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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


How Your Income Stacks Up

by Kevin McCormally
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
provided by

Where do you rank as a taxpayer? You may not feel rich earning $35,000 a year, but you're in the top half of taxpayers. Make $70,000, and you earn more than 75 percent of fellow taxpayers.

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Even as the Great Recession ends, we know the economic wounds it inflicted will take years to heal. The national unemployment rate has breached 10 percent, and unemployment is higher than 12 percent in California and above 15 percent in Michigan. A new study from the Department of Agriculture found that nearly 50 million Americans struggled at some point in 2008 to get enough to eat.

More than 40 million Americans are officially living in poverty. And you might be surprised at how little income it takes to not be considered poor by the federal government. For 2008, the poverty threshold for a single person under age 65 was an income of $11,201, or less than $1,000 a month. For a family of four, the threshold was $21,834. For a family of six, $28,769.

With that perspective, you may wonder just how your income stacks up against that of your fellow citizens. New statistics from the IRS provide an answer. The numbers here come from an analysis of 2007 tax returns, the most recent ones that have been studied.

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The data show that an income of $32,879 or more puts you in the top half of taxpayers. Earning a bit more than twice that much -- $66,532 -- earns you a spot among the top 25 percent of all earners. You crack the elite top 10 percent if you earn more than $113,018.

And $410,096 buys top bragging rights: Earn that much or more and you're among the top 1 percent of all American earners.

Kiplinger has developed an online calculator to quickly show you -- based on your personal adjusted gross income -- into which income category you fall and, as a bonus, what percentage of the nation's tax burden is borne collectively by you and your fellow citizens who are in that income category. The following table shows the income categories and the percentage of income earned and tax burden paid by each category.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I'm often asked where do I start and how do I "Become a Better Artist"?

Drawing is the most essential part of art. All you need is a pencil and paper. Set down and draw something. Draw everything you see on that something. Change the angles and perspective and draw it again. After doing this for a while you develop a relationship of proportions and how they relate to the overall pocture.

It is sometimes difficult to make objects look demensional on on a flat piece of paper. Even that has been worked out for you. It is called PERSPECTIVE DRAWING. Perspective in a painting or drawing is the relationship of one object to another and its size related to distance. Perspective is really a simple formula and is very easy to accomplish. All lines in a drawing vanish into distance to their vanishing points.

There is, 1 point, 2 point and 3 point perspectives depending the what you are try to accomplish.
Simply stated look at these examples.

Not to get to complicated, but it is possible to have several perspective points within one picture.
Get some information on how to draw in perspective especially if you draw buildings and outdoor scenes. I use perspective with roads, trails and rows of objects to lead the eye into the painting.

Work at it.


Thursday, December 17, 2009


Christmas, a time for joy–

We celebrate, for it is the birth of our Savior.
It really happened in April, but through time and Pagan beliefs we now celebrate in December.

Most of the narrative of the Saviors birth is the work of others. He wrote no books. The story of his birth has been canonized and told in standard works, The Bible , The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, all are the words of the Birth of Christ..

This story was foretold to us by the prophet Isaiah.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders and his name shall be called, wonderful, counsellor, the might god, the everlasting father, the prince of peace.. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David

"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.( meaning christ will be born into mortality of a virgin and will be among the people to save and redeem them).

It was a Levite priest named Zacharias who came to the temple to preside at the alter. An angel surrounded him in intense heavenly light and told him that his wife, Elizabeth, shall bear him a son. He shall be great in the sight of the lord and shall be called John. He shall ready and prepare the world for the Lord and Savior.

About 100 miles north of Jerusalem lay a modest peasant village called Nazareth. Here lived a daughter of Israel, called Mary – Gabriel, the heavenly angel also appeared to Mary, saying,
"Hail, though art highly favored. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women".

Behold thou shalt conceive and bring forth a Son.

He shall be called Jesus, the Son of the Highest, and the
Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father, David.

Mary could not comprehend, for she knew not a man.

"How shall this be?"

The angel replied saying...

"The holy ghost will overcome thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore that which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God".

And so it was...

And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed , every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David , which was called Bethlehem– for he was of the house of David.

It was early in April when Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem to be taxed.– Mary being great with child–While they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn_ a son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger–because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the light shone round about them... and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them "

Fear not for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you this day is born in the City of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manager.

And, lo, the star which they saw in the East, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was laying. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy, and when they were come unto the house they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God saying
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And so the prophesies of old have come to pass. A savior was born. And the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.

For unto us a child was born,
Unto us a Son was given
and the government shall be upon his shoulder
and his name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father
The Prince of Peace.

Oh Come Let Us Adore HIm

An so this is the Christmas spirit–

And the spirit of the lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor
and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. Isaiah 9:2, 6-7; 11:2-4

– The birth of the savior _The Son of God.– redeemer of all the world – born to save the world of sin––born for the salvation of all mankind–That if thou believeth in his name thou shall have everlasting life.

– peace on earth good will to all men: Amen

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I'm always interested in people and their behavior. What makes them do what they do. People are attracted to certain colors. Why they pick these colors is a study in itself. If we could figure this out you are your way to millions of dollars.

There are reasons why.

For and experiment go into a busy supermarket and without thinking about it and not having a motive, walk up to the first thing you see. Now try to figure out what attracted you to that spot. Remember you are just like everyone else.

Strong reds and oranges are on most packages because they attract more attention. But it is how you use the colors that make the sale. Same goes in painting. Some colors compliment others. Some colors accent others. Some
colors push other colors forward.

Beginning painters want to get right at a painting. They are more concerned about
the subject matter than what happens in the painting. Exaggeration of colors and
ther compliments are what it is all about.

Study color...

Talk to you Later


Monday, October 19, 2009


Food paintings, especially desserts are very hard to make them appear appetizing.

First off most desserts are very moist and runny. They are made out of items such as fruits, pastries, topped with Ice cream, frostings and carmel dripping over or chocolate base.

Sounds good huh.

When you mix all the ingredients together it often looks like MUD!
Mud in a painting never looks appetizing (unless it is pure chocolate).

Appetizing colors are peach, yellow, orange and red. Most fruits and pastries are in this color range. Browns, blacks, greens and blues really do make mud in a painting.

Pick an item that tells to story. Like a cherry for a for a cherry pie. Paint it as an object in the arrangement then paint the pie. Use the blues and blacks in the background to push the main objects in the painting forward.

It will take some practice before you to get to the point that you'll want to eat the

Remember less is more...


Monday, October 5, 2009


For years now I've been painting in watercolors. I like them and their easier to teach with. They have a soft and interesting strength to them and most people like a good watercolor.

I can do a good water color in the classroom in about one hour to one and a half hours. It has taken a long time to get to this point and have the confidence
to bang one out. When I do a workshop I always start with doing a painting
quickly. Not for the reason to show how good I am but to give the students an idea of the process. It helps to show the students not to labor over their work.

Oils are a little different. They take longer to paint because of the drying time of the oil base. Because it is a traditional medium they are more desirable to collectors and buyers. Galleries like them because they are not framed with glass. They have a longer life than any other medium. They can be cleaned with the proper solutions and will endure indefinitely.

Watercolors must be matted, framed and sealed behind glass. With some of the new glass products and the UV resistant glass they will last as long time. Fading would be the only problem but everyone knows not to hang in the sun. With museum quality glass it's not a problem, but don't hang in the sun anyway.

Oils fetch a much better price than watercolors. So, is that a good reason to just paint in oils? Some of my friends switched for the money. I resisted because I just couldn't give up my old friend. I'm going to try a few oils and just see how well I do.

Ya, it's for the money.

Talk to you later,

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I'm not sure if you can teach kids art. They have their own preconceived ideas of what art should be. If you give them a simple assignment they always come up with the same solutions.

I have yet to figure out who teaches them to put the sun in the upper corner of their painting.

I have decided to instruct them and not let them know they are being instructed.

You see, to really teach them you have to let them teach themselves. Just keep them drawing and painting. Give them drawing exercises that improve their ability to think, that's where the change is.

The rest takes care of itself, or they lose interest. That's ok we don't need that many artists anyway.

Talk to you later


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


As you face a white piece of paper, you often think what could I paint that makes a difference. You think of all the paintings that have done before you and how many different solutions that you might come up with. It's endless.

Keep in mind that no two people look alike and no two people will paint alike.

There is nothing that can come out of your head that you didn't put in. Again, you are what you are. The things you like may interest a lot of others also.

Now, what do I paint..

My one man show that I recently had surprised me on subject matter.
The show had big ones, small ones, lots of color and very eclectic. I painted subject matter from English country sides to a Peruvian woman with her Lama. With that variety I was sure that I had something for every one.

The show was catered by my good friend Jody, who by the way does these beautiful table arrangements of tasty little finger treats. She ask me to paint some food pictures for her tables to help accent the whole idea. They were small and just for interest I hand scribed the recipe on them (I only did three).

They were the hit of the show (along with the tasty treats of course).

Paint what you like, others will like it to.

Talk to you later,


Friday, September 11, 2009


While working in Chicago in my early art years in the advertising business, I learned some very important lessons. Lessons I have used throughout my artist life.

You see everyone was fighting for their position. A position that gives them some authority and possibly more money.

We art directors worked in teams on design projects, not leaving any stone unturned.

About 7-10 art directors would get the same assignment from the client via the account exec and were allowed to work on it for 2 t0 3 days. We would all go into our little corners and work away.

After three days we would get back together and proceed to present our concepts. Each art director would make his own presentation separately and wait for comments from the others. Like in all the movies we hoped that ours would be the shining star, and we would be called "Mister" by everyone in the firm.

For some reason some of the older and wiser ADs would wait to be last with their presentation. I always wanted to be first...pick me...pick me. Problem with being first everyone is fresh and full of comments. By the time you finished, you were really beat up.

The ones that presented last compared our bad concepts with their great ones.

Get the strategy. They always won.
I studied this behavior for several months before I finally figured it out.

I was purposely late for one of our sessions. That gave the last presentation.

That was not enough. On other presentations I was very vocal, especially the ones who had used the system. Not only was I vocal I was vicious. I tore their concepts apart piece by piece knowing what mine were and that they answered all the important questions .

I won ...

Talk to you later....

"Mister" Cloyd

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Whenever I show my paintings publicly I have funny things happen. I have had some people pull out some fabric and hold it up to the painting to see if it matches. Some pull out a tape to see exactly what the size is. I have even had them ask me to put a little kitten in the foreground.

Here's one...
...boy, that looks just like a photo. ( If that's what I wanted it to look like I would have used my camera!)

Things like this don't bother me much anymore. I just think, they know not what they do.

My favorite...

...A friend of mine when we were starting our family days, told me how much he liked my work.
"We've been looking for a wall hanging but don't know what we want. We'd like to borrow three or four of your paintings to see what we like, would that be ok".

"Of course" I said anxiously hoping to sell a painting. "Come over and pick what you want."

So he did,

"I'll let you know, "he said as I helped him load up his car.

I was quite excited that he liked my work and was going to buy one.

Several weeks went by and I hadn't heard from him.
I called and asked if he'd made up his mind. " Not yet", he said, "give me a little more time."

Not a problem I told him.

Several more weeks went by and I hadn't heard. Thinking that I needed a decision, I would have to be more forceful. I called him, worrying not to upset him but needed a decision.

"Have you made a decision yet?", I ask.

After a long pause... ..."Ya, we decided to buy a clock."

Be tough...

Talk to you later,

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I grew up in a small town in Idaho. The population was around 700 people in 1955, and it is still around 700 people. Not much changes. When I go back, I see all my friends that I went to school with and I know most that live there.

Business was done with a handshake. You knew who you could trust and who you couldn't. It was a simple surrounding that gave you a calm attitude to everything in your life.

I now live in San Diego, California (around 3.5 million people), what a difference. I go places and don't see anyone that I know. People are just faces and clothes that walk by you. You treat each other as objects that just happen to be there. You could be anywhere in the world and see the same scene.

When I do a painting , my work reflects more to my basic roots than to anything else. I like to paint calm pastorial scenes that are of my past. I try to juice them up with color and make them as exciting as possible but they all reflect on who I am.

Be honest with your work. Don't try to do things you havn't seen or experienced.

I sometimes laugh at artists who live in New York City and try to paint western art. They are too far apart to be real.

You are who you are. Make the best of it.

Talk to you later,


Monday, September 7, 2009


Should we try to paint every hair on the dog? Some painters do a very good job at this and I admire them for their tenacity. You often hear... it looks just like a photograph.

When this world was put together it was well planned and so complex right down to a small blade of grass. How can we do better than that.

Our job as an artist is not to duplicate this masterpiece, only create the allusion of it's beauty.
That can done in many ways. The expression of a subject matter will change every time someone paints it. That's the freedom of our expression. We each have our own style and ideas, and no two people will do exactly the same thing.

So don't be afraid to express your self in your own way. Your ideas are as good as any others.
Paint bold and simple...

...let the cameras pick up on all the hairs.


Talk to you later,

Cloyd Bedke

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Facing a white sheet of paper is often quite intiminating. I don't even look at it until I'm sure what I want to do.

First I go through my reference material and look at photos or whatever until one strikes me as a good interesting subject. I then make several small thumbnails of the picture. I push objects around until I think the composition is exciting. This may take you as long to do as the painting.
I apply the golden ratio for the placement the main subject in the painting.

I draw the details of the painting with a light pencil, saving out my whites. Then I paint as much
of the rest of the painting with a softer color killing most of the white. Now build your colors on top of those colors. Save the real dark values until last. Quite often your painting will not be definitive until the last 5 0r 10 minutes.

Work wet into wet in the beginning stages. Stay loose and don't try to define the detail until your happy with the way colors are working.

With most of my students they want to make the painting look good at the start. Not to worry about this, you are in control and can make changes whenever you want.

Try this!

You'll be surprised at your results.

I have some videos on this concept.

Talk to you tomorrow...

Cloyd Bedke

Monday, August 31, 2009


Today lets talk about composition.

We hear a lot about it but do you really know what composition does in a painting.

Composition is arrangement of objects, values and hues in a painting that will cause it to be more exciting and draw you into the piece. There are lots of ways to approach this problem. The placement of the "hero object" must be well thought out in relations to other objects or ideas in the painting. When working on a flat surface your arrangement of objects is very important.

For centuries some of the old master worked it out mathematically. They came up with a formula called the Golden Ratio (or golden mean). You simply divide the page into thirds horizontally and in thirds vertically. Where these lines intersect on the page you will place your impact objects. (learn more about the golden ratio). Remember pick one of these intersections and place your hero their.

In philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, the golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency.

Other ideas are strictly symetrical (gets boring). Sometimes move the hero high in your page and let it fall off the top of the page for attention. (Sometimes when you break all the rules it works)
You have to experiment with the placement of subject matter of the painting.

Talk to you later

Cloyd Bedke

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm Back...

Something happened that my site wouldn't let me blog. Sometimes the simplest things are hard to figure out.

Well I'm still get ready for my show on the 26 of September.

I have been making my own frames. It's not hard to do and lets you personalize each painting.
I also wanted to experiment with colored frames. It seems that most frames are dark wood or gold. My decorator friends want to see a wall hanging that makes a statement. That doesn't mean that the painting doesn't have to be good but the whole package must make the statement.
I have a feeling that people will respond . They might not tell me the truth.

I've been scanning my paintings into the computer and changing the colors of the mats and frames until I 'm happy with the combination. This takes a lot of trial and error of mixing and matching colors to a minimum. The choices are endless.

Example, same picture two different ways to go.

Make things easy.

Talk to you later,


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Next month I'm putting a private art show. I do this about every seven years.

When you get about 40 paintings ahead in your inventory, and just havn't had time to show them, do your own show. Invite all those who has expresed an interest in your work. Don't leave anyone out. You should be able to come up with 200 or more names. Send out an invitation and you will be surprised how many show up. I'm going to do a quick draw and a couple of silent auctions to get them involved. I expect to sell a few paintings in the process.

I'm cutting matts and glass for some frames that I made. The hard part of this kind of show is getting it ready. I'm going to do at my home, inside and out. I have some beautiful gardens and patios that I can display the work. It is a great way for you to show your work.

You'al come
Talk to you tomorrow,


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Birthday

Today is my birthday..

I'm just past 70. I feel like I'm in my 30's. There are some things I don't do physically but you work around it.

After being involved in the arts for fifty years I have just started to understand some of the things about it. Oh , if I could just relive some of those unproductive years.

You never get to go back, but I think those years are necessary for our evolvement.

I have a mind that remembers detail. Sometimes it gets in the way but in a painting the detail saves the piece. If you practice and train your mind it will stay as young like you feel.

Go into a room, look around and then leave. Write down all the things you remember about the room. At first you won't do very well. But with practice you will get quite good with your observations.

When I was a kid, my father was quite proud that I could go out in a crowd, and later I could remember what color dress certain people wore.

In the advertising business it was important to know what made a product more visable than others. I did the same idea in a store. I would go into the store, walk to the first thing that got my attention, and try to figure out why.

Keep your mind working regardless of your age.

Talk to you tomorrow,


Saturday, August 15, 2009

As I travel around the country I take a lot of photos. not quite knowing which ones will stimulate me later. This is a New England scene that intrigued me .

Beautiful reflections in the water, red barns with broken angles, fall color in the leaves around the setting.

Problem was, with so much going on what should the impact of the painting be. So I worked out some small sketches, moved some things around, developed some strong diagonals with reflections and darks... pushed the buildings up to where they were higher in the painting and then went to work.

Nature is so busy that you should leave most of it out and treat it with shape, value and hue. This painting is somewhat recognizable to the photo but the photo was only a reference.

Stay loose and save the "Hot Licks" for the finish.

What do you think?

Talk to you tomorrow,


Friday, August 14, 2009

I have decided to start a blog on "How to become a better artist".

I have never done a blog before.

I've been an artist for over 50 years. Like many of you I have highs and lows and many frustrations. I have painted some great pieces and also have drawers full of clunkers.

The secret is is to know which are the clunkers.

In my workshops with 10 to 15 students I always ask the question, how do you like it.
And most often they don't know.

This blog is to guide you through the process of creativity... things to do and don't do...
how to face a white piece of paper, canvas or any other creative process.

My experience I will share with you. I don't have all the answers but we'll find out those we don't.

Remember, money is not the way to measure your success as an artist. There are lots of people using warm little fuzzy ideas that sell. Her today gone tomorrow. You can make a living just painting cats and dogs.

Who are you and what do think,
Lets talk tomorrow.