Wednesday, November 25, 2009

PhilosophersNotes - Get Your Wisdom On

PhilosophersNotes - Get Your Wisdom On This is an awesome resource. I have wanted to read many of these books, and this puts them at my finger tips!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I was talking with my mother about this blog the other day and one of her first comments was regarding the idealistic tone of of this blog, which I translated as an indication that she feels this is another of my charming, but perhaps not grounded in the real world, endeavors. Obviously, since I was able to discern this without her saying this exactly, this voice is in my head telling me to be realistic and tone it down so to speak. In fact, I think the battle with this voice and others like them is one of the most important battles that anyone who is breaking away from the herd and trying something new, wanting to flex their creative wings and take to the sky will face. Fear is the mind killer, the mind can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven. I think most of us have such voices in our heads which tell us to be realistic, to tone it down, to give up, to accept our mediocrity and so on. One of the ways I have found to quiet these voices is to find inspiration and strength from those who are saying the complete opposite of such mind killer voices. One of my all time favorites comes from Martha Graham, a trailblazing woman and dancer:
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is on a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
For me her notion of leaving aside any value judgments of what you create and get on with creating is one of the most important mantras I have when I feel one of those mindkillers start to creep up on me. Words of wisdom such as hers are invaluable. Whenever I find such words, I add them to my sketchbook. There is lots of inner work to this process as one finds their inner voices starting to interfere. Though perhaps meant to shield us from humiliation and failure, they must not be given the final say.
As well as inner voices, outer voices must be managed. In an earlier post, I mentioned a resource that helped when I was first starting off on this path, The Artist's Way. One of the elements that I got the most from was the author's advice to be careful how and with whom you share your beginning steps at change. She likened this movement as a sort of spark that had to be shielded from harsh winds until that spark was a roaring fire, which would then be strong enough to feed off harsh winds, criticism and the like. I have found that when you break out of the normal conventions of life, there are those who envy your courage and try to squash it with the voices in them that have squashed them. They will hand you all sorts of garbage, perhaps even well-intentioned, that will serve to pour water on your fire. I found that it helps not to take what they say personally and treat it as something that is more about what they have accepted as reality rather than reality itself. Since we are all pretty much lost in terms of our ignorance about reality- we see only the tiniest fraction of what is and what we experience is so tempered by the way we have been raised, programmed, really, I think that we have to be rigorously discerning with what we take to be reality. Consider the quote I shared, I don't think one has to be idealistic to accept her premise. I think what she said is as much an observable reality as an idea from which to proceed into reality. So, this being said, find those authors, artists, friends, loved ones, anyone who adds to your fire. Cleave to them and their words will be instrumental on your journey.
I want to bring your attention to a link I added some time ago but have negelcted to say much about. The link is Drawing Tutorials Online in the corner of this blog. I love this site and use it regularly. If you like drawing and want to get better,you must check out this site. It is full of loads of instructional videos and articles, reference photos, opportunities to network and tons more. It is quite reasonable to be a member, around 13 dollars a month and for the price you cannot go wrong. The instructor is a great teacher as well as a professional illustrator who teaches at a well known art school in NYC. He has put together a great program, so check it out. If you decide to that its worth your while like I have, click on the icon on my blog and I will get a kickback, so you will be doing me a favor while you do yourself one.
The image on this post is one of my most recent works. Che Guevara seems like a pretty good rep for idealism, I think this is part of why his face is so famous. I did this one in pen becuase I have always admired him as a rebel for the people.I would love to hear from you about this image as well as anything you came across in the blog.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Follow Through

I have been quite busy this week. You may have noticed some new elements in my blog this week. Last week I mentioned some goals I have made with regards to creating and sharing my art. Some of these goals have to do with the new additions on blog, namely the print-on-demand site that I am now a part of, red bubble and getting my own website for my art, This has been quite a revelation for me. It was very simple to get started and quite inexpensive ( was free and had a intro offer that gives me the first 2 months free. I uploaded many of my favorite drawings to both sites. I will be using to focus on selling originals and the print-on-demand site to sell prints of my works. Both sites will of course allow me to get my work out to a larger audience and both of the galleries I have set up will allow me to network with artists and art lovers. Looking at other art work and connecting with other artists is quite inspiring and motivating in my experience. I have already gotten feedback from other artists in the form of appreciation for my images which has been an unexpected benefit of starting these online venues for my work. In addition to the link section where you can go to these sites, I have also added some feeds which allow you to see the prints I have on offer and clicking on one that you like will take you to the site where you can order a print for yourself or as a gift. I hope that you will take a look at these new elements of this blog. I would love to get feedback from you in terms of the ease of use, the look and feel of the site and anyting you have to add that would be of use to me. And, of course, feel free to pick of some of my drawings for yourself and your loved ones. I think that I have got lots of great work that would look wonderful in your home or in the home of a loved one.
The work I have posted is a study I did of an eye using colored pencil.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Books that I have read and websites I am using these days seem to be reminding me that making goals is an important part of this process of life design that I am engaging with. The way goals have come to matter to me is that I can see that setting and then going about meeting those goals is how I have done anything that mattered to me. Therefore, I need to set some more concrete goals to get the concrete results I am seeking in my latest life design project. I made some temporally bound goals in two areas: drawing and marketing. Some goals are things I want to do every day, namely some drawing goals. For weekly, as when as my monthly goals (1,2and 6) I am conceiving of today,tomorrow and the day after steps that I can count on helping reach my goals. The goals are kept in a place I see regularly to give myself that extra leverage on myself to follow thru. I think that all of this collected effort will put myself squarely behind my intentions and will propel me further into the realizations of my imagination. Living the dream, quite literally, as well as thoroughly enjoying the process along the way.
Two of my weekly goals are to publish this blog and to finish a new drawing. The drawing for this week is from a sculpture I photographed in Istanbul awhile ago. The original is hanging across the room from me as I write. While I was working on this drawing,I came across a morphing sequence of women in art that is jaw-drop stunning as well as extremely instructive. I dare you to watch it and not come away with a new appreciation for painting/drawing. I posted a link under women in art in my links section.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Artist's Way

When I start to think about where/when I began this journey, I find that the exact point is difficult to pick as I can always find some earlier time in my life that seems appropriate. SO while I can see how this thread has been winding throughtout my whole life, there is a time that does seem useful as one of milestones of my wandering way. In my very early twenties, after I realized that I was not pursuing anything that really mattered to me at university and subsequently dropped out of Reed College (all the best Reedies have, ha ha), I set out after those things that did matter. In the course of that, I came across the book, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It made a huge difference for me and the crafty things I was creating started to bring my desires for art into focus and this book became a workbook for me. On the strength of what working with that book did for me, I knew I had found "my thing" and I was reunited with my long lost love from childhood, drawing.
I have included a link to the official website of this book and I highly recommend this book to anyone, regardless of occupation or creative fixation. The author's belief is that all people can benefit from bringing art and creativity into their life and toward this end, writes about how to go about doing that. The book is full of ideas and tasks that feed the creativity in all of us. Though I read this book more that a decade ago, as you can see, it has stayed with me. One of the concepts that really stood out for me was her notion of taking yourself on out various art fieldtrips such as going to museums, enrolling in a weekend workshop, attending a foreign film festival and so forth. There was also a reflective writing part of the process that she recommended which I found to be quite useful. I am sure you can find a used copy online for next to nothing so get one and take yourself out for some fun.
The drawing I included with this blog is of a tulip I did some years ago. It was one the drawings that sold on the night of my first show in Portland. Fortunately, it is in the collection of a dear friend so I get to visit this drawing, which was hard to part with because I love it so, whenever I visit Portland. This is one of my favorites from the photorealism obsession I eluded to in a previous post.