Blame Culture


"To the degree we blame our difficulties on external things, our ability to influence our company and make a difference decreases.
At the beginning we blame the Government, then the market, then our employees and, if we keep going that route, we end up not even being able to take care of ourselves.
Blame is not the answer. If you blame, you'll keep finding other things to blame and soon you'll feel unable to influence anything."  -
Paolo Ruggeri

The phrase, "They always play the role of the victim." became popular sometime around year 2000. At least that's when I became familiar with it.

Do people have the right to blame? Certainly! There are situations in life where people really are "Victims"; be it of circumstance or accident. No one is saying you cannot be a victim. Life is full of ugly, nasty events and people. To the extent that some take it approaches complete insanity; even to the point where one begins to question their own.

As George Carlin, the famous comedian stated in a standup routine, "You're not free; they own you!" It is here where the problem, and the solution lies.

If your part of the 1960 - 1980's generation, you most likely remember the band Pink Floyd and their iconic song and music video, "Another Brick in the Wall". A radical and yet poignant piece on the state of the educational system, and how it forces a culture of conformity. Creativity for some reason is rarely praised in society, unless it can make people money.

So who is to blame? Are we all victim's of the super rich? Unfortunately, nature can get us into quite a pickle when a girlfriend becomes unexpectedly pregnant. If straight males knew the real consequences of getting lucky, there wouldn't be the next generation. If one is a responsible male, he will have to enter the "working world" sooner than desired. The girlfriend's parents will blame you, and perceive their daughter as a victim. Regardless we all need to earn a living, pregnant girlfriend notwithstanding.

Blame is natural response to perceived injustice. When one realizes that blaming doesn't really get you anywhere, the victim of said circumstances can become hopelessly depressed, and motivation flies out the window.

The beautiful part of this equation? You have a choice! One either finds a way to deal with the status quo, or you move on.

I know people who are very well off financially, yet their lives are in turmoil. Money does not buy anyone happiness, it just keeps one off the street.

I found myself in this position more than once, because I thought after earning two degrees, society would reward my intelligence with a well paying job. I was willing to start at the bottom, and worked my way into, what most people would call a respectable position. But... I didn't fit into that system, and I wasn't willing to waste my time banging my head on a "brick wall".

I blamed this, and that, and felt I was a victim. So I had to choose. Find a way to work within the system, or bust out on my own. I chose the latter. Not everyone has the courage, nor tenacity to do so; and that is probably a good thing for some. As for me; I made changes where I could, and decided to move on.

I live by the motto, "Never give up."

Then came the digital revolution in the art world; the "Impressionist Movement" of our time. For progressive thinkers like myself, I am always willing to adopt new technology. When Corel Painter came along, it was a slam-dunk.

I honestly thought that people would quick accept this digital art world without blinking an eye. After all, almost
everything is now digital in some form or another.

My logic? Quill and inkwell… enter pen. Pen and paper... enter typewriter. Typewriter and paper... enter computer with keyboard. The end result is the same; an idea or image ends up being printed on some physical substrate.

Vehicles we drive have gone from mechanical to a combination of electronic / vacuum systems to now fully computer chip controlled. Do we still call it a car? Most certainly; and we still buy them.

So why should art be any different? Enter... the blame game. For what ever reason, some people blame the artist for creating something that isn't, at least in their mind, genuine. Any artist who has learned to use Corel Painter properly, will attest to it's ingenuity. For me... there really is no difference comparing traditional media. The end result is the same, so I'm sold.

Selling that to others is something else. When I had my first exhibit at Killarney, Manitoba's Farmer's Market, people were amazed at my talent. Not one person, not even two art-collectors could tell my paintings were created with anything other than traditional oil paint and canvas.

At the time I was struggling on what to call them. The giclee' prints are created freehand, and with real pigment, so calling them "digital art" seemed irrelevant. As with writing, and manufacturing you still end up with the same thing. So to avoid confusion, I stayed with the term "Oil Painting". Then I found out Corel Painter does other things, like
tracing photographs to appear like they were freehand oil paintings. Whoa... stop the boat!

Freehand and tracing are two different ballgames. The former requires real talent, the latter in my opinion can be accomplished by almost anyone. So I make sure to designate my art as "The finest personalized
freehand art."

When an avid art collector came along at the Farmer's Market, he purchased a 16" x 20" framed "Cowboy's Eyes" he asked if it was an original. I replied, "Yes." Due to the fact that the painting is a direct transfer from the work to a substrate, with no stops in between. He was happy with his purchase, and I was happy because someone was willing to pay for my talent and hard work.

With a traditional piece, a high resolution photograph is taken to produce offset lithographic prints. The practice of selling "Limited Editions" as offset lithographic prints had its own controversy when it began. In some people's minds at the time, there could only be
one painting.

Later on I wondered if I was correct. So I looked it up, and here is what I found.  The IFPDA definition: “A digital print is only considered an “Original Print” if it was created by the artist to be realized specifically as a print.”

The term "Original Print" was new to me. Now I questioned if I had somehow mislead the gentleman who purchased the aforementioned piece. At the time I wasn't aware of this term, and calling it an "Original" was exactly what it was. The only difference being, multiple "originals" can be produced. Now that I knew the proper definition, I had to determine a way to designate something comparable to a traditional original.

My solution: I now sell an "Original" and attach a certificate of authenticity, to prove its value. I also sell "Limited Editions" at a price point that is more affordable, and also include a certificate of authenticity that is mutually exclusive in design.

To accommodate a wider audience, I continue to sell "Standard Original Prints" although with these, the price point is well below "Limited Edition" values. I only sign my short Given Name and
never include a certificate of authenticity.

Commission Contracts - Protecting You as well as the Artist

When you created an account on Facebook, or some other website (Amazon, Ebay etc.) did you honestly take the time to read through miles of legalese?

If you’re like myself, the answer is obvious. “No.”

First of all, most people cannot understand “legal language”, and secondly, who really has the time?!

If you are considering utilizing my artistic expertise to commission a painting, I too have a click agreement. Why? To protect the client, as well as the artist.

I’m sure if you are old enough, over the years you made a verbal agreement with someone for a service that is best left in the hands of a pro. Sometime during the execution of the service, you may have approached the professional, and stated, “I didn’t authorize that!” or “Why is the bill so high?!”.

Memory is a funky phenomenon. Eye witness testimony has been proven by scientists, not to be as accurate as we all would like to believe.

Contract law states, a verbal contract is legally binding if there is an “Offer” and an “Acceptance”. You can foresee the problem, “He said… she said.”

A written, signed contract may at first glance be a “turn off”, but mine at least has your best interests at heart. This leaves little or no room for misunderstandings.

Normally when one commissions a painting “Work for Hire”, the client may think they have the right to make copies of the painting because they paid for it. No… sorry.

The only thing the client owns is the “one-off” painting itself, not the right to make copies, or the actual copyright.

In the “old days” people would actually sit for long periods of time in front of an artist, as they create their masterpiece.

Most artists today work from photographs of the subject. I do the same thing, because it frees up the client, and allows the artist to take more time to analyze certain hues and features.

By the way, The Queen of England does sit for a commission; alas we’re not all royalty.

I only request copyright “assignment” to the “photo image” to create a painting on your behalf. I have no interest in the actual photograph. You have the right to make as many copies of that photograph your heart desires.

When you hire a professional photographer for a wedding, you pick out the photographs that are most pleasing to your eye. Any copies request by you, or family members, has a fee attached to them. This is how the photographer makes his living. He owns the “images” of you and anyone else that was part of the photo-event.

A painting commission done by yours truly, includes the time to paint (largest factor), canvas, framing, shipping and handling. I own the rights to the painting, not the photograph. Anyone else who requests an Original Print must be willing to purchase it.

The Digital Revolution

So much confusion arises from this term “Digital”. So what is it?

First of all, I will tell you what it is not. A computer or robot is NOT creating my art.

Older systems relied on more traditional methods to create or make something work. Examples: manufacturing (human labour), data transfer (copper wire vs. fibre optics), transistors (vacuum tubes included), are examples, and the term used to describe them is “Analog” (other than digital). Today with the microchip being massed produced, transistors (tiny switches) are now microscopic! This allows for insanely fast computations to be done on a level never imaginable before.

Ford assembly line in 1913.

Tesla assembly line in 2017.

copperwire fiber optic
Telecommunications wire, copper (analog) vs. Fibre Optics (digital)

Old Vacuum Tube

Old Transistors

Old Transistor Pocket Radios - Revolutionary for it’s time! No microchips here.

The Guts of Transistor Pocket Radios.

This 60 GHz single-chip CMOS radio-frequency device.

A new type of computer chip.

Back in 1983, I took an Architectural Drafting course at Assiniboine Community College in my home town, Brandon, Manitoba. We used rulers, pencils, drafting pens, stencils, protractors, triangles, a large drafting board covered in vinyl material, on top of which laid special paper, and a movable “arm” or drafting machine.

Mechanical drafting tables / machines.

Computer Design
CAD or Computer Assisted Drafting in 3D (dimiensions)

These “Digital” systems are just tools, just like the example above to help make things. In my case, instead of the old (analog) method of painting, tubes of paint, brushes, canvas, linseed oil, I use a computer program, called “Corel Painter” (software), on a 27” iMac Computer. One can now paint using a digital pen on a flat screen as seen in the article The Future of Art is Here and it's Mind-blowing! or as I use, a Wacom Tablet and digital pen (brush) as seen below.

Wacom Tablet with Digital Pen and iMac computer running Corel Painter software program.

This method, is exactly the same as the traditional method. It looks like paint, applies, mixes, blends, just like liquid based oil paints!

This screen shot is a closeup of the face of Lucifer from my recent painting “The Genius of Evil”.

View at 100%.

How is the paint (pigment) applied to real physical canvas?

Real Pigment is sprayed on canvas. The final artwork is called a Giclee or “Original Print”.

The International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) definition: “A digital print is only considered an “Original Print” if it was created by the artist to be realized specifically as a print.”

This image is applied directly to
real canvas. It is then mounted on stretcher bars, and framed for completion.

Why use this method? Artists are free from purchasing paint, brushes; deal with powerful odours, have a messy studio, or stained clothes. Artists can offer a real painting in the form of an “Original Print” which is
virtually indistinguishable from a traditional original, at 1/4 the price.

Had I created the painting below, 40” x 30” - “Genius of Evil” - with traditional methods, it would cost a prospective buyer $8,000.00. As an Original Print… $1,000.00.

Is there an equivalent to a traditional original? Yes. Only one (1) Original Print is produced; a “Mono-Print”. The original image is
permanently destroyed on confirmed delivery.


Failure is NOT an Option


Most people:

1. Don't have the fortitude to start a business.

2. Allow fear to dominate their lives.

3. Are obsessed wondering what everyone else will think.

4. Lack the integrity to move on despite the critics.

Yes… I have mine too. Superb quality surpasses those who wear rose coloured glasses.

Expenses for my first Art Exhibit:

Airfare, lighting, liability / travel insurance, display cables, business cards, booth space / carpet rental, seating, display banner, food, accommodations, travel, parking etc.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. I haven't mentioned the countless hours creating the paintings, having them printed, mounted, framed and shipped to and from the show.

After it was all over, the spreadsheet totalled: $7,294.71.

People gave me high praise for my work! Unfortunately, due to the recession it was a financial loss. Yet… I was still successful. I ventured out, took the risk, and learned many things.

I didn't let that stop me. Today, my art is now becoming more recognized.

There are those who desire to acquire quality art, but possibly cannot afford it; or...
they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain. Being surrounded by beautiful art is soul inspiring!

Then there are people like Elon Musk of Tesla Motors, SpaceX, SolarCity, PayPal and more, who take enormous risks. As seen in the video below, he has encountered enormous opposition.

60 Minutes Interview

It is people like Elon, that inspire me and others to keep going.

Original Freehand vs Photo-Painting

There are many artists who use third party websites to engage an audience. In addition to their own website, they may increase the odds of finding appreciative clientele, notwithstanding social media.

From the consumer point of view, whether it be to browse, or to shop for that perfect piece to compliment one’s decor; your final purchase may not match your intentions. Let me explain.

With the advent of the
“Digital Revolution” an artist, like myself, uses Corel Painter to paint with traditional methods. That means my paintings are painted freehand, exactly as I had when using physical media.

One really has to see it to believe it. Especially if one isn’t familiar with digital media. My generation was born outside of the computer age, so my learning curve has extended through many years of trial and error.

For the consumer who isn’t familiar with the art world, getting what you paid for is
very important. So how do you know the difference between, and Original Freehand painting, and a Photo-Painting?

The best way is to provide examples. On my
website I display images of my freehand paintings at 100% scale, choosing selected areas of the canvas. Below are examples.

The painting, “Genius of Evil” at full scale, size 30” x 40”.

Full face at 100%.

Right hand at 100%.

Left bat wing.

Left hand holding crown.

Crown and flag.

Right foot.

Apple and sceptre.

It is quite obvious the above piece was painted freehand.

Now I will show you examples of what is called a “Photo-Painting.”

Terms are
very important, and there are several: Portrait Picture - Insta-Painting - Photo-Painting - Hand-Painting - Photo Art etc.

Photo-painting is akin to making a rubbing off of some physical surface. I’m sure at some point during early school years, you may have done this using coins or some other image that has a raised surface. Using a soft pencil, or charcoal, the image appears on the paper as if by magic.

Photo-Painting is somewhat like that; only the” artist” (
I use that term lightly), imports a digital photograph into Corel Painter.

A semi-transparent layer is produced over the photograph using the “Quick Clone” function. By selecting a digital brush, one simply moves it over the subject matter, following the natural curves of the photograph. It literally lifts the colours off of the photograph and onto the new layer, applying a paint brush effect at the same time. These types are relatively easy to spot.

How does one identify these? They look a
little too perfect. View these: Example1, Example2.

There is
some artistic talent involved, yet these are NOT freehand digital paintings. Click on this link to view a video demonstrating Photo-Painting as explained above.

Now watch me paint using Corel Painter,
completely freehand.

I use a photograph or live model to work from; I “eyeball” it, as any traditional artist would, sketching first, then applying the paint.