Yearly Archives: 2016

Letters pablo-picasso_dancing-in-his-studio

Physicians are at odds regarding the possible dangers to the still-forming skeletons of young gymnasts. Until 1981, the minimum age to compete in senior events — including the Olympics — was 14. By 1997 the requirement had been raised to 16, with experts arguing that intense practice at the elite level was too hard on developing bodies, causing hormonal imbalance and putting unsustainable strain on prepubescent bones. Other studies, however, have suggested that younger gymnasts may have a physical and psychological advantage over their elders.

Letters edgar-payne_Breton-tuna-boats-at-anchor

A subscriber wrote, “I grew up in an environment that did not stimulate creative development. Nevertheless, in adolescence I was a prolific writer. But suddenly I stopped. I remember thinking that what I wrote wasn’t any good, and that I shouldn’t write any more. I put everything I wrote into the garbage. I don’t know why. Now ten years have passed and I haven’t written anything. What I find curious is that I still remember the pleasure the writing gave me, and being frequently in a state of ‘flow.’ I would like to recapture that same pleasure, the creativity that I had, and begin writing again. I don’t know exactly where to start and don’t have a clue if I’m on the right path. Any suggestions or advice?”

Letters RollingStones.0

An emerging art photographer wrote, “An author has asked to use one of my images for the cover of her e-book and for exclusive rights. She would also like to have a custom shoot (with a model), where she’ll have exclusive rights to the new images to use in advertisements for the book. I’m unsure as to what would be a fair price to charge for this.”

The Berne Convention of 1886 protects an artist’s copyright from the moment the work is “fixed” — that is, from the moment you make it.

Letters Electric-LOTW_Robert-Genn

I guess there’s about a billion paintings of sky, mountains, trees and water. Beneath these basic and universal elements lie symbols that may empower our work.

For example, the sky may represent infinity, eternity, immortality, transcendence or inspiration. As the traditional residence of gods, the sky may suggest omnipotence. The sky may also be symbolic of order in the universe.

Mountains are thought to contain divine inspiration, and are the focus of pilgrimages of transcendence and spiritual elevation. Mountains surpass ordinary humanity and extend toward the heavens.

Letters neural-activity_brainMRI

While learning the springs at my local Pilates studio recently, I noticed a sign above the cubbies: “You are only one workout away from a good mood.” I thought of a friend — a marathoner, hyper as a junkie, her “runner’s high” streaming with endorphins day after day. These endogenous opioid neuropeptides are pumped out by the central nervous system and pituitary gland to counteract the transmission of pain signals — a side effect is often euphoria. In lieu of a marathon, you can release them by laughing or getting a tattoo — but what about painting?

Letters Mary-Cassatt_Breakfast-in-Bed_1897

Termites, dormant over the winter, issue from a small hole in the corner of my studio ceiling. When I “Raid” them, they withdraw momentarily. Today, apart from the perennial easel-struggle, this is the main distraction. Rain streams on the windowpane and distant, silent lightning can be seen on the horizon. Here, all is quiet, save Mozart, and this studioscape is blessed with peace.

Letters robert-rauschenberg_retroactive-1-tribute21

Steve Koch of Clackamas, Oregon wrote, “Wondering if you might write on what it takes to go from being an amateur to being a professional. My dad was an independent businessman — if he didn’t get going, it wouldn’t get done. How to break the glass ceiling from one level to another? I know it’s not just “hard work” — ‘cause I have been doing that all my life. I was just introduced to Steven Pressfield’s book, “Turning Pro,” but I believe it was written for writers. How about some advice for painters?”

Letters robert-henri_storm-tide

When 25 new subscribers all have the same zip code, we can determine they are all from an art school or university. A professor of art or a painting instructor may have said to a class, “Here’s someone in the real world who struggles with art every day, writes this letter and gives tips. Subscribe — you might get something out of it.”

Letters Georges-Braque_1907-08_The_Viaduct_at_L'Estaque

Lee Hulcher from Clarkston Valley, Montana wrote, “I love to paint but being self-employed doesn’t leave much time, except in blocks of hours, sometimes days or months apart. Here lies the issue: When I step away from a painting that is going well, I dread the return, due to severe anxiety of messing it up and ruining the started painting. Of course, by the time I actually get to paint I am so stressed that I ruin the painting. I have found myself actually making excuses as to why I can’t paint. Do you have any suggestions, as I have a lot of unfinished paintings I would love to finish.”

Letters matisse_music-1939

“Naive” or “primitive art,” according to arts writer Linda Murray, means “untrained artists in a sophisticated society.” According to Murray, it’s “an unspoiled vision consistent with ‘amateur,’ or ‘Sunday’ painter, admired for its connotations of genuineness and purity of artistic impulse, and freedom from the trammels of professionalism, tradition, technique, and formal training.” The implication is that the genuine article is someone who doesn’t know how to paint properly, but does it anyway. As Ian Chilvers says, “In naive work, colours are characteristically bright and non-naturalistic, perspective is non-scientific, and the vision is childlike or literal-minded.”

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