Are you growing into your art?

Are you growing into your art?

I started a garden recently in a large barren area. The tiny plants looked pathetic in this stretch of drab dirt, but they grew, and new things started to happen. Seeds drifted in the air and new habitats thrived in the shade of taller plants. I could have never planned how lush and vibrant it became! This magical process relates so beautifully to art-making.

Listen here…

The idea of growing your art rather than planning it takes so much pressure off. It’s a process of allowing the painting to take on a life of its own. Think about cultivating a regular practice over time and growing into your art with all that turns up. What shows up may surprise you!

What happens when you approach your art without a plan? Let me know in the comments.

In this week’s Art2Life Podcast I have an amazing conversation with artist Josh Goldberg, whose work is so fresh, that he appears to have no plan! He has so many cool things to say on this subject. I hope you’ll join us!

Click here to listen to and subscribe to the Art2Life Podcast.

Have a blast making art today!

Nicholas

PS The ONLINE 2022 ART2LIFE INTERNATIONAL JURIED ART EXHIBITION is now open for submissions! This exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for your work to be seen by prominent gallery owner, Jack Fischer, our curator and juror for this exhibition. Also, we have created a new Art2Life online gallery and will be promoting the work chosen to our large social media following!

To see the eligibility and guidelines, a list of answers to frequently asked questions, and to enter the online exhibition, please CLICK HERE. I can’t wait to see all of the submissions!

Photo: Markus Spiske

Food for the Soul

I was dashing to meet a friend for dinner recently and threw on some clothes I don’t usually wear. My friend was taken aback. “These clothes aren’t you!” she said. It’s funny how others get used to seeing us a certain way and it’s also confining—as if we have to conform to a limited image of ourselves. This relates to art-making too.

Listen here…

Remember, there’s absolute freedom in art-making—no rules! Whatever sparks your interest, don’t hold back. You have total freedom to go in any direction to find yourself. Pushing beyond what others expect to see in the work and changing what we’re used to seeing ourselves — that’s the juice that feeds our souls. Art is pure freedom.

Do you have absolute freedom in your practice? Let us know in the comments.

In this week’s Art2Life Podcast, I have an intriguing conversation with writer, thinker, and podcaster, Brandi Stanley, who shares enlightening insights on conformity, purpose, and aliveness to help navigate our creative path. I hope you’ll join us for this fascinating discussion!
Click here to listen to and subscribe to the Art2Life Podcast.

Have a great Sunday!

Nicholas

PS Check out the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group. Every day, artists from all over the world are creating amazing art, and you are invited!

Cover Photo: Kevin Fitzgerald

2 tips to make better art

2 tips to make better art

Every part of our art practice relies on us. Getting ourselves to the studio, having the materials, staying motivated, getting our work out there— it can feel overwhelming, especially when it comes to the business side of things. So, I want to share two practical tips to help you to get going with your art-making. When your art is made better and more easily, then this frees up energy that can be used for getting your art out into the world.

Here they are.

“Iteration” is the first tip. When we iterate, we allow ourselves the benefits of repeating ourselves. Doing something several times will enable us to tweak things to improve things more easily.

The second tip is called “Stacking.” This is simply paying attention to what is working and carrying this aspect over into the next iteration. There are always some benefits or good parts of any effort, so the further we go along, the larger the pile of benefits becomes.

These are two of my favorite tips on making strong personal art.

What tips do you rely on in your art practice? Let us know in the comments.

In this week’s Art2Life Podcast, I have a conversation with Maria Brito, a high-level art advisor who has just published a book called, “How Creativity Rules the World.” She discusses ideas on optimizing creativity we can all act on. I think you are going to love this helpful conversation!

Have a blast making your art today!
Nicholas

PS Check out the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group. Every day, artists from all over the world are creating amazing art, and you are invited!

-Painting by Susan Melrath-

Finding Your Style

Finding Your Style

Something came up on a backpacking trip I took with friends. The lesson I learned perfectly relates to art-making.

Here is what happened.

It is always hard to know exactly how our future art will turn out. But the past can provide clues on how to move it forward. We’re on this creative path to improve our work, and while we may not like past work, there’s usually something to uncover that still lights us up. So look back and find what still excites you. Then, bring it forward with renewed clarity and momentum into your new work.

What’s behind you in your past work that still lights you up? Let us know in the comments.

Determining what excites you relates directly to finding your style, one of the most common questions I receive from artists. In this week’s Art2Life Podcast, I’ll share some cool ways to answer this question. I hope you’ll join me.

Click here to listen to and subscribe to the Art2Life Podcast.

Have a blast making your art today!

Nicholas

PS It’s happening again! I’m excited to announce that the online 2022 Art2Life International Juried Art Exhibition is COMING SOON! To be sent the official Call for Entry on June 27th, you MUST add your name to the list here. To see the 2021 exhibition, click here.

Coincidence or Planned?

Coincidence or Planned?

Have you ever experienced a coincidence that seems almost planned? It’s as if these moments of synchronicity are meant to teach us something. I notice this happens when I’m more engaged with my art. Here is one that happened to me recently.

Check this out.

I love these synchronicities for the thought-provoking insights and reminders they reveal. These seemingly casual signs show up just when we need them — it’s amazing!

What synchronicities have happened along your art journey?

Let us know in the comments.

In this week’s Art2Life Podcast I interview Kim Krans, a fascinating artist, author, and musician, who studies life’s energy and the hidden wisdom in the everyday. I hope you’ll join us.

Click here to listen to and subscribe to the Art2Life Podcast.

Have a great day in the studio!

Nicholas

PS Check out the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group. Every day, artists from all over the world are creating amazing art, and you are invited!

Photo: Elena Koycheva

The Artists’ Journey

The Artists’ Journey

I’ve been thinking about the artist’s journey in terms of a pilgrimage. On a pilgrimage, there’s an expectation that those you meet along your path will expose you to new ideas and expand your horizons. When I was a teenager, I met a stained glass artist who did just that. He showed me a creative path that was more personal and meaningful and I’ve been on it ever since.

Listen here…

It’s powerful to reflect on these chance encounters. They are transformative! They shape who we are and who we’re becoming and that’s an awesome lifelong adventure.

Is there someone you’ve met who changed your creative path? Let us know in the comments.

In this week’s Art2Life Podcast, I talk about another person who had a huge influence on my life – my father. I learned so much from his own creative journey. I hope you will check it out.

Click here to listen to and subscribe to the Art2Life Podcast.

Have a great Sunday!

Nicholas

PS It’s happening again! I’m excited to announce that the online 2022 Art2Life International Juried Art Exhibition is COMING SOON!

To be sent the official Call for Entry on June 27th, you MUST add your name to the list here. To see the 2021 exhibition, click here.

Photo: Narcissus Quagliata

What if the way it is right now is perfect?

What if the way it is right now is perfect?

We all experience obstacles and limitations that can hold us back from making our art. It could be a lack of time, having enough space to make our art, or even thinking that we’ll never be good enough. We can so easily believe we need to resolve all the issues before we can make our art. But this is not true.

So here is a different way to think about this challenge.

Try thinking about your path, with the setbacks and the chance encounters, being exactly where you need to be. It’s an empowering mindset enabling you to bring all parts of yourself to the creative process. Your abilities and limitations richly inform your art, bringing an honest, authentic quality to your work. This thinking is a game changer making everything possible!

How have your limitations been helpful in your artmaking?

Let us know in the comments…

Also, in this week’s Art2Life Podcast, I have a super exciting conversation with not one, but two artists who work on the same paintings. They have each learned to marry their respective strengths and limitations in making their collaborative paintings. I hope you’ll join me.

Click here to listen to and subscribe to the Art2Life Podcast.

Have a blast making art today

Nicholas

PS Check out the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group. Every day, artists from all over the world are creating amazing art, and you are invited!

Is your Art true for you?

Is your Art true for you?

When looking back at old work, I’m always surprised at how I can remember what I was thinking about when making the art. My thoughts ranged from the gallery I wanted at the time, to the artists I compared myself to and the collectors I hoped to attract. So it’s no surprise that these distracting thoughts took me further from me — which didn’t help my art. It got me thinking.

Listen here

Thinking about the right things will improve your work so much. And the right ones have a lot to do with yourself. Sometimes a good question or two can help. Is this art true for me? Can it be more like me? Considering these kinds of questions will result in more potent and personal work. The side benefit to more personally derived art is that it often is more universally received. It turns out that being more truthful draws more people into your art.

In this week’s Art2Life Podcast, I discuss this idea of truthfulness with Art2Life Team member, Kerry Schroeder. In pursuit of truth, Kerry continually checks her work against herself. It’s a powerful approach that I think you will find incredibly helpful for your art practice. So I hope you can join me on Wednesday for this latest episode.

Click here to listen to and subscribe to the Art2Life Podcast.

I hope you have a good day in the studio.

Nicholas

PS Check out the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group. Every day, artists from all over the world are creating amazing art, and you are invited!

Photo: Amine M’Siouri

The Secret to Authenticity

The Secret to Authenticity

I teach principles of art-making, and there’s one overarching idea that connects them all — the idea of differences. Big shapes, small marks, bright color, value contrast—all these exciting differences bring life to your art. However, something less obvious is the secret to making genuinely authentic art, and that’s vulnerability.

Here’s how I think about it…

Vulnerability is the feeling that comes up when we push ourselves into unknown territory, and we need to feel it! When feeling vulnerable, we can’t help but be ourselves, expressing ourselves more tentatively, and authentically. That authenticity is seen and felt in the work, drawing people in. The opposite, of course, is being bold with marks and colors. Bringing this full spectrum of yourself into your art—the confident you and the insecure you—is what connects people to the work without knowing it, but feeling it. Stay aware of this powerful difference and bring it to your art!

Are you aware of being vulnerable in your art-making? Let me know in the comments.

In this week’s Art2Life Podcast, I share a story of an extremely challenging but ultimately gratifying event in my life that taught me so much about how our own vulnerability deeply connects us to others. I hope you’ll join me and share it with a friend that might find it helpful!

Click here to listen to and subscribe to the Art2Life Podcast.

Have a fun studio day!

Nicholas

PS Check out the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group. Every day, artists from all over the world are creating amazing art, and you are invited!

Photo: Cottonbro

Tune Out & Drop In

Tune Out & Drop In

I injured my hand recently, and it’s been harder to paint. Holding my tools is awkward, and I can’t lift the larger paintings onto the wall. I was trying to work anyway but reacting to my limitations completely blocked me from that flow state. Everything I was making seemed harder and not as good. After a few days, I re-remembered something about art-making that helped.

Listen here.

This situation reminded me to try to minimize external reactions when making art. When you reduce your thinking about external things, you can drop more internally into your work. The result is stronger work that is more uniquely yours, which draws others in. It turns out that making art is actually the practice of tuning out the external reactions and tuning into you!

How do you let go of all those reactions to externalities when trying to make your art? Let us know in the comments.

What happens when external forces are so, so big they become almost impossible to ignore? This week’s Art2Life Podcast features a moving conversation I have with an artist facing gigantic life challenges. We look for answers in this extraordinary exchange. It felt like a gift and I’m so grateful to share with you. Please join me.

Click here to listen and subscribe to the Art2Life Podcast.

Have a great day in the studio!

Nicholas

PS Check out the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group. Every day, artists from all over the world are creating amazing art, and you are invited!