May
12
2010

Painting Inspiration by Wilson Bickford

 


I'm very often asked, "How do you get the inspiration or ideas for all of your paintings?"

The truth is that I'm not really sure. Inspiration is one of those things that you don't always see coming and can be triggered by just about anything.
Every artist has subjects which are of particular interest and appeal.
For Monet, it was his water lilies. Van Gogh had a penchant for hay fields.
That's not to say that these subjects were all they painted, but they appear to have held a certain fascination for them, as they rendered them so frequently.

For me, I'd have to say that my favorite subjects are birds and old barns.
I don't know why exactly, but I never tire of those themes.

Now having said that, I also love doing landscapes, still life and florals.
I have found that as the years went by, the scope of my artistic focus has broadened. There are very few things that I don't enjoy painting. Each and every subject has its own challenges, which is an invitation to test yourself and your skills. As an artist, the only way to improve is to keep going a little farther each time you pick up a brush. I've heard the phrase, "You have to go out on the limb, because that's where the fruit is." That is the truest statement I've ever heard, whether in regards to art or just life in general.
As for true inspiration, it's all around us. Keep your eyes open and you'll know when something grabs you. Inspiration simply means that something has struck a chord within you and you feel "connected" to it to the point that you want to capture it on paper or canvas. (Or perhaps with clay, for you sculptors.)

It can be something as dramatic as a spectacular sunset, or as simple as the soft shadows on flower petals. As I've already said, you won't always see it coming, but you'll feel it when it does arrive.
It can knock on your door at any time and that is what makes art such an unpredictable pleasure.

www.wilsonbickford.com
May
12
2010

Art is a Universal Language by Deb Bartos

In addition to being an artist (a painter of oils and watercolors) I am a nursing instructor.
I love teaching. I love learning. I love caring and teaching others new skills in caring.

I also believe that every profession (and every life) has 2 sides. There is an art and a science to everything. The science is doing things right (left-brain.) The art is doing things well (right brain.) Every painting, every snowflake, every person, is a unique individual. Every situation is unique, and deserves our unbiased attention in the moment. Just because you know someone with a similar disease or problem doesn't mean you can turn off your right brain and treat them the same as the situation you already know. Just because you have painted a landscape before doesn't mean you can put your brain on automatic pilot. This is not just too easy; it's not honest to yourself or anyone else.

I had a wonderful mentor years ago in a nursing preceptor program at a community hospital. He was an internal medicine physician who had practiced for many years. In spite of all of the new diagnostic tests, computer-age information, etc., his urgent message was "90% of the information you need, you will get from listening to the patient and their history." Listen and learn. In this age of computerized diagnostic testing and infinite knowledge on the internet, it is too easy to think we, the (medical) professionals, know everything. How awful that would be if it were true. Labels do not convey understanding or knowledge; they are just categories and boxes. Sometimes useful, sometimes they are not.

The world needs creative solutions now as always. Artists learn to be creative, it is a skill that can be developed like any other. Creative thinking and critical decision-making skills are important in any profession. Self-discipline and self-expression are important skills for anyone who wants to accomplish anything good or new in life. Practicing an art form gives you this experience.

Robert Henri in "The Art Spirit" says, "Art when really understood is the province of every human being. It is simply a question of doing things, anything well." His book is timeless and his words from 1923 are inspiring. I recommend it to anyone who wants to live an artful life.

I tell my students that their education is self-directed. They need to ask the right questions at the time they need the answers. It is an on-going, life-long process. As Robert de Niro, as a patient (and a mentor) says to Robin Williams (who is playing Dr. Saks in the movie "Awakenings") says, "Learn, learn, learn, learn. Learn!"

My response to comments that I think "outside the box" has always been "what box?"
There is life outside the box when you learn to color outside the lines. Like Nike says, "Just do it!" and then you will be one of us. You will be an artist in the best sense. You will be living your own best life. Whatever you do!

www.yessy.com/debbiebartos


May
12
2010

I Agree with Nobody by Kim Ellery

I recently read a blog on The Splatter by TMNK (The Me
Nobody Knows).

It was called "Jerry's Knows the Average Joe." It was a story of
gratitude and friendship between TMNK and Ira Goldstein.



The story has touched me, and I wanted to see if anyone else has
any "Jerry's" stories out there! So, I decided to share my story!



Do you all get the Jerry's catalog and mailings? About four
years back I received the mailing about the Art of Carolinas. I went
out for breakfast with my family and dreamily read through the Artists
Workshops and all the incredible deals on supplies for those who enter
the golden gates of the Art of The Carolinas! I looked up to my
husband with stars in my eyes and declared that I would just DIE if I
could go to such an amazing event! ... To my amazement, his response was
"Well, how much is it?" ... That, to me, meant PACK YOUR BAGS BABY!! ...IT
WAS AMAZING!



A couple of years later, I planned another trip back to the AOC.
This year was Jerry Goldstein's 80th Birthday! There were pictures of
him everywhere wishing him a Happy Birthday. Poor Jerry! I WAS THERE…
and now I knew what he looked like! SO when I saw him approaching me,
I waited! I had to meet THE Jerry of Jerry's Artarama! WELL, I just
HAD to hug him! I mean, come on!! Here is the man who supplies me with
my addiction! Jerry just let me hug him. He patiently waited for me to
finish my ramblings about how he has changed my life by supplying me
with a store filled with toys and people who were always there to
help me decide which paint tube I should buy next, and the same people
(HI Cheryl and Ida in the Providence Store!) who would welcome me
back next week knowing they would have to endure another 20 minute
decision over which color to choose next.


Anyway, Jerry Goldstein, as it turns out, is one of the sweetest,
kindest men who REALLY LOVES being an art supplier! Jerry and I talked
about lots of things that weekend, including his wonderful
granddaughter, Heather, who had become my Facebook friend just before I
left for the AOC. I told Jerry how much I was enjoying the provoking
conversations Heather would inspire on the Jerry's Facebook site. I met
Heather in person later on that weekend and we have continued to be
great friends! (A story for another blog!) I left the AOC last year
with some great new ideas to try in/on my artwork. AND I left feeling
even more in love with the Jerry's Artarama Art Supply Store and the
fabulous family that runs it!

So in closing, here is my reason for writing this blog:

How many of you have similar feelings about our friendly, family run
(THIRD GENERATION!), fine art supply store JERRY'S ARTARAMA? I would
encourage you to write your own blog and share it with Heather (heather@jerrysartarama.com) to post
for us all to see! Nobody started this, can Everybody continue??

I can't wait to read YOUR STORY ABOUT JERRY'S!

kim ellery
kimellery@mac.com

www.kimellery.com

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