Going from a small sketch to a large painting

Going from a small sketch to a large painting

Today I want to talk about something I am often asked about but rarely do. It is the particular way I move from a sketchbook to a large painting.

Have a look here.

I often work out ideas using sketches before starting a painting. I begin not just with one, but a series of sketches. I like to let the drawing develop in the sketchbook and then choose the strongest one.

The other key point is that when I start the painting, I try not to copy a sketch exactly, but let the painting evolve from it. Having a little sketch idea when I begin my large work, gives me a huge boost in confidence that gets the painting off to a stronger start. My marks are just a little bolder.

I am curious…

How do you use your sketches for your final larger art?

Let us know in the comments.

Have a great day in the studio today!

Nicholas

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

How to get into the flow of your art

How to get into the flow of your art

Today I am joined by Gay Hendricks, author of “The Big Leap,” and his new book “The Genius Zone.” Gay is a world-renowned expert on “connecting to our genius,” that flow state, and offers a deeper understanding of what exactly this is and how to access it.

Have a listen to NY Times bestselling author Gay Hendricks.

It turns out that limiting beliefs and fears are the main culprits in blocking our creativity and joy, not just in our art, but also in our lives. Hendricks believes the key to unlocking our creative genius comes down to one simple action — love. Loving and accepting all aspects of who we are, even the parts we don’t like, frees us to move into our creative energy more efficiently and more often—benefitting both our art and our lives.

What helps you tap into your creative “genius zone?”

Let us know in the comments.

For those of you who want to dive deeper into Gay Hendrick’s books, just click the links below!

The Genius Zone
The Big Leap

I hope you can drop into the flow today.

Nicholas

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

How to change intimidation into inspiration

How to change intimidation into inspiration

I used to think the more great art I saw of others, the more inspired I would become – not just in my art, but also in my desire to make it.

One of the best places to see a ton of great art is at Art Basel in Miami Beach, Florida. I saw so much incredible art. Interestingly, though, I didn’t become inspired. I became intimidated.

Here is what happened…

It took a while for me even to go back into my studio. However, once I did, I spent a fair bit of time thinking about future ways to stay inspired and not intimidated by great art that isn’t yours.

The first way is to spend way more time making art rather than looking at the art of everybody else, even if they are masterpieces.

Secondly, when you do look at great art, ask yourself this question…”What is the one thing about this art that I love, and how might this idea influence my art?” In other words, create practical takeaways that pertain to your art-making.

And thirdly, remember when someone’s art becomes meteoric, famous, or just remarkably better than it was, that this can serve more as a permission slip for you to realize this opportunity can be available to you, too. So instead of dealing with the jealousy gremlins, embrace someone else’s wins as a possible outcome for you, too.

How do you manage to stay inspired and not intimidated in a world filled with extraordinary, breathtaking art?

Let us know in the comments below.

Hoping you can get to your art today.

Nicholas

PS The deadline for the online, 2021 Art2Life International Juried Art Exhibition Call for Entries is this Friday! This could be your opportunity to get your art seen and celebrated by a whole lot of people!

Click here for more info and to enter.

What is fine art?

What is fine art?

I define “fine art” as what I would make if I could make any art I wanted.

For many years I supported myself by making illustrations.

Sometimes I liked doing it, but mostly not.

However, to start making my fine art seemed way out of reach.

It seemed like a pipe dream. The gap between the art/life I was making then and what I wanted to make and live in the future seemed too big.

So I didn’t try.

In the end, probably out of sheer frustration, I would occasionally make art that reminded me of my fine art. It seemed like a pitifully small step at the time, but it was what gave me my momentum in the end.

Here is the story of my first small step that changed everything.

These tiny efforts were encouraged by those who appreciated my fine art.

Receiving encouragement in a direction I truly wanted to go was the best feeling in the world.

So I made more. And more, till my fine art became a bigger, and bigger part of my life.

The takeaway, and one I wish I heeded much earlier, is to make those small incremental steps.

Do one tiny thing today that is close to whatever you dream of making in the future.

The dream is different for everyone, of course, but those little efforts matter.

They get you where you desire to be.

What is the fine art you are moving towards?

Let us know in the comments below.

Maybe even enter that fine art you are making in the 2021 Art2Life International Juried Art Exhibition.

It just might change everything.

Check it out!

https://art2life.lpages.co/art-exhibition-call-for-entry-2021/

Anything is possible.

Nicholas

How to choose for a Call for Entries

How to choose for a Call for Entries

Today I thought I would share a few thoughts about increasing the likelihood your art will be accepted into a juried show.

These three ideas came from volunteering for an exhibition in NYC.

Listen here.

The first realization is that your art, to stand out from the endless stream of entered art, needs to be markedly different. So, try as hard as you can to enter what is your most authentic, personal art. There is so much art being looked at, that only the most compelling and different work has a chance to stand out.

I used to choose my art based on what most people had liked. I call them my crowd-pleasers. (I think we all have made those.) It took me a long time to realize this was flawed thinking. Sometimes even the fact that many people like it might mean it is just pleasing and sometimes precludes it from being noticed in the endless stream of work a juror must endure when jurying. Pleasant to look at sometimes is not different enough.

The last point is to have a reframe about juried exhibitions. I now think of them as invitations to choose and highlight my most adventurous work. So even if I don’t get into the show, the process of selecting brings me into a deeper conversation with my most daring work. Just that fact alone means I have won, at least in a small way.

How do you choose for shows?

Let us know in the comments below.

And don’t forget to check out Art2lLfe’s very own online International Juried Art Exhibition Call for Entries below. It is going to be an even bigger event than last year.

Check it out!

https://art2life.lpages.co/art-exhibition-call-for-entry-2021/

Have a great day in the studio

Nicholas

Is this missing in your art?

Is this missing in your art?

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.”

Why?

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!

Nicholas

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

Go here to find out more. https://art2life.lpages.co/art-exhibition-call-for-entry-2021/

What is your new story?

What is your new story?

When I pause my artmaking, the one thing that gets my creative juices flowing are the stories of other creatives.

What cool things are being made by others?

How are they doing this, and why?

I love learning from seeing and listening to the stories of other creatives.

Almost always, this leads me back in reflection to my own story.

What is the story I have been creating?

However, the best, most exciting part of this question appears when I go one step further.

And that is what I am talking about today.

Listen here.

The unwritten part of all our stories is always the most alluring.

It can keep you up at night in a good way.

How much are you willing to change your current story to reflect the hopes, dreams, and desires you have for your art / life?

I now know that a big part of what transpires in my art and life, and I believe for others too, begins to be made possible by imagining more vibrant and spacious stories for ourselves.

It is quite a simple idea. (And this is what gets me so excited!)

Changing the story we have been telling ourselves in the past is how we arrive someplace different and juicier in the future.

What new part of your story are you ready to create?

Let us know in the comments below.

This just might be the first step of making your new story come true.

Have a great Sunday!

Nicholas

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

The necessity of stopping

The necessity of stopping

The season of my art making is changing. June, for me, marks the beginning of a time of more reflection.

My productivity lessens to take stock of where I am and where I might be going next.

Now, I write more and paint less. I reflect more. I try to hold off from doing too many things.

I want to create vacancy in my life.

It is this opening that often permits something new, unexpected, and vibrant to arrive.

Hear how I frame the natural rhythms of art practice.

I know this, in the short term, is the opposite of productivity.

However, for me, it is all about ensuring my productivity will continue in my life and art practice.

Exhaling always is followed by inhalation.

Busy always gives way to inactivity.

I believe both are a prerequisite to a vibrant, healthy, and productive art practice.

So maybe today, exhale and take stock of where you are in your art-making.

Is it time to give pause? Is it time to ratchet up your energy?

There is no right or wrong time to when you ease up.

Just maybe that you do.

Let us know in the comments.

Are you inhaling or exhaling? And if so, how?

Thanks for being here.

Nicholas

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

The big mistake when making your art bigger

The big mistake when making your art bigger

Today I am talking about how to scale up your art.

What is the best way to go from making small to large art?

I did it completely wrong, which caused me a lot of wasted time and money making mediocre paintings.

So today, I want to share the one thing I didn’t know about scaling my art bigger.

It turns out simply getting a bigger canvas is just the tip of the iceberg.

Check this out.

So that was my mistake that I finally figured out. Making large-scale art is hard. I still find it challenging but so rewarding when it works out.

What has been your experience in scaling up your art? Leave a comment below, and let’s crowdsource some ideas!

I hope your studio time today is a blast.

Nicholas

PS Sign up for the Creative Visionary Program 2022 notifications list.
It won’t start till Feb of 2022, but you will be the first to find out when it does.

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

These might change everything for you

These might change everything for you

I like to paint boldly and a little out of control, especially in the beginning.

If the picture is giving you bold, clear messages, you can better respond with the same.

In other words, it is easier to know what to do next.

A strong start can make your progress easier and a lot faster.

Today I am sharing a few tips about how I make my art. I know how much it helped me to discover how different artists make art.

Maybe one of mine will help with your art-making.

Have a look here.

Let’s crowdsource some helpful tips from our practices in the comments below!

Just one might have a dramatic impact on how you make your art.

Enjoy the 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!