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My Sketchy Idea

June 29th, 2017

My Sketchy Idea

The prepared artist: Always take along... drawing pencils, pencil sharpener, sketch pad, simple ballpoint gel pen, Sharpie ultra fine marker - inside a stiff plastic carrier that also provides a nice "desk" you can have in your lap.. Comes in handy when you're waiting for someone at their doctor appointment in the back parking lot.

Sketching on the spot can help you to be more observant, to notice detail, to take a good look at what's around you, and to accomplish something creative every day. There is always something that can become an art subject of interest, and you never have to look far. This little drawing was made in the shade, literally.

( Sure beats having to listen to pharmaceutical ads for an hour inside the waiting room! )

Real Art Is Real Important

June 29th, 2017

"Real" art is real important, and not the mass produced stuff people buy at TJ Maxx or Walmart and that sort of thing. I'm all for (local) American artists and art bedazzling the art buying world, and putting a dent in the big corporations using sweatshop labor in 3rd world countries to produce cheap "decorations". Not good to the slaves who work there. Not good for us either. Maybe I'll borrow and modify our President's slogan to "Make American art great again."

Sometimes I think it's good for people to see what an artist uses to produce their work - like a tiny brush with about a dozen hairs on it (as in my post from yesterday). Or what the studio looks like. Or some of the problems that come up while struggling with the layout for a certain piece. You need to realize that we may go through dozens of sketch ideas before settling on something that works and can be developed into a final work. People need to understand that while BEING an artist is just how it is for some of us, we don’t like being taken for granted either, as far as the DOING. It’s our work too! And we’d like to get paid for it, quite frankly. It’s what our Creator fashioned us to do. We have to take ourselves seriously, since not a lot of people really do.

Let’s see... here are some things that give that “taken for granted” impression.

“Art isn’t that important to me as an artist. Other things take priority over it. I do art when I have time for it.” (What, after the football games, the TV shows, and watching the news?) It’s really too bad that some very talented people marginalize themselves like that.

“Art is for decorating the rooms in my house. It’s just part of my decor. But it’s not the centerpiece of my living area.” Then by all means proceed to Walmart and support your local corporate sweatshop. I would not want to see my painting in your living room one week, and the following week discover it for sale at the local Goodwill. But then, you’d never buy my painting, since you don’t really care for real art, do you?

Recently someone contacted me via my website ( She’d found a drawing I did a long time ago. It was in a land far, far away with my signature on it. She wondered how old it was and provided a snapshot, and sure enough it was a black and white graphite of a lighthouse I drew probably 25 to 30 years ago. I had no idea how it had arrived at its destination, but she revealed to me that her grandmother was cleaning out a vacated property and had unearthed the drawing. I’ve puzzled over this ever since she contacted me. I thought it was interesting for a stranger to take the effort to do that. She said she loved lighthouses, so I told her, “Consider it yours.” It was nice that someone valued what someone else discarded.

These are just a few Sunday night rambling thoughts coming over the wires of the creative wavelength this evening. If you’re an artist, take yourself seriously. If not, please take us artists seriously.

Thanks, and have a creative and colorful week!

Creativity, Depression, and Anxiety

June 21st, 2017

Dear art lovers,

It's been awhile since the studio has been actually up and running, along with this website. I have to admit it's good to be in creative mode again. The signal to get going creatively, in my experience, often comes with the onset of a low grade depression, which follows a fairly long space of not doing any artwork... or the art becomes "work" and falls under some sort of other agenda where the art gets lost.

That's hard to explain that unless you've been there. But it always makes me wonder why musicians "play" music, but artists must do art "work"! Subject for another day.

Two times in my life I've slid into a deep depression. I know people who suffer from crippling anxiety. Often the two walk hand in hand. "Anxiety is part of creativity, the need to get something out, the need to be rid of something or to get in touch with something within," says actor David Duchovny of the X Files. That statement somehow found its way to me when on the threshold of depression several years ago. It helped me pull away from that chasm, turned me around, and pointed me toward being creative again. I knew I had to make some art. It made perfect sense.

I'd like to suggest to anybody who might be reading this that, if you're suffering from anxiety or depression or both, it might be time "to get in touch with something within" and see what form of creativity would like to make its presence known. Perhaps not everyone is inspired to draw or paint or make music, but what I'd suggest is coloring, doodling, photography, or writing something (journaling, poetry...) to begin with. You may surprise yourself (very pleasantly) with the realization that a gift or talent or new direction has been locked up inside you all this time. To give it expression in healthy ways might save you from becoming mentally or physically ill. It could even save your life, or your marriage, or other important relationships - since anxiety and depression affect everyone around you. I also believe that creativity might be a very good form of crime prevention!

The upshot is that it may also point you in the direction of an entirely new life "dynamo", or at least a lot of delight and diversion providing relaxation -since creative endeavors tend to de-stress people. Personally I've never seen it fail. And yes, you may have to kind of force yourself to "just do it" at first, but it will be well worth the effort.

A good place to begin might be to ask yourself, "Is there some positive, creative outlet I've always wanted to try, but never allowed myself to do?" You might want to get out some paper and a pen, and explore this question a little. It may surprise you.

Then go ahead and give your creative idea and insight a try.

Wishing you the best in creative exploration and expression,


Artist Block

April 5th, 2017

Short poem...

I seem to have entered a creative slump,
and that always makes me a bit of a grump.
Every day only seems to be just like the last,
but history proves this soon will be past.


Doodling For Relaxation

October 7th, 2016

Doodling For Relaxation

Coloring books for adults are all the rage these days. But I'd like to challenge you to go a little further, making some art of your own with some doodling. Doodling means to scribble absentmindedly, or to make a rough drawing in the same way. It's kind of hard to tell where doodling morphs into drawing or sketching, but that's kind of beside the point. What's important is that you simply put your hand to the paper (with a pencil, pen, or crayon in it of course) and begin. No fair judging yourself. This isn't a contest or comparison. It's just fun. It's just relaxing. And sometimes it takes on a life of its own.

Or you might even imagine something that you like, picturing it in your mind's eye - like old run-down buildings, trees, or even your favorite coffee cup. You can also start with a basic shape - circle, square, triangle... then build more lines or swirly designs around it. These are just a few ideas. There's really no limit on the styles of doodling. And there are no limits to your imagination, in spite of what someone may have led you to believe once upon a time. It - your creative imagination - just needs to get unlocked, and doodling is the best place I know to get started.

Another way to approach doodling is if you like computers. Included with this article is a sample of a "digital doodle" I did a couple of years ago when I finally got bold enough to install a simple Paintbrush function on my Macbook. I was hooked from the start. It was easy to doodle away while listening to music or a talk show, or some recording on You Tube.

What's been discovered is that doodling actually increases attentiveness and the ability to retain information. So, in my opinion kids should never be told not to doodle (or adults either) when listening to lectures. A relaxed mind is mind that is receptive to information. So I find that it's easy to listen and learn while doodling. The body also relaxes in my experience. Focus develops, as it can be absolutely fascinating as you discover what you can come up with. So doodling may be a far better way to unwind in the evening for better sleep. And it's certainly far better than mindless television "programming"!

Starting small may be a good idea. Plain 3x5 cards are nice for that, or some simple paper without lines - 5.75 x 9 inch plain letter writing paper works well too. Anything that's handy.

Go ahead. Surprise yourself...

I'd be interested to know about your experiences with doodling. So feel free to contact me. I'd love to hear from you.