Reflection - Paiting a Portrait Inside my Mind by TMNK

I am now beginning my day the way I often end it, reflecting. Perhaps today I will paint a portrait, perhaps a self-portrait. Not of myself, but of humanity. Her vanity showing, I know she'll want me to capture her good side. A mirror will be of no use, reflecting only the slowly decaying image in front of it. To paint a great portrait I must challenge myself to look deeper.

Reflection. Yes, I've decided to answer the call to stare, inspect, reflect then paint a portrait of humanity. Slowly, methodically, peering in my mind's eye beneath the surface, I begin the search inwardly. Intrigued, fascinated by the possibilities of discovering a hidden treasure, I continue. Painting, even when my labors seem unrewarded. Reflection. I remind myself that I am the artist, yet I am also the subject, human, and representative in some small degree of the face of humanity. There is much beauty to be discovered and shared. And so I must continue to look, to search as I paint.

I know that there is so much more, we are so much more than the flesh and bones, reflected in a mirror. And there is more to society than the ugliness so often portrayed on the evening news. So when I paint a portrait, I first shatter this glass façade, and attempt to paint the soul beneath the surface. With quiet meditation, I attempt to capture a universal truth and express it with honesty. Reflection, we're more alike than different. Reflection, beauty is more than skin deep, even when ugly is to the bone. Today, as I painted, I chose to look past the ugly blood stained scars of poverty and violence, and create a small portrait of humanity's beauty. It won't be too difficult, if only I reflect inward, with both eyes and heart open.

I've recently finished three portraits,
Reflection, SatchMO, and Malcolm X.



Creativity Needs Peace and Quiet by Mike Rooney

I've had an epiphany sometime over the last few months. Slow down and do better paintings.
I thought you might like to see how I corrected a dangerous course of action so you'll have something to think about before you go down the same road or have to correct course like me.
Here's the skinny.

I've been a full-time painter selling in a dozen galleries up and down the eastern seaboard for almost five years now. All the wisdom of the day when I started said that you needed miles and miles of canvas behind you before you got any good. Well they were (and still are) right. But what I didn't hear was miles and miles of decent work.

Don't you look at your screen with that look on your face. If you paint, or draw, or sculpt, you haven't always sold your very best work 100% of the time, now have you. It's human nature to do what you can with what you've got on hand.

I ran from painting to painting, averaging three or four a day for years. Some call that prolific. I now call it stupid.
How can you find time to do your very best work if you hardly have time to each lunch or return a dealers phone call?

Note to self: Being frazzled is counterproductive. Seems like common sense, right? Not so much, when you're trying to pay bills, keep galleries happy, and stay ahead of the tax man. Being pushed also keeps you from thinking through the design, accepting little things you know aren't right in the painting (but getting onto the next one helps you conveniently forget), and can lead to professional burnout.

So my new mantra is not "how many can I do in a day," it's "how many really good ones can I do, no matter how long it takes."

If you're shaking your head up and down frantically, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Slow it down. Think through the design a little more than you do now. Don't let something go out to a gallery that you wouldn't want on the front page of your local newspaper with your photo next to it and your name in huge type. What an acid test that is huh?

Ouch.....After saying that.... if you'll excuse me I've got to quit typing and go work on a few paintings some more that I thought were good enough to show.

You can visit Mike's blog and can be contacted at


Bring out your dark side (to show more light) by Wilson Bickford

I love to paint the deep woods. There is mystery in the dark depth of the shadows. And the way the light filters through the trees is absolutely majestic! (At least to me.) What appeals to me above all, is the strong light and dark contrast, which is the entire basis of a good painting.
So many times, I see beginning painters who possess good intentions, but also ignorance of the importance of a strong light/dark balance in their work. It's been said that, "without the dark, there is no light." That is absolutely true!! The darks are what make the lights "pop" and without enough contrast, the end result will be bland.
This principle does not pertain only to wooded landscapes, but EVERY artistic theme and subject. Still life, florals, portraits, whatever the subject,.......all will benefit from a good balance of contrasts.
When thinking about the lights and darks in your next painting, also consider the color "temperatures." Although it's certainly not always the case, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to use cooler colors in the shadows, warmer tones in the highlight areas. This will add a huge "kick" to your painting and yield a more refined, professional result.

Shown is "SUNLIT STREAM" - Oils on 12" x 12" Gallery Wrap canvas

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