Monthly Archives: August 2018

How and when to use up all those art supplies

I’m not a horder, but not too far from that label when it comes to art supplies. I grew up the son of parents who went through the depression. As farmers they had it better than most, but they were able to keep what they had homesteaded by being financially conservative, resourceful, and using up […]


Composition Shouldn’t be just Intuitive

Compositional Design: can it be taught? Edgar Payne’s book on Landscape composition has become a classic. Payne seemed to think composition could be taught. Most art instructors thinks so too, but unfortunately few spend much time on teaching art students how to design a composition. Composition for most artist and instructors is simplified to the […]


Find Something you can Teach that’s Artsy

Any teachers out there will tell you that if they give their students the task of teaching other students the teacher students will have to know the material well and are better prepared than if they were not given the task of teaching something. The same is true with art. Volunteer to teach beginners something […]


Learn the Farmer’s Wave to be a better artist

A neighbor brought over an extra muskmelon today. “They are getting ripe and we’ve eaten three. I think we gave eight away already.” What a nice gesture. Country folk have a different way of life than most. We tend to keep to ourselves – giving what my city Colombian-born wife coined, the farmer’s wave as […]


Farmer’s don’t wait for the perfect weather: so artists shouldn’t wait for the muse


 I talked to a local farmer today: “The harvest should be pretty good this year,” he said. It occurred to me as an artist, how at one point in the creation process I often think, “This may just turn out the way I want it to.”

And sometimes the artworks do and sometimes they don’t. While I can control part of the process, there’s a part – the muse – that is a lot like the weather is for farmers.

Preparation is one key

As an artist I can do certain key things: I can do a thumbnails, block it in on a canvas or paper, and finish it.

Farmers prepare the equipment, prepare the soil, and plant the seeds. They put in the work and sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate. Like Farmers, that can happen to us artists too – the muse abandons us. But unlike the farmers, many artists sit and wait for the muse to strike, or until they feel a burst of creativity. We artist must continue to do the work. We can’t wait on the muse or a burst of creativity to strike.

Imagine, if a farmer thought to himself in the spring: “This year doesn’t look like it will rain enough. I’ll just not plant this season.” That doesn’t work. They have to put in the work and so do we. Artists should always be painting or planting the seeds for the next painting. We need to trust the muse will come and rain down upon us to help us grow.

Who’s a selfish pig?? People are so spoiled

Cats have more grace sometimes than we humans. Recently our cat “Trouble” went blind. We didn’t notice at first and thought she was just slowing down in her old age. I let her in from the outdoors one day and noticed how she first stopped at the stoop and was pawing at the threshold; as […]