Sunday, March 3, 2019

March Newsletter

Creative Minds have always been known 
to survive any kind of bad training.
Anna Freud

When I try to be creative, I usually fail. That's because creativity can't just be turned on and off. If I muse on what one of my instructors once said, noodle a thought around in my head, I find inspiration. But what works best is to let the thought rest and out of blue (usually in the shower), the idea comes to me.

Now how in the world do you teach this thought process in an academic setting. It doesn't really fall into the mix very well. Maybe that's why so many "geniuses" haven't done so well in school. The list includes some surprises including Thomas Jefferson, Issac Newton, Charles Dickens (left school at 12), John D Rockefeller, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, Elton John and so on. In fact, for every CEO with a 4.0 GPA, there are scores more with lower grades.

How come? According to Ilya Pozin (founder of Pluto TV), "A GPA does not measure a person's emotional intelligence, it does not measure their leadership ability, it does not necessarily measure their ability to think outside of the box and solve problems." It shows you're bright and that you've worked hard, but not necessarily the end-all to things. You will most likely move on to great accomplishments, but those of us left behind also have a lot to contribute. 

So what does this have to do with art and creativity. We often look at the greats or even the leading local artists who get into art shows and think, "I'll never do that; I'll never be that creative." And I will ask, "Why not?" 

As a skilled-based instructor I push learning the fundamentals in drawing and painting.Once that's accomplished, the whole world is opened to you, if you just believe in yourself and your skills. Here are few of my art principles I teach students:

  • Get trained--stick with teachers who will take the time to teach you step by step. Read books that show how to advance your skills, media knowledge.
  • Practice--you'll get no where if you don't practice everyday. Full stop.
  • Commit yourself to your skill--along with practice, you must be committed to your craft.
  • Learn from others--you will find students in museums copying masters' works, best way to learn techniques. It takes study but you become aware of the techniques and "talents" of others.
  • Work out the details--that is, create visual thoughts/notes by developing preliminary drawings. Michelangelo would create 100-150 drawings before he struck stone.
  • Walk away from your work and come back later--you'll see where you need to make changes. It will help you to know when and where to stop.
  • Most importantly, do not fear making bad art, embrace whatever you create because it's all part of a learning process!!
I truly believe that creativity comes when you just let go, hear your muse and strike. As crazy as an idea may seem, why not put it down on paper or canvas. Go for it and see where it leads. If you don't like it, throw it away or stash it in a art idea file (I do that) for later idea brainstorming. By the way, that works more times than not. 

One final word: 
Believe in your inner artist and throw away the inner critic!


What's coming up!

Studio Workshops
All studio workshops are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Includes most supplies and lunch. Sign up early. Most workshops fill up quickly.The cost is $90. Class size is limited to ten students. Pre-registration is required. Only payment reserves your seat.

Saturday March 23
Drawing the Face
One-Day Workshop
In this workshop we will explore all types of faces, including humans and other animals. I will show you how to truly see the face, use facial measurements to gain a likeness, develop shading to create form and how to draw realistic hair/fur/feathers. Bring a Strathmore Visual Journal/Mixed Media with you to class and I’ll supply the rest, including lunch.  Contact me for registration materials at

Sketch'n-on-the-Go Series™
"Sketching Dublin & Beyond"

Sunday, September 1- Sunday, September 8, 2019
Eight Days & Seven Nights Workshop
Tuition: $800*  
Go to Dublin Workshop.
Two spaces availableContact me:

Studio Classes
Due to personal problems of late, the winter/spring classes are beginning next week. If you want to join us, please contact me: There are seats available.

Art of Sketching 3/5
Learning to sketch actually improves your drawing skills; besides it’s amazingly fun. We'll be  using pen and ink with watercolor washes. Limited supply list
The Landscape
(ink and watercolor)
Every Tuesday morning
10 am to 12:30 pm
$80 per five-week term
Seats available

The Morning Draw 3/6
We will be exploring a variety of subjects and drawing techniques. Limited supply list.
The Landscape
(oil pastels, ink and watercolor)
Every Wednesday morning
10 am to 12:30 pm
$80 per five-week term
Seats available

Art Journaling has been suspended until later this year.

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