Help! I'm Stuck! by Jeanne Bessette

O.k. let's face it. We all get stuck. It's panic time and we feel like we will never make another worthy piece of art as long as we live. Or even worse, we insist on working in this energy and every piece we touch turns to garbage. It can sometimes go on for days, weeks even.


Even the most successful artists have blocks...just can't move.
Sigh. What to do what to do...clean the studio? Stare at the canvas? Make mud?
Do least at first. Take a deep breath. The times that we can't seem to be creative are just nature's way of making you rejuvenate. Your creative juices have not dried up, they are refilling. Compare it to driving across the country and expecting your car to make the whole trip without refilling the tank. It's not possible.

So...breathe, forgive yourself, drink water, go for a run, buy new golf shoes, take a bath, whatever it takes to relax...once you calm your nerves and you find your center, you can make a plan and reenter the studio. Here are just a few ideas when you get there.

Maybe you need some new intentions to get the paint flowing again. Try painting funky words like constipation or trapped. What colors would you use? Would the painting have tension? What does tension look like? Use only one color and black and white to create a monochromatic painting. Turn it upside down. Paint some more. Paint with only your fingers. Feel the oozy juicy paint squish on your skin. Feel the roughness of the canvas. Are you getting the idea? Play!!!! With paint!!!!

The idea is to not be so serious. You are refilling your creative tank. You are PLAYING. We forget to play and that is where creativity lives and breathes.
Paint to one song; create a painting that tells the story of the song. Play it again, paint some more. Don't take yourself so seriously. Laugh at your art. Make a goofy painting just for fun that no one will look at. Create a painting imagining you are a five year old. Five-year-olds make beautiful paintings because they play. They paint outside the lines and color skies pink. They dance and sing.
Cut out words from a magazine and paste them on the canvas. Create a message. Now paint the message. Paint outside. Breathe the fresh air (reserved for warmer weather).
Whatever you do, do not try to make a great painting. Just paint for the fun of painting. time you are blocked, stuck or in a funk...PLAY PLAY PLAY...
Next thing you know, you'll be creating again and you never saw it coming. I promise.
See you in the studio!


Call it what you want by TMNK

Rat Race
Mixed Media on Masonite

I'm not much into labels. I simply try to express a thought or a feeling in some form of visual permanence. But when listing my work in catalogs and exhibitions, the term mixed-media is most often used. Mixed-media? Yes, I deploy a mash-up of mediums in the creation of my art. Basically, I use any and everything that leaves a permanent mark, crayons, paint, pencil, pen, spray paint, collages, ink jet printers – anything and everything.

Figurative? Impressionist? Neo-expressionist? Low Brow? While perhaps they help art critics and historians better categorize and understand the influences behind the art, for me, these are limiting boundaries; creative restraints designed to put an artist in a specific box.

For me each tool, medium, texture, and color offers an opportunity for spontaneous discovery and exploration. So, in the process I've used silk screening, collage, acrylic, oil sticks, acrylics, oils, and watercolor. I recently used an empty toilet tissue roll in a painting to express human frailty, vulnerability, an dependence on one another. For me it was the perfect symbol to express a commonality we all share. It was for me the perfect visual vehicle to express the thought that, regardless of race, religion, or financial status we all at some point in our life need someone to help us with our basic needs. Regardless of the medium being used to mark with or mark on. It's more about the idea, the thought, the journey.

Call it what you want. I call them scribblings, urban hieroglyphics, just one voice amongst many busting out of the claustrophobic box of conformity.


Oil vs. Acrylic by Heather Goldstein

Oils and Acrylics are like oil and water...LITERALLY! For someone just starting out at painting or a painter wanting to change mediums, knowing which is better is usually the first question. But the truth is that neither oil nor acrylic is better than the other; they are just suited for different things. I will admit that I may be a bit bias since I am an oil painter, but I definitely see the merit in both. After all, I AM a painter and I just love PAINT!

Acrylics: I have found that acrylics are great play paints. They are non-toxic so you can use your hands and just have fun! They are also, often times, less expensive than oils. Acrylics will give you nice flat surfaces of color and, of course, they dry fast! I find acrylic mediums to be very fun and this is the perfect paint to use for mixed media! Use acrylic mediums like a glue to attach things to your canvas, build up texture with modeling paste, or use gel medium to do an image transfer!

Best Pros:
Great for Abstract painting
Fast drying
Flat color
Mixed Media

Some Cons:
Colors change when dry
Not ideal for figure/ portraits

Oils: One of the best qualities of oil paint is its ability to blend. You can really get the colors to mix on your palette and turn into a new color. With acrylics, it is almost like an optical illusion where you get the green you want but you can still see the yellow and blue. For some, the slow dry time of oil paints is a pro, but for others it is a con. You must also be very careful with safety. Oil paints and mediums are toxic!

Best Pros:
Great for Figure Painting
Great for realism
Stay true to color

Some Cons:
Dry time

Suggestions: To save on money (and time) I often do an acrylic under painting with my oils. You can always mix the two mediums, HOWEVER, you can paint oils on top of acrylics but NOT vice versa! The oil will eat through your acrylic over time and ruin your painting.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here!

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