Sunday, April 25, 2021

We've move, but nothing has changed.

 April 25, 2021

As I write this, I am hidden away in my office while the movers are here. We are moving back to California, after living and working here in Oregon for 30 years. However, our new location and phone number will be the only things that will change for Glastonbury Studios. You can continue to expect the same art newsletter with stories about individual artists/movements to working with different media. To date I have written over 100 different articles and hope to write another hundred--God willing and the creek don't rise. 

For those of you who signed up with the Blogger Feed Burner, you will now have to go to a new site for the newsletter sign up. Blogger has dropped this feature. Now I'm going to be using MailChimp, which may send the newsletter to promotion or spam, so you may want to check out where the newsletter is going if you don't hear from me every five or six weeks. 

For now, you don't have to do anything. I will try to transfer your address to Mailchimp. If that doesn't work, then you can always sign up at this link:  

BTW, I will continue writing my newsletter at this site and just use MailChimp for mailing. Nothing ever stays the same, does it?

What's coming up?

Online Spring Classes

Tuesday mornings: May 25-June 22
Wednesday mornings: May 26-June 23

10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
$90 per five-week session

Subject: Drawing Birds

Pencil, pen, colored/watercolor pencils, 
some watercolor paint.
Supply list provided upon registration.

Register for class today.
Contact me through email:

10 Seminole Court, Rio Vista, CA 94571

Thursday, March 25, 2021

March 2021 Newsletter

 Giving up!

I created a slogan for my business years ago that helps me overcome my worst days.

Don’t be afraid to make bad art. Be more afraid of never creating any art at all.

When times get tough, it’s really easy to drop the pencil or brush and walk away. That’s okay if it is just to give yourself a break; it’s not okay if you plan on walking away for good.

Back when I was teaching beginning drawing classes at Portland Community College, my first exercise called for every student to take a piece of paper from their sketchbook, crumple it up and throw it across the room (even at me!). Then, I’d say, “Good. You’ve done it. You’ve thrown your first piece of paper away. Now you can start again.”

Obviously I was trying to show my students that it’s okay to get to a point where you need to move on and begin looking at your project with a new eye. Is that quitting? Not at all. Notice I didn’t say walk away for good or give up. I emphasized staying with the subject, but trying something new.

 Thomas Edison
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Thomas Edison was an amazing inventor. He refused to succumb to failure. Instead he viewed his attempts not as failures but just learning what doesn’t work. As he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” It’s attitude. In the creative process so many of us think we are a failure if we give up on a project. Not so, in fact, I believe it may help you. Why hit your head against a wall and get the same result. Of course, I’m not suggesting that when it gets hard, we should just give up. Instead I think we should first try all sorts of things.
Walk Away
First walk away, take a breather. There’s nothing like a break. Go for a walk, call a friend. One artist I read tells us to go wash dishes. The warmth and monotony of the process may help to nudge things along.

I’m a strong proponent of putting projects away. As a copywriter in my previous life, I had to write copy under extremely short deadlines. Sometimes it seemed I’d never make it or what I was writing was sheer hogwash (sometimes it probably was). That’s when I’d put the piece in a drawer. Yes, I’d even print it out and physically set it aside. Why? I needed to step away from the problem. The same goes for any difficulty.  Sometimes you just need a new perspective, a new way of approaching what’s in front of you. Giving yourself some space helps you “noodle” around in your thoughts.

Fear is often a stumbling block. What’s holding you back? We all want perfection in an imperfect world. There’s that nasty internal critic who’s saying you can’t do it or you’re not really an artist. Let me tell you here and now, perfection is over-rated in art. I believe that art should not be imitation but interpretation. Unless you are doing commission work, your art is you.

I remember the scene in the movie Modigliani when Andy Garcia’s character is being criticized for the
portrait he is painting. It’s actually sort of silly because the patron should have known his style. As someone who is committed to his own work, he simply continues. Yes Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) created
unusual portraits, but what magic. If he had listened to his critics, we would not have his magnificent work. In other words, trust your gut. Stop if you must, but be true to your interpretations—even break some boundaries.(Right: Blue Eyes, 1917).
Do something else

James A. Michener
“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.”

Another consideration is doing some drawing exercises to loosen you up. How about taking your subject and drawing it and then redrawing it at three-minute intervals. It’s amazing what you will discover each time you encounter the process.

A while ago, I was planning a class. I had already promised a subject that I found to be rather difficult—to teach and to accomplish. I was in the middle of a quandary. What should I do? Tell my students I couldn’t teach the subject because it was too hard for me? Nah, that wouldn’t work. So I spent hours trying to conquer it. No luck. I figured the only thing I could do was set it aside, try a new approach. I did.

A day later I came back to the project and just started drawing, drawing and drawing. Yes, the first two or three drawings were crap, awful. I persevered and kept drawing in short spurts. Guess what, the more I did, the better I got and eventually was able to teach the process. It worked.

Hang it up for now or throw it away
I have absolutely no problem with throwing away my work that I’m not happy with it. Yes, I have spent, perhaps hours on the piece. Even so, it hasn’t been time wasted. I’ve learned what to do, what not to do. It’s more the journey than the task. But I’m also big on revisiting my work. So for now, perhaps I’ll put it away and look at it months from now. If I still dislike it, then maybe it’s time to move on.

Whatever the case, give yourself permission to carve another path in your artwork, but also it never hurts to persevere just to see what happens.

What’s coming up ?
 Online Spring Classes

Tuesday mornings: April 6-May 4
Wednesday mornings: April 7-May 5
10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
$90 per five-week session

Subject: Spring Flowers

Pencil, Pen, Colored/Watercolor Pencils
Supply list provided upon registration
To register, email: