The fine art of exploration

Dear Artist, You may have noticed the roar of applause when the orchestra plays what the audience already knows. It’s not rocket science to understand that folks are not applauding Tchaikovsky’s genius but their own ability to recognize his tune when they hear it. Take the plight of singers and songwriters. While many may be deeply committed to the development of new material, they can be sure their audience will demand their greatest hits. It’s a peril for Leonard Cohen, for example, to step onto a stage without doing “Suzanne,” “Everybody Knows” and “Hallelujah.” Thus it is when painters get branded. Collectors take pride in recognizing a painter’s work from across a crowded mall. The phenomenon can both bless and tyrannize. Getting a brief and satisfying whiff of product identification, collectors express themselves with their wallets. And artists get the whiff of wallets when they do what they did before. “It’s a painter’s right and obligation to explore her motifs and work with her styles,” said one of my dealers. We know where he’s coming from. But the operative word is “explore.” Working a one-trick pony may be a one-way trip to the ATM, but it also leads to one helluva state of boredom. Diminishment of joy is a major creative hazard. When your work has achieved a “look,” you need to make sure your look has legs. Blessed with an energetic, variable style, the artist can inflict herself on a challenging range of motifs. Leonard Cohen’s work has both statics and variables. Statics include a deep and dark male voice contrasted to an echoing female chorus backup. Variables include a rich poetry combined with instrumental invention and a highly imaginative cross-discipline exploration. We should all be so lucky. Or is it the result of careful planning? I think the latter. Some ideas can be explored in an afternoon, or at most, in a month. Our goal is to find something that can keep us amused for a lifetime. Our prayer is to be spared from too many non-exploratory fans. Best regards, Robert PS: “An artist is an explorer. He has to begin by self-discovery and by observation of his own procedures. After that he must not feel under any constraint.” (Henri Matisse) Esoterica: A social acquaintance owned a significant but seldom-seen collection of boat paintings. One day he phoned me out of the blue. “Any chance I could buy one or two of your boat works?” he asked. We soon shipped him a nicely framed selection. “Oh, no,” he said when he phoned in a few days. “All my boats have to be portraits. Yours won’t do. They’re all higgledy-piggledy.” As I’d been invited to a private view of the collection, I decided to drive over and pick up my “refusees” myself. Wall after wall was chockablock with those 18th- and 19th-Century ship profiles that sailors used to buy from wharf artists in foreign ports. My man had collected them from antique shops all over the world. “I like my boats best when they’re facing left to right,” he said, and indeed, most of them were.   Keeping your artist voice alive by Paul deMarrais, TN, USA  

“Golden Corn”
pastel painting
by Paul deMarrais

Branding works, but it often kills while it enriches. I am not a well known painter, yet even in my area I have become ‘known’ for a certain style. A few years back I did a series of paintings featuring daylilies in a large growing field. Friends of mine own a daylily business and the big blocks of color during the bloom were very inspiring. Many of these paintings were sold, but there were grumblings in my gallery that I had done too many. Now, a dozen years later people will ask the gallery if I have any more paintings like those! You just can’t win trying to please customers or even galleries. You are required to listen to both, but at the same time you must hear your own inner artist voice more strongly. When your personal ‘artist voice’ goes quiet, you are in trouble. You are then a production worker, soon to become bored and tired and producing art that mirrors those qualities. Keeping your artist voice alive requires effort. You need to look at other paintings, try out new techniques and mediums. You need to invite failure in order to achieve success. Failure is important in the process of growth and human nature wants to avoid diversion and to go directly to the cash drawer. Having bills to pay increases the pressure to play it safe. It’s a conflict artists have faced for generations.   The dangers of style by Peter Reid, Chatsworth, ON, Canada  

“Facing Fall”
original painting, 30 x 36 inches
by Peter Reid

Many painters seem to be desperately seeking, or fearful of someone copying, their ‘unique’ style. I understand there are economical reasons for paint style — many galleries see it as the holy grail and painters buy into it. I see painting style or a ‘look’ as a dead end, a trap. Style is the way I move my brush, the way I see colour, my attention to detail, one might say the way my voice sounds. A personal stamp that that’s just how I am, not some contrived painting style. I don’t want to be out looking for a motif to apply a style too, rather, how I can paint this motif best. Exploring is hard work and often not rewarding in the short term. It does, however, make us stronger painters. Style or ‘look’ is a factory job, albeit a pleasant one, no matter how much leg it has. There are 2 comments for The dangers of style by Peter Reid
From: Sarah — Mar 02, 2010

This is a wise letter and a stunning painting.

From: Dorothy in Ontario Canada — Mar 09, 2010

In our area of Southwestern Ontario there is a local artist who sells large (usually) paintings which are all done using the same few basic colours, same sort of landscapes, etc, yet after seeing a whole show of these paintings one tires of the similarity. She has a “recognized style” which to me is rather boring.

  The power of style by Fleta Monaghan, Asheville, NC, USA  

“Old heat – Time Machine”
oil painting
by Fleta Monaghan

With some of the pressure off to produce the same old thing, I have seen some really fine work with new directions being produced all around me. Perhaps this can be a measure of a true creative mind. An artist with a track record of countless hours of practice will always shine with a unique, recognizable signature style; it is just in the blood. New adventures with imagery and materials keeps us sharp and at the height of our creativity. At the core, art work worth paying attention to has some kind of purpose as a driving force, an intellectual direction in theme or a goal at learning more about materials, colors, or whatever. Without this intention, the work usually falls flat. Our work reflects our inner thoughts and preferences. This just does not change all that much and if it is genuine, it is always recognizable as our own work.   Freedom regardless of money by Peter Brown, Oakland, CA, USA   At one point I changed my painting style. I was painting Geometric Abstraction and these were selling quite well. I delivered a batch of these paintings to my gallery, but I made the mistake of showing the gallery director some other paintings in a figurative style. “I can’t sell these new paintings,” she said. It was like I had destroyed a bond. I have hardly sold another painting since that day. To me, painting in a figurative style was like learning a new language. I made these paintings with the same tubes of paint and, this work is mine. I can kick out a product with which I am comfortable, or I can explore new places. I miss the money, but I love my freedom. The gallery always wants a new painting that is just slightly different from the last painting they sold. I have higher hopes for myself. I would rather die unknown than to be a slave. I would rather be a free person.   Faking old ship paintings by Carol Ferguson, Tampa, FL, USA   As a college student I spent my summers working in Nantucket. One year, I became friends with two young Brazilian men, each with a gift for painting well and quickly, who had certainly found their niche. After specially preparing their canvases, they would paint detailed images of large 18th century Spanish ships at sea. When the paint dried, they would crackle it by running a spoon around the reverse side of the canvas, and then rub brown paint into the cracks (once they even used shoe polish) to create a convincing aged appearance. Then they would sell these to a number of antique stores — on the island, in New York, and elsewhere — who I assume knew what they were buying, since they never seemed to question how these two could provide them with such an unending supply of old paintings. The tell-tale sign of their work was the fine lettering on the unfurling flags at the top of the masts, written in Spanish, which spelled out various swear words. Perhaps the owner of the “significant” collection you wrote about had at least one of Raul and Julian’s masterpieces! There is 1 comment for Faking old ship paintings by Carol Ferguson
From: PainterWoman — Mar 04, 2010

Many artists are Tricksters at heart. Buyer beware! And may we all be aware of our pretensions!

  Self-branding mystery by Michelle Pearce, Oakville, ON, Canada  

original painting
by Michelle Pearce

They say there are three things that intrinsically motivate people: a desire for autonomy; an urge to constantly improve (mastery), and a quest to be part of something bigger. As a “second career” artist, making up for lost time, I recently had a strong desire for the third element. In a flurry of activity I sent off pictures, all of which at some stage had been selected for juried shows — of my work to a society for election to be (or not be, as it turned out, to my mortification) a member. I could not decide what to describe my style as, how to “brand” myself. I eventually only included work that I thought reflected one of my “looks” and themes. My application came back with remarks that included “suggest more consistency needed.” There are 2 comments for Self-branding mystery by Michelle Pearce
From: sj — Mar 02, 2010

These juried entries into the hallowed membership circles are like any juried show ,your admission to the group depends on who is jurying that day. I had the same experience and was also told that one is never usually accepted on the first try. Needless to say I have found a second try unecessary and have moved on to an enjoyable career in art.

From: GIC — Mar 02, 2010

Over a decade ago I coveted societal membership as my yardstick of worth, not having higher education. I thought passing muster for a signature membership would prove some sort of worth to me. It did feel great but I soon grew allergic to the politics and dropped the heafty annual memberhsip fee, with no regrets. At 81 years of age what does it matter. I can still enjoy my love affair with pigments on whatever support I choose.

  Popular junk art by Brenda Poole, Graham, NC, USA  

“Ocracoke Crossing”
original painting
by Brenda Poole

It seems to me that art galleries, shops, shows, dealers and most anywhere you will find art to buy, people are somewhat the same; out to make money. I have seen lines of people waiting to purchase a cheap thin print from a very inferior artist while the cream of the crop with affordable originals was passed by, all on the premise that these so-called educated buyers knew what good art is, when in reality they didn’t, they just knew a look the artist had obtained and the buyer thought they were getting real good art. They were keeping up with their neighbors, the status quo and all that stuff that drives people to spend their money. Part of the problem that drives this is what I call the good old boys and girls club mentality. All towns and places that have art groups unfortunately encourage snobbery, elitism, and downright rudeness when it comes to showing, promoting, and selling art. So, the average buyer doesn’t know what they are getting, they just know what has been shown or more pushed off on them. There are hundreds if not thousands of artists whose works are as good as or better than the average promoted artist of the so-called elite group. Creativity does not belong with catering. Catering is more on the kiss butt scheme of making art. Get in the corporate world and cater all you want. Art is created for art alone, the creative process should be enough reward for your work. There will always be people that are out to make a buck, skin a flea for its hide, but the true artist knows art is created for the sake of making art and if in the process you become famous, rich, poor, not so famous, what does it matter? The world is full of fools and as the old saying goes a fool and his money is soon parted. There are 3 comments for Popular junk art by Brenda Poole
From: Cleo — Mar 01, 2010

“Art is created for art alone, the creative process should be enough reward for your work” Is it as simple as that? To be able to paint as my profession is something I work very hard for. I do have to paint things that sell readily just to be able to paint things I am passionate about when the bills are paid for the month. I make sacrifices (“sell myself out” I have heard before) making work I know will sell to avoid having to get a “real job” in an office behind a desk. That for me would be soul destroying. I feel the commercial .vs. purist debate is often faught by those who choose to ignore the complexities of life. There are those who think in black and white and then there are those who can see the shades of grey inbetween.

From: Marsha Hamby Savage — Mar 02, 2010

I think there are not enough artists out there willing to say to everyone that it does take both types of art produced by them. Art that sells so they can continue to paint art that fulfills their soul! Cleo’s response to this post saying “There are those who think in black and white and then there are those who can see the shades of grey inbetween.” is so true. Anyone that says “the creative process should be enough reward for your work” is definitely living in an unreal world. They must have someone supporting them because they are probably not doing it themself. The discussion that the money will follow if you are creating just for the love of it might be misleading in my opinion. I love creating and just because I am creating something I think will sell does not discount the validity of that piece of art. I believe those that paint something to sell and don’t enjoy creating it are giving the rest of us a bad name when we do create to sell. Here is that “grey” area I believe. I destroy many of my pieces because they don’t live up to my creative standards — both paintings I create for the gallery and paintings I create just for the sheer fun of it. Most times these two “types” of paintings are indestinguishable from each other. They are essentially the same! I created them because I wanted to learn something new, or I wanted to try a different subject matter, or I wanted to try a different technique — but I was also trying to think along the lines of would anyone else enjoy looking at this piece. Sorry this became so long!

From: R.H. — Mar 02, 2010

It comes down to, be true to yourself and stand tall…

  Respect versus cash flow by Skip Van Lenten   This sounds a bit like crossing the line between an artist and a manufacturer. I once saw a documentary about a very famous artist, whose “brand” you would immediately recognize. In one scene, he stood at a table with a stack of his most collectible prints. An assistant flipped them over, one at a time, as the artist signed them, and the commentator explained that each signed print sold for $1500.00 more than an unsigned print. Nice work, if you can get it, but I didn’t know whether or not to be jealous of the artist, or disillusioned by the profit motive behind his actions. Maybe there is a point in every artist’s career where the need to be respected as an artist gives way to the equally valid need (or necessity) to be a wealthy entrepreneur. There are 2 comments for Respect versus cash flow by Skip Van Lenten
From: Ib — Mar 01, 2010

Don’t forget the other assistant standing by with a fist full of fresh pens, ready to replace the worn out ones, quickly. Reminds me of the other famous artist, that has the assistant sign the paintings, painted by other assistants.

From: Steve — Mar 02, 2010

There is a movie of Picasso standing next to a conveyor belt a vases. As each one past by he would dash a brush mark on it. An original Picasso!

  A lesson from early performing by Lindakay Rendina, CA, USA   I studied tap dancing beginning at the age of 5. I loved it so much and took it very seriously and began private lessons early on. I did my first solo performance, at about age 10, in front of a huge audience. I remember, I could see only the bright lights, hear the applause, the music and the sound of my own percussion. I was definitely in the zone and left everything else in the wings. While I was dancing, I quickly noticed how people applauded for, what I knew were, the simpler, more showy steps, given to me in the dance by my instructor/choreographer, and no applause for the more complex sections I worked hardest to learn and perfect. I remember thinking “Why are they clapping for that? That’s nothing!” My early performances taught me an important lesson, as an artist, and has served me pretty well throughout in my pursuit of the visual arts and performing arts and in life. Remain centered, do my very best, do what I love, have fun, take risks, be inventive, create with intention and not expectation, and never look to an audience, friends, family, clients, gallery visitors, customers or anyone for final approval or disapproval, for as soon as I do, I begin to disconnect from my spirit, my self, the work itself, and compromise my artistic integrity, by doing and creating to people please, rather than exploring and going deeper into unchartered territory, where the real gold is mined. There are 4 comments for A lesson from early performing by Lindakay Rendina
From: Ron Ruble — Mar 02, 2010

Wow! I wish I had said and could live up to that final paragraph. It is full of daily challenges, and written in an easily understood manner, but with a grandeur that says it all. Though it would be very difficult indeed to accomplish 100% of the time, it is what every artist should aspire to. Well done amigo! You have inspired me.

From: Kathleen J — Mar 02, 2010

Even though it goes against the very message you are trying to get at, it is very validating to hear you express (beautifully) a thought that often occurs to me. “why are they applauding that?” But I always took it in another way, as I think many artists do, and I tried to do more of what gets applause. Your second paragraph was a revelation – and made my soul sing out “yes!” It was just the message I needed to hear, at just the right time. Thank you for taking the time to write it. Your lesson is now on my studio wall for me to read each day before I begin my work.

From: Lorraine Khachatourians — Mar 02, 2010

Thank you Lindakay for your note. Those of us who are ‘people pleasers’ in general, very easily can fall into this trap. This was very enlightening – to make sure that it doesn’t happen with one’s creativity as well. It is very easy to do if one isn’t mindful.

From: Lindakay — Mar 05, 2010

I just want to note that my original response was edited and was not published in full, I imagine due to it’s length and lost some aspects of my experience.

  [fbcomments url=””]    woa  

The concern of women-mothers

mixed media by Monique Jarry, Montreal, QB, Canada

  You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013. That includes Pam Craig of Memphis, TN, USA, who wrote, “Selling your art is like icing on a cake. But without the cake the icing is nothing more than a glob of sugary mess.” And also Dorcas M. O’Reilly of Goleta, CA, USA, who wrote, “That applause you hear may be for recognizable quality and the aesthetic pleasure it brings amidst the sea of modern junk, especially in today’s world of music (and art).” And also J. V. Grewal PhD who wrote, “That applause is often the sound of one hand clapping — and it’s your own.” And also Meredith Blackmore, who sent us these quotes from Picasso: “To copy others is necessary, but to copy oneself is pathetic.” “Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others. It leads to sterility.’ And also Margo Buccini of Ponte Vedra, FL, USA, who wrote, “May we always explore our full potential and not be constrained by what the world expects from us… only what the universe and we know ourselves to be.”    

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for The fine art of exploration

From: John Ferrie — Feb 25, 2010

Dear Robert, Comparing Tchaikovsky to an artist is like comparing apples to Astronaughts. When I go to the symphony, I haven’t got a clue what I am listening to. I am afraid my approach to art is the same. I am always asking what an artist is trying to communicate to me. I am in awww at the combination of notes at a symphony and I am speechless over brushstrokes of an artist I love and admire. While I use to loath Leonard Cohn and found his voice cryptic and haunting, I have really grown a great appreciation for his melodic songs and when kd Lang sings his songs it is heart stopping. Sadly, the “Brand” I see with most artists is usually dictated by galleries. I have always said that galleries are a business and a stepping stone between the artist and the buyer. If you have a collector for your work, then more power to you. But what I see and hear from other artists when their work makes an inevitable change, is the gallery starts telling the artist what will sell and what they should paint. This is when an artist needs to pack up their stuff and move on to another gallery. We all need to eat and it is really no big deal to start filling the needs and mouths of everyone involved. I think this is a colossal mistake and leads to a series of mediocre work where nobody is happy, except for the collector who keeps their wallet close and closed. Thats just my experience… John Ferrie

From: Fredericks — Feb 26, 2010

It is rewarding for us, to hear people say….”I can recognize your works by your style – anywhere”. This is the applause which we as painters, hear. Style is the song we repeat again and again. The question is does our need for this applause, imprison our spirits and confine our expression. I fear that many of us lack the inventive, restless spirit of an Emily Carr who painted as if on a quest to capture the essence of what she saw. We paint in the comfort zone, which gives us joy. Many of us are not ‘soul tortured artists’ seeking the undefinable. We paint in our personal zone of joy and the applause of those who like our style validates us.

From: Dwight Williams — Feb 26, 2010

Hear, hear, Fredericks!!!

From: Rene Wojcik — Feb 26, 2010

After painting for a number of years in the same medium one can become stale. Stale in the sense of doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Artists have a certain “signature” for any work they do. That is why we can recognize an artist from a distance. An artist can make some attempt to change their signature but unfortunately most can’t. With that said, Picasso comes to mind. He was able to break away from his early representational works to his later “signature” cubist work. The change worked for him. One wonders where Van Gogh’s work would have taken him if he had lived another 30 years or so.

From: Maxine Price — Feb 26, 2010

I do think the majority of galleries want artist to have a certain look as well as certain subject matter. I made the decision to paint only in oils and with the palette knife but put no limit on subject matter. I paint abstracts and abstract figures as well as landscapes and I think my style comes through in all of my work. I’ve been blessed to be in galleries that support my versatility and I also have clients that love my work, however, I have had trouble getting into galleries outside of my state and I think it is because of my wide range of subject matter. I’ve considered narrowing my subject matter but find I just need to go with what inspires me a the moment. If I painted just one way all the time I’d be totally bored.

From: charles peck — Feb 26, 2010

Thank You Robert for bringing the fine spin to my present state of “career” as an Artist. In these troubled times of slow selling I have doubted my stubborn streak of independence. I have known for years that I could improve sales by doing what my clients like but resist and only do it when they give me a deposit. Now I know the freedom I would lose from getting the recognition I have thought was my end goal…and the good fortune that is mine to not be a recognized Artist but just a provincial or regional Artist. I can still paint as I wish because my bills match my spotty income and with success would come the manacles of bigger bills making me paint as others wished. Thank you for more air under my wings. You always come through.

From: Richard Smith — Feb 26, 2010

It’s a matter of development. If you’re a one trick pony, albeit a good one, eventually your market is going to get saturated and you’re going to be sitting there with dozens of Chinese-junks-in-the-sunset paintings that are going nowhere. But to suddenly switch to Jackson Pollack action paintings is going to confuse the heck out of your audience. I think artists should always be in the process of taking their art to the next step, whatever that may be but not necessarily leaping from one style to another. If you look at a retrospective of great innovative artists, quite often you will see that where they are now is not where they started out from and with any luck you will see in their work, how they arrived at their current style. To my mind, gradual development keeps your audience from getting bored with the same old, same old, without scaring the beegeebers out of them by suddenly doing a 90 degree on them.

From: Jen — Feb 27, 2010

I am SO GRATEFUL for your sense of humour! And even if I don’t respond to all of your letters, believe me, the laughter, thoughts and tears have hit home. How wonderful that you manage to seek out these fleeting yet timeless thoughts. How brilliant that you share.

From: Norman Ridenour — Feb 28, 2010

Did you think to ask the one way boat picture collector how often he needs EXLAX? It sounds like a good case of Freudian anal retentiveness. Prague

From: Loretta West — Feb 28, 2010

Two things I have learned in my travels in this life, one from an instructor who took two weeks “off” every few months to paint just what she wanted and not what the collectors demanded. Another was in an recent article in International Artist but I can’t locate it right now. To paraphrase the writer, a painter of some experience: paint some for sale, some for practice and some for yourself. A good balance, I think.

From: Louise Francke — Feb 28, 2010

Most of us seem to remain in a certain style groove once we have found where we were going. What keeps me going is the themes I revisit over the years: environment, animals, childhood, and the mutual dependency between man and animal, which tend to be more in the realm of portraits. Humor is also infused into these paintings. I like to make people grin. This has developed out of quite the opposite when in the late 70’s, I observed at a SECCA exhibit an old lady staring in shock at one of my more feminist lithos concerning the different ages of womanhood

From: Nathan — Feb 28, 2010

Being a musician and songwriter what I see most commonly is what you describe. People become charicatures of themselves. U2 is a great example, after exploring stranger areas in the 90s with Brian Eno and Electronica, they complained of poor sales. So they went back to the tried and true, and sure enough they’re raking in the cash again. What works works. But is art about exploring the edges of experience? Furthering the boundaries of reality? Challenging consensus? Or is it about putting food on the table?

From: Patty Oates — Feb 28, 2010

I have often said my works look like they were done my more than one person, and sometimes by a man, and I have wondered whether I should work to make them recognizable as done by me ( as yours certainly are). Also, I just read an article about Quang Ho in Southwest Art magazine where he said his work shown at Gallery 1261 in Denver was eclectic, it looked like the work of ten different artists. So, these two messages reinforce my idea to keep experimenting and let it flow naturally.

From: Alan Frakes — Feb 28, 2010

Congratulations Robert, on your higgledy-piggledy boats! Most artist should be flattered, to be different, flamboyant – well…Artists! As trite as it may come across, I do paint for myself, that is what gives me the greatest comfort of all. Sure it’s gratifying to sell once in awhile, but I have plenty sitting around that I just happen to just enjoy. Exploration is true creativity, it’s how we grow as artists.

From: Cheryl O — Feb 28, 2010

After 15 years of painting, and being represented in several galleries, I can’t stop exploring. The subject speaks to me, the paint answers, and off I go into a different interpretation. I am fortunate in that my galleries seem to understand this aspect of who I am. Rather than, “that’s a Cheryl O” it’s “what’s Cheryl O doing now”? I know the hazards of this, but can not help it anymore than I can help having brown eyes.

From: Scott Kahn — Feb 28, 2010

Many artists are easily “branded” because they are what I call “one note painters”. They find a subject/motif and pretty much beat it to death and never “explore”. What places an artist’s work under one umbrella is not so much what they paint, but how they paint it. The voice will always be heard, even if the song is very different.

From: Lisa Schaus — Feb 28, 2010

I have been smiling all day as I review some 4-5 months of e-mails…..and 60% of them are your letters I saved. Today’s letter really made me smile when you commented that the collector preferred his boats to be facing all the same direction. The beauty IS in the eye of the beholder as the saying goes. Thank goodness we can enjoy our personal collection of forays into the forest of our painting pleasures. Open wallets don’t necessarily bring soulful rewards! Columbia Falls, MT

From: Marti O’Brien — Feb 28, 2010

I was striving for a certain signature style…It isn’t going to happen…Nope…It does not look like it….And after reading your letter I am just going to keep puddling along…although quite happily now as I won’t be striving for a certain style of my own…My style seems to be all over the map.

From: Ellen Wilson — Feb 28, 2010

I just wanted to comment on your latest book. I have been reading it in bed at night for the past two weeks. Apart from the fact that it puts me nicely to sleep with good thoughts and quiet amusement, it makes my day in the morning seem so worthwhile. Thank you, Robert for the best art motivation and feeling of creative joy I have ever had.

From: Anita Stoll — Feb 28, 2010

As a artist I find that I am always on the lookout toward transforming my style into something a little more exciting by using a similar format but perhaps changing my strokes. This does take me out of my confort zone, but none the less, I’m constantly trying to break out from that cursed comfly zone I know so well which is one big yawn. I want those who follow and appreciate my art to be transitioned gently into the new phases my art goes through as it evolves. To stay in one place is artistic suicide.

From: Rick Rotante — Feb 28, 2010

One of several possible ways around this dilemma is work in two different NAMES. Different name, different style. Remember though, never give one gallery A the B stuff “A” work goes to the gallery carrying the “A” stuff, and give “B” stuff to the gallery that carries the “B” stuff. Keep your stuff eclectic and not subject specific. The last worse resort is never be famous enough that anyone cares. Fame is surely a double edged sword. In the end just becoming famous is tough enough so cross that bridge when you come to it.

From: tatjana — Mar 01, 2010

One thing I learned a few days ago…don’t keep your old, substandard, sentimental value “early works” on your walls. You never know who may show up in your house when you least expect!

From: Leigh Cassidy — Mar 01, 2010

On Fame. I have just been to a series of very lovely meditation classes where I was reintroduced to two two words to consider: permanence and impermanence. Interesting words to look up when considering where fame sits between the spaces in our lives. Worth looking at. Enjoy. Leigh

From: merry ellen scully — Mar 02, 2010

i track the world through my ear sometimes it comes out through my eye

From: Darla — Mar 02, 2010

An artist’s style is like a road you travel. You may stay on that road for a while, this way to get to your destination, or you may turn off onto another road, another way and maybe a different destination. The problem is when you don’t like where you are going or where you are now. That’s a signal to look for another way.

From: Tal Burgess — Mar 08, 2010

I love landscape paintings, particularly when the painter has captured some of the essence of an outdoor experience. Sometimes it’s as if I can smell the water, or feel the wind on my face. I love painting landscapes as well. For me, this is all about uncovering what stands between my attempt at expression and those feelings of immediacy that draw me to the idiom. It’s better than capturing fireflies in a bottle. It’s discovering and calling to hand the means of telling another about the wonder of being alive in nature. Okay, so that sounds a bit pompous, and certainly cliched. I’ll excuse myself by saying that painting landscapes, particularly a plein air, is also great fun!