Starting a new piece can be a bit like traveling
to someplace new without a map – you may know
a little about where you’re going, but without directions
it will take you longer than it should to arrive.
With that in mind, when I begin a painting, I
find the best thing to do is to be bold. So if I have
a panel covered in dark paint, I’ll then place some
light shapes over it. The contrast in value will
help direct me where to go next.
Watch the video.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
When you begin a painting, what do you do to
help determine your next mark?
In gratitude, Nicholas
PSS On Monday, October 1st 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!
It’s no secret that in order to grow
we must be willing to try new things, to open
ourselves to different and unfamiliar experiences.
That is how we become better people.
Art is no different – if you want to become
a better artist, you must be willing to try new
approaches and ways of creating. So with that in
mind, I’ve been doing this new thing where I’ve
started painting on the floor of my studio!
Watch the video.
I’ve found it’s a great way to get some new
objectivity with my work, to take myself out of my
own head and to look at my paintings from a new
perspective. Plus, it just feels good!
How do you change up your art practice? Have you
been trying anything new recently? Let me know! I would
love to read your responses.
In gratitude, Nicholas
PS Often times my favorite Sunday blog posts come from
your suggestions, so if you have any topics you would like me to
cover, just ask!
PSS I’ve been hosting a Facebook live every Friday at 12pm PDT
(that’s West Coast time) on the Art2life Facebook page. If you’d like to
attend, just click here.
PSSS I’ll be hosting a special webinar in my private
Art2life Facebook group on Monday at 12pm PDT
(that’s West Coast time). To join the group and attend the webinar,
just click here and someone from my team will bring you in.
Hope to see you there!
With last week’s video blog, I showed you how I
use the trowel in my work. I had such an outpouring of
feedback from that video that I thought I would show
you another one of my favorite tools: gloss medium.
This is a great tool for creating finishes – it’s
the cherry on top, the frosting on the cake, and can often
be that little needed touch that elevates
your work from good to great.
Watch the video and see how I use it.
Let me know what you think! Have you ever used
gloss medium and if so, what do you think of it? Do you
use other mediums in your practice?
In gratitude, Nicholas
P.S. If you’d like to get some of your own
gloss medium, just click here.
With much of my work, it seems like I am trying to
strike a balance between two opposites: quiet versus
bold, strong versus subtle, controlled marks versus those
that are more spontaneous.
A key part of pulling this off successfully is having the right tools
for the job, and in this regard the trowel is extremely helpful.
It is an essential tool for me and my art.
Watch the video and see how I use the trowel.
Let me know what you think! What tools do you use in your
practice? Do you find that you like marks that are more controlled, loose,
or somewhere in between?
In gratitude, Nicholas
P.S. If you’d like to get your own trowel, just click here – this is a great tool for any creative who is looking to make less controlled, more spontaneous marks!
Sometimes I think I just can’t hold everything in my brain.
So many times when making my art, I make the same mistakes.
Painting is so absolutely transporting, so distracting, that you can forget
everything you ever learned. I know this is so frustrating. It was for me.
But actually, losing your direction can be a good thing.
The good part is that you will make it from how you feel
and not so much from how you think.
And that is what this week’s video is all about.
Check it out.
Try to make your Art more from what you feel
rather than what you think. If you do, your work gets more personal.
It is simply more like you. And lo and behold if it is, if it is a reflection
of what you feel, then it will be more authentic. And when that happens
it changes from garden variety good to amazing.
Give it a try and let me know how this works…
By the way, I am doing live teachings
every Friday at noon on the Art2life Facebook Page.
I hope you can join us this coming Friday at noon! .
Here is the recording from Friday. It was all about Limiting Beliefs
and I created a free download all about them.
Hope your time in the studio this weekend is going great,
Thanks for all the comments last week
about finding clarity in your art.
Since I had so many ask to see how that
painting turned out, I thought, this week,
I would show you.
After last week’s vlog I kept painting and once
I had established some strong darks, the
painting started to become more clear for me.
The next phase was to balance the composition.
Balancing a composition is important and it might
be something that could help your work too.
Watch this week’s video as I dive into balance.
If today is an art day for you I hope it is a great one!!
PS Click here if you want to join the A2L FB Artists group.
There is a ton of great learning and sharing going on!
Sometimes our lives can feel so full.
This can feel good but it also can be overwhelming.
This week I am going through dozens of old boxes
of stuff I stored in my studio 5 years ago.
So much of it I no longer need or even remembered I owned.
I don’t think the problem is having a full life.
The problem is having it full of things that are not
important or meaningful anymore.
The answer then, is to get super clear about what should
be in your life and what should not.
In other words, take action and let stuff go!
This same problem came up in my painting this week.
In fact, it happens all the time.
In the beginning stages of my paintings I can have way too much.
And that can be overwhelming.
I just can’t tell what is in and what is out.
So the work around is to take action.
Make some bold moves that make it easier
to see more clearly.
Art making is just one long life practice of
becoming clear about what is in and what is out.
Overtime, we improve at discerning the right answers.
And the evidence of that improvement is
stronger and stronger art.
How you do choose what is in and what is out in your art?
Hope your studio time is fun today.
Here is my secret way I get unstuck in my art.
I just ask myself one question. What do I love in this painting?
Is it the color? Is it the tiny rabbit in the lower left corner?
Or is it the expressive, charcoal lines that criss cross at the top?
Of course, it could be anything.
The only thing that matters is to pinpoint
the one aspect you love the most. And once you know,
make sure everyone else does too.
Often, the problem is there are too many aspects of our art
that compete for our attention.
So the fix is to reduce the noticeability of everything
so that one thing you love stands out.
I know that sounds too simple but it works.
Just turn the volume down on everything so the song
of that one thing you love can be heard clearly.
This idea really can clarify and strengthen your art.
It also works pretty well in your life too.
I was reminded of this idea Wednesday night by a
creature that lives in the mud beneath my houseboat.
You wont believe this one…
After you watch the video,
have a listen to the
toadfish love song.
Don’t let your art be like a toadfish.
Use this idea to diagnose and clarify
your art so everyone knows what you love.
PS What questions do you ask yourself
to problem solve your art?
I tried to couch it as “this is just what a creative studio looks like”,
but now it has gotten so disorganized that excuse just won’t work anymore.
So… this week’s video is all about
messiness and organization.
Or put another way…
right brain or left brain.
Our right brain is generally better at
being more spontaneous, seeing the big picture,
and not so attached to specific outcomes.
In other words, it goes with the flow.
The left side is more formulaic, logical and organized.
And is quite attached to a specific outcomes.
In life we might use one more than the other.
But regardless, we need both.
Especially making art.
In this week’s video I dive into when and how we might
use both sides of our brain in the process of
making our art.
Let me know if this rings true for you.
Are you aware of these two sides of your consciousness?
And if you are, are you comfortable switching
between them when making your art?
Everyone, especially me, would love to know.
Hope your Sunday is going to be a good one!
Happy Sunday! I hope you are getting to the studio today. On Sundays, before I head to the studio,
I usually do a long but slow run on Mt Tamalpais
And when I do I often listen to audio books. The one I am listening to now is
Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind”
This is a riveting book about left side brain people and right side brain people. (We are definitely right brain people)
He talks about “narrative competence” as a right brain activity. It turns out the right brain is not just good at making art but also listening.
To listen empathically to the stories of not just others but ours too is a right brain activity. All of this got me
thinking about the stories behind our art.
What is the story of your art?
If we can listen and pay attention we can better translate our story through our art.
We often forget that the driving force behind why we do what we do is incredibly interesting
to our viewers.
And that is what today’s video is all about.
Getting in touch with the story behind your art.
Please share the story behind your art in the comments section. Me and a whole bunch of others would love to listen.
PS Good luck in the studio this week! Here are some pics of what I am making…
PSS Thanks to so many of you who have joined the Art2life FB Group. I am blown away with the
amazing artwork from all over the world.
I am so inspired by this sharing, worldwide community of artists!
If you would like to join, click here and we will get you in…