Friday, October 14, 2011

How High is Your Learning Curve?

I don't always have a five-year plan. One thing you must do in life is keep your learning curve as high as possible. (Yo-Yo Ma)

Yo-Yo is speaking about challenges, and keep one's skills on a continual quest for improvement.

What skills do you need to reconsider and improve?

What learning curve do you need to expand higher?

PARMIGIANINO - Portrait of a Young Lady   c. 1535 -  Oil on canvas, 139 x 88 cm  
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Art is Risky Business

Art is, from any point of view, the greatest of risks. (Jean Helion)

Why is it so risky to be an artist?

Is it because, as artists, we wear our hearts on our sleeves?

Is it because we cannot separate ourselves from our work?

Is it because we fear rejection and criticism?

But what do we gain if we never put brush to canvas?

 John Singleton Copley - Brook Watson and the Shark - 1778  
Oil on canvas, 182 x 230 cm - National Gallery of Art, Washington

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where is fantasy bred, in the heart or in the head? (Willy Wonka)

DOMENICHINO - The Cumaean Sibyl - c. 1610  
Oil on canvas - Pinacoteca Capitolina, Rome

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In one ear...

-ca. 1385...
Oon ere it herde, at tother out it wente. [trans. in one ear and out the other] (
Geoffrey Chaucer)

The phrase "in one ear and out the other" rings true for parents of teenagers.

 Quiringh van Brekelenkam 
  Confidental Conversation - 1661  
Oil on panel, 47 x 36 cm  
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam  

We scold, suggest, hint, and demand, yet the words have no effect on them.

We want to help them avoid danger, be healthy and have opportunities.

But we are also susceptible to having words travel through our own heads,  in a meaningless torrent.

What words might you make more of an effort to listen to?

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Yogi-ism for Artists

You can observe a lot by just watching. (Yogi Berra)

The other morning I hunted high and low throughout the house for my favorite coffee mug.

I checked the car, the studio, and the dishwasher.

As I closed the dishwasher, I looked up at the counter and noticed my freshly washed mug serenely sitting there.

I had looked, but I did not see.

As artists, we learn to see, to acutely observe.

It does not suffice to just "look."

My art took a giant leap forward when I was finally able to focus on fully observing my subject.

To do this, I narrow my field of vision.

I observe all the details of the one section of the subject.

The whole is divided into parts.

What do you need to focus on to really see?

 Willem Claesz Heda   Still-Life with Gilt Goblet   1635  
Oil on panel, 88 x 113 cm  
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Art will never exist without...

Art will never be able to exist without nature. (Pierre Bonnard)

Let's really stop and think about this.

Without nature, there is no art.

Nature is inherent in almost every piece of art, whether it is the subject matter, the materials, or the emotion conveyed through the artwork.

It's a gorgeous morning here in New Hampshire.

The leaves are turning, the sky is a deep cerulean blue, and the grass glistens with the morning dew.

It's a work of art.

I hope you enjoy the artful side of nature today.

Richard Wilson   View of Syon House across the Thames near Kew Gardens  
c. 1760       Oil on canvas, 104 x 139 cm