Thursday, August 13, 2009

Not Unless you Have A Really Cool Go-Kart

No. Really. I probably won't do this for you. I mean, not for a Go-Kart. Not unless yours is REALLY cool. Like with turbo boosters and a full 4 wheel independent suspension. Possibly a roof mounted potato cannon and definitely a chocolate milk cooler/dispenser.

I painted this picture for my son, really. It's not him, of course, and he's not going to keep it. Instead, he's going to keep my neighbor's go-kart.

For many months Alex and I had been collecting parts to build our very own go-kart. The goal was to build it completely out of scraps that we could collect for free. I lucked out early and found a guy giving away two broken down riding lawn mowers that we spent many happy hours disassembling with hammers, wrenches, cutting torches and other many implements of deconstruction.

It was fun.

It was not, however actually getting us any closer to actually having a running go-kart.

After many days of sweating and banging and grunting, I decided that we needed to get a closer look at a real, live go-kart. My neighbor, Lin, a local equestrian educator, had a go-kart at her stables. She used it to bribe a local teen to work for her. As far as I can tell, the deal went something like this: You shovel mountains of poop and you can then drive up and down our driveway in a go-kart.

This sort of arrangement, as you might imagine, soon lost its appeal and the go-kart was languishing, unloved, when Alex saw it and was immediately and hopelessly smitten.

He needed a go-kart.

So when our plans were seeming to go nowhere, I called Lin to see if we could borrow hers to take measurements and see how it was all put together. She agreed and then went on to ruin my life by adding, "For $50, it's yours."

Alex and I had been having a lot of fun planning and working together, but I knew that ignorant bliss would carry us only so far. Soon,the cold, hard reality of mechanics would drive us down the highway of disappointment.

(that was a beautiful metaphor)

I wrestled with the idea for a few minutes and then made Lin a counter-offer. "Okay", I said, "How would you like to barter for the go-kart?"
Ever a sport, she asked, "Whaddaya got?"
"Well, I just came back from this week long intensive portrait workshop with the world renowned painter, Paul McCormack. [see older posts for full, exciting details] Would you exchange the go-kart for a watercolor portrait of your kids?"
"My kids? I look at them all the time. I know what they look like. Would you paint one of my horses?" she asked.
"No. I can't paint horses, and don't you know what your horses look like, too?"
She admitted that my powers of persuasion were too great for her and she said that she would trade the go-kart for a portrait of her younger daughter.

While she was looking for a picture, she asked me what I charge for a portrait.

"They usually start at about $500." I answered casually.

I thought she was going to have a stroke.

"$500?!?! I can't make up the extra $450!" she said, clutching at her heart.

(I never asked her to make up the difference–I made the offer and I was happy with it.)

Sad to report that this reaction is all too common. People say they like my portraits and might want to have one done. Then they find out how much I charge and they soil themselves.

The portraits take a LOOONNNG time. I work on most of them for several weeks. If I actually broke it down to what I earned per hour, I'd probably soil MYself. I've spent years and years studying art, drawing, and painting and I take pride in what I do. The paintings will last for generations if treated carefully and in light of all that, I think they are well worth the meager sum of $500.

Or at least a REALLY cool go-kart.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Unfortunately people who don't do some type of art have no idea how long it takes to create something good and that .50/hour is really a good deal.

I think you both made out. A GO KART!!!! WHOO!

I think since you did all the work Alex should let you, at least!, have the first ride in the Go Kart!