Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Art...and Economics

Younger Son/Artist Son sold his first piece of artwork yesterday. A family friend commissioned him to do the colored pencil drawing below for his horse loving wife's birthday. My photo doesn't really do his art justice; we all enjoyed watching, as he worked on it the past several weeks, adding layer after layer of color.

Besides helping him to advance in his drawing technique, this commission allowed Artist Son to learn a little bit about the business side of being a professional artist. He had to pick out matting and frame, and then return to the frame store when the matting wasn't cut precisely. He also had to put a monetary value on his work. I was a little sad to see this beautiful picture leave the house but I had Artist Son's first pastel picture (below) framed at the same time and it now displayed in our family room.

When Artist Son received his pay for the horse picture, Active Son suggested that he start saving it now and that if he kept selling his artwork he'd have quite a bit saved for college. Older daughter, who, like the rest of our family has been privy to hours of college financial aid banter, dissented. She advised Artist son that it wouldn't pay to have college savings and that it could very well decrease his chances to receiving financial aid.

Since I have recently begun reading Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson, motivated by cyber-friend, Cindy's, reading and discussion posts, I recognized Oldest Daughter's comment as bad economics, albeit, economics she had heard promoted, to some degree, in our home (Not that we have purposely not saved a big chunk of money to pay for our children's college tuition. We just have not purposely done it.) We've all heard it said before but Hazlitt so clearly explains why "there is no such thing as a free lunch." All credit is debt--someone's debt.

As a business major, I took three semesters of economics in college. Unfortunately, I remember these as some of my most boring classes. I'm sure I picked up some vocabulary and concepts along the way, but I honestly can not articulate what I learned. Sad. I mostly remember furiously taking notes as my professor drew multitudes of graphs on the chalkboard.

And though the entire book is work reading (I'm admittedly only in chapter six, but it is very enlightening so far--lots of plain old common sense), Hazlitt really does, in the first chapter, distill the most important concept into one lesson:

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."

In other words, bad art, economically speaking, is man acting impatiently and selfishly. Now that is something I can understand, relate to, and agree with. Maybe my college professor mentioned something about the nature of man and how it related to all those charts, but if he did, I missed it. I look forward to reading more...


MagistraCarminae said...

Beautiful works of art! Well done!

Jenny said...

Those are beautiful works. The horse appears to be an Arabian; great job on the neck. Thanks for sharing

Kathleen Hamilton said...

Absolutely stunning! What talent your son has.

And Hazlitt's book is superb, too.