Breaking the Mold

Hi everyone,

I’m currently teaching a workshop in Mexico.
There are people from all over the world here,
a wonderful mix of creative people, all sharing our
approaches to art making and learning from one
another. This is always one of my favorite things
when it comes to teaching.

A recurring theme at this workshop is getting
out of your comfort zone. Pushing ourselves to
make marks and use colors that we normally don’t
is crucial to growing as an artist, but getting there
can be a little tricky at first.

Watch the video and see what I mean

Without inviting the new and unknown into our
work, we do not provide an opportunity for spontaneity.
This component is necessary for creating strong,
authentic art and though the road getting there can
often be bumpy, it is totally worth the journey.

Leave a comment here and let me know what you think!
When you work, do you find yourself on the more controlled
side of things or more loose, or perhaps somewhere in
between? I would love to know.

In gratitude, Nicholas

Perspective After the Marathon

Hi everyone,

I’ve reached that special place in
time where my newest body of work is
all done and ready to be shipped off to
the gallery. The feeling of completion
is incredibly gratifying.

A key component of that feeling is getting
to see all of the work hanging side by side.
It gives me a chance to look at everything
as one unified, breathing organism.

To watch the video and see what I mean, just click the play button below.

When viewed as a whole, these paintings
also serve as a roadmap of sorts – they show
me how my visual aesthetic has developed, and
give me clues as to where I might be heading next.
It’s an exciting time, full of possibility.

You can see this work in its entirety at
Julie Nester Gallery in Park City, Utah, from
December 21st to January 22nd. The opening
reception is on Friday, December 28th, from 6 – 8pm.
I’ll be there, so if you’re in the area be certain
to stop by! i’d love to chat with you!

To learn more about the exhibition, just click here.

In gratitude, Nicholas

 

Making Your Mark

Hi everyone,

It’s incredibly gratifying to finish
a painting. Seeing everything completed
and in the right place – it’s like coming home at
the end of a long journey.

There’s just one thing left to do: the signature.
Now, not every artist signs their work, which is fine!
It’s really a matter of preference. When it comes to my
paintings, for example, I do like to sign them.

Watch the video and see how I do it

There are of course a million ways to do this – no one
method is the best – but what do you think about this?
Do you like to sign your work, and if so, how?

I would love to know!

In gratitude, Nicholas

The Visual Hierarchy

Hi Everyone,

When I start a painting, I rarely do
so with any particular goal in mind. It is more
about simply putting marks down on the panel,
seeing what develops and going from there.
In a very real sense you could say the
painting tells me where to go next.

At a certain point however, the painting begins
to gain more focus, and I start to see what it is
really about. Once this happens, I organize my
marks such that they serve to heighten the
main narrative of the piece.

Watch the video and see what I mean

Do you want your viewers to be drawn towards the
design, the color, or something else? Clarifying and
removing those elements that distract from the main
focus of your work is key to creating strong art.

Let me know what you think about this. When you
create, what are you trying to draw your viewer’s
attention to? I would love to know.

In gratitude, Nicholas

PS I’ve created a private group in Facebook called
Art2life Artists. It’s free to join, and we’ve already built
a vibrant community of fellow creatives. If you haven’t
already joined and would like to, just click here.

The Space Between

Hi Everyone,

The best paintings are like your
favorite songs; there is a rhythm, a sense
of pushing your ear from one beat to the next,
all the while providing enough space for the
listener to savor each sonic peak and valley.

It is this interplay between spaces and
shapes – between opposites – that I
try to imbue my work with, though the path
is not always obvious. Figuring out
the next step often just takes a willingness
to throw some paint down and see what happens.

Watch the video and see what I mean

Creating that sense of movement, of adding
a vibrancy to one’s work, is a process of call and
response, of creating an internal language to your
painting and then building upon it.

Let me know what you think about this. What do you
do when you have a painting that isn’t coming together
in the way you want it to? I would love to know.

In gratitude, Nicholas

PS I’ve created a private group in Facebook called
Art2life Artists. It’s free to join, and we’ve already built
a vibrant community of fellow creatives. I would
love to see you there! To join, just click here.

The Conversation of Your Composition

Hi Everyone,

When working on a piece, I am
always trying to make sure as much
of the surface as possible is activated,
that there is enough movement to guide
the viewer’s eye throughout the entire painting.

One effective way to do this is to use color.
I’m currently working on a painting that has
a little bit of the color red in it, and I decided
to bring that color to other parts of the painting.
I hope this will make for a more
sophisticated viewing experience.

Watch the video and see what I mean

This painting still has a bit to go, but
I feel that I’ve finally passed a milestone here.
I’m excited to see what comes next.

What do you think about this? How do you
use color in your practice? Let me know!
I would love to hear how your practice
differs from mine!

In gratitude, Nicholas

PS I’ve started a little group on Facebook called
Art2life Artists. It’s free to join, and I would love to see
you in there! To join, just click here.

 

Remove to Reveal

Hi Everyone,

A key part of my practice is building
up layers, and then removing them partially
to reveal what is underneath.

Case in point: I recently decided to make a
piece that was predominantly red. But rather than
just cover the surface entirely in red paint, I decided
to do something a little different, and ultimately, more exciting.

To watch the video and see what I mean

Seeing the history of the piece, of what
came before, is essential to my work.

Let me know what you think about this.
Do you do anything similar in your practice? Do
you like to build surfaces up and then
remove, or do you do something else?

I would love to hear how your practice
differs from mine!

In gratitude, Nicholas

The Secret to Making Interesting Art

Hi Everyone,
As I’m getting ready for my upcoming show
I’m trying to make sure every piece is
being developed at the same level.

What this means however, is that the pieces that
are not as strong really stand out from the others.
The question then becomes, how to fix them?

watch the video and see what I mean,

Fortunately there’s a simple solution to this
issue, and it has to do with activating the surface
of the painting as a whole.

Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.
How do you fix work that is not as successful as
your other pieces?

In gratitude, Nicholas

PS On Tuesday, October 23rd I will be hosting a free
live online workshop. To register for this event, just click here.
I hope to see you there!

Differences in All Things

Hi Everyone,

In last week’s Sunday blog I discussed the
importance of differences, and how to bring
them into your work. This week, I wanted to
continue that discussion, but from a broader view.

Specifically, I wanted to share with you how
inviting differences across a body of work, across
multiple pieces, is just as crucial as doing so with
any single individual piece.

Watch the video and see what I mean.

Part of the reason why this is so present in
my mind is that I am getting ready for a show in
December, and my current body of work is
starting to reach a point where I need to be certain
that everything is working together as a cohesive whole.

Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.
When you look at your body of work, is it quite varied,
less so, or somewhere in between?

In gratitude, Nicholas

PS On Monday, October 15th at 12pm PDT (that’s West Coast time)
I’ll be hosting a live webinar in the private Art2life Artists Facebook Group.
To watch the webinar, all you have to do is join the group, which you can
do by clicking here. Once you ask to join, one of
my team members will bring you in!

The Loud and the Quiet Conversation

Hi Everyone,

If there is one word I could use
to describe the most important idea behind
what I teach, that word would be differences.

Now of course, everyone knows what that word
means, but in the context of how I teach, the
best way to demonstrate just how crucial
differences are to creating powerful, authentic
work is something I call the Loud and Quiet Conversation.

Watch the video and see what I mean

If you can understand just this one concept
and nothing else, then you will be well on your
way to making outstanding work!

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
How do you bring differences into your work?
I would love to read your thoughts on this subject.

In gratitude, Nicholas

PS You can check out the recording of my talk from last week
on value by going to the Art2life Facebook Page here.
Once on the page, just click “Videos” from the sidebar on the
left and you’ll see a list of all the available recordings. You can also
download the PDF from that talk by clicking here.

PSS On Monday, October 8th at 12pm PDT (that’s West Coast time)
I’ll be hosting a live webinar in the Art2life Facebook Group. To watch
the webinar, all you have to do is join the group, which you can
do by clicking here. Once you ask to join, one of my
team members will bring you in!

 

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