Is your art and life aligned?

Do you see a lot of different directions when you look at the arc of your art?

Sometimes this can make us feel scattered and unsure about where exactly we want to
put our creative energy.

This was the case for me. Of course I love doing so many different kinds of things, especially in art.
But after awhile, I grew disoriented about where I should put my focus.

I could make a case for almost any of the directions I had tried.

In the end, I figured out some ways to bring an end to this indecision and create coherence,
not just in my art but my life too.

In this weeks video I share some thoughts and solutions on this common challenge artists face.

I share three key ideas.

#1 Create Coherence between your Art and Life.

Your Art becomes stronger the more it reflects you. Write down 2 lists
of what you desire to happen in your life and art.
What ideas can be taken from either one to form a new, more aligned art?

We need to be thinking differently if we want a different result.

#2 Coherence creates Momentum

Coherence between your art and life makes your art practice unstoppable. It is how to make
kick $*# art that also fuels your life. In fact, when your life is connected to your art, they feed
upon each other, galvanizing both.

#3 Discernment is a practice

Your ability to choose what to keep or eliminate in your art and life is a practice.
Your improvement occurs over time.

The evidence of this is seen in the evolution of your art.

What aspects from your life can you add into the art you are making today?

Let us know in the comments below.

I hope your art goes especially good today.


PS Thanks to Art2Life community member Liesbeth Groenewald for
asking this question that prompted today’s video.

PSS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

Do you have too many directions for your art?

Do you feel overwhelmed with too many directions to take your art?

The problem for me is that practically all of them seem like good directions.

And probably, most of them are. But that isn’t the problem. The problem, at least from
my experience, comes when we are doing too many at the same time.

Overcoming this challenge is what today’s video is all about.

I have learned that my art turns out best when I have a singular focus while making it. Often I
apply this same focus or direction to a series of paintings.

Here are the 3 key ideas I share in the video that could be helpful in reducing this overwhelm.

Download from your brain any and all directions you have for your art into a journal or
digital notebook. The idea is to get these ideas saved but no longer holding so much mental space.

Look over your list of directions … choose one based on the answer to this question:

What is the one direction I can take my art that would make feel most excited? Most engaged?

A little side note here: It is much easier to come up with shiny new ideas than it is to take action
on one of them. I think this is why we all have a gazillion shiny, new ideas that seem to pop up just
when our art making becomes harder!

Your art will strengthen over time by choosing and going deeper with one direction. It might feel more
engaging to have a wider focus with multiple directions but that precludes you from going deeper with any of them. Try going narrow and deep, instead of wide and shallow.

The kind of art that slowly emerges from a more singular, deeper exploration is far rarer. It also, in my opinion,
generates stronger, more authentic art.

And remember, you don’t have to have one focus for a lifetime. Just for now. Anytime in the future you get to
change based upon what makes you feel most excited.

What direction have you chosen to focus on in your art? Let us know in the comments below..

Enjoy this Sunday.


PSS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to
get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

How to get rid of your fear of failure…

The fear of failing in art is one of the biggest factors that holds your art back.

If I feel afraid while making art it never works out. My art always ends up looking and feeling, well, fearful.

It’s not the kind of art I want nor how I want to feel.

In today’s vlog I share a few ways to alleviate this problem.

In this quick talk I go over 3 key points.

#1 You are not your art. Your art is merely the process you are using to discover and share with the world who you are and who you are becoming. Sometimes you will love your art and other times not so much. See each
painting, or whatever creative expression you are currently working on, as just one tiny part of a big ongoing beautiful process. It is about the whole journey not whether the zip on your luggage broke on the third day.

#2 Art is messy. Art is learning. If you are not making half starts, corrections additions and sometimes wondering if you are going the wrong way, you just might not be making art. Art making is by its very nature messy. This is what makes art, art.

#3 You can’t lose. If you take a chance, do something daring in your art (even though it is scary) one of two things will happen. You will either learn something or you will dramatically improve what you are making. Both
are fabulous outcomes.

It is so important to work towards feeling utterly free in your expression. This headspace is what makes amazing art. Not just for you but for the world to see.

How do you tame your fear in your art and life?

Let’s talk about this. Click here to leave a comment…

Hope you’re having a great Sunday!


PS Hey Nina Mayo Souther! You won last week’s giveaway! Give me a shout at and I will send you my signed, illustrated book.

PSS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

Are you in a palette rut?

Do you get tired of using the same colors? I used to feel stuck in the same colors.

I kept repeating myself because it worked.

Now I have learned an approach to making any color work.

In today’s video, I will demonstrate a way to discover new color.

In the video, I give a quick refresher about color harmony.
This is at the root of making any color work with any other color.

Next I share an exercise that almost forces you to create new colors.
As long as you like the first one, you will probably like the ones that follow!

Thirdly, don’t forget that a super fast way to get color working is to glaze.

Creating the harmony by mixing paint or glazing over paint has the same effect.

Try and do a little of both.

And try that exercise! It works!

In the comments below post your new favorite color combinations!

Enjoy this day.


PS Towards the end of today’s video I show a book I illustrated. I will be giving this away next week
to one of our commenters!

PSS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

The best white in the world.

I am not even sure if white is one of the colors. Which is odd because it can look so great amongst them.

That is, if you pay attention to a couple of key ideas.

And that is what I am talking about this week.

And not just talking, but demonstrating.

Join me for a few minutes as we take a closer look at my favorite non color, white.

In this weeks video I am demonstrating 3 ideas.

#1 White will work better in your art if it’s just a little bit harmonized with the surrounding colors.

#2 Adding the tiniest amount of pure white in a spot or two of your painting can be a subtle but potent final adjustment.

#3 OK here goes… I am going to share the recipe of my not so famous, custom white color. It is called “Lyla’s White” and is named after my eldest daughter, Lyla. I love both so much.

We sell “Lyla’s White”, along with our other standard, custom colors in the Art2life Store.

But do me a favor and keep this recipe a secret just between us…ok?

Let us know in the comments what you know about white.

Happy art making today…


PS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

3 AWESOME things I was just reminded of…

I recently was reminded of 3 things.
When I think about them I always feel
more excited about what is possible
for my Art and Life.

And this is what I want to talk about

If you are rushing out to get your coffee
and don’t have time to watch right now,
here are the 3 awesome things I want to
remind you about…

#1 Making amazing, authentic art is available
for anyone. Yes, that means you too.

#2 The big mover and shaker in making
your Art friggin extraordinary is…. YOU!
It is all about leaning into who you are…
and guess what? You already have all that!

#3 Here is, hands down, the coolest way to
think about and motivate yourself
to make more art more of the time…

Art making is the time in your day
when you get to entirely, unequivocally
be yourself. No phone calls, no one
looking over your shoulder, and no one
even in the room but you.
It is the time you get to be totally free.

How great is that?

I was reminded of these 3 empowering
ideas while sitting in the audience, listening
to Marie Forleo at her recent book launch
event in San Francisco.

These ideas got me all fired up and so
I just had to share them with you.

Her new book “Everything is Figureoutable” is easy,
funny and CLEAR. (Which I SO appreciate.)
It is also super helpful and I bet will inspire your art
as well as your life. It did mine.

Marie Forleo, in case you haven’t heard
of her before, teaches and inspires entrepreneurs,
creatives to dream bigger and create results
in their lives. She is the creator of the uber popular
MarieTV and the Marie Forleo Podcast.

Marie is very successful, but most importantly
she is down to Earth. She is accessible. She makes
the rest of us feel we too can realize
our biggest dreams.

I love people like that.

Anyway, I was given an extra copy
of her book at the event so I wanted
to give it away to one of you!

Later today we will choose a standout
comment and let you know next week
who will receive this signed
copy of “Everything is Figureoutable”
(Signed by her, drawing of Maizy by me!)

What inspiration thing are you reminded
of today?

Let us know in the comments below.

Make art today like there is no tomorrow.
That is my plan!


PS If you are new to Art2life,
click on the link below to
get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve
the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

Are you playing big?

Do you ever feel like your art has stayed the same for too long?

When this happens to me I do a this really cool exercise. It totally works for me. Let me show you …

Here is the basic idea…    

I give myself the task of only doing two things. Do something big and make it different than what I have done before. Whatever you make, providing it answers those two criteria, will often jumpstart your creativity. 

Bold, different moves lead to bigger, faster changes in your art. 

And change is what it is all about. Especially in art. 

How do you jumpstart your creative process? Let us know in the comments below.

Hope your day in the studio is great.


PS The winners of the Sennelier T shirt giveaway are Kelly Bracamontes and Kendra who commented about overcoming her dry spell in art. 

Shoot me an email at with your shirt size and mail delivery address! Congratulations! 

Special thanks for the folks over @artsavoirefaire for hooking us up with a few of these great shirts. Also check out @sennelier1887 to learn more about these oil pastels and oil sticks.

If you want to purchase them you can find them here or in better art stores in your area.

PSS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

Are you a stranger to your art?

Hi there,

I have been away from my studio
this summer. When I returned, I felt
like a stranger to my art.

Do you ever feel this way?
I used to struggle with this
every time I came back after
a long break.

But I figured out some helpful
tips that might work for you too.

How can we drop back into our
art making quicker and easier?

That is what today’s Vlog is all about.

I explain 3 key concepts.

#1 Take imperfect action.
It is all about actually doing something
that you can see. It doesn’t have to be good
it just has to be started.

#2 Convenience vs Commitment.
Our art is the later. It never is
slam dunk easy or convenient.
Don’t expect it to be.
Make a commitment to action,
to doing something that
moves the needle.

#3 Use the strategy of “play.”
A play mindset can help you more easily
re engage with your art. It creates
a feeling of wonder, curiosity and
one that is less serious. This, by the way,
is the optimal head space for making
your most extraordinary art.

These 3 concepts have helped me.

Let us know what helps you in the comments below.

Hope your Sunday in the studio is fun.


PS From those who comment on
today’s Vlog I will choose two
people to win a Sennelier shirt
like the one I am wearing. I will
announce the winners next week.

Special thanks for the folks over
@artsavoirefaire for hooking us up
with a few of these great shirts.
Also check out @sennelier1887
to learn more about these
oil pastels and oil sticks.

If you want to purchase them
you can find them here
or better art stores in your area.

PSS If you are new to Art2life,
click on the link below to
get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve
the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

Still hoping your art will turn out?

Hi there,

I call it hope painting.
This is when you just hope
that your art is going to turn out.

Sometimes it does and sometimes it

This was my experience,
till I figured out a new way.

It is all about asking one
little question.

Less hope and more
clarity will always
create your best art.

What questions do you ask to make
your best art?

Let’s talk about this below.


PS If you are new to Art2life,
click on the link below to
get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve
the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

Be Bold and Begin

Hi Everyone,

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