Change: A Difficult Path to Follow


Just when I’m comfortable with the techniques I am using and the art I am producing, I feel it happening. It starts with mild discontent, then moves to complete dissatisfaction (I imagine I also get grumpy.) I find myself painting and repainting, positioning and repositioning papers and fabrics, making marks, then starting the process all over again. Normally, I work on larger pieces by making a study on canvas. It is never exactly the same on the cradle and the gypsum responds differently to paint than gesso, but it usually makes the process a little easier.  Not now. It is called working and reworking, and reworking again.  It’s called change, but it’s never easy, and for someone who likes to be in control… Well, you get point.

In an article in Gulfshore Life, Florida artist Joe McAleer compared artistic change to a road trip.  “I’m on the back roads, trying to go west, not on the superhighway. Along the way, you make mistakes, wrong turns. You break down for a week or so. Then you see a shape, a color, you get an idea. You get back in your car and drive some more. Eventually, you get where you want to go.”

I hope so.


Using Art to Train NY Detectives

In his e-book “Box of Less” author Matthew May describes Genchi Genbutsu and training for NYPD detectives that uses that technique. The detectives are required to observe a piece of art, scrutinize it, describe what they see in detail, and refrain from interpreting or concluding. The goal is simply to record the facts and only then to weave a story. It’s a technique that requires careful observation and attention to detail.  This interested me for two reasons: it shows that good artists are good observers and that good art creates a story full of detail.  The e-book can found here:

Engaging Creativity


In a recent blog author Matthew May suggested we bring an artistic view to our work no matter what that work might be (including parenting). He suggested that the only way to be “fully involved” is to engage our creativity.

As a visual artist, this type of thinking excites me. It puts greater value on what artists do beyond the “product.” May believes that there is a great deal of value in the process itself. Engaging your own personal creativity works in other aspects of life (think STEAM) and gives you a greater sense of fulfillment.

It is worth reading:

Teaching Makes Us Smarter

For years I taught writing part-time at universities near where I lived both in Tennessee and Maryland. I also briefly taught high school English. I never felt more useful or smarter. Now I know why. Based on scientific research, I was smarter because I had to break down the writing process and find creative ways to present the information.

For those of you who teach, I salute you. But give credit to your students as well. This article reminds us of the benefits of learning and thinking in a group. It’s a win, win—even for teachers.




Are Galleries Dead?

I seem to be stuck on galleries at the moment—physical galleries and those online.  Perhaps it is applying to too many shows. But then I stumble across an April article written by New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz who says “galleries are dead.” He contends that everything is going online and that openings are simply social. 


I wonder if that is true. If you are interested, here’s link to the article:


Criticizing Art

Strolling through Asheville’s galleries I began thinking about a recent comment by Seth Godin, a blogger, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. Godin says that before you criticize art, you should educate yourself: try to understand what is being attempted by the art form and the artist.

This is often difficult for me.  I admit that sometimes I just don’t get it, and in that vein, I spend a lot of time looking at contemporary art both in galleries and on the Internet. I hope that all artists do this. I have one question: do we really need one more fish flying off the wall?

Art Building Steam in America’s Classrooms

This is a really interesting article. I think that art should be integrated with other subjects to prove its value in thinking and reasoning.