John Le Carre, the famous British spy writer, said, “The cat sat on the mat is not a story. The cat sat on the Dog’s mat is a story.”


It has to do with tension. When troubleshooting our art, we rarely talk about tension. However, it is needed to make our art memorable and powerful.

Sometimes I can’t figure out why my art is just ok.

I stare at it and make changes, but nothing seems to move it from the mediocre/good column to the great column.

Often, it is the lack of tension that is the problem.

Here is how I like to think about tension.

If you sometimes forget about tension in your art, maybe this will be helpful.

Listen to this.

I notice that my best work from the past that I still like, contained a degree of tension. Having some edginess or startling difference in your art will wake you, as well as the viewer, up.

Tension often makes your art better.

Do you think about tension in your art?

If so, how do you show this in your art?

Let us know in the comments below.

Have a great day in the studio!


PS Call for Entries for the Art2Life International Juried Art Exhibition just started!

Go here to find out more.