Wednesday, April 3, 2019

April Newsletter. Artists contribute more to society than we give them credit.

I was listening to a radio program a few weeks ago and heard this:

"How can you do art when there is such suffering in the world?" 

My answer:
How can I breath?
How can I eat?
How can I do anything?

Over the years, I've heard what she was saying in one form or another. For many people art is simply fun, not serious stuff. We artists shouldn't be so inconsiderate by playing when outside our front doors, there is so much misery. 

I can only think that this person has never really studied Art (with a capital A). Or maybe she doesn't understand what Art is. So let's start there. According to Britannica, there are eight categories of Art: 

  • Literature: the written word, poetry, drama, story, etc.
  • Visual arts: painting, drawing, sculpture
  • Graphic arts: also painting, drawing, design for more commercial purposes
  • Sculpture: three-dimensional works in clay, wax, stone, metal, fabric,glass, wood, plaster and so on.
  • Decorative: enamel work, woodwork, furniture, mosaic
  • Performing: drama, dance, theater
  • Music: composition (singing, dancing, etc)
  • Architecture: including interior and/or industrial design 
Every single one of these disciplines require hard work. I don't know any professional who would say it's all fun and games. While artists are passionate about what they do and hopefully have fun, it's still difficult at times.

Look at that list again, each requires a skill that has to be honed over time. For example, let's take writing. When I was working in San Jose at the dawn of the Silicone Valley explosion in the 80s, there were all sorts of jobs for writers. Why? Because engineers aren't typically known for their writing skills. I was able to plug up the holes.

Geniuses understand it's more than math

Even Steve Jobs recognized that artists are needed when creating the new. He hired all sorts of people to work for him: musicians, zoologists, artists, poets and so on. He realized that it's not only a technician who develops a product, but a string of people. Consider how beautiful his machines have been, even his Iphone is sleek and cool! He was an artist, just like Leonardo da Vinci was a engineer.

Speaking of engineers, Albert Einstein once said, "A society’s competitive advantage will come not from how well its schools teach the multiplication and periodic tables, but from how well they stimulate imagination and creativity."  He's got a good point.

For the moment, just look around you. Everything we use was once in the hands of a designer-- from the computer, tablet or phone to the toaster that pops out your toast each morning. They all started with a visual plan and from there you had writers dealing with instructions, not to mention the marketing side that hires plenty of artists each year. It seems Art matters.


I was rather annoyed a few years ago when I learned about the STEM movement. The
acronym stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The main purpose is to prepare our students for the tech jobs of the present and future. Leonardo da Vinci would probably be scratching his head wondering what in the world does that mean? That's because science and art worked hand-in-hand in those days. 

My annoyance came from the lack of Humanities in the equation. As Einstein says, how are we supposed to be truly competitive without the written word, visual arts, drama, architecture and dare I say, plain old civics and history. I totally agree with Einstein--he was a genius in more than one sense. He knew you must cultivate the creative side alongside of the linear.

Fortunately, I've recently heard the idea has been changed to STEAM, including art. That's great because I understand we must address the high-tech issues today to prepare our students but we cannot sacrifice the Humanities in the process. We still needs writers, artists, musicians, good citizens as well as welders, carpenters, drivers, craftsmen, only to name a few. It's all part of the entire fabric of our society.

But come on, art is fun!

One of the fallacies I usually run up against is that art is fun, so it just can't possibly be work.  For example, I met a guy who said to me, "Well you don't' have a real job." And this guy had a girlfriend who was a teacher. But because I teach art to adults, I wasn't doing anything important and probably having way too much fun to call it a job. I should have asked him to draw a realistic portrait to see how much fun he would have. More than likely, he'd just stare at me.

Okay, so this is the reality of being an artist. It seems a waste to so many or just fun. The weird thing is I was on my way to teach basic drawing to students at our local community college when I heard the statement above. I immediately thought, why would 18 people sign up for a class during times like these? Of course, they would and continue to do so because art doesn't negate the present problems. It helps us to cope.

To me, art is more than me touching paper with either a visual statement or written word, it's a way of life--during good times or bad. Full stop. And for those who cannot imagine how we can express ourselves during times like these, I ask how can we not? It's better than drugs and alcohol any day.


 What's coming up!
Spring 2019 
One-Day Workshops

All of our one-day workshops are held at Glastonbury Studios in Tigard from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., unless otherwise indicated. Workshops include most supplies and lunch. Cost $90 per person, per day. Pre-registration is required. Seats are limited to a minimum of four students.

To learn more about the offerings and dates, go to my website. To register or for more information, contact me at:

Saturday, April 27
Drawing Birds  

Saturday, May 18
Drawing with Colored Pencils 

Saturday, June 1
Discover Watercolor Pencil 

Saturday, June 22
Drawing Cats 


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

Sunday, September 1- Sunday, September 8, 2019
Eight Days & Seven Nights Workshop
Tuition: $800*  
For more information go to:
Dublin Workshop
Only two spaces available

Contact me:

Studio Classes

Just a warning. The students in these classes are 
very liberal-minded, fun-loving women!

Be prepared to laugh, love and live a lot.

New classes begin the second week of April. If you want to join us, please contact me:

Art of Sketching  Begins 4/9
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
Every Tuesday morning
10 am to 12:30 pm
$80 per five-week term
Seats available

The Morning Draw Begins 4/10
We will be exploring a variety of subjects and drawing techniques. Limited supply list.
Every Wednesday morning
10 am to 12:30 pm
$80 per five-week term

Art Journaling has been suspended until later this year.

Rene Magritte, Golconda, oil painting, 1953.

“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist…” ~ Rene Magritte