General Art Tips

Thumbnails, The Key to Better Painting and Drawing

Art Tip
Using Thumbnails for Planning Compositions
 
 
Thumbnails are small quick sketches. These sketches aren’t to record details, forms or depth they are for planning out the elements of your compositions and designs.
Design and composition are terms that people use a lot and they have a lot in common. Design is used to express the overall ideas of you image. Will your image be symmetrical or Asymmetrical. These basics ideas of balancing you objects. To balance something on an see saw or older day scale you need at least two objects. It’s the same with an image you need more than one shape or group of shapes to achieve some type of balance. This is the basic idea of design
Just like before building a house or writing a book you need a planning stage. For artist this planning stage takes the form of thumbnail sketches.
These need to be done quickly so we can move onto execution of our painting or drawing. We you are outside painting or drawing landscapes this can be especially important, because the light changes so quickly.
Thumbnails are very primitive. They contain only the most fundamental information about our subject. They could even be a basic as squares, ovals, triangles just enough so we know what these shapes represent.
When deciding on a design they are four decisions to make. Should my drawing or painting be
1. Analogous – Where the vertical and horizontal movements or lines are used.
2. Complementary – Where Diagonals are emphasized
3. Symmetrical – Where the main shapes are of similar size on either side of the picture plane.
4. Asymmetrical – Where the main shapes are of very different sizes. Such as Large shapes on one side smaller on the other.
By making these decisions on how to design your art you will have stronger and more interesting artworks. Below I have included the four examples of Design.
Analogous Design

Complementary Design

Symmetrical Design

Asymmetrical Design

These drawings are very simple but more importantly they tell me how I am going to approach the drawing or painting. Next time before you start on your drawing or painting start by using thumbnails to plan things out do 4 or 5 and pick out your favorite. Then do it you will enjoy your results even more by creating a plan.

 
To Find Other Drawing Insights click Drawing Tips

How-To: Quality Art Supplies for Less

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Where to Buy Art Supplies and save Money

Yes, that title was read correctly. While the differences aren’t colossal, the differences add up as project after project after projects require supplies. And the less you pay for those supplies, the more of the money you actually make can be used for that other stuff…like… food.

Back in the day, the main options you had were either mail order or retail. Now, thanks to the internet, these aren’t your only two options. In fact, the internet is a fantastic resource for wholesale art supplies.

Wholesale is different from retail in one crucial way: you don’t have a business that needs to make enough to both buy more supplies (plus shipping and handling) and then pay for other things, like employees, all while trying to turn some sort of profit.

Another bonus about buying online: no gas money on your part has to be spent driving to the nearest store! Instead, one can order quickly within a small series of clicks and after the appropriate amount of time…voila! There are the needed supplies at your door for your next few projects.

Some places I personally like to go to are
1. Jerry’s Artarama
2. Dick Blick
3. Utrecht

How-To: Collect Art

creamsicle butte final

What to Look for When Buying Art

 

When buying art as an investment, there are a few things to keep in mind.

We’ve all heard stories about people who collect art and have it appreciate significantly over the years. Like the two married postal workers who collected art over a lifetime, whose collection is now valued at tens of millions of dollars. This couple basically collected what they liked and in the end it paid off. Their buying wasn’t random this couple took a smart approach to buying original art. They collected from artists early in their career, who were professional artists. Therefore, they paid lower prices. These young artists ended up becoming serious names in the art world. So this couple bought artwork they liked from professionals and their artwork increased significantly in value.
Disclaimer *Always Collect what you Like*

The first thing about collecting artwork is collect what you love and what you want in your home. Never try to collect artwork with plans of is being purely an investment. It’s always a gamble. Also this is not an article for high end art investment. That involves art experts, ten of thousands of dollars(many times much more) and a lot of nerve. This article is for those people who want original artwork on their walls that also might grow in it’s value.  That begin said there are common traits among artworks that appreciate with time. Below are some things to look for when buying.

What to look for in Artwork

Here are just a few of the questions to ask yourself when buying artwork.

  • Is the Artwork Original?
  • Where do I go to buy?
  • What am I looking for?
  • What do I want to collect?
  • What will appreciate?
  • Edition size is that a factor?

Let’s discuss a strategy to use when buying artwork that will increase in value.

Collect from Professional Artists

Discovered artists are those with a professional career, then for whatever reason, their work becomes highlighted and the prices for their artwork takes off. Understand that artists who are “discovered” aren’t hobbyists selling their art for pennies on the dollar at the local craft fair. Collect from professional artists, not hobbyists, if you hope to have a return on your investment. With reputable artists you will be able to search on the internet. Establish that they have a career and have been working. Bottom line always buy artwork from professionals.

The Collectibility Factor

A good example of collectibility and artwork appreciating with time is the artist Maynard Dixon. Dixon was never an unknown artist. He was always a known, working professional recognized in circles on both the east and west coast. He passed away and his painting had appreciated though his lifetime modestly. However in the last 35 years, the prices for his paintings have gone through the roof and he has more recognition among general art collectors.

Quality equals Collectibility

Professional artists are your best bet to guarantee their work has quality that can be recognized in the future.The opportunity to buy art is everywhere over the last few decades: art fairs, on the Internet, etc. With so many opportunities to buy art, how do we know if an artist is a professional?

Tips for verifying if an artist is a professional:

  • Do an internet search. (Use your smart phone if you’re at a fair.) If it’s a professional artist, they should be mentioned in several places on the internet.
  • Ask if the artist has a website. If not, that could be a red flag.
  • Ask the artist about their career and what they’ve done. Many artists like to exaggerate their accomplishments. Try to verify online.
  • Ask the artist about gallery representation. Who carries his or her work?
  • Did the artist receive professional training to be an artist?

These questions can quickly establish a working career artist from a hobbyist.

Buy Originals Art or High-Value Prints

We hear from several sources we should buy original art, whether as a potential future investment or as part of a determination to live life fully. Original art is art that is one-of- a- kind or part of an edition of hand pulled fine art prints(woodcuts, linotypes, etchings and engravings).

Paintings are easier they are normally one of a kind. Sculptures and fine art hand pulled prints come in editions of varying numbers. When looking at artwork that is part of an edition to, the size of the print run does matter. You want limited, numbered print runs. Scarcity creates value. You see this on Antiques Roadshow or other auctions. You see schoolbooks from the 17th century brought in to be appraised. To the dismay of the owners, the books aren’t worth very much because there are so many of them available.

Age does not equal value. These are over 100 year old books that aren’t worth anything. Age doesn’t automatically increase an object’s value.

On the flip side, in auction you might see an early 20th century child’s toy in mint condition where there’s only two or three left and they’re worth thousands of dollars.

Scarcity creates value

When buying art that’s in an edition, you always want low numbered editions.  Print sizes of about 200. The lower the number of images in an edition, the more likely that image will hold value. An edition with 1 to 10 prints is more likely to hold value than 1 to 250. 1 to 20,000 has no value.  Remember the scarcity creates value principle: the less there are in existence, the more it is worth.

Remember it’s okay to buy prints with larger editions, but buy it because you like it, not because you expect it will have value.

Be aware of Giclées prints. These type of prints can be original artwork, limited edition runs of some value, worthless knockoffs, or mass produced posters. So buy these with the expectation of them being art you like not art that will appreciate with time.

Buy what you like

Always buy what you like. As with the stock market, you never know what’s going to happen to the value of your painting. There’s no guarantee of huge returns.

If you buy from a hobbyist because you love the artwork, that’s fine. Always buy because you like it. Just understand it likely won’t have any resell value. It’s just like buying travertine tiles and installing them in your house: you’re doing it because you like it but you won’t be able to pull it up and resell it.

It’s worth repeating: always buy what you like.

You get what you pay for.

When you’re dealing with a professional working artist, there is a minimum price point to look for. To run a business takes money; for operating expenses, materials cost, travel expenses, and all the other costs that go into creating custom work. A price of say $800 for an 18×24 is lowest you can expect to pay for a professional artist. . Less than that price range is most likely a hobbyist. You will have to spend more money if you want art that’s going to appreciate in value.

Art doesn’t appreciate over night

Remember it takes time for artwork to build in value. It won’t happen overnight. Like investments it is a long term venture. So use these tips we have discussed and you will be likely to have artwork that will appreciate in value and bring you lots of enjoyment.

Why Get Outside to Create Landscape Art?

Studying the Landscape Outdoors

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People did it for hundreds of years.  To learn to paint the landscape an artist went out into nature to learn to understand depth, perspective and most importantly color. This was an important part of the training of any artist so they could produce landscape art that felt natural and believable.

Entering the 20th century photography became more affordable. Many artists began to use photography as reference for their landscape painting this trend continued to become more and more common until by the later part of the 20th century most artists used just photography and didn’t even bother going outside to learn to paint. Many times they hadn’t visited the location they were painting they were painting from other people’s photographs. The problem with using this photography is the art suffered from using photographs.

Some of you may be asking yourselves why is using photography a problem? What does it matter if one uses photography to paint a landscape. The are several problems the biggest is no photograph sees color as well as the human eye. Our eyes can see and detect color in a way that cameras can compete with on their best day. They have yet to make a camera that can compete with the human eye. The next problem in photos are the way they reproduce shadows. In photographs shadows lose their depth so it’s always very evident when someone has painted from photos because the shadows in their paintings are flat and lifeless.  Photos are always taken with a photo lens that has a camera distortion. Different lens lengths will all distort the photos differently. If you don’t correct this distortion by leaving this in your paintings it will be a clear sign that you used a photograph. This is why it is better to learn to create landscapes by being out in the landscape. Artists learned these drawbacks of using photographs so artists began to return to nature.

A movement started back in the 1970’s to get artists back out into nature and learn to draw and paint better landscapes. This movement was called painting or drawing in “Plein Air”,it’s a french term for drawing or painting outdoors. I believe in the importance of Plein Air painting and drawing though I find it  a little ironic that we have come full circle to learning to paint the same ways they did over a hundreds of years ago.

To learn more about drawing or painting landscapes take one of my outdoor art classes or painting workshops where we visit wonderful places around Idaho and Arizona the learn the art of creating wonderful landscapes.

How to Commission a Painting

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Commissioning A Painting

Where do You Start?

What is a Commissioned Painting
If you have a specific location, family member or beloved pet or wildlife you would like to have painted you need to find an artist to make your custom painting. Just like any custom made or built item you need to find someone to make it as well as find out the cost and discuss the date for the project to be completed. Once you find the artist you want to create your image the artist then creates your painting and you have your custom image to enjoy. That sounds all good and well but how do you find an artist to commission a painting.

How to Find an Artist to commission
Not all artists do commissioned paintings. Where do you find an artist for your commission? You want an artist you can count on who does commissions and has a good reputation with creating them. You can certainly start by searching on the internet for artists but that can be a hit and miss option. The simplest place to start is with your local or nearby art gallery this gives you a chance to find local artists and find out from the gallery owner which of the artists does commissions. Another way is to search art magazines such as Southwest art, Art of the West or American Artist magazines these magazines showcase national artist with solid reputations and consistent quality. Just remember that the more established and well know the artist is the likely the more expensive the commission will cost. Whichever way you use to locate the artist whose artwork you enjoy and who does commissions you will then need to discuss you project, the cost and the date needed to have the artwork completed. To make sure the commission is an enjoyable experience a few things will help and it’s all in the details.

The Devil is in the Details
When you remodel a kitchen or replace your carpet you want the project to run smoothly. Just like with any project, things run smoothly when the details are clear. Those details should be worked out in a contract.
Don’t work with artists that don’t create contracts for their commissioned paintings. With commissioned artwork you want a contract that details the cost and date of completion and any other particulars of the project. Some artists have simple contracts they use, the contract details the description of the desired art work , the cost and the date of completion. The contract is signed; the artist does the painting and sends it off along with an invoice. It’s simple, sweet and to the point. However some projects require a more comprehensive contract or more detailed contracts help avoid misunderstandings. These contracts can have several steps outlined in the project.  These detailed contract help to avoid misunderstandings between the artist and client.
When I am working on a commission painting there are several steps which are outlined in my contracts. These steps are detailed and the client is involved in each step along the way. There is a date for client approval of a rough sketch, final drawing, small comp painting and then the final painting. This way there are no surprises for either the client or myself. This also allows for small corrections to the project throughout the process so everyone is happy with the final project.  A good contract as well an open dialog between both the artist and the customer will make the commission process run smoothly and ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone.
To learn more or commission a painting visit McCainArt.com

Prints or Original Artwork. What is What in the World of Art

Giclee’ Prints, Artists print, Limited Editions, Open Editions

Understanding the Madness of the Print Market

Art is sometimes ambiguous, but understanding what you are buying should be crystal clear. In my earlier days when I showed my artwork at outdoor art venues I saw a lot of customers and patrons purchase items and not understand the difference between original art, prints, editions, and essentially poster or wall art. Artists sometimes don’t help in clarifying these things. Maybe it’s because they are too busy trying to eek out a living selling their wares and making a meager living through their artwork. However I have never believed it’s a good idea to sell something based on assumptions or to keep the consumer in the dark about what they are really buying. I believe by not clarifying what artists are actually selling they are hurting themselves, their fellow artists and the consumers. I know many people that buy giclee’ prints or another words canvas prints. Because of how far printing on canvas has come people buy these canvas prints thinking it is a one of a kind original painting instead of a reproduction. This causes problems when the purchaser finds out his original painting is in fact a copy. This realization erodes confidence not only in the artist who produced the canvas print but the art world as a whole. It’s bad for artists and the art buyer. However canvas prints are not a bad thing, many artists produce a series of artist approved canvas prints. So what does it mean when you buy a copy? What is the difference between a copy and an original painting? These questions and others are answered in this article.

It’s not only canvas prints that muddy the waters for art buyers. I also know people who purchase open edition prints or another words posters thinking that they are buying original works of art or another words original prints. Original prints are a series of prints approved by the artist for production or for reproduction. These prints are known as original prints. Again knowing the difference between open edition prints, limited edition prints, and artist proofs or artist prints will help you know what it is you are buying or how you are labeling your artwork.

Let me start off by saying that you should never buy art hoping it will increase in value. That is never a sure thing. There is never a guarantee that the artworks you purchase will even capture the same price you originally paid for them. So don’t buy art with a mindset that its value will increase. Instead, buy what you love or what moves you as a person and inspires you when you look at it. Art is created to lift our souls and enrich our lives. Even though art has no guarantee of becoming a gold mine, original artwork purchased from professional artists will hold a certain amount of value in most cases. It is always best to buy original art when possible. It is like buying antiques.

Artwork that isn’t original is some referred to as poster art or wall art, artwork that isn’t original. This type of art can bring you a lot of enjoyment but has essentially very little to no resale value. Some may describe this as décor or reproduction art. Whatever you call it, it is essentially “copies” of original artwork that was never signed and numbered by the artist. So what is an original? An original is any one of kind or series of images the artist has approved as original artwork or copies of original artwork that the artist has approved, signed, and numbered to be reproduced a certain amount of times.

Let’s start with paintings. With painting originals are any artwork produced by the artist where the subject, color, and scenery is different from one painting to the next. Paintings can be somewhat similar in subject as long as it is clear that they are different from other another, each painting is a one of a kind original painting. If however the artist is painting, not printing, the same painting over and over again essentially he is creating multiple copies of the same image or an edition. Editions are the same image multiple times. Editions are still originals but demand that the artist declare the number of item in the series and how many images there are in the series in total. So you should see in the corner of any edition print, painting, sculpture or what have you the number of the item and the number of originals. It would be in a fraction like 5/250 this means you have the 5th image of a 250 image edition (each of the 250 images are original and of the same value). With paintings anything that isn’t numbered should be a one of a kind original piece of artwork. If there are multiple copies that exist of a particular painting and they aren’t identified with an edition number it is classified as wall art. They are not original.

Sometimes the print market can be a little trickier. It is the same rules though generally. There are two types of prints what is referred to as original hand pulled prints and limited edition artist approved prints. Hand pulled prints are originals created by an artist that was meant to be created in multiples. They are signed and numbered by the artist. The entire series is considered original. In this category you have woodcuts, etchings, engravings and lithographic prints. Limited edition prints are created by original works of art from paintings and hand pulled prints. These are still signed and number by the original artist giving permission for these prints to be made. In this category you have limited edition prints and canvas prints. The important thing is the artist gives his signature to show these copies are approved and how many are approved.

If artworks is copied and not signed or numbered then it is considered a poster, wall art, or décor art and not original or assumed to have been copied without permission of the artist is therefore an open edition copy and has no value. Open editions are the same as posters they are reproductions or copies only without any value. Any prints outside an edition are also posters or décor art. This includes artist proofs or prints outside the original number of approved print run number. This understanding this will help you the next time you visit an art gallery or outdoor art venue.

Painting Workshops a Students Perspective

Saguaro Lake Ranch Painting Workshop

Through the Eyes of a Workshop Student

I began full of vigor. Never mind that I’d never taken a painting workshop before. (Never mind that I’m not a painter!) Here was an opportunity to try something new, to feel adventurous, to seize the day! I had my canvas tote packed with soft paint brushes, untainted watercolors, a new watercolor pad full of promise – even snacks! Oh yes, I was prepared for a bold, new experience. Carpe diem!

As you may recall, I like to foster my fantasies about being an artist. So after the instructor (who I happen to know) encouraged me to take his two-day Plein Air Painting Workshop at Saguaro Lake Ranch (I also happen to know the family who manages the Ranch, one of my favorite places locally) I decided to go for it.

Did I mention I’m not an artist?

Well, you’ll want to take note of that.

Day One:

After the introductory formalities and opening instructional lecture, we were told to pick a location to paint. This was, after all, a Plein Air workshop. (Plein Air is the French term for painting outdoors. Of course, doing anything in French automatically makes it more adventurous, right? Carpe diem!)

I went right for the crown jewel of Saguaro Lake Ranch. I chose a scene with the famous ridge mountain (yeah, okay, I don’t know the actual name of said mountain), framed by a sweeping mesquite tree and rustic fence line.

Praise the gods I decided to leave out the horses.

The beginning stage went well. Frame out the underpainting with a quick sketch and wash of color. Blues, greens, and browns filled the paper with ease.

This isn’t going too badly.

I started to add detail: the black, twisted trunk of the mesquite tree; a few more shades of greens and yellows in the foliage to add interest. I kinda liked it.

Then came the hay bales.They weren’t coming out quite right. I decided to come back to it.

I painted in the fence. Looked a bit, um, juvenile (even more so than the rest of this amateur’s painting). That’s okay. I’d fix it with some highlights later.

Then came the mountain. Such a beautiful, peace-inspiring mountain. Unless you’re trying to paint it. Then it becomes the bane of your existence, the blob of lifeless brown on your formerly pristine watercolor paper.

The instructor came over to check on me. He liked the tree too. He gave me some guidance regarding the mountain. At first he wanted to demonstrate right on my painting! Oh no. This was my painting. So he humored his inexperienced, A-type personality of a student and demonstrated on a spare piece of paper. I marveled at his technique, tried to retain what he’d said and done, and went back to work.

Fast forward 20 minutes.

Those mountains were still a mess. This time, when the instructor came to have a look, I gladly handed over my brush and painting.

Paint on instruction…

He completed one section of the mountain, explaining as he went, and I tried to duplicate it elsewhere. It wasn’t great, but I learned something and had a better concept of what I could try.

The class took a break for lunch and the scenery went from a challenge to be mastered back to a source of serenity. I especially enjoyed visiting with Charles, a retired Navy man who never lost his taste for traveling (he’s been to Indochina, southeast Asia, the Caribbean, all over) but now he sometimes adds in his penchant for painting. He’s taken workshops all over the country, looking to paint “places I’ve never been.”

He reminded me why I was there. Here was a man full of adventure. I want my own adventures too.

After lunch we hauled our stuff down to the river and selected new scenes to paint, this time sheltered by the shade of the trees lining the banks. Having learned my lesson, I switched from a broad landscape to a smaller-scale water study.

Again, the drawing and under colors went on easily. This felt familiar and I didn’t take as much confidence from it this time around.

 

I painted in the rocks and a few reeds and decided I needed to darken the water. Big mistake. One bold stroke and it was way too dark. When I saw what I’d done, I didn’t know how to fix it. I was desperate for the instructor to come save me.

In due order, he did. He didn’t think it was a mistake at all, and carried the color through the central section. He gave me courage to be bold and add movement and color to the water, along with how to paint the reeds on the bank.

I was resisting the urge to say “Don’t you just want to finish it for me?” After all, he was doing such a good job.

But I didn’t say it and he left me, alone with my painting. I guess I’d have to finish it myself.

I sat down on a rock to get my brain back in the game. After a few quiet moments, I studied my painting from afar. I looked at the river and reminded myself what I originally liked about the scene I chose.

 

Isn’t it lovely?

Despite my lack of developed skills, I still really wanted to try to capture what I saw.

I thought about what the instructor taught me. I focused on a corner of the painting and decided I could try to add a group of reeds there. I can do that much. So I did. And it was fun. I moved to the other side of the painting and added more reeds. I liked the top, but didn’t know what to do with the bottom. Some grass perhaps?

That was when I discovered (shock) that I don’t know how to paint grass.

I abandoned the blob – I mean grass – for the thing I knew. I pulled my leather journal and pen from my canvas bag, returned to the rock, and began writing about my day. Ahhh. What a relief! Maybe the instructor wouldn’t notice.

I got away with my truancy for a good 15 minutes before he came back, declared his pleasure at my improvement, said “It’s starting to look like a painting now,” and made me trade in my pen for a brush.

He turned my blob into grass and I decided the painting looked good just how it was. No further tinkering required from this girl!

He saw I was done – mentally at least – laughed, and dismissed me to my rock.

I sat for awhile, listening to the instructor talking quietly with Navy Charlie. The river was flowing soft that day, gently soothing away any agitation I’d felt. My little alcove under the shade of the trees shielded me from any thought of the outside world.

The painting called to me.

Perhaps a little more grass…

How to Choose the Right Art Workshop

Choosing the Art Workshop that’s Right for You

When I was a student in college, I took two very different workshops. Both were taught by established, talented artists and I learned something from both instructors. One of the workshops, however, stood out from the other. The artist conducting this workshop was not only a professional painter but an amazing teacher. He connected with us as students; it wasn’t just about him. He lectured, of course, but more importantly he gave personalized instruction, along with plenty of demonstrations about the techniques or painting approaches we were studying. I learned then, not all workshops are created equal.The right workshop can give a huge boost to an artist’s skill level. Now after twenty years as a painter and instructor, I know what to look for in a workshop. Soon you will too.

Do some research on the artist teaching the workshop. Find out how they run a workshop. While it can be great to watch a master painter create a painting, you don’t learn as much unless you’re painting yourself and getting feedback from a more experienced artist. Try to find artists who interact with their students as well as demonstrate techniques. You will learn a lot in those workshops.

Know what you want out of a painting workshop. If you want to go for a few hours and copy the painting and color mixes of an instructor, with everyone else in the class doing the same thing, then don’t get into a workshop where you paint on you own from life or photos. That would be very discouraging for you as an artist. Likewise, if you want to learn techniques you can apply in your own work in the future, a paint-by-numbers workshop will only frustrate you. If you want to learn to paint portraits, find a class that teaches it. If you want to paint from long poses don’t enroll in a workshop comprised mostly of gesture painting. You get the idea. Know what you want to learn, whether it be composition, color theory, landscape painting, or color mixing, then find a workshop geared toward your goals.

Be willing to get out of your painting comfort zone. Take a workshop about a style or technique you’ve wanted to learn. While you are in the workshop, try hard to follow the instructor’s guidelines on painting, using his particular approach. Once the workshop is over, see what you might incorporate into your established way of painting. It’s amazing how much you can learn this way. It will open new doors to your way of thinking and strengthen your ability to create a successful painting.
Read the fine print. This seems like a no brainer but I remember spending my last dollar on a workshop only to discover I needed to purchase another $200.00 to $300.00 in materials. Being the broke college student I was, I had to make do with what I had. As a result, I couldn’t recreate many of the techniques in the class because I didn’t have the right supplies.

Workshops are a fantastic way to challenge yourself artistically, improve your abilities, and push your artwork to greater heights. Participate in a workshop that’s right for you and it will help you become the artist you want to be.

To Learn More about Kevin McCain Painting workshops and Classes Click Here

How to Get Past Painter’s Block

When You Just Can’t Stand to Paint

Every painter has been there. You’re staring at a blank canvas and nothing is coming to mind. You reach for the brushes but your muse or inspiration has left momentarily, perhaps to enjoy a little warmer weather in the Caribbean. You’re left to languish in your studio. Now I am all for the idea that when you don’t feel like painting that is when you should paint the most, but I am not talking about the moment when all you need is a break to pour through an art book or two to find your motivation and hit the canvas with vengeance. I am talking about the times where even the idea of painting makes you feel a bit nauseous. These are the times when I do the chores or work I usually avoid, but is none the less very important to keep the studio going, like check on art competition dates, prepare portfolios to send out to galleries, work on marketing campaigns or any number of things. I might even pick up and organize the studio, but only as a last resort, of course. In the end, these less-than-glamorous chores serve my painting well. I find that after a couple hours of such diligent productivity, I feel I have accomplished something. I feel empowered. The desire to paint has returned, along with my muse from tropic places unknown, and I am ready to create some art. Give it a try.