• Thursday Thoughts – Bucket List?

    Bucket List?

    The Ultimate Blog Challenge topic for today was a bucket list. I am not really sure what I would put on my bucket list, other than a trip to Hawaii at some point. I mean sure there are things I want to do, but none really seem major enough for a bucket list. Things like trying oil paints (I currently paint in acrylic).
    So instead of a bucket list I thought I’d just share some thoughts about projects I hope to do in the next year. These are not in order at all.

    Goals for the Year

    ⦁More Sculpted Paintings

    My Dixon Wings was part painting, part sculpture, and I want to do more of these hybrid types of works. Only I want to take it further, I want more sculpting. I’m planning on using paper mache to do some of the sculpting, a bonus to this is that I can utilize some of my damaged canvases and it won’t have any negative effect on the final artwork. A small tear in a canvas isn’t going to matter after the entire canvas is covered in strips of paper mache, since paper mache is strong enough to hold up on its own once it is dry. Then over the paper mache covered canvas I will take paper mache mulch (also known as paper clay), and sculpt whatever I want over the paper mache platform. I can also use undamaged, but previously used canvases, such as some that have demo paintings on them from my classes. I can use those for sculpted paintings, because I’ll be covering them with enough layers that the existant texture of the demo painting won’t show through the sculpture.

    Daryl Dixon inspired art.
    Here the Daryl Dixon inspired wings are pretty much finished. All that remained at this point was a little touch up in a few areas.

    ⦁ More Volunteer Work 

    Some of my most enjoyable times have been painting sets for KCMT, somehow I want to carve out more time to do that. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it work or not, because often the times when the work is done is during my shifts at the studio, but I plan to contact the person in charge of sets and try to work something out.

    Alladin Sets
    The finished wing panels, still sitting in the painting room at KCMT, and without their caps.

    ⦁ Compile a Portfolio of my Demo Paintings

    Every time I teach a class, I come up with a demo painting for that class, I know I need to start compiling a portfolio of those sample paintings, so that if someone wants to book a private party they can choose a painting from that portfolio.

    This class was a lot of fun, and I got to meet someone I’ve known online for years, but never met in person. She came to my class!

    ⦁ Mural Size Paintings

    I’ve already done some mural size paintings for sets, but I want to put some on canvases. I recently purchased some very large canvases, and I am giving careful thought to what kind of painting I want to put on them. I’m just not sure where I will put them once they are finished, if I had a guaranteed buyer it wouldn’t be a problem, but to complete them and not know if I have room to hang them makes me a little nervous, I guess I’ll give it some thought, and once I decide on where they can hang, I’ll get started on them.

    ⦁ Uploading all my Completed Works to my Website and Etsy Shop

     I still have so many completed works that I haven’t uploaded anywhere. I really need to catch up and stay caught up. I think for smaller works such as jewelry a tabletop whitebox for my photos would really help, right now getting set up to take good product photos just takes so long, but if I had a whitebox for those photos it would really streamline the process. So I guess that gives me another item for my list.

    Jewelry Pendants,peacocks,circle necklaces,bottlecap necklace,green blue peacock,art print necklace,peacock necklace,bird necklace,Item #PN1 Jewelry Pendants, peacocks, circle necklaces, bottlecap necklace, green blue peacock, art print necklace, peacock necklace, bird necklace, bottlecap bottle cap, bottle cap necklace, girls necklace, gift for girl, teen tween girl
    This necklace can be purchased by clicking RIGHT HERE

    ⦁ Build or Buy a Product Photography White Box

    See my explanation above.

    ⦁ Establish a Regular Schedule for Blogging

    During the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I manage to blog daily, but for some reason when the challenge is not going on, despite the fact that I really want to, I just don’t set aside the time to write regular blog posts. I want to remedy this and start keeping a regular schedule for both this blog and my weight loss blog. For the weight loss blog weekly updates are all that is really needed, but I really feel that I should be posting on this blog at least three times a week, if not daily, and all I lack is the discipline to do it!

    So there are the things I really want to do this year, how about you? Is there anything you really want to do over the coming year? Let me know in the comments.

  • Way Back Wednesday

    Some of my oldest Artwork

    I thought I would start sharing some of my older pieces of art, things I did before I ever would have thought to call myself an artist.  I don’t have a lot of this work, most of it has gotten lost over the years, and of what I do have, a lot of it is damaged.  Still, I thought I’d share it, to kind of look back on my artistic development.  So each Wednesday I’ll share a piece, until I’ve shared all that I have.

    Seventh Grade Art Class

    I had a difficult childhood, there was abuse, there was neglect.  I don’t want to get into a lot details, but by the time I was in 7th grade I was fairly messed up.  I skipped school a lot.  Sometimes I was at school but would fail to go to all my classes.  One class I never willingly missed though was art class.  It was my 5th period class.  I wish I could remember my teacher’s name, he was really a great teacher who cared about his students.  Sadly, I don’t remember though.  It was in this class that I learned the basics of drawing, shading, perspective, etc.

    Self Portrait

    One of our assignments was a self portrait, it was done in January, I know because I wrote that on the back.  I remember I wasn’t happy with it because the mouth was crooked, I felt that the rest of it was pretty good, except the mouth.  I tried to erase, but we were using a strange brownish red chalk I’ve never used since, and a cheap paper… my efforts to erase were doing little more than wearing a hole in the paper, even though I was carefully using the kneaded eraser that  the teacher said would lift the chalk.  Finally, I stopped erasing, figuring a crooked mouth was better than a big hole.

    Now of course as I look at it, I see a lot more wrong than just the crooked mouth, I did almost no shading on the cheeks, I NEVER had eyebrows that thin, and didn’t draw any eyelashes at all, plus my eyes are much wider than my own eyes are, but I probably made that change on purpose because I’ve always disliked that one of my eyes kind of droops and both tend to squint. Still, I guess it wasn’t horrible for 7th grade work done by someone who really didn’t focus on anything I should have focused on at the time.

    This is the earliest of my drawings that I still have. Click To Tweet
    The earliest of my drawings in my possession, a self portrait drawn in in 7th grade.
    The earliest of my drawings in my possession, a self portrait drawn in in 7th grade.



    Don’t forget to Enter the Drawing to Win a Free Piece of Art.

    Click Here for Details:  Free Art Drawing.

  • Artists Laughing at Themselves (and each other).

    Van_Gogh_-_Country_road_in_Provence_by_night (499x640)

    Artists are funny creatures, sometimes we even laugh at ourselves!

    This morning I was browsing YouTube, looking at the channels I subscribe to, when I noticed a video “suggested for me”.  It was titled, “Things Artists Say”, curious, I clicked on it, and I was in for a comedic treat! Made so much funnier by the truth of what it portrayed.  After watching it I knew I just had to share it, Robin Clonts has a lot of other funny videos as well, and now she has another subscriber!   I’m not sure if non-artists will find it as funny as I did or not, but I decided to share it here anyway.  If you like her video, be sure to check out her channel as well!

    Artists are funny creatures, sometimes we even laugh at ourselves! Click To Tweet


    Don’t forget to Enter the Drawing to Win a Free Piece of Art.

    Click Here for Details:  Free Art Drawing.

  • Photo Day

    Sample painting for paint-along class.

    For the ultimate blog challenge today I was supposed to share a favorite photo.  I decided to go with the idea of posting a photo, but I decided that instead of picking my favorite, which would be very hard to do, I’d share a photo of my latest painting designed for my classes.

    The key to doing a class sample painting, is to keep it simple enough to do in a few hours with people who are absolute beginners, this one might pose a bit of challenge, but I think if I hand draw and cut some dolphin stencils for those who need them to at least get an outline, it should work out okay, of course I’ll encourage people to draw their own dolphins if they feel comfortable doing so.

    Anyway, here is the photo, it isn’t print quality, it was just taken with my phone, but it gives a pretty good idea of what my next class will be like.

    Two dolphins forming a heart, two people in a boat at sunset.
    A sample painting I designed for paint along class.


    Of course, for those who are in the same area as me, they could sign up to paint this, here is the flyer:

    Flyer for paint class
    The flyer for the next paint class Ill be teaching.

  • Belonging to an Artist Co-op Studio

    Artist Co-ops offer Many Benefits

    If you’re an are artist you have probably wondered before about joining an artist co-op.  Why would you want to join?  Is it worth the membership fee?  What would you gain from membership?  As an artist, I can attest that belonging to an artist co-op offers many perks, and I thought that today I’d list some of them.

    Providing a gallery area for selling is a common feature of a co-op studio.
    Providing a gallery area for selling is a common feature of a co-op studio.

    Increased Opportunity to Sell

    Most co-ops have galleries exclusively for member’s work. Even those that don’t have an actual gallery will usually have opportunities to share the cost a booth at art shows. Most emerging artists have difficulty coming up with the $100-$200 per day a booth at an art show costs, especially considering that there is no guarantee of selling anything, and splitting that cost with even one or two other artists can really help. in addition, co-ops will often have deals with local restaurants and other businesses to display work for sale, and lets face it, they are more open to someone coming to them with an official sounding name like “South End Artist League Co-op”, than they are to an individual coming in and saying, “Hey, I paint pictures, I was wondering if you’d allow me to display my work here.”

    Social Interaction

    Many artists have a tendency to be reclusive, its usually not because they dislike people though, more often than not its because they get wrapped up in their work, which is usually not something that needs to involve others.  There’s also the fact that many artists feel that they don’t quite fit with the typical crowd.  Artists and other creatives have brains that are wired differently, some would say we are right brain dominant, and we sometimes find it difficult to interact with the more left-brained majority. (Incidentally, the degree of this varies from person to person, I tend to be very global in those right brain vs left brain tests, with only a slight leaning to the right, and I still have a lot of trouble relating to extremely left brained individuals).  Whether its left brain vs. right bright brain, or whether its just that non-creatives don’t share the same interests, it is really refreshing to get together with others who fully understand the statement, “Yes, I was hungry, but I forgot about eating because I was trying to finish this drawing.”  Only another artist doesn’t raise an eyebrow if they hear you saying you don’t know how you are going to pay rent this month, while simultaneously handing the cashier at the art supply store your debit card to pay for your $70+ order of paints and canvases.  Its also nice to get together with people who understand how excited you are over trying a painting medium you never tried before.

    If nothing else, a co-op makes us get out of our houses and private studios, and get together with others on occasion.


    Getting together with others is great, both just for social interaction to learn from each other.
    Getting together with others is great, both just for social interaction to learn from each other.

    Learning from other Artists

    Some artists have gone to art school and tried a lot of different techniques and mediums as part of their course of study, but a lot of artists are mostly self-taught.  These artists might have taken a few High School level art classes, and a workshop or class here and there, but that’s it.  Other than those things they have learned through books, YouTube videos, and trial and error.  Regardless of whether an artist has a MFA, BFA, or is self taught, most will acknowledge that most of their learning comes from practice, practice, practice.  Most will also acknowledge that they don’t know it all, and often learn new things just from being around other artists.  The artist with a degree in design might know a lot about how to compose an art work perfectly, but not really know much at all about how to paint with actual paints, as opposed to computer programs, on the other hand, a painter might be very skillful in handling the actual medium of paint, but may need to learn some tricks on composition and color use, and might really want to learn how do digital art. Both can teach each other, and both may learn something about passion and excitement from the brand new, completely untaught artist.

    The artist who usually paints in acrylic might really benefit from working side by side with the mixed media artist or the watercolor painter. etc.  The point is that by belonging to a co-op, and interacting socially with other artists, we have that chance to learn something new, or to be reminded of things we might not have utilized since a long ago college course.

    Learning from other people.

    Okay, this kind of goes with the one above, but its not just art we learn from each other.  We might learn about effective ways to greet potential customers, what our tax requirements are, best methods of bookkeeping, what we can legally deduct from our income, and how to protect our work from copyright infringement. The list could go on.

    The Opportunity to Pool Resources

    Bulk orders of art supplies, splitting rent on a studio, sharing booth fees at art shows, purchasing a high end printer for giclee prints, all things that it might be difficult for one person to do alone, but are feasible when done as group and sharing the cost. Even running the gallery, if an artist tried to open their own studio/gallery combination, that artist would have to be there all the time during open hours, or hire help.  A co-op can divide those hours up among all members, rather than paying employees to keep the gallery open.

    Art supplies cost a lot, pooling resources can be a real benefit.
    Art supplies cost a lot, pooling resources can be a real benefit.

    A Place to Teach

    I enjoy teaching painting classes, some artists like teaching drawing, some really like teaching kids, a co-op studio offers a place to that.


    painting class photos
    Painting classes, everyone’s is a little different, and there’s always at least one person who goes completely rogue and paints something totally different than the Sample painting.

    Those are the benefits of belonging to a co-op studio/gallery, like the one I belong to.  Of course there are drawbacks too, but I’ll address those in a different post.


    If you’d like to enter a contest to win a free, signed, archival print (A $25 value) of my painting “Cerebral Cessation”, enter the drawing, details found By Clicking Right Here.


  • When I Watch a Movie

    Photo by MrSickboy50 at morguefile.com
    Photo by MrSickboy50 at morguefile.com

    Movies and T.V. as Inspiration

    Today,  for the ultimate blog challenge we were supposed to share about the last movie we watched.  Well last night I watched E.T. for probably the 20th time, and recently I’ve watched Doctor Strange, while I enjoyed both of these movies, neither were astonishingly inspirational for a new piece of art at this time.  So I decided to try to think of another thing to write about.  I surfed the web looking at other art blogs hoping for inspiration.  I’m tired, and inspiration isn’t coming.  I revisited the move idea… E.T. was pretty impressive in its time for the special effects, which are an art form in themselves… but E.T. is also a pretty old movie, and by today’s standards the special effects it employed seem a little lacking.

    Finally I started thinking that instead of trying to write about one specific movie and its effect on me, I’d write about how I tend to respond to movies and T.V. shows.  Like everyone else, I get into the story, but for me I pay a lot of attention to another aspect of the movie.

    My reaction to what is shown on the screen.

    If I’m watching an animated movie, I pay far more attention to the artwork than the story.  Often I’m impressed at how skillfully the background in an animated movie has been drawn.

    If I’m watching a drama, a family comedy, or action movie, I often find myself distracted by the art on the walls in the background.  Everyone else might be wondering who killed the victim in a crime show, and while I wonder too, I’m also wondering where the investigator got that awesome painting of a dark figure standing in a doorway casting a long, menacing shadow into the room.  AS I’m watching a romantic comedy, and as the couple are delightfully falling for each other at a local coffee shop, I’m looking over their shoulder at a painting on the wall, impressed that somehow the artist used a simple silhouette of grass and managed to convey a feeling of peaceful solitude.

    Usually, I keep these thoughts to myself, mainly because people tend to give you strange looks when, instead of being appalled at the blood soaked floor dismembered body parts of the movie crime scene, you suddenly exclaim, “Wow!  Look at that awesome painting on the wall!”

    Faced with a grizzly on-screen murder scene, do you say, 'Look at that cool painting on the wall!'?… Click To Tweet

    So, I guess that is one way that artists, or at least this artist, views the world the differently from “normal” people.


    Don’t forget to Enter the Drawing to Win a Free Piece of Art.

    Click Here for Details:  Free Art Drawing.

  • Contest Time! Win a Piece of Art!

    Win A Signed Print of Cerebral Cessation

    So, one of the days of the Ultimate Blog challenge we were told to hold a contest on our blogs, at the time, I just couldn’t think of what contest I wanted to run. Finally it dawned on me, why not give away a piece of my art?

    I’ll be giving away a signed, archival quality print of my painting “Cerebral Cessation”.


    Cerebral Art, Framed Original, space,stab, penetrate, painting abstract, modern painting, framed abstract art, modern wall art, Item #CCO1 Colorful framed art, art framed original, acrylic artwork, colorful art framed
    This painting can be purchased by clicking RIGHT HERE.

    Win a signed, archival, fine art print! No purchase necessary. Click To Tweet

    To Enter, Just Subscribe and Comment

    I wanted to make entering easy, so all you have to do is subscribe to my blog.  You can do that by entering your email in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page. Also, comment on this post saying, “Enter Me in the Drawing”.

    Existing Subscribers can Enter too!

    For those who have already subscribed to my blog posts, don’t worry, you can enter too!  For those who already subscribe, just leave a comment saying “Enter Me in the Drawing”.

    Winner will be announced February 28th, 2017.

    So, just subscribe and comment on this blog post before February 28th, 2017 and your name will be entered to win.  Once I announce the winner, I’ll also send an email requesting needed information to ship you the print, and that’s it!  You could win an archival signed print, normally sold for $25, plus tax and shipping, and you can get it for free.

    Only one winner will be chosen, and sorry, I am restricting this contest to the United States.


  • The Transformative Power of Art

    What Makes Art Special?

    In my last post I expounded on how decor and art, while they overlap sometimes, are not automatically the same thing.  Today, I am going to look at a few quotes that seem to expound on what makes art special as compared to a scarf or a piece of wallpaper that was put in frame, and looks quite visually appealing, but is not art.


    Art Changes Us

    “What makes people the world over stand in line for Van Gogh is not that they will see beautiful pictures but that in an indefinable way they will come away feeling better human beings. And that is exactly what Van Gogh hoped for.” John Russell

    While a pretty scarf from your local department store may look beautiful in a frame, may catch the eye, and complement the rest of your decor perfectly it isn’t going to dramatically improve your understanding of the human condition, or move you with sympathy for the downtrodden, or open your eyes to the oppressive nature of some powers-that-be,  Much art, on the other hand, does do these things.

    While a piece of wallpaper wrapped around a canvas might accent your carpet and furnishings perfectly, and look stylish and chic, it isn’t likely to make you stand in awe at the beauty of nature and contemplate its origins, or impress you with thoughts of the vastness of the universe and the smallness of humankind. Van Gogh’s Starry Night has been known to elicit these responses in many though.

    That is also what I meant when I said that the statement that Duchamp made with his “Fountaine” was more artistic than the piece itself.  He sat out to make a statement about the art establishment, he wanted us to ask the question, “What is art?” by showing us something that definitely was NOT, but that was presented as such.  At that he succeeded.  He showed us non-art presented as if it was art, and therefore forced the art world to examine its definition of art.


    Art is (At Least somewhat) Unique

    “Someone who copies a Van Gogh does not therefore become Van Gogh, and the same would go for Mozart or anyone else who contributed something that was original.” Daniel Tammet

    Art will have some uniqueness to it.That isn’t to say of course that art is always completely original, almost all art is a remix of previously used styles or concepts, but it is at least a unique remix, rather than a facsimile. Even if it is inspired by another’s work, and even if it borrows some theme or element of style from an earlier artist, it will show some unique interpretation of that work.  Van Gogh painted many works that were based on the work of other artists, but never did he try to do an exact copy, he always brought his own unique vision and style of brushstroke to it.

    In a similar way, I sometimes borrow elements of a style or composition from Van Gogh, but I inject my own elements, subject matter, and style to it as well. While I could probably produce a decent reproduction of Starry Night, if I did so I would only offer it as a reproduction, I’d never try to claim it as wholly my own art.

    Can someone learn to reproduce almost exactly the work of another? Yes, but that is, in my opinion, not true art. It can be a good skill building exercise, but it never reaches the same level as a unique piece will. Reproductions have their place, as learning tools, and as decor, but they have a different status from true, original compositions, from true art.

    Art is Driven by Passion

    “I love what Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh and Jesus all said – that love is really the driving principle of the creative act. In fact, they would say that great art is always inspired by love.” Erwin McManus

    Art is driven by passion, the quote above says it is love, and perhaps in a sense that is true.  It may be driven by anger, by frustration, by sadness, or by joy, but what, other than love elicits all these emotions so passionately?  When one is angry it is usually because something that person loves and values has been in some way violated.  It may be their love of justice or humankind or the environment, the same could be said of frustration or sadness, even these negative emotions are usually brought about because something or someone we love has either been violated or has let us down in some way.

    Regardless, all art is driven by passion, while framing a scarf is probably driven more by a sense of style.

    Van Gogh quote on love.
    While all art is motivated by passion or love for something, perhaps love for other people is the most noble driving force behind creating art. In fact, according to Van Gogh, the act of loving people is itself artistic.


    So, art goes beyond just looking pretty and moves into the realm of passion, originality, and transformation… and that is why is transcends simple decor.

    Art transcends decor, art is passion, originality, and transformation. Click To Tweet
  • Decor Does NOT Equal Art

    A Lot of Art Makes for Nice Decor

    In the world of art, a lot of it is very aesthetically appealing, and therefor makes nice home decor.  From a quaint landscape or subtle still-life, to a mind-bending surreal piece, there are many artistic selections that you can use to enhance your living space.  Perhaps that’s why people seem to often confuse the concepts of decor and art. I see it a lot.


    Not all Wall Decor is Art Though.

    Articles online that encourage one to take a piece of nice wallpaper and wrap it around a canvas to make custom “wall art” for their living room.  Now, the images on the wallpaper were someone’s art when they were first drawn… but surely a person can see the difference between wall paper and an actual piece of art?

    Other examples exist, from “frame a scarf” to “cut circles from paint chips and glue them down overlapping to make a scale like texture” the internet is replete with ideas on how to make your own wall decor that matches perfectly with your paint and furnishings.  But are those things art? Well, I guess that is somewhat of a matter of opinion.  After all to Marcel Duchamp, and to many art critics, this was Art:

    Marcel Duchamp's Fountaine
    Duchamp bought a urinal at a hardware store, signed it, and called it art.


    But I don’t see the thing above as art, though perhaps the statement he made with it could be seen as art, and I don’t see simply wrapping a piece of cloth or wall paper over a canvas or sticking it in a frame as art either.

    Now, perhaps if one took that wall paper, and then added other elements on top, in a unique and custom arrangement, perhaps then I would see it as art.

    Or the paint chips made into a fish scale texture, that is at least coming a little closer to art… but if all one does is copy exactly the how-to article on it, I’m not sure it qualifies.  Perhaps if one adds their own spin to it, making a pattern of two colors with the circles, or something else to set it apart from the one in the diy article… I guess I’d see it more as art.

    Why do I care if its art or just decor?

    Well, if you simply talking about decorating your living room, I don’t really care.  Do what works best for you and fits best in your budget!

    However, I do care when people buy mass produced decor or slap together something from a DIY article, and think that is art, and then go to an artist and expect to see unique, one of kind creations valued the same as those.

    Art is so much more than decor Click To Tweet

    Art is so much more than decor

    Art is so much more than decor.  Though visual art is sometimes used to decorate, it also represents the heart and soul of the artist, not to mention hours of creative thought and work. Also art encompasses so much more than visual art anyway.  Drama, music, dance, and visual art is all so important for society, and should be valued higher than a mass produced product from your local WalMart.  The arts should not be neglected in schools, or in culture, because the arts have an element to them that can change lives, give direction, discipline, and hope.