Reed A Prescott III

Friday, December 17, 2010

“The Easiest Sales in the World”

By Reed A Prescott III

The easiest sales in the world to make are the ones where the buyer fully believes in and benefits from what the seller has to offer. This might seem like common sense but it escapes most non-profits and individuals.

So why is it hard for the Arts to gather support? After all the ways of a creative thinking society is the underpinnings for our world. In large part it is because we somehow don’t understand this dynamic and that we can nurture it. We rarely see the value in what we do naturally and because of this we miss its opportunities. As someone who paints on location at resorts I sometimes stand in envy of those who can afford to frequent a place that offers the finer things in life. I even start to listen to that fleeting voice in my head that says “what would it be like to be in their shoes?” Reality always revels itself when one of those guests comes up to me in total admiration and says “I have always wanted to do what you are doing right now.” These are the people who are on the front line to support my work.

You see in every business, corporate board room, community leadership position, or any other place you can imagine there are people who have put their creativity aside to “make a responsible living”. People who if life would allow them to follow their dreams they would choose to do what we in the creative profession do every day. There are heads of a Forbes listed corporations who loved playing classical music, successful entrepreneurs who painted passionately in their youth, or that politician who loved to dance but gave it up under the ironic ideal of “responsibility”. They, like most of society, have been conditioned to think that the Arts have no place in culture except for taking a respite from the mundane chores of life.

How do we change that programmed thought and develop support for a true economy around “Creativity”? The answer is two fold-“Proven value and Connectedness”.

How do we prove the value of the Arts? I believe we insert ourselves into society and through participation prove our worth. Those who have nurtured a creative idea or have been part of an environment where it was safe to be unashamedly, playfully, creative have found success. Who would think that creating a Web Based outlet where friends could reconnect and stay connected would be innovative enough to even make a living at? Mark Zuckerberg did with Facebook. Who would believe that by recreating that childhood practice of enhancing your ice cream could evolve into a sweet fortune? Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. Look at any fresh, new, and wildly successful businesses and you will find a creative component pushing it to the leading edge of a market. You see what most businesses know is that “Innovation leads to Profits” what artist’s know is that “Creativity leads to Innovation” We are the forefront to a prosperous economy yet we take a step back and stay on the sidelines watching as the beautiful people dance together. A society that stays on the leading edge of innovation fosters an environment where creativity leads the way or they are soon taking a back seat to other societies.

The second component is “Connectedness”. We are by design a creature that needs others. We survive better in groups, we learn interacting with others, and we feel pleasure helping others to grow. We are so designed to be connected that as our experiences change the way we see life our focus instinctively changes and seeks those who in some way have had a similar experience. It validates who we are. This dynamic presents itself in even the simplest of our life experiences. If you want to know who drives a Volvo then buy a Volvo. Want to know who is fixing up an old house then buy an old house and fix it up. The person who took a vacation to Ireland is more likely to purchase the piece you created when you lived there for a year. As if by some magnetic pull we are naturally drawn towards those with similar life experiences. We seek this connection.

One statistic that has been tossed around the art economy is that 60% of all sales made by Artist’s are to friends and families. The answer to why this is so is due to their connection with the artist. They have a front row seat to the trials and life experiences that mold the works. They have a love and heart felt desire to want the Artist to succeed and are willing to be supportive in any way possible. They live vicariously through the Artist knowing that they had a part in paving the road to the artist's success and happiness. Seeing this grow they have no regret in investing to make this happen.

A truly Creative Economy flourishes when we can open up the connections with people who benefit and fully believe in what we create. Support can be drawn to you like a magnet by opening up your life stories and to welcome those who can identify in. So weather developing a following through social media or teaching a class on how to paint our goal should always be to open those doors that allow others to connect with our life experiences and to help them grow because of that connection. As a creative culture we need to seek and develop opportunities that allow the successful businessperson to reconnect with their latent passion for the arts. We need to develop a culture that treats a creative exercise with the same value it does a cardiovascular exercise. We need to contribute and improve the world we live in by taking the lead on creativity and innovation. In a truly prosperous creative economy we need to invest some of our creative fortune and have faith that in doing so our investment matures. As we see our communitie benefit from our participation and our value evedient to all the support will follow us wherever we go.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Now under the category of full disclosure I need to tell you "I am a man". What this means is that asking for help does not come easy for me. Remembering this story told to me by Ron Rood I realize I am not the only one with this problem.

Years ago there was a lady in Bristol Vt who went to her basement to find a skunk had made its way in.... but could not get out. Perplexed she considered all her options and decided to open her hatchway and put a couple of boards across the steps so the skunk could find its way out.

After waking the next morning she decided to go down cellar to see how her plan worked. To her surprise it worked better than she had expected.

Now she had two skunks in her basement.......

One of the basic beach rules is that if you see someone distressed in the water.. do "NOT" go to their aid unless you are trained to do so. You can quickly go from 1 person in need to 2 people in need.

To be successful in business you need to understand this basic axiom. A successful business will access what services are best to hire out and what are best done in house. Although you might be able to do all your book keeping if you are the creative thinker who starts innovation... it might not be the best use of your time. You might be able to service your own vehicles yourself ....but it might be a better use of you to hire someone to do this. You get the picture.

First step is to access what skills bring in the most benefit for your business or home. Then what skills are easy for you to do but take up much of your time at little benefit and can be completed more efficiently by someone else.

Second step is to access the expense to have it done by someone else

Third step is to analize this information and decide if it is best done in house, out sourced, or maybe not even done at all then budget for that expense.

Yesterday I went to a framer with a computerized matt cutter. I had been cutting 8x10matts for small prints and found that it would take me 3-5 hours to cut 50 matts. Once the measurements were set in their computer they could cut 100 matts in an hour and at a cost to me of around 60 cents above my material cost.

This frees up time for painting, planning, and networking which have proven to be more beneficial to my business. With this I can increase my mini print market and have even more time to do the next painting.

So the next time I am in Boston and lost..... I might ask for directions.

Prescott Galleries

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Era (are) You Dyslexic?"

Are you dyslexic? I believe I might be and it has caused me a lot of problems. You see, to switch letters and numbers can lead to problems if you are talking to one of those people who take things literally.

Throughout my adult life my dyslexia has kept me very busy. I am on numerous community boards and committees because when asked to be on a board I try to say "NO" but instead I say "ON"

I had to give up paint by numbers years ago because I would paint 21- Brown instead of 12-Blue and the painting never looked right to me with blue tree trunks and a brown sky.

Now there are more people out there Dyslexic than you realize. I am constantly called "Deer", usually by women so can I assume women are more prone to this disorder than men?

My fear is that men also have this disorder which can be very dangerous in Vermont when you are a male and your name spelled back words is Deer. I stay out of the woods in the fall during deer hunting because I don't want to find out my theory is right first hand.

Now there is nothing I can do about my disorder so instead I celebrate the good that comes from it.

1) My paintings have grown to be better than any paint by number you can buy

2) I have built a misguided reputation as someone who is active in the community

3) I save money by not Deer hunting

So at the end of the day I have learned to live with my shortcomings because after all "It's hard being me..... but I get to do it"

Deer Prescott
Prescott Galleries

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Can Your Marriage Survive a Yard Sale"

Today is a big day in Lincoln Vermont. It is the 21 annual Town Wide Yard Sale. That's right 21 years of the small town recycling movement where you are obligated to go from neighbor to neighbor purchasing items that you can have for your own sale two years down the road.

Now not everyone gets the process. That's right! There are those who go to the sales just because they have never seen a particular house up close. Those who go for the social aspect. Those who are actually shallow enough to think they are actually going to keep the stuff. You name it. There are thousands of different reasons to go to this event.

For me I look forward to this every year except the years when we have our own sale. The days of preparation before hand and that dreaded day when I say to my wife.

"Let's sell the porcelain mouse with the top hat and laser beam eyes?"

"NO, we can't sell that. Great Gramma gave it to Aunt Sissy during the depression"

"Now that I have a pacemaker and can't use a chain saw can we sell that?"

"NOO, I gave you that for Christmas 2005."

"Hey, why are you selling my Tony Orlando and Dawn album?"

"Because we don't have a record player."

"Can we sell the Life magazines from the early 1950's that were in our attic when we bought the house 29 years ago?"

"Noooo, they belong to Betty Charbanaw"

"Is she still Alive?"

"I don't know but if she is I am certain she will want them back"

As the day goes on the tension grows. The evil glances are exchanged. The cold silence gets colder. Until that final rush to rid yourself of all the unwanted items before the day ends. The thinking ahead to conserve energy when you become aware that you will have to move all those boxes back into the house. So you start reducing your prices in order to get them off your hands and that's when you see a sign.

"For Sale- one husband $3 or best offer"

Prescott Galleries

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Little Acts of Kindness"

We take for granted that someone might be watching us. We see it when our kids start to imitate how we act and what we do. So I am taking the challenge to always seek to be good. If we go through life being good then those who we come into contact with might do the same.

I came to this realization one day when I walked out of my house to go get the paper. We had a light dusting of snow that evening but it suprised me to look up and see two perfect hearts looking back at me. When I took a closer look I realized that the matching hearts were left by a car that had turned around in my driveway. Although impressed I started to consider what insignificant action might I be taking that might bring a smile to someone else. I understand that I have little control over how pepole perceive my actions but I have enought faith to believe that whatever I do can be made good...

But if I keep it all good then it is a shorter trip

Prescott Galleries

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"I Inherited a Rut"

When we refer our life to being in a rut it brings up many metaphors. "A rut is just a grave open at both ends", "Definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again but expect different results". etc...

What about those patterns we inherit. The ones we have because we were brought up in a certain environment. The practices we learned from an elder with no understanding of the purpose for the behavior. It can be hard to see because we are just conditionally reacting to a situation but if programed improperly we can be making the situation worse. Good habits are ones to keep.

The only way to understand why we acted a certain way is to ask questions of our self or others while trying to seek knowledge and understanding. Here is a story told by Naturalist Writer and Friend Ronald Rood about such a situation from his youth.

Ron was a little boy and he was watching his mom prepare a ham for the oven. In doing so his mom would always take a knife and cut a 1/2 inch off the end of the ham before putting it in the pan. Ron, being inquisitive asked "Mom, why do you cut that little bit off the ham before putting it in that pan?"

" I really don't know? I think it has something to do with making it flavorful and juicy.... your Grandmother always did so I do it as well"

So Ron took the question to his Grandmother..

"Gramma why did you always cut a 1/2 inch off the end of a ham before you cooked it"

"Well" Gramma said "if I didn't it wouldn't fit in the pan "

Be bold today and ask your self why did I do what I did as a reaction to a situation. The answer might surprise you.

Prescott Galleries

Friday, May 21, 2010

"To Look Good... is to Feel Good"

We need to be aware of what the image is that we create or reinforce. We all have a image that we inherit or create but do me think about how we reinforce that image? Most of us never give it a second thought. Information we put out might be damaging and here is a life experience to show how this can happen.

We loaded our car in Vermont for a family vacation on Cape Cod. Well if you are a parent you know what the first question was that floated out from the back seat. "How long before we get there?"

I was aware that they really had no reference of time so it did not matter what I told them so I would answer 15 minutes. They asked at least a dozen more times to which I would answer the same answer- 15 minutes. Now my wife and I would smile every time and it became the family joke.

I did not consider that I was giving them bad information until one day we were heading to Burlington Vt. Burlington is about 40 minutes from home and we were half way there when out came the familiar question.

"How long before we get there?"

I gave my wife a smile and said "15 minutes."

Then from the back seat we heard "15 MINUTES? That's a long time...."

As Artist's we need to be aware of the image we have to over come. The generations of stories that have reinforced the belief that we only become famous after we die or all artist's starve. We only reinforce this information by complaining about financial matters or allow someone to take advantage of us in a financial transaction.

I have found that the easiest way to put a positive image on your career is to answer the question "Do you paint full time" with "Yes". You might not be making a living at it yet but if you are working more than 32 hrs a week it is full time. What has come from this is a sense that the person asking is impressed and treats you as a equal. Then it surprises me that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy to which I soon become able to make a living at my work.

Prescott Galleries

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"You Were Right Art....Kids do say the Darndest Things"

Art Linkletter had it right when he coined the phrase "Kids say the darnedest things" I know my kids have. I remember the time I was sitting on my couch with my youngest son, then 4, watching the winter Olympics when he turned to me and asked "How do you spell USA?"

To go through life with the perspective of a child would be interesting. Their sense of wonder and honest excitment for discovery is refreshing. We soon forget what it was like to notice that a cucumber structurally is just like a watermelon and find they are related. These little people are always thinking...

I heard a story once where a young boy was standing in line at the grocery store with his mom behind a really large man. This large man was too busy visiting with the clerk and putting groceries on the counter to notice the little boy. Then from the man's pocket came a ring... ring when his cell phone went off.

When the little boy heard this he got fidgety and said to his mom "watch it.... he's backing up"

One of my favorite personal stories was when my oldest son was around five years old. It was my wife's birthday and we had just come home from church which in our house means "Let the party begin" so I started this conversation with my son..

"Hey, do you know what today is?"

"Yea, it's Mommy's birthday!"

"That's right, 38 years ago today your mother was born...."

"She was born on her birthday!!!!! COOL!"

There are days when your kids are a challenge but we can learn alot by seeing the world through their eyes. I guess we keep them around for those moments when they brighten our day and make us smile....

Prescott Galleries

'Resume'- Wife, Grandma, Antique Collector,... Car Theif"

Worlds of wisdom- "Don't judge a book by its cover" I know this is not news but it really holds true when you are talking about that senior citizens. By appearance they are slow and seemingly feeble but that just helps them to do things we could never get away with.

On the bright side.... once they act irresponsibly they are quick to make it right. Here is a true story of when a friend of mine stole my car.

It was New years Eve and we were invited to a gathering of Church people who get together every year on this evening and play games until the clock clicks over to the next year. This might seem passive but if you happen to be at the table that plays a card game called "Spoons" then watch out. Not unlike a house fire I believe it is a requirement to have the rescue squad on call if you play this game.

Well we had another place to visit before we arrived at this party so when we arrived the parking lot was pretty full. As end of year luck would have it as we drove in another car was leaving and we pulled right into their spot. Since we live in a quaint Vermont village that you don't drive through to get anywhere else we have made a habit of leaving the keys in the ignition. Besides it was -10 degrees and we were sure that most trouble makers were in where it was warm. With the car parked we left it to go inside.

On the way in we met Jan and her mom leaving the party. Now Jan loves to travel collect antiques, and is a Grandmother. Her accomplice, I mean mom is a Great Grandmother. Not people you feel the need to keep an eye on but apparently we were mistaken.

My wife and I quickly got involved in one of the many games being played. About 15 minutes later Jan and her mom came back inside laughing. They came right to me an apologized. You see Jan left the party and stole my car and without even a alcoholic beverage to aid her in this poor decision.

Actually this is what really happened. The car that was leaving just before we arrived was Jan's son who they rode to the party with. These two women went out and got into the car parked in the same spot as the car they arrived in. Since the keys were in the ignition they started it up and drove off. Now as with most people of this generation the mind is the first thing to go. You would have thought that it would have donned on her when she turned to her mom and said " I did not know Jared's car had seat heaters?" You would think she would have seen the necklace hanging from the rear view mirror that my son made when he was 4 and gave to my wife. No to either of these. After she pulled the car into their garage some 3 miles away and got out she saw the Volvo tag on the side of the car when it hit her. "This isn't Jared's car".

Once the shock wore off and she stopped laughing enough to be able to drive again she returned the car. If it wasn't for her honesty we would have never known.... It did reaffirm that we should not judge a book by its cover,

Prescott Galleries

Monday, May 17, 2010

"My First Critic was a Woodchuck"

No,Really! My first critic WAS a woodchuck.

In Vermont the term "Woodchuck" can refer to some back woods native that might still be living in the first half of the 1900's. Our version of a Redneck. The type that if you say "I think I will start my herb garden before I go on my nature hike" they hear "I want to take your guns". Although skeptical of those who want to take away a lifestyle they have grown comfortable with, this was NOT my first critic. My first critic was a furry brown rodent that stood no higher than 14 inches on a good day. Here is the story.

When I was around 14 years old I would work summers on my Grandparents farm. It is a time filled with many a fond memory. Driving tractors, picking berries, checking out my cousins cabin in the woods with a trap door that hid two dozen Playboy Magazines. Yes when I look back life was good, but at the time it did have its moments of boredom. At the end of a hard day the last thing this teenager wanted to do was to sit on the porch swing and talk about whatever neighbor just drove by.

At a loss for things to occupy my time I would sketch. Well one evening I decided to walk up the hill that overlooked the farm and sketch. It is one of my most memorable views of Vermont as I looked over the House and barn to the Green Mountains and its second highest peak, Camels Hump. Having sat on the porch swing for several evenings I knew there was a resident woodchuck that would come out every evening and forage.

With sketch book in hand I walked up the hill and found its hole, walked about 10 feet above it and sat to sketch. I didn't necessarily want to see the woodchuck but was still a bit leery about woodland creatures so though it best to be able to keep one eye open, in case it appeared.

It did not take me long to get lost in my work. The Farmhouse built in the late 1800's with a huge willow tree to its west where my mom and her sisters would swing with each other and later with boy friends. The Barn across the road where I learned my work ethic and heard the great stories my Gramp would tell of his days working at Shelburne Farms- back when it was a working farm. The twin maples at the edge of the road that the farm was named after were all that was left of the 50 or so that use to line the road. All gone now in the name of progress.

As I sketched I would see cars coming from the north when I realized that they would slow down as they saw me sketching. Some would even stop for a short while before continuing on to the village. So engrossed with the work at hand I told myself they must have never seen a young boy sketching and continued to work.

After a few hours and with the sun starting to set I picked myself up, dusted off my backside, and headed back down the hill for home.

When I got closer to the porch I heard Gramp laugh and say "Hey City Slicker"- my pet nickname he had tagged me with a few years earlier, but that's another story. "Did you know that the woodchuck stood up behind you and watched you work?"

In my diligence to find a safe spot to sketch from I did not take into account that woodchucks have several exits from the same burrow. Apparently its second hole was above me and when he came out to forage that evening he was confronted with a unusual rock that had not been there days before so it stood to check it for danger.

The cars slowing down were not looking at the young artist as I had thought, but at my first critic. That lonely rodent who stood looking over my shoulder checking out every stroke but I liked this critic. For instead of being loud and overbearing this one knew to "Keep its mouth shut"

Prescott Galleries

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Mother was Outstanding in Her Field"

My Father-in Law Paul was fun to have around. I truly miss him. He and my Mother-in-Law were married over 55 years..... in spite of the story I am about to tell you.

It was a warm spring day. One of the first of the year for this Vermont mountain town so everything was a buzz. Cyclist out for a spin, birds and frogs singing up a storm, you could almost see the leaves pop from the trees, and people out for walks.

"Mother", as he affectionately called her, needed to go to town for groceries. She never had a drivers license so to get to the store required fitting it into other peoples schedules. Paul happened to be home that day, so they loaded the car with Gramma (who had just broken her arm and was living with them) into the front seat of the car and started for town.

Now it took awhile for "Mother" to find a spot in the back seat to sit. Paul had worked construction for many years and did not own a utility truck so he had turned his olive green Dodge Coronet into a "workshop on wheels". The back seat was almost level with work jackets, power tools, tool boxes and the sorts. After a minute Mother had a small place secured and they were heading off the mountain for the store.

About a half mile from home they met my wife and her sister heading in the other direction in another vehicle. Mother needed to talk to them so she yelled "Paul STOP!" and he did... but not after they had past each other by about 50 yards. She quickly got out of the car and walked up the road before her daughters could back up and started to talk.

Early in the conversation she realized she could hear the school bus coming up the hill. When she looked in the direction the bus was coming from and noticed that in her haste she had left the car door wide open. So as to not be a danger for the bus she walked back to her car, closed the door, then crossed back to the girls.

Now I am never sure what those women can find to talk about but I do know that their conversation will usually last awhile and this one was no exception. Now having finished with business they exchanged parting remarks, Mother stood, and the Girls took off up the hill and out of sight. When Mother turned around to go back to her car she realized that the car was no longer there. You see Paul, having heard the car door close, assumed Mother had gotten back into the car so he had started for town again.

Now Mother was sure he would discover she was not there, so instead of walking the half mile back home, she decided to walk towards town.

I am not sure what was the bigger shock for Paul, who as he turned into the store parking lot some seven miles from home, said to Gramma "Mother must have fallen asleep.... it's pretty quite back there". The shock of not being able to find her when he opened the back door and started moving around tools and work clothes.... or the warm greeting he got when he walked through the house door having returned from town.

As for Mother... she walked a mile and a half towards town before giving up on her husband and phoning the girls to come get her and bring her home where she had a fair amount of time to "prepare his pipe and slippers".

Prescott Galleries

"Wrong Person, Wrong Seat, Definately the Wrong Bus"

We are all familiar with Captain Richard Phillips and his run in with the Somali Pirates but I feel a certain closeness to the situation. You see, when the whole ordeal was going on, I worked for a company based just a few miles from the Captain's home in Vermont.

The manufacturer I worked for also hired many Somali's from the local refugee population settled in Vermont. I had many conversations about their families back home, what it is like to be in Vermont compared to their country, and even their Muslim religion.

So when I heard about the Captain's capture I felt a connection. It was as if I could put a face on those involved, but that is not what this blog is about. It is about a business principle that says "you want the right person, on the right bus, in the right seat" A principle that challenges you to efficiently direct your assets.

This is a story about one of my Somali friends who was the "Wrong person, in the wrong seat, definitely the WRONG BUS"... We will call him Seth just for anonymity purposes. Seth was a production foreman for this company. The company was in the process of moving from one town to another but had not fully moved yet. Manufacturing had all moved but until a week before this incident we were operating part of the warehouse from a site 26 miles away. It felt good to finally have the warehouse moved and although it was not on site with manufacturing it was in a rented space some 3 miles away.

It was the off shift and Seth was missing a few components for a order on the line. He knew we had more in the warehouse so the easy fix was to get in his car and drive to the warehouse and retrieve what they needed.

He had not ever been to the off site warehouse but got directions and was on his way. Now as with most rented warehouse spaces the building we were in housed five different businesses. When Seth pulled into the parking lot he was faced with a decision. Which door leads to our warehouse? Then he noticed a awning over one of the doors and printed on it was the address of our warehouse so logically he thought "This must be the place"

He went to the door and was suprised that it was unlocked so he opened it and walked right on in. Immediately he doubted the choice he had made because instead of a warehouse full of components all he could see were men sitting at desks. A quick look around the room he noticed a set of steel doors at the far end of the room and he was back on track. "That must be the way to the warehouse" and set out for those doors. About half way across the room he was forcefully grabbed by a couple of the men. You see Seth was not in our warehouse. He was close though, just one door away from where he needed to be.

Seth was forcefully removed from the room he had walked into... in handcuffs. When you are of Somali descent close in not good enough. Especially when the offices you walked into were for the Enforcement Division for Homeland Security...

So you can say "Seth was the wrong person, in the wrong seat, and definitely ON THE WRONG BUS"

Prescott Galleries

"Do a Good Deed Daily- Even if by Accident"

We all see the value of doing a good deed daily but there are times when we do so by accident. I just heard about a situation with one of my neighbors doing this.

My neighbor realized he needed wiper blades for his car so he stopped into the local auto parts store. After looking at the rack he realized he was overwhelmed with all the choices, so he asked the clerk to help him. With the usual conversation of make, model and type of blade he made his decision and purchased a nice set of blades.

Now, like most of us, this neighbor is very busy so instead of taking the blades home he walked out of the store and installed them on his car. Being a small town he had several people stop and visit, say hi, or give a gratuitous wave. With his job now complete he found a trash can and disposed of the old blades and packaging.

He walked back to his car, got in and turned the key but the car didn't start. Immediately he wondered what was wrong? Did he leave his lights on? What's the matter with his car. Then he smiled because he realized he had just done his good deed for the day....

What deed was that you might ask.....

After looking around he realized it wasn't his car....

So do your good deed for today... even if by accident

Prescott Galleries

Friday, May 14, 2010

"Let's Hang Man"

I have been a artist and painter for over 30 years. My work experience with color mixing gives me insights on real world situations which I never expected. If you paint, or know someone who paints, try this. Mix a medium value color (grey) on your palette. Now apply that color on to an area much lighter than it and a area much darker than it. What appears seems to be 2 different colors, even though we know we took it from the same spot on our palette. Your little dab of color is greatly effected by its surroundings.

True to life, we too are effected by what we surround ourselves with. Our Friends, community, working associations all can change how others perceive who we are. So how do we make our choices on who we "Hang" with? Does it follow our values? Does it help us to grow?

I spent a interesting day yesterday going to two groups. First group I spent time with was a workshop called "Spend Smart" designed to help people with their spending habits. Through this three week course I expressed That it is not as much my spending but my income that is holding me back. Most of the people in this class are of low economic means so some frivolous spending was defined as getting a belt for a lawn mower, or doing without a $.75 cup of coffee from the store. Now I am all for "if you don't have it don't spend it" and creating a budget to follow, but when you start documenting every cup of coffee and have to ask yourself if you really need to spend that $.75 I have to ask "How much money/time am I spending tracking the details compared to making more money?" For this reason I don't look to spend time with large groups of artists.... misery love company.

The second group I went to be with was the Ethan Allen Institute. A talk given by former Bear Stears executive Bruce Lisman titled "Finding skin: How to build a sustainable powerhouse economy in Vermont- without giving up our values" It was a wonderful talk full of optimism and balance... even though the room was overwhelmingly conservative and not currently known for economic optimism.

There were 2 main points I took from this... First Point is that we need to be able to track and have our local Government be transparent with how money is spent. We need this to fill our Vermont Frugality need and to be able to accurately give input on how we wish to see our tax dollars used. Made sense to me. Say I am in a conversation with a person then out of the blue I push that individual to the ground that person might not be too happy with me. Now If that person looks up and realizes that I just pushed them out of the way of imminent peril they now are quite happy with me. The only difference is the awareness as to what caused my action and that it was not only justified but in their best interest. If they look up and see that I overreacted they can say "you know, your heart was in the right place, but next time......" Its called feedback. If we can see that the social areas we spend tax dollars on actually helps and saves money-(are justified)- then it is easier as taxpayers to except spending those dollars.

Second point was we need to focus on prosperity. Mr Lisman made a case that the economy is booming but not in a way we have ever seen before. He referred it the 2008 market collapse as "Darwinian Event" that has change us forever which to me implies survival of the fittest. Not in a cut throat chaotic way but that "The innovative, adaptable, and creative thinkers are positioned to succeed and those trying to fit life into past turn key solutions are doomed for failure"

This is great news for the arts or at least us creative thinkers. In order to succeed though we need someone with a great business sense. We need to form "marriages of convenience". One partner is creative and has a way of seeing the possibilities and drawing out of the practical a sense of "We can do this". The practical partner has the ability to say you need to refine the process here because we are spending more than we gain, planting into the creative mind a added dimension of "cost vs results"

A farmer kept going into the hardware store buying hammers. When he started buying them by the gross the clerk asked "What are you doing with all those hammers?"

The farmer replied "I'm selling them for $5 each."

"But they cost you $8"

"I know, but it sure beats farming"

Creative but needed some direction....

Mr. Lisman in my opinion was on point because if we then direct our tax dollars and invest tax capital to bring a net gain then everyone who wants a job will have one. everyone who can support themselves will not need assistance. People with the ability to secure a household can then take extra and support their community. All by creating a value based, prosperity in our communities- i.e. Vermont" We can see the value the arts has to offer and help society realize that a vigorous Arts community is not frivolous but actually contributes to the prosperity.

I found myself thinking where was the Vermont Arts Council- wait I was there to represent the art community. Why do these people want to lash out at people getting assistance- wait I get assistance. I need to have conversations with them so they can put a face on the issue and get a better understanding that most of us do not want that assistance. All too often we give power away. Our government is "Huge" because we give them that power. The reality is, if we say this will work and we will do it with or without you, where does that leave them? Powerless......

My minister understands this and loves it. One year our church had just finished rebuilding itself after a fire destroyed the building. The momentum from this project gave people the confidence to take on a elderly housing project so that people who lived and raised families in town would not have to move out when they became older. That year our minister started his annual report "I am the Minister of the United Church of Lincoln, there goes my flock, I must hurry, for I am there leader"

Unfortunately as creative individuals we choose to "Hang" with like minded thinkers when we need to seek out the other side. The person who knows how to take a idea and make it work. As Business owners we choose to hang out with other business owners when we should be looking to "Hang" with the creative type to help us develop that new innovation.

So for me I can spend my time counting every little bean but instead I want to find a satisfying abundance so that I can better my community and only have to count the sacks of beans.

Prescott Galleries

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"What? Red Tomatos?"

One of the funniest quotes I ever heard from a neighbor was "I didn't know tomatoes were not suppose to be green... until I moved out of town"

I live in the mountains of Vermont where the weather can be more like the Arctic tundra so we have learned to adjust and adapt to what life gives us. This climate with its late spring frost and early fall frost does not lend itself to growing certain garden staples. One year we missed having a frost in every month by 2 days with last spring frost on July 4th and first fall frost on September 2nd. So what do we do? ...............Adapt and adjust.

It can be depressing to not see flowers after a long winter.... so what do we do? We plant them on top of the septic tank so that they bloom 3 weeks early

I can be discouraging to have the snowfall that we have.... So what do we do? When we hear the forecast for partly cloudy, we keep the snow shovel near by. Yes we sometime have to shovel partly cloudy here.

We have a tree stump that needs to be removed... so what do we do?....we poor salt water on it and let the porcupines chew it down to below ground level.

We have the same sayings as those in more temperate climates but once again we adapt and adjust.

"April showers bring.... mud season"

Now "May showers brings June flowers"

So why are we surprised that when we create a plan or vision we would have to adapt and adjust? One of my favorite saying from my Monday morning men's group is "Do you want to make God laugh... tell him your plan" So weather you are drafting a budget, planning your day, or being creative..... plan on this. In order to reap all the benefits your plan has to offer.... adapt and adjust.

Prescott Galleries

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Here I am World..."DEAL WITH IT"

Thinking about today's blog I realized I wanted to announce my arrival. I do not need to announce this to the world but to myself. You see all too often we search for our individuality when all we need to do is acknowledge that we are unique.

Have you ever thought of how using the 6 variables of the face we come up with a infinite number of possibilities. Eyes, nose, ears, mouth, hair, and skin can very our looks enough so that no two people look alike.

Much in the same way our life experiences add to the variables. Even though my family has many similar experiences in life that I do, we are still different in how we see or interpret situations.

A friend once told me that "Understanding is the booby prize of life"

So I do not need to figure out what I need to do to make myself unique? You mean I am different just because I am? I do not need to try and paint in a certain style.... all I have to do is paint? How can this be?

All too often we spend out time figuring out what we need to do to separate ourselves from our neighbors. Ironic the realization that we already are.

So you want to be different? Then add to your life experience and not your style. You want to be unique? Then be part of your community. You want to put your mark on the world? Then roll up your sleeves and be you.

So here I am world..... now I have to "DEAL WITH IT"

Prescott Galleries

Monday, May 10, 2010

" All I can do is be me... whoever that is"- Bob Dylan

My wife and I grew up listening to Bob Dylan so for Christmas one year our older son was excited when he found a poster the said "All I can do is be me, whoever that is" by Bob Dylan.

We should always seek what benefits us and our career.... whatever that is. Here is a conversation I had one day with another artist. I was painting at a resort when this man came up to me and introduced himself as a artist then started a conversation:

"Do you make a living doing this"

"Yes I have for the past 15 years"

"So, what shows do you do?"

"Well I don't really do shows"

"Then what Galleries carry your work"

"Well I don't really show at Galleries"

"If you don't do shows and don't show at galleries then how do you make a living"

"Let me ask you this? Do you do shows"


"Do you display at galleries?"


"Do you make a living?"


"Then why would I want to do that?"

As artists we pride ourselves with our creative approach to life. Yet when it come to business we are looking for a "turn key" system we can plug ourselves into. Life does not work that way. Not only is all art different but all persons creating that art are different. So the workable combinations can be endless. It is based on our personal strengths and experimentation to find the way that works best for us. A shy person could not do what I do any more than I could paint like Picasso.

Some people can write spiritual pieces backed with their art and build a following without even talking to a real person. Others crave that interaction with people and can use that to develop a contact and sale. Both are equally right.

So all you can do is be you..... whoever that is

Prescott Galleries

"My Name is Reed.... and I'm a Athletic Supporter"

They say confession is good for to soul so what better way to start out my week, than with a confession.

"My Name is Reed...... and I am a Athletic Supporter"

Now as you can imagine this is hard for me to admit but there is a freeing in doing so. I came to this realization through a intervention of my own thoughts. If we understand that "Any behavior rewarded... gets repeated" then what am I rewarding.

So I sat on my couch watching the Red Sox vs Yankees game with the recall on the remote going back to the Celtics- Cavs game but wait there is the Bruins game. So now I need to remember one channel while going back and forth between the first two when I see a commercial for Nascar and sure enough its on a 4th channel. Oh no! Before I know it I realize I am addicted, but how did this happen. How come I didn't see it coming. Why am I glued to the set when I hear that Tiger Woods is injured with a bulging dick in his back? Oh, I mean disc! What have I become. How come I keep supporting the misguided behavior of a few who can throw well, hit well, or run well and I do not choose support the arts? DAMN!

True to 12 step formats I need to go to the people I have hurt and express my short comings.
I need to be aware of what I actually have control over and what is beyond my control and move forward . I need to be accountable for my actions. I need to take life one day at a time, one moment at a time with the realization I will always be a Athletic Supporter.

1) To all the people who want to see me create beautiful paintings I apologize for not filling that void in your life and promise to create again.

2) Although I want the "GOVERNMENT" to support the arts I realize that I am falling short myself by subscribing to NESN and not balancing that out with a good book, seeing a performance or dance, or paying to go to a museum.

3) Although it will be hard at first I will try to factor all my purchases through "how does this purchase support the Arts or my Community"?

Now to make sure I am accountable I need people to be watching me. To see if I am following through with the promises I have made today. To firmly remind me when I fall short and start to slip.

Boy, do I feel better now or what.....

Prescott Galleries

Saturday, May 8, 2010

"First Step to Acheiving Any Goal- is to Set a Goal"

The first step in acheiving any goal ... is to set a goal. On some level this makes total sense ...just as it is. Yet how many people set goals- or at least set them properly. We are a people who if we are allowed to visualize a goal we are more likely to achieve that goal. We are all built this way.

If you want to see how many people own Volvo's- then buy a Volvo. If you want to see how many people are fixing up an old house- then buy a old house and start fixing it up. We are designed to be drawn towards sections of our community that have a similar experience to us. A need to be connected and feel like we are part of something bigger. It is this natural characteristic that allows us to achieve the goals we set.

A few years ago I saw a episode of Oprah that talked about "The Secret" where if you set a goal then the means to attain that goal would be drawn to you like a magnet. You set the goal to make $100,000 a year then "Poof" out of nowhere there it is.

My personal view is different from theirs. What I have learned is that opportunities are around us at all times. Until we identify what we are looking for, we let them pass. So even though I walk by Bob Smith every day, I am not aware of that until I say "I really need to talk to Bob Smith". Then we are amazed that Bob Smith just appears as if by magic.

Here are a few tips for goal setting.

1) First and foremost- write it down. This helps with visualizing and cements the goal within you.

2) It does not have to be reasonable if you can break it up into smaller- more obtainable goals that bring you closer to the larger goal

3) be specific as to how you will achieve this goal

4) then let go- loosen up when another unconsidered opportunity arises to help you achieve your goal. Remember the goal is more important than the path

5) enjoy taking the chances that arise from setting your goal. If the door opens don't let fear prevent you from walking through.

One day I decided I was sick of looking at a $500 bill that was overdue. I made a conscious decision that I was going to focus on getting that bill paid. I made my list of make that followup call to a patron, sell 5 prints, etc.... About 20 minutes after I made my list, the phone rang. It was a resort calling and then needed to order $500 worth of my note cards. Well this did not follow my plan.... but it worked.

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Do I Have To Write My Blog Today?....NO"

I have worked with youth for years. Scouts, little league, Sunday school, school visits and the like. When youth are asked to do anything there is a high percentage of time that they will respond with "Do I have to ............." fill in the blank. Because of one of the best sermons I have ever heard Rev. David Wood preach I always respond with "No you don't have get to"

All to often in life we see tasks as a chore and with a simple turn of phrase we can twist it to a positive. If we look at tasks as if we are privileged to do them... and we are, then we can jump in and feel good about it.

So when you hear or say statements like this:

Scout about to go to Vespers "Do I have to go to Vespers?" respond "No you don't have to go to vespers... you get to go to vespers"

Student asks teacher "Do I have to do this assignment" respond "No you don't have to do this assignment... you get to do this assignment"

Artist to self "Do I have to paint today?" self to artist "No you don't have to paint today... you get to paint today"

So when we feel the urge to avoid a task turn the phrase and get r' done.

Did I have to write this blog today? No I got to... and it was fun.

Prescott Galleries

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why Pay for Advertising?"

Why pay for advertising when you can be paid to advertise? This is not only something every artist should understand but learn to look for. What branded products like Coke and Nike understand is that having their image visible is a component of marketing. So the movie scene which shows a can of coke or the golfer wearing the Nike logo is in some way promoting their products.

Visibility equates to marketing and helps you to Brand your image or in our case images. I find the most cost effective way for artists to do this is to identify those markets who not only will benefit from using our art but will pay to do so.

This is what a use for your artwork looks like....

When the local bank called and asked if they could use one of my oil paintings "Waiting for Winter" for the background of a debit card. I wrote a "Limited Use Rights" statement. This stated that this bank had the right-(my permission) to use this image for the background of a debit card and any media promotion of that debit card for the fee of $.... This protects them from having me sell the same image to another bank for the use on their debit cards, yet allows me to sell the same image to another business for a completely different use. The image used on this banks debit card has also been used by a Vermont Chamber of Commerce magazine and The Vermont Law School- Environmental Law Symposium. Each time I would clearly define what the reproduction rights were and included the amount we agreed they would pay for this right.

"THAT'S RIGHT" they pay for this right. So you can run a lot of ads in print media and pay those bills but isn't it more fun to pull out a debit card with one of your paintings on it, watch the eyes pop of the person you are showing it to as they become aware that they have the same card, and know that someone sent you a check to do so?

As Artists who create images we always hold the right as intellectual property until we, in writing, transfer that intellectual property over to someone else. Even though we have sold the original painting we still hold the "Creative and Intellectual Property" of that image we painted. What this means is that we always have the right to put it into print, create a product, or use that image for improving another products. In a nut shell- we own the "image" until we let it go and put it in writing. With rights the more we give away the bigger the check we should receive because we are letting go of our ability to reuse an image and generate income. "Limited Use Rights" states that you are signing the rights over for one or just a few rights for reproduction.

They only gray area here is termed "Work for Hire" which is when you are putting a image to someone else's creative idea. The best example of this is commercial work or book illustration. In this case the person doing the hiring is the "Creative or Intellectual owner" and thus holds those rights. The gray area for painters comes in on commissioned pieces which can fall either way. What I do is clear this issue up right off when I discuss a commission. "Now I will be doing this painting for you and I will also be considering putting it into print" A lot of times you can lay on the "But you will have the only Original"

So why pay for advertising... when you can be paid to advertise?

"How does this work for Art?"

I do oil paintings for a reason. The English language escapes me. So I communicate with a image or picture. I do not have the time or desire to distinguish between there and their, where and were, or is it a or an before this word? Or is it "That Word"?

Here are a few statements I need help understanding.

For me the worlds most confusing question is "Are you related to your Mother?" I mean really!How many was can you answer this?

Along those lines here are requests (in English) that apparently work for the arts and does not work with any other profession.

Artist goes into a bank. The Banker says "If you ever want to display your work on our walls it would be great exposure for you"

Banker goes into a Art Gallery. Gallery Owner says "If you ever want to give me free banking services I will tell everyone what a great bank you are. It would be great exposure for you."

Sounds good to me....... so I wonder if I can get a new toilet installed if I promise to tell the plumber that I will put a sign on the back of the toilet that says "Installed by Best Plumbing" After all it would be great exposure....

Artist goes into a school The principle says "We are having a arts fair and would love to have you come in and work with the kids. We have no money in the budget for this."

Principle goes to Town Meeting. Artist says "I'd love to have my children educated at your school. Of course I will not vote to give you money to cover your budget."

Wow! This is fun. I like this...

Arts Council says to Artist We have this great idea that follows our mission to support the arts. We are going to give wooden pallets to artists that they can turn into a pieces of art and give away to non-profits so they can generate income.

Artist says to Art Council We have this great idea that will help the community. We know you do not have enough money to support yourself so we feel that instead of going on vacation, volunteer your time at a local non-profit.

hold on.... now it is starting to hurt

Artists need to realize that they need to be compensated for their services and the use of their creations is a service. So when the restaurant asks if you can bring in enough artwork to cover their walls. "It would get you great visibility" Artists should negotiate. At the very least dinner out with the family. If you are decorating service for their walls they can give you a meal. Trade service for service. It's the least they can do.....

Prescott Galleries

WARM- (Wise Ass Reflection Mode)

There are many assumptions made about artists- and one of the most common is that Artists are all bad at business. Here is a moment from my career- you can decide for yourself weather my business practices are good or bad.

I was out at the Basin Harbor Club painting some of their wonderful flower beds. it was a crisp morning when a heavy dew freshened the flowers. There was no music but the abundant birds and animals in that area filled in the gap with their song. The sky was high and as deep a blue as nature could provide. What a glorious office I have.

Then I became aware of a different sound. A not so pleasant sound. The sound of one of the guests on his cell phone berating a employee. It would come and go but always had the same tone. I could hear aggressive instructions for stock trades, boastful conversation about the person they just set straight, and more. Surrounded by all the beauty the club has to offer it was easy to block out what I was hearing but that did not last long. Next thing I knew Mr. AAA personality was standing right next to my canvas. This was the conversation we had:

"Do you have a business card? My wife loves your work" spoken in a firm, gruff, almost annoyed that he was sent to ask tone.

" Actually I don't even own business cards"

"Oh you artists you're all alike. No wonder you're all starving."

With this I went into WARM- wise ass reflection mode. I can't let this comment win. I need to speak out. Not just for myself but for all the artists of the world. I needed to make my point with a smile and curtiously. So I reached down into my pack and pulled out a note card with one of my paintings on it. On the back I have printed all my contact information and I said:

"These are my business cards. I get $2.50 a pieces for them.... How much do you get for your cards?"

He just smiled.... and I made my point

You can see my work at Prescott

Monday, May 3, 2010

Understand the Process

To understand what it take to make a living with your art you need to understand what the whole process looks like. Art as in life flows through four stages.

The stages are:





To understand this is crucial. You see once you commit to a issue, plan, concept, or idea that decision will be followed by panic. The bigger the commitment the bigger the panic. Industries have put names to this phenomenon like "Buyer's Remorse", "Stage Fright", "Artist or Writers Block" etc. You ask the one you love to marry you and at some point you reconsider. This is all natural. What we do with this is where the free will or choices come in.

So from here I have learned to accept the panic feeling and quickly move to stage three- Pray.. This is the stage where we calm the panic and start to create a plan. This is where we honestly break the project or goal into obtainable pieces. Basic theory here is divide and conquer. It is where looking at eating the whole turkey can overwhelm you, so you look at it as bite sized pieces and maybe several sittings.

Once this is complete you can work into the final stage- Meet Your Deadline. All we do here is execute the plan. Do the work and reach our destination.

I once took on a book job to illustrate 110 drawings in 45 days. To make this more of a challenge I had a full time job at the time. I was so excited about illustrating a book that I failed to look at what I was being asked to do but just after I signed the contract (Committed) it hit me.

105 DRAWINGS? What was I thinking? OMG how was I going to do this? etc......

Then I figured that if I did 3 drawings a day for 5 days a week I would hit my goal. If I fell behind then I had the weekend to catch up. This gave me a sense that this was not a insurmountable task so I started to execute this plan. I stopped a couple of times along the way to access how I was doing but I stuck to the plan and finished the book...... on time.

So the next time you make a commitment and feel that uneasiness. Smile, say I am half way there, pray, and meet your deadline....