Monthly Archives: December, 2018

Letters henri-rousseau_war-1894

Dear Artist, A friend of mine (let’s call him Dino) entered retirement the other day…

Letters tom-thomson_first-snow-in-autumn

Here on the West Coast, the rain falls in a face-slap of plump, heavy drops. In pictures, though, winter is a silent, sensual swoosh of purple and cream with moody golden-hour skies and blobs of highlight dancing between long shadows. Here are a few ideas:

Painting snow is the best way to practice the art of looking. Forget about what you think you know about the white stuff and try to see what’s really there. Throw yourself into mastering the art of warm and cool associations.

Letters fernando-botero_mona-lisa-age12_1959

In this studio, a high percentage of inbox letters are from artists complaining about things. Some are like leopards jumping out of the screen, clawing wildly. As I like to keep our website fairly positive, some of this growling gets answered personally. A lot of complaints are about art dealers, art clubs, and general and specific lack of support.

Letters Saltz-feature

“Tell your own story and you will be interesting,” wrote Jerry Saltz last week, borrowing from Louise Bourgeois. He used her quote as Number 2 in his 33 Rules for How To Be An Artist, an article he wrote for New York Magazine, the publication for which he’s been the senior art critic and columnist since 2006. Some of Jerry’s other tips: “Prize vulnerability, make an enemy of envy, learn to deal with rejection, and accept that you will likely be poor.” In his Rules, Jerry is full of idealism, artist myth-making and scrappiness.

Letters arthur-streeton_The-Murray-and-the-Mountain_1930

In case you haven’t heard, “operant conditioning” is the use of consequences to modify the occurrence and form of otherwise voluntary behaviour.

For example, rats, cats or dogs that perform a task are more likely to repeat successfully if they’re rewarded quickly after the behaviour. Sitting at my easel this morning, I was wondering how operant conditioning might apply to creative folks. Activities of the easel variety have built-in consequences, some subtle, some obvious, some immediate and some delayed — and, admit it, some are negative as well as positive.