, having that debt really restricted my ability to purchase art materials as I needed them. It is crucial as an artist to have liquidity for supplies and travel. If you sell out of most of your inventory and have a huge credit card debt you will not have the ability to replenish your canvas supply or paints, etc. You are then effectively Stranded.
Another statistic about credit cards is that the credit card companies typically make about 200% profit on unpaid credit card balances (those balances you keep postponing paying off).
You need to keep painting. You need to have canvas, paper, paint, supplies, etc, etc, and nothing should get in your way from producing great paintings.
Make a serious but realistic plan to reduce and even eliminate your credit card debt, if possible keep painting while you still have a job so you can apply more money to paying off those debts. Then when they are paid you can make a wise decision to venture out into the world as a full time artist.
The Artists Journey
This is my blog page and it is where I get to be the opinionated man that I really am. The views are my own.
I invite your replies and comments, on my virtual welcome mat.
This sketch above became this finished painting below
The Pine Tree Painter.
How did I become known as the Pine Tree Painter? You could say I paint a lot of Pine Trees, that would be true. I paint a lot of other things too, but Pine Trees, Spruce Trees, Birch and others seem to be a continuous string in what i do. I just like the way they stand there like a custodian of the land. or a greeter to nature. So, I continue down the path with the Pine Tree Painter name on my head, It's ok.