Pinterest

The Secret of Inspiration

Pinterest

Hey everyone!

I’m currently in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, and I wanted to share this little video about the importance of getting out of the studio to find inspiration (HINT: you’ll often find it in the most unexpected of places!)

Watch the video and let me know what you think – where do you find inspiration?

In gratitude, Nicholas

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

Out On The Edges

Pinterest

I’ve been painting a lot on canvas and noticed that some of the most interesting parts occur on the edges, where I’m working with less control. Taking my hand out of the process and letting the materials be themselves brings in a sense of play and is so refreshing.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

Why Your Next Big Thing Will Be Successful

Pinterest

897_ I have been making art my whole life. I spent one summer in Hawaii when I was 18 cooking in a restaurant. Other than that I have never held a job. I have always made art. So I have gotten used to the ups and downs of working for myself. I have had to find ways to learn anything new I wanted to pursue. If I wanted to teach workshops I had to figure out how one goes about this…if I wanted to use oil paint I had to learn this too. When you start adding all the things up a creative might need to know it can feel daunting. Who knew we needed to learn about websites, photography, social media, pricing, galleries, leases on studios and time management? All I wanted to do was make art!

Every time I start something new I am reminded of how challenging it can be. There only is so much energy in the day. Often the thought of taking on any new learning can feel exhausting and inhibit us from beginning. How can I possibly do one more thing if I am already tired?

Well luckily, and this is something I often forget, the starting of something new, an infusion of new learning in your life, provides just the right amount of extra energy you need to succeed.

Here are the three primary sources of energy and where to find them so that you can accomplish that next big thing.

New gives you energy.

There is nothing like starting something new to wake you up. If you are slightly outside your comfort zone then growth is occurring and this is energizing. It might be scary but it is also energizing. This energy boost is used to get you through the beginning phase of starting something new. You merely need to begin.

Small, successful steps

Sometimes a new project or direction can be overwhelming. It can often feel this way when trying to accomplish too much, too soon. It is essential to take small steps and learn to really appreciate incremental learning. If, at the end of the day, you have accomplished one small step then congratulate yourself. Take the energy from the small wins so you may continue to achieve them every day. After so many years of taking on the next big thing, I have finally learned to feel pretty satisfied if in my day I merely “move towards” in any way, my long-term goal. If you can perceive your process of getting there as successful, then more likely than not, you will be.

Tell others what you are doing

When you share with friends or colleagues what you are attempting to do several positive, energizing things happen. Firstly, that person often will have words of encouragement or some insights that might be helpful. Their reaction is often positive because everyone wants to change aspects of their lives or their careers and by your attempt to change yours, offers them inspiration to do the same. You have, in fact, given them something quite valuable and in return they are looking for ways to help you.

The next benefit is really the most important one. By actually speaking out loud what it is that you are trying to accomplish, you are in many ways articulating to yourself the outcome that you desire. From my experience, I see how this clarification of intention has a way of bringing your desired outcome more easily.

I don’t know why this is so, but it is almost as if the universe is listening to those who are willing to speak their dreams and desires clearly. Once heard, people show up, alignments happen and life in general just seems to send help your way.

This mysterious wonderful aspect of life is often buried under the to do lists, and forgotten in the monotony of the day to day. Stepping forward with some degree of faith to try to do something new brings this somewhat elusive, beautiful truth to the forefront again.

And perhaps, for just this fact alone, it might be time to try, today, to start that next big thing.

What is your next new thing and have you begun?

In gratitude, Nicholas

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

Like What You Like

Pinterest

Just to add a little variation to my process, sometimes I’ll begin a painting by putting down a bunch of different marks, nearly filling the canvas.

Then, I’ll start covering or changing what I don’t like, until only what I do remains. It’s almost like working backwards.

Click the image to see what this looks like in practice, and let me know what you think…do you ever use this method?

In gratitude, Nicholas

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

5 Ways to Thrive as an Artist

Pinterest

901_

Sometimes being an artist can feel hard, while other times it can feel inspiring and joyful. In trying to keep things more the latter, I try to keep the following five points in mind. All of them are available at anytime and there is no cost involved. I believe they all contribute significantly to building buoyancy, productivity and joy in one’s art practice.

1 Show Yourself

Show yourself. Let people see what you have made. Show your enthusiasm generated by your art. In return you will receive additional energy and illuminating feedback that will help sustain your momentum from those around you.

2 Be Generous

Be useful and helpful to other artists. Do not be concerned with being secretive about your art. No one can make work like yours if you are being authentic.

3 Stay Connected

Your success, energetically, financially and even spiritually is directly connected to those that support and follow your artistic journey. Never lose connection with those that express interest and resonate with what you are doing. Cherish them.

4 Be Discerning

It takes a tremendous amount of life energy and optimism to sustain your creativity. Do not spill any of it on people or situations that you already know are not in alignment with your art or you. Conserve all your energy for situations and people who support what you are doing.

5 Remain Exceptional

Your artwork is a visual expression of your authenticity. To have the courage to listen and show what is within you to the outside world is rare and tremendously brave. Making your art makes you feel more alive but also has the same effect on others. This is why people will desire and, even sometimes, buy your Art. Your art, if it is authentic reminds them of their aliveness. Your art is your gift to the world and you are the only one who will ever be able to create it. It is simply an opportunity of a lifetime.

Keeping these 5 points in mind will help keep your art and you steadily on course. In the end it might not be about arriving at any particular place with your work but more importantly how it felt as you journeyed towards it.

What guides you in your work? How do you keep yourself inspired?

In gratitude, Nicholas

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

Starting Strong

Pinterest

You can never bring differences into your work too early – they will only make your art better.

Click the image and watch how I improve a piece I just started with a few simple marks.

In gratitude, Nicholas

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

The Bully In The Room

Pinterest

When finishing a painting, I find that small, simple adjustments are all that’s needed. This was the case with a painting I’ve been working on lately – it was almost done, but something about the composition irked me. Then I made a simple change and suddenly everything came together.

Click on the image to watch the video and see what I did.

In gratitude, Nicholas

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

15 Positive Ideas that can Help Your Art Practice

Pinterest
Yue Minjun in his studio. Photo credit: www.boredpanda.com

Yue Minjun in his studio. Photo credit: www.boredpanda.com

There are many challenges the artist must face to pull off a consistent art practice. But today I don’t want to talk about those. Besides, they pale in comparison to these positive ideas and truths regarding art making that I have come to embrace and believe. When I am not making my art, I am busy teaching these principles in workshops, mentorships, blogging and other programs. I have found that these points – when even slightly embraced – can dramatically shift, not just your outlook, but also your art and then ultimately your life.

It has been my experience, I am happy to report, that these are true. Today I would like to focus on the first eight…

8 Positive Points on Art Making

1 Intention actually changes what comes across your path. Saying out loud what you want helps it become so.

2 Artists can create any kind of art and build careers in any direction they choose.

3 The process of art making can become an enjoyable, creative, and financially sustaining practice.

4 All success is taught, especially in art. Artists realize this and no longer invalidate themselves or their work because they simply have not been given the information they need to achieve their goals.

5 Art does not fit in any particular category. It is by its very nature limitless and those that make it are inspired because of this fact. It excludes no one.

6 Making personal, authentic art gives the rest of the world permission to do the same.

7 People will collect your art because it makes them feel and see the world in a way they have never before. Your work transports them.

8 Sharing your art and what you know with those not as far along helps make you a better artist. There is more than enough for everyone. There is abundance for those who give.

I know for many of you these are familiar but possibly there are a couple in here that are not. If so, then hopefully you will feel just slightly more buoyant, slightly more energized as a result of discovering them.

When I read these, it reminds me of the tremendous possibilities available for not just me, but for all artists.

It is an amazing time in history to be an artist.

Do all these 8 points resonate with you? What are some of yours? I would love to improve this list with your help.

Have a great rest of the week!

In gratitude, Nicholas

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

Caught In the Middle

Pinterest

I’ve been working on a painting and for some reason it just wasn’t coming together…something was off. And then, the solution hit me!

Click on the image to watch the video, and see how I solved the issue with my painting.

In gratitude, Nicholas

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

Stonewalls and Art

Pinterest

855_Wandering through the northern Italian town of Tirano, I am struck by the very old, stonewalls. They circumscribe every property, miles of village roadways and impossibly steep hillside terraces. They are simply beautiful. Utilitarian but incredibly artful, their refined quality I can still see. This was how hillsides, roads and olive orchards were delineated and terraced centuries ago.

I imagine it took decades to complete many of these walls. But since they have existed for centuries, the investment of time and energy seems totally worth it. Whether the wall is in a forgotten corner of the city or lining a barely used road leading up the hill from the center of town, they are all made with the same degree of refinement. Stones are chosen and composed within these walls to complement one another. Large massive stones give way to patterns of smaller ones. Repetition of stone shapes and sizes are as varied and surprising as the pattern or passage of any painting I have ever done.

Walking up these steep village roads linking these tiny mountain Italian villages, the stonework accompanies me for miles. Although the maker of this wall is long forgotten I can feel his calloused but sensitive hands even now. It was only one of many moments in a single day of many but in that moment he, no doubt, held up a stone, felt its weight, considered its most smooth, most flattest side and then for time memorial, placed it just so into this wall.

These walls were not slapped together. You can tell. They are gorgeous displays of craftsmanship, care and design. I wonder if what I spend my time making, paintings composed of questionable brands of store bought oil paint, will last the test of time as well as these walls? How is what I make any different? Like those artisans that made these walls so long ago I too am just demonstrating my selectivity. I too am choosing my preferences in color, shape and line to make something.

Maybe that is just it. That is what all art is about. Whether it is a stonewall, a new recipe, an arrangement of cut flowers or even an abstract painting. It is an orientation to life. That the decisions, the choices we make, do matter especially when they result in something that stands outside of us. When we actually manifest something. It becomes part of the world. We leave it behind as a reminder of who we were and who we became.

Maybe the greatest benefit of our art is not for us. Maybe it is about what is felt and experienced by those who come across what we have made, maybe centuries later. When we too will probably be mostly forgotten. But then, in just a glance, in just a moment they too will get a sense of who we were and what, in the end, mattered to us.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest