Roll With It…
I’m at the Sunday Arts Market (in Melbourne’s CBD) as I’m starting to type this. Sales have been ok, considering the market wasn’t happening for 10 months, due to Covid -19. It’s just starting up again.
What’s really great is: I’m lucky enough to be out meeting people face to face again.
Some youngsters recognised my work – they’d been drawing my cartoons via my YouTube channel. Another lady recognised my cartoon style .. she got ‘3 pigs on a beach towel’ cartoon print for a birthday present, recently. Other people are interested in the plein air paintings. Here’s this week’s….
Painting (plein air).
I nearly got blown away painting this one… ‘The mad painter rocks up to the beach… it’s raining.
He turns the car around and drives off. Changes his mind. Drives back and heads a bit further down. The rain has abated. He picks up the painting bag and sets off over the sandhills. The windswept beach is deserted…
… apart from a few hardy souls’ ( like the 2 women who were there on their ‘wellbeing’ retreat, whom I had the pleasure of chatting to as I painted – and here it is:
Yes, there’s a real determination required to do this thing. This ‘sticking with it’ has resulted in my producing quite a few seascapes over the years (plein air and studio) … there’s a selection of studio paintings here (available as prints)
Going to the market is more than just making a buck. It’s affirming to have ‘one on one’ contact with so many folks that like art and music. They walk away with a smile and that, to me, is gold.
As is widely documented, it can generally be a challenge to make a living from the arts. I’ve been lucky to have managed this. Perhaps lucky isn’t quite the right word… you make your own luck to a degree.
Being flexible and ‘having my finger in a few different pies’ has certainly been helpful. It has come at a price: I’ve happily put in the hours in a number of disciplines to get to the point where I could include them in my ‘profession’ (again, wrong word – when you’re an artist, it’s more of a calling).
Here this week’s
‘Unwind’ – Instrumental version, live in the Studio.
Today I decided to video myself playing the piano along to a prerecorded backing track. it’s such a nice feeling, sitting in with the other instruments. I enjoy just piano solo too, but it’s nice to have a change.
Actually I recorded all the other ‘instruments’ too – on the keyboard (even the ‘guitars’ and ‘bass’). I love arranging music like this. This is one of 10 songs I’ve been recording lately.
So ‘Unwind’ will be released like this and also the sung version. In fact, I think I’ll release instrumental versions of all of the 10 songs. A few will also end up on my upcoming piano solo album too.
I’ll be producing the sheet music for these songs and eventually I’ll have available a ‘how to play’ tutorial and include backing tracks to play along with. That’ll be fun.
As an artist, You sort of have chapters that roll along for a while, before the rules all seem to change – and then you change your business model to suit. It takes energy and thinking – but it doesn’t pay to overthink things.
It can change overnight. CDs for instance. Advertised to last a lifetime…but it didn’t matter because the format had a limited lifespan. A while back, at gigs and art markets I was selling about 15 per week at $15 – $20.
CD sales had become a healthy part of my weekly income and i thought I’d be able to rely on that. (I still have some of my music available on CD, while stocks last – see www.petepascoe.com )
Overnight, Napster happened, was judged illegal, then someone tweaked the model a little and… suddenly it was deemed lawful. Bang. Goodbye CDs, hello streaming.
CDs became your calling card.
Bandcamp is a great platform for both artists and people looking for new music. Here’s my bandcamp site
There are 13 albums here , in a variety of styles.
Now you need to be selling ‘merch’. Sheet music is an obvious one for me. I have some available and I’m working on much more of this. I love composing and arranging music.
Heres a piece that’s available on the Sheet MusicPlus site ( one of 9 pieces so far)
I love the fact that people are enjoying playing my music on the piano. I have so many songs to notate and publish. The arrangements are all ready…. first drafts, hand written. I just need to make the time to turn them into the finished product , like the ones on Sheet music plus.
Back to streaming: You need an enormous amount of streams to make any real money. For the average artist, the percentage that goes to the artist per play is tiny…suggestions as to whom you might like to listen to are made by a computer algorithm. There’s lots of well recorded very average music to plough through to find the good stuff, etc.
Still, we box on and I’m grateful people are listening to and enjoying my music. eg: my most recent piano album, Peace, has got some traction around the world, particularly in Russia (!). 23,000 streams so that’s coming along.
But streaming doesn’t happen by itself. There are so many time consuming strategies an artist can use to promote music. But you only get so much energy – and there’s only so much time in a week.
I’ve spent a large proportion of my time & energy on teaching piano ( out of necessity – sure it’s great to be passing on the art, I’m aware I’m privileged and I’m very lucky to be able to do this, etc , but…) weekly lessons take a lot of energy.
You are supposed to spend 50% of your tiem on your art and 50% of your time on the ‘business’ these days. Not great news for and ‘out and out artist’ like me. Still, on the business front…
I’ve spent a lot of time and energy creating and sharing art and music online on various platforms, these last 11 months (like producing this blog). Eg, this series of cartoon drawing videos:
This can all be accessed for free. What do I get out of it? 1: The knowledge that I’ve made a difference in some small way during what has been a difficult time (An entire primary school was tuned in each week for months to draw for their mindfulness exercise). Things like that certainly help to make it all worthwhile.
2: This sharing process is raising people’s awareness of my work & myself as an artist and teacher. Eventually I’m going to have a lot of ebooks and video courses for sale online, based on what I’ve published so far: How to compose music, how to play piano, arrange songs. How to paint seascapes plein and in the studio. How to draw cartoon animals… Plus a stack of sheet music & how to play the pieces, etc…
It will be great to have all this archived and available online. I look forward to the moment where I have a website full of ebooks and video courses – and I’ll make sure I enjoy the journey to that point.
For now, I am researching the ‘how to’ – and figuring out how I’m going to pay for all the gear, software, online storage, etc, I’m going to need. To be honest, it’s daunting. These are big projects, but I’m hoping to really get my teeth into this this year.
and, of course, I’m going to be continuing on with my art and music.
Last night I really enjoyed recording vocals for ‘Unwind’ – the song I’ve posted an instrumental song of this week. I love recording in the studio. The upcoming solo album is nearly finished, I’m up to doing first real mix of the 10 songs. Might not be too far away! Look out for a new album again soon!
In the meantime, the band album is streaming well. Like a bit of ‘easy’ rock music? A real band interacting together? Check this out, if you haven’t already. In the style of Neil Young, Crowded House…. if you like it, please do share ‘this far and wide’ that would help me so much.
Spotify The Roughest Cut by Pete Pascoe & The Patient Hum
….and if you know someone who might enjoy this blog, please do send them a link.
I enjoyed making the video for Mobile Phone (the first single). The video is about how mobile phones/devices can really disrupt connection and communication.
Here’s the video:
& Here’s this week’s
Song and a Chat Podcast
(from the shownotes… read more and listen by following the link above)
Sometimes the cliche of ‘a dark time in a life being the time where seeds can be planted and eventually grow into something new’….happens.
This is what happened with In My Own Time.
One dark night long ago, I wrote down exactly the thoughts that came into to my mind- stream of consciousness style.
The music does reflect the mood of those words. But there’s an underlying sort of uplifting lilt that comes through, almost despite myself. It seems to be an ongoing theme in my art and music – I will generally offer something that is ultimately uplifting.
But it’s true -the artist’s pain can become something that gives people pleasure…and that’s just one of the great things about the arts.
In this episode, I also include a section of the version the band eventually recorded. It’s quite ‘up’. So much so, it became the song we played first at all our gigs for a few steps.
Here’s where you can hear the whole band version of the song (and the whole album – ‘This World Offers You)
So, from the dark night of the soul, something has grown and it has lasted.
No matter what you’re up to, if you’re on a path, following a passion, never give up. Just keep moving and you’ll get through.
I’m loving sharing my songwriting tips, ideas, etc… Each week, I’m looking forward to recording an episode for this podcast. I record my spoken voice the way I rewrite my lyrics: I shoot from the hip, go with instinct and sense of exploration – and I have fun. Actually that’s not a bad recipe to keep in mind when you’re trying to get into the creative zone required to do anything in the arts. …
OK, that’s it for this week. You’ve just got to find something you love doing and then you just roll with it and enjoy the ride…
Hope you’re having some fun along this way this week. I am.
PS Here’s the lyrics to the song featured on this week’s podcast episode.
In My Own Time Words and Music by P.Pascoe
Frame me picture me paint me finish me
Trap me catch me post me deliver me
From your hands to another land
from my mind to another land
Trust me speak to me hear me love me
Rush me push me use me love me
In my own time in my own way in my own time
I’ll risk and I’ll burn and I’ll die and I’ll turn
I’ll seek and I’ll grow and I’ll live and I’ll learn
Like a river to the sea to the sky to the mountain