Art as a Matter of Survival by Cheryl Whitestone

I have been a professional artist for twenty something years. I started painting when I was 10 years old and continued playing in all the 2 dimensional mediums I could get my hands on as a child with no money. My Mom was an artist so I was exposed to her art supplies and her artist friends who also tutored me. I learned sumi painting at 11, watercolors, oils, sketching and everything else, as I tagged along with my mother and her friends. I even went with Mom to do fill-in work on her murals in California, at age 11.

I am old now and still work in every art medium I can get my hands on. Nothing has changed, I guess, except I have more of a mastery of these mediums and the craft of painting. I am not rich in cash but rich in personal fulfillment. Hopefully my ship will come in soon. I have only survived as a professional by being what I have called an "art whore", I will paint anything for anyone, and I have learned how to live on less money than most people would think possible. Of course I would be happy if this situation would change, extra cash would come in handy.

Several years ago I met Joseph Perrin, former, Head and Professor Emeritus, School of Art and Design at Georgia State University, and attended his artist salons in his studio behind his home in Atlanta. It was a great place to preview your latest art work, socialize and get constructive critiques from Joe and all the other artists in attendance. But it was much more than just that, because Joe was an armchair philosopher and he was somewhat of a stand-up comic too. Here is what he said, and handed a copy to all of us one day.
This will make you feel good!

Elements in Your Survival Kit:
The Arts
By Joseph Perrin

Without the arts you can express nothing. Without expression you can communicate nothing. Without communication you can negotiate nothing. Without negotiation you don’t survive.

Without the arts you have no clothes to wear, no house to live in, no buildings in which to work, no cars to drive, no books, magazines or papers to read, no television or movies to view, no music to hear, no pots and pans to cook in etc.
Artist Barnett Newman stated: "I believe that man discovered his godhead in the mud with a stick before he discovered that he could throw the stick as a lance." There is also visual evidence that, in prehistoric times, humankind scratched its hopes and dreams on the walls of its caves. If this is the case, it would indicate that the arts preceded science, technology, business and other vital enterprises in the unfolding of our civilized world.

If the forgoing statements are true, should we not continue to support, and indeed increase our support for the visual, literary and performing arts and do it as a matter of vested interest and survival?

I loved this, I do want to be appreciated and this is high praise. Fellow artists keep up the good work it is a matter of our survival!

Cheryl Whitestone


What is Art? by Deb Bartos

Laundry Day in Italy 12x16 in water soluble oil 2009

My name is Deb Bartos. I love art, nature, and exploring new places. I've painted on location since taking a Plein Air workshop in 1993. I found that painting plein air was the answer to getting the colors and light I wanted in my paintings. I've tried many art mediums, but I like water-soluble oils, such as Weber Water-Mixable wOil colors, the best for the workability, drying time, and non-toxic solvent (water).
Weber Water-Mixable Oils
I enjoy painting and sharing what I have learned with others who are interested in learning more about art. I would like to invite you to be a collector of my work and a student in my workshops.

I paint from life and my own photo references on my travels locally and abroad. My dream is to be a full-time artist and teach workshops in fabulous places, including Colorado, my home of 25 years.

For 7 years, I taught Art Appreciation at a university in Colorado Springs and learned much from the experience.

"What is Art?" by John Canaday was our textbook. "What is Art" was the first question I asked my students the first day of class. What would you say? What do you think of when someone mentions the word "art?" What does it mean to you and why?

I had them write down their answers and shared them anonymously with the group. It made for a great discussion. The class was Art Appreciation and they were non-majors. Their answers to "what is art?" were those formed by their life in society as a whole, not something they learned from another art professor. They were fresh, blank canvases to the "art world" and it was great. Our conversation provided a wonderful introduction to their experience of art, as it covered most of the topics of life itself.

I stopped asking the question, "why are you taking this class?" because the answer was always, "for the 3 credits." (Like I said earlier, fresh canvases. I loved it.) The second day of class, we toured local art museums and galleries. When I asked the questions, "How many of you have ever been to our local fine art center, the business of art center, or the local history museum?" an occasional, slow, hand would go up in answer to my question. But it was almost always accompanied by an excuse of someone else dragging them there. One of my biggest joys was the last day of class, when several students would tell me, "I'm going to take my kids to go see the places we saw, they need to see them too. Yes!

As part of their 3 credits, they completed an art project or wrote a paper about art. The best part of art is doing it, right? They came up with some really great innovative stuff, and it was always different. No two projects or papers were alike, as I've seen universally in art. I took a class once where the instructor had us trace one of her drawings, then do the watercolor glazing that she was teaching. To my amazement, at the end of the class, even with this much structure imposed on us, we all came up with a different result. We are snowflakes, no two alike.

My favorite quote from John Canaday in his book, What is Art?; is that "art and living are inseparable and mutually sustaining." Yes!

I had an art teacher once who asked me, "are you more interested in the product or the process?" Great question! The best art advice I ever received, and enjoy sharing, is "keep on painting!"
I would love to hear your thoughts on "what is art?" and why you do it. I'm so encouraged by the company of other artists, we are the ones engaging in the process. I would love to have you come paint with me in Colorado or on a travel workshop. Keep on painting!

Please visit my new blog started on 01-01-10 at
titled, "A Painting a Day for a Year and what I Learn from it."


Yes, YOU Can Paint! by Wilson Bickford

Hello and welcome to my space on the "SPLATTER" blogazine. Thanks for logging on!

Wilson Bickford and I am a professional artist and instructor from northern New York state. ( if you're thinking "Albany", keep going North. I'm only 30 miles from Canada. I'm at the polar opposite of the state from NYC. )

I am a self-taught artist and I have been conducting painting and drawing classes for 20 years now. There is no doubt that my "occupation" is unique by most standards, but it is also one of the most rewarding that I can imagine. "Turning people on" to painting is very fulfilling, to say the least.

Art, whether it's painting, sculpture, music, theater, whatever is a "learned" skill, not something innate or born into you.

Through the years, it has become glaringly obvious to me that ANYONE can paint. All it takes is becoming familiar with some basic principles, techniques and approaches. Most folks have never been informed about color value, perspective and how to portray dimensional depth.

Pick up a typical "art book" and the novice will be confronted with terms like; grisaille, alla prima, imprimatura, impasto,.......... and let's not forget "fat over lean". Usually, that will be enough to discourage most aspiring painters and send them off in search of a friendlier activity.

As a teacher, it's my job/duty/privilege to take the mystery out of all this jargon and break everything down into "bite-size" chunks and show the student how to put these methods into actual practice.

Most of my students begin my classes with the notion that, "Well, I have no talent but I thought I'd come and give it a try because it might be kind of fun." Translation? " I'm dying to try this, but I'm afraid I might fail. But, I hope I can do it! Can you help me?"

I always point out that Da Vinci and Michelangelo weren't "born with a brush in their hand", either. They were apprenticed to the Masters of their day and they LEARNED it. And so can YOU!!

Does it take practice and study? YES! Does it take determination and perseverance? YES! Does it take a certain skill? NO, because I believe that can be acquired. Being a great baseball player is a learned skill. Being a great magician ( a' la David Copperfield ) is a learned skill.

And so it is with art.

Let's face it,...... you will become better and more proficient at something the more you do it.

I don't care whether it's golf, chess or deciphering your home computer.

We LEARN by DOING! And practice has always made perfect and it always will!

If you're not afraid of a little sweat, devotion of your time and dedication to a goal, YOU can learn to paint. Paint because it makes you feel alive, paint because you've always wanted to, paint because your Grandma's old box of art supplies is gathering dust in the closet! If you make a mistake, so what? Try again! You will learn more from your own mistakes than any other way.

(Remember I said I was self-taught? I learned by making lots of mistakes. Mistakes will be your best teacher, by far. )

JUST PAINT !!! I guarantee that your life will be richer for it!

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