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
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
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
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!
“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
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
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
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 …