In the 1950s a team of primate biologists studying the Macaca Fascata monkeys that lived on Koshima, an island off Japan, would dump sweet potatoes on the beach for the monkeys to eat. The sweet potatoes were like currency. The monkeys loved them and would spend more time on the beach. giving This exchange gave … Continue reading Level Up with a Challenge
An art process journal (APJ) is a record of how you develop your artwork or project as well as your development as an artist. It may contain collected images, drawings, and even small paintings; printed or written text; research; color palettes and material swatches; samples of pen and brushwork; different designs, media, and techniques; and … Continue reading Why You Should Make An Art Process Journal
To create means to take raw materials—canvas, pigment, paint, brushes, pencils, paper, clay, dirt, stones, glass, water, seeds, food, technology, fire, even pressure; and most important of all, our thoughts—and create. We create art and music, tools and technology, community and communities, fun and fitness, first with our thoughts and then with things. In all … Continue reading The Biggest Creative Block is Resistance
Are you waiting to be ready before you share what you know? You’ve got lots of company. We often think we’re not ready to share what we create. That kind of thinking is the result of comparing yourself to others. And since thoughts are what create beliefs, and if you think your work isn’t good … Continue reading Why You Need to Share Your Work
I told my parents I wanted to be an artist when I was in my early teens. My mom was silent on the subject, but my dad let me know what he thought. “You can’t earn a living as an artist,” he said. Some part of me abandoned the artist who lives inside me that … Continue reading Life is always Unfinished and Creative
…If the desired habit and goal are aligned with an existing routine. One of my important goals is to develop the habit of writing daily. It’s a scary goal to commit to because I’ve tried to develop a daily writing habit before, and failed. Fear of failing has caused some cognitive dissonance, because while I … Continue reading Mini Habits Can Lead to Big Results…
Teaching myself to paint with gouache has been a series of near wins and a lot of misses. I attempted this because I’m traveling in a few weeks and I want to paint at locations I’ll visit. Using gouache has practical advantages over oil paint that I’ve used for years. Gouache is easier to transport, … Continue reading Creating is a Process
I feel an uncomfortable tension when I start a new painting or when I write about my artwork and art practice. There are two main reasons for these feelings. First, the possibility of failure looms large. I’m never sure I can actually do what I want to do. And if I do succeed, then people … Continue reading Why I Create Art and Write about It
We create by giving attention to something. The quality of what we create depends on how we think. I’ll share the story behind the moment captured in the photo as an example of how what we think about comes about. Setting My Intention I play a game with myself once in awhile. It’s a game … Continue reading How We Create All of Our Experiences
When I was growing up, it was common to let kids play alone or go for walks by themselves. My parents liked to visit with an older couple who lived in a very rural area and after I’d run out of things to occupy myself in their house, I’d walk down the driveway to the … Continue reading Stopping a Habit vs. Starting a New One
It was summer and the year was 1994. I was sitting on the grass beside one of my flower gardens in my backyard and focused on deadheading wilted blossoms on a row of white petunias that stretched along the edge of the garden. For several days I’d felt frustrated, angry, depressed, and I’d avoided any … Continue reading Live in Joy!
Under copyright law, the artist creator has the exclusive right to: Distribute the work in any form Make copies of the work in any fixed form (digital or print) Display the work in pubic or on a website Make derivatives of the work by modifying or changing an original work, and Publicly perform the work … Continue reading Copy Like an Artist, Don’t Steal
The myth of the starving artist is a MYTH that got a foothold in society’s consciousness in the 19th Century, when a man named Henri Murger wrote a tragic love story about Bohemian artists Mimi and Rudolfo. Murger lived among a group of uneducated, poor Bohemians in Paris. He knew that readers are entertained by … Continue reading Prosperity for Artists
What is your most important creative work? Answering two questions will help you identify the most important thing you can do with your time. If there is only one thing you can work on now, what would it be? If there is only one direction you can take your work in for twelve months, what … Continue reading Identify THE Most Important Thing To Do Now
Finding time to be creative may seem like a stretch when earning a living, maintaining a home and personal relationships, and sleep take up most of your day. Time to express your creative self may seem like a wishful thought: a pipe dream. And being the creator that you are will continue to feel like … Continue reading What Is Your Most Important Creative Work?
Artmaking has always had a special place in my life. My first attempt at creating public art was a crayon drawing on the bedroom wall of a grade school friend. I was never invited back to her house. In high school, I fantasized about being a fashion designer and living in Paris. I want back … Continue reading Reawakening to Creativity
This is my birthday month and I’ve decided to focus the whole month toward being happy as much of the time as I can. Why? Because I know feeling happy is a state of mind that I have control over. I can choose to be happy or not and feeling happy has benefits. A lot … Continue reading Be Happy
For several years, John has curated the work of landscape artists for a cyber art show that he shares with his audience of landscape painters on Facebook. Every week, he asks his followers a question. A recent question was: “If you had to pick just one thing that being an artist has taught you, … Continue reading Everyone is Creative
I binge watched episodes of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix last weekend. Kondo is a small woman with a big mission. She teaches people to sort and tidy their belongings in ways that she says will bring joy into their lives. In every episode, I saw people change as they worked through Kondo’s tidying … Continue reading Konmari Changed My Relationship to Books
Originally posted on Sharon Leah ~Artists Thriving~:
I have journals and notebooks scattered all around my home. I love them. And I love to write in them. I’m just not very consistent about when I write or what the purpose of my writing should be. So sometimes, often, I have two or three journals going… Continue reading Should Artists Keep Art Journals?
Originally posted on Sharon Leah ~Artists Thriving~:
Pierre Bonnard, The Dining Room in the Country, 1913 I’m a plein air landscape artist and I do some still life paintings when the weather is bad or it’s just too cold to stand outside for three hours. I live in Minnesota. Today, I can say that I… Continue reading Why Paint in a Tradition
The moon is full today in the sign of Capricorn and reflecting the light from the sun that has been traveling through the sign of Cancer since the Summer Solstice on June 21. There are lots of stories and legends about the effects of the moon cycle, especially the full moon, on humans. Most of … Continue reading Emotions Reveal Your Focus
Magnetism is the force of attraction or repulsion. Magnetism is caused by spinning electrically-charged particles moving around, and the magnetic field of an object can create a magnetic force that attracts other objects. When two magnetic objects are close together, there is a force that attracts the poles to each other. Our human bodies generate … Continue reading Thoughts are Energy that Create Worlds
Originally posted on I SPY BLUE SKIES:
When the airplane touched down on the runway at Rio Galeão airport in Rio de Janeiro, I stared out the window in a state of disbelief. After planning this trip for nearly a year, I had finally arrived, and I didn’t want to get off the airplane. I… Continue reading Day One: A Crash Course in Navigating South America
I’ve been painting roses like the one pictured here for the past three weeks as homework for a class, “Finding Inner Peace through Painting Roses” that Dennis Perrin offers online. I’ve felt many things while standing in front of my easel and working really hard to paint roses, but feeling peaceful has not been my … Continue reading From Inside the Stillness that Is a Rose
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. ~ St. Francis of Assisi Continue reading Make art with heart
Insist on the beauty of form and color to be obtained from the composition of the largest masses, the four or five large masses which cover your canvas. Let these things above all things have fine shapes…Let them be as meaningful of your subject as they possibly can be. ..Remember that the greatest beauty can … Continue reading Insist on the Beauty of Form
The success of any creative effort depends on your expectations and how ready you are to do what you want to do. What are your expectations for yourself? For the outcome of your effort? How prepared are you to meet your expectations? Playbook strategy There’s often a gap between where you are and where you … Continue reading Ready, Set, Go…Well, Maybe
Yes! If you feel desire (and we all do), you are a creative person. We tend to confuse “creative” and “talented,” and they do overlap, but they’re not inter-changeable. You can be talented and creative. You can also be creative and have little or limited talent, which I define as “an aptitude or skill.” The … Continue reading Are you creative?
Don’t try to paint good landscapes. Try to paint canvases that will show how interesting landscapes look to you — your pleasure in the thing. ~ Robert Henri in The Art Spirit When I passed by this Wisconsin farmstead on a summer day in 2015, I had to stop the car and just take it in. … Continue reading Fields and Clouds
I read two articles today about being “authentic.” The author of one article, a psychologist, said people misunderstand what it means to be authentic. She believes we begin life as a blank slate and create, or author, ourselves. She bolsters her argument that we create ourselves by referencing the fact that the words author and authentic … Continue reading Be Yourself
A lunar eclipse occurred this morning (January 31) when the sun and moon were on opposite sides of earth. Our earth actually blocked the sun’s light from reaching the moon. For a brief time, the reflective moon was darkened as it passed through the earth’s shadow. A bit of trivia In ancient times, astronomers in … Continue reading Are you being urged to create something new?
An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. ∼Edwin Land I painted in my twenties and thirties. Then I put my paint box on a shelf in the basement and went on with life. The “idea” of painting sometime in the future never left me, but as time passed, fear set in and … Continue reading What does fear of failing prevent you from doing?
I joined artist Mary Glikerson’s 5-day challenge last week, and finished five quick studies (see here) for the challenge. The challenge was to paint for a set amount of time—20 to 40 minutes—and to stop when time was up. The intention: start a daily practice. All my studies took 40 minutes, but I plan to … Continue reading Daily Practice is Fun!
6×6″ oil on wood panel. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed creativity implied freedom of action. Poets were thought to be creative, because they brought to life new worlds. Artists were not considered creative, because they copied what they saw—imitated, in other words—and didn’t create anything new. So it remained, with little real change, until roughly the … Continue reading Creativity: What is It?
In the years since I first read Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather, my life has “happened.” It’s easy to look back and feel some regret about what was abandoned or never realized, or to want time back so different decisions can be made. But time isn’t retrievable, and regret is uncomfortable. Like a prickly … Continue reading Begin Again: Let Go of Regret
“Hope” 8×6″ oil on linen panel. Updated January 10, 2018. Last year began well, but health problems surfaced in April that caused me to put painting and many other things on the back burner for the rest of the year. I’m just now starting to engage in many things I had to set aside during those … Continue reading It’s a New Year
A blank canvas IS uncertainty. I feel it every time I set up to paint. But the only way to move from uncertainty to less uncertainty is to try (and maybe fail). And that’s the beauty of deliberate practice—it’s intentional practice. There is no expectation to complete work, only to practice. We can work with … Continue reading Showing Up Matters Most
A man I know has spent his entire adult life becoming exceptional. He is a world-renowned astrologer and a couple of years ago he began sharing his knowledge on Facebook for free. Now in his seventies, he wants to give back to those who have supported and sustained him and his work. In one of … Continue reading Doing What Matters
Red Onion study on 8 x 6 inch linen panel. This little study happened because I needed to get my daily practice done and it was already dark outside. Instead of looking for an interesting tree to paint, I looked through the cupboard and found a lovely red onion and a faded green dish rag. … Continue reading Peeling Away the Layers with Practice
Unfinished pochade study, #14 in series of 50, oil on 8 x 6-in linen panel. The artwork an artist produces is the result of long series of decisions. Choosing colors or brushes or the type of surface to paint on are among the decisions we make, but those decisions only come after many others have … Continue reading A Painting is the Sum of a Lot of Decisions
8 x 6-inch oil on linen panel pochade study. This wet (yes, those are rain drops) pochade study is #2/50 that I’ve committed to doing. My intention and reason for doing 50 out-of-door studies is two-fold. I want to improve my technical skills and I want to better understand my personal style. Austin Kleon wrote, … Continue reading On Finding Personal Style
When the goal is to get better, deliberate practice is the strategy to use. Deliberate practice works because it makes the difficult familiar and, therefore, easier to do. Deliberate practice involves repetition and having a coach or mentor who can help guide the practice and offer constructive critiques. What I learned about painting a tree … Continue reading Trees and Sky
If I had only … forgotten future greatness and looked at green things and the buildings and reached out to those around me and smelled the air and ignored the forms and the self-styled obligations and heard the rain on the roof and put my arms around … …it’s not too late …it’s morning. I … Continue reading Notes to Myself
To do better at anything, from painting to shooting hoops, there is no substitute for daily, deliberate practice. K. Andres Ericsson and his team have lead the research on deliberate practice, and they tell us being deliberate about practice can shorten the time—thought to be about ten years under normal conditions—to expertise. It requires four things: … Continue reading Do It Daily, Do It Deliberately and Improve Dramatically
There is an underlying, indwelling creative force infusing all of life—including ourselves. ~Julia Cameron in It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again Julia would probably say I responded to a creative force when I started this blog. And she would be right. I was riding a new wave of creative energy that I had (metaphorically … Continue reading It’s Never too Late to Begin Again
I attended a workshop yesterday to learn how to prepare a business plan for my art business. What happened there was very unexpected. I thought of a completely different and exciting way to grow my business. At least, I felt excited about the idea when came to me. This morning, not 24 hours later, I’m … Continue reading Playbook Strategy # 1 for Creatives: Don’t Confuse Can’t with Won’t
Advice that’s frequently dispensed to people in creative fields goes something like this. “If you want to be successful, then develop a unique, marketable style. Know what buyers want. Then, go forth and create paintings people will like and buy.” This may actually be poor advice. People like paintings of dogs and cats and of … Continue reading What Motivates Us to Make Art?
Consider this: Does listening to music help us be creative? I arrived early at Joe Paquet’s Thursday night studio painting class to get set up for three hours of painting and critique. Joe likes to play music while we paint and on that evening, he started out with opera music. The painters around me weren’t … Continue reading Music is to Painting …
Consider this: Can anyone create art? The answer depends on who you talk to. Some people say “true art” can be created only by people who understand that art should exist only for itself and that it doesn’t need to have utility or a function. I’ve tried to imagine what such works of art might be like and … Continue reading Art Is …
Five days into NaNoWriMo, I have passed the 10,000 word count milestone. Getting to that milestone was hard, and to “win,” I have to write 40,000 more words. Winning NaNoWriMo means crossing the finish line on November 30 with 50,000 words written and verified. Verifying word count is the easy part of writing a novel-length … Continue reading Making Meaning is What Matters Most