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What I Wish Everyone Knew About Making Art

Making art — good art — takes a lifetime. It’s a discipline and a daily practice. Those of us who have dedicated our lives to the practice of making art do it nearly every day. And I promise you, if you did something every day, you’d get better at it.
It’s the same with anything: You are not born knowing how to play the piano; instead, you take lessons, you practice. It is important for everyone to recognize this, because I think a lot of people never begin to make art because they believe they cannot. They believe they do not have talent. The concept of talent is this roadblock to making, when, in reality, the only path is to begin. All it takes is a desire. And a beginner’s mind: not expecting yourself to be good, but rather, begin with curiosity.
Children are the very best at this. It has not occurred to them to judge their art. This is why they beam with pride upon showing you their art. They made something, and it was fun, and that feels good. So it is my encouragement to you to begin with the child’s mind. If you have the desire to be a maker, then please, make something — just begin. Push paint on canvas, or paper, and watch what it does, without judgment. The idea is not that it be “good or “bad” but that the desire to create be given a chance to get out of your body and out into the world. If you feel like you want to but you just don’t know where to begin. For inspiration and ideas on how to get started, check out my Pinterest page “Creativity is for Everyone” or the videos on my Facebook page or YouTube page.
And, just as you signed up for piano lessons, take that creative class. The key is to just begin, and when you begin, take judgment off the table. You must always be very kind and gentle with yourself when beginning something new.
2017 will have me creating more videos, so stay tuned. And you can always email me to set up your own class in my Ada studio, and by summer I hope to roll out some classes in Leelanau as well. Make it a year of learning!
As always I love to hear from you. Do you have plans for making art in the new year?
Let’s keep the conversation going on Facebook and Instagram. See you online, my friends.

Why I Think You Should Be Heading in Opposite Directions — Equally, at the Same Time



16 x 16, oil

This is exactly where I find myself at this point in the journey. If you have followed my work for some time, you have seen a marked change in my process. As one who is continually more impressed by an artist’s journey and growth than consistency, I honestly hope this is always the case.


24 x 48, oil

Always a student, I find myself studying the basics of art more: returning to drawing, thinking of reality, rendering it. It was just two years ago that I was in Florence studying classical art, and the influence is lasting. These opportunities for continuing education become deeply rooted in the process: drawing, studying from life, all the basics of a classical art education.


16 x 16, oil

At the same time, there has always been this joy in abstraction, an admiration for artists brazen enough to use bold a free brushwork leave parts of a canvas uncovered. You can see it in their work: a freedom and abandon. When encountered, it makes me stop in my tracks and stare in awe. In the day-to-day practice of art, my soul is just a little happier, a bit more joyful, when the abstraction is at play.


16 x 20, watercolor

Ah, but my classical studies have taught me that the truest freedom comes from first honoring the greatest discipline, then choosing the freedom to move past it … So I find myself headed in both directions at once: nodding to classicalism in my study and work and playing in abstraction and unadulterated joy at the same time.


16 x 20, watercolor

I’m curious, can you see this in my journey? In my work? I think you can count on seeing this even more in the coming year.

As always, I love hearing about your journey in the comments. And I invite you to join the ongoing discussion on Facebook and Instagram everyday.