Tag Archives: abstract

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.

Mexico: Filling the Creative Well



(Part 2 of my recap of a week in the Boca de Tamatlan artist retreat)

Learn, grow, learn, grow, and then learn and grow. May we never stop seeking. Never stop filling our creative well. When we are 80, may we still be taking classes and stretching ourselves.

Casa de Los Artisas is a magical place to do this. We went snorkeling. We dined on a secluded beach while watching the surf roll in (let me insert here we ate very, very well, always). We discovered a small mountain town that seemed ready-made to film a old Western, and as I recall, a movie was filmed in that enchanted little village. We explored a tequila producer that actually produced raicilla. There were even drumming and salsa lessons on the side. And lots and lots of painting. Creative and spiritual wells are definitely filled up at this place.

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Every day in life we output. We produce. As a full-time artist, I produce art everyday. We cannot keep producing without replenishing our creative wells, or we are running on empty. There are many ways to do this, but that is a subject for another blog post. Today, we will focus on the learning vacation.

Art and travel just go together, and I dare say they are two of the rare things in life you can buy that make you richer — spiritually, that is.

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After a week in Boca de Tomatlan at the Casa de Los Artistas, I am richer in spirit and my creative well is full to the brim.

Every teacher has something different to remind you of or introduce you to. Sterling Edwards, our maestro for this week, was masterful at this. He hit on all those basics that simply can not be ignored, like value studies, simplifying and contrast. Then, he brought in his own voice in art to show us things we may not have thought of, like what can be done with long, narrow brushes and negative shape painting. And a credit card. An old discarded one on paper. Plus, that abstract demonstration I mentioned in my last blog that has me playing in a new and unexpected direction. It has me making time to play. Art is about discovery, and discovery happens in play. I’m playing again, and it feels as good as it did as a child.

I’d love to know: Where do you make time for play? How you fill your creative well and when/where are you booking your next learning vacation?

Until next time, happy learning and growing!