Sunday, January 31, 2010

Art and Soul

All Artists must have a Soul vision to guide them; otherwise they would not stay focused for a lifetime.

The French Impressionist, Claude Monet, explained what happened to him when he was young. While working outdoors one day, in a single moment, "the veil parted," and his entire life destiny was laid out before him. Monet pierced the veil of surface reality and clearly saw a vision of the Divine. He was destined to be an artist, and that vision changed him forever. He learned why he was to be an artist, and no matter the struggles Monet endured during his life, that vision kept him on his destiny path to becoming a world treasure.

According to Paul Heussenstamm, the artist in each of us who has learned to use his/her eyes to view the world from our heart has begun to see the Soul. And to see with Soul. The key is learning "to access" the Soul. Art accesses the Soul of both the creator and the observer.

Large White Lotus
Paul Heussenstamm

A must read is Paul's book;
Divine forces - Art That Awakens The Soul

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wish I Had My Camera!

How can I explain the incredible vista my friend and I saw for a brief moment today?

I will try.......

Olympia, Washington is blessed with many waterways. If you look at a map you will see all these fingers reaching towards Olympia from the Puget Sound. The waterways are an asset to our city.

Elaine and I were taking a walk on the Percival Landing boardwalk in downtown Olympia. It is a scenic walkway interspersed with art with a glimpse of the Olympic Mountain range if you should be so lucky as to have a day without rain.

The Kiss
Richard Beyer
Cast Aluminum
Gift from Patrons for South Sound Cultural Activities (POSSCA)

Today was one of those days. As we came to the view of the Olympics covered in snow, there was a break in the sky which created a pattern of light on the mountains. It was dramatic and exquisite. A couple of people had their cameras in hand and I wish I had had mine. We all stood there in awe and the sunlight danced upon the mountain range for a short period of time. And the show was over. Need I say, it was AWESOME?!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More Progress on Waterlilies

I have two paintings in process these days. As I have mentioned in an earlier blog, I will be doing a series of watercolor paintings featuring waterlilies a favorite subject of mine.

This first one has turned into a collage. The question now is weather to leave the window frame white or to paint it? What do you think?

The second work in progress watercolor painting is taking on more color than my last post. It is interesting to note that I have been drawn to using larger paint brushes with a more fluid "sketchy" motion. Needless to say, I am enjoying the process. As Paul Heussenstamm relates in his book Divine Forces, it is as if a guided force of the soul takes over.

Next is to add color to the lilies.

Stay tuned.......

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Creative Juices Flowing Once Again

I have returned to painting!

Being so focused on my new house, both inside and out, my watercolor painting has been non-existent.

Waterlilies are a favorite of mine and I have decided to do a series of paintings around this subject matter. I am attracted to the beautiful essence of the waterlily, lily pads, and the surrounding water. The image connotes peace and tranquility. Maybe I am looking for this feeling in my life?

The first painting that I created I turned into a collage which at the moment is pressed under a load of books waiting for the glue to dry. If we have a break in the weather, I will photograph the painting and post.

Here is the next painting in progress. The photo is taken this evening in my studio under the daylight light which I use when I paint.

Stay tuned for it's next transformation..........

It feels good to be painting again!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another Sunny Winter Day in Washington!

Very rare to have sunshine in Washington especially in the winter time, but we have been graced with the fourth day of fantastic weather.

Washingtonians were out in droves. My friend and I and our dogs took a walk on the Chehalis Western Trail and it was amazing the number of people. I believe we have learned to take advantage of good weather here in Washington.

Yes, this is a summer view as I did not bring the camera today

The historic Chehalis Western Railroad, which operated from 1926 through the mid-1980's, has now become the Chehalis Western Trail. The trail runs north-south through the heart of Thurston County and links up with the County-owned 14.5-mile Yelm-Tenino Trail. It passes through a variety of ecosystems and environments in both the urban and rural areas of the County. It provides access to over 170-acres of park land including nearly two miles of frontage along the Deschutes River, and features access to the Puget Sound, Chambers Lake, wetlands, forests, farmland, creeks, prairies, and other habitats.

Yep, summertime too!
Although I did see people in shorts and short sleeves today

Friday, January 22, 2010

smARTist Telesummit

The 2010 smARTist Telesummit is a week long art marketing and strategy conference that you can attend from your own studio. The smARTist Telesummit features leading industry experts giving you insight into the art business and will help you sharpen you art marketing skills as well as better understand your calling as an artist.

smARTist is a unique opportunity to experience a wide range of expertise in a concentrated format, all from your computer or phone (and you don't worry about missing anything, the recordings of the entire Telesummit will be available to registered attendees for future reference).

This onlive live art career conference is for you if...

*You want your artwork in the world and are confused, or overwhelmed, about the best way to go about this.

*You toy with the idea of working as a full time artist, and aren't sure where to start.

*You work as a full time artist, and want new ideas and inspiration for putting your work in the world.

*You know there are better ways to market your art, online and off, and don't know which ones work best.

*You have lots of ideas, and want help focusing on where to begin and how to keep going.

*You want help turning confusion into clarity, confidence, and commitment.

To learn more and register for smARTist 2010 visit

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Real Van Gogh

Still Life with a Plate of Onions
(and a letter)
Vincent Van Gogh (January 1889 - letter 732)
oil on canvas, 49.6 x 64.4 cm

The Real Van Gogh - the Artist his Letters will open on Saturday at the Royal Academy of Art in London.

The exhibition displays some 65 paintings, 30 drawings and 35 letters. Together these express the principal themes of his longstanding correspondence with his brother Theo. Other artists have written letters but no other artist has written quite so much about the process of creating art - on a contemporaneous basis.

Van Gogh's letters are rarely exhibited because of their fragility - which makes this a very rare exhibition. These are also very powerful documents which help to create a real sense of connection with Van Gogh.

Most importantly this exhibition tackles some of the myths about Van Gogh and reveals him as being a very different artist from the one which is decribed by 'popular' publications and films.

This exhibition clearly conveys how Van Gogh lived his life on paper - he drew, he painted, he read and he wrote. His was a very solitary existence - he was apparently so intense and focused on what he was interested in that he was very difficult to live with.

He comes across as a very intelligent and well read man in this exhibition. Also, although his excution of a painting may have been fast at times, the letters and drawings clearly demonstate that he is somebody who studied hard, practiced in a very deliberate way to develop his skills, and created plans for his compositions and colour schemes only after he had thought about this at some detail.

Letter 902 - the very last letter from Vincent to Theo Van Gogh
Drawing of Wheatfields after the Rain (the Plain of Auvers)

In his very last letter to Theo dated Wednesday 23rd July 1890, four days before he shot himself in the chest - Van Gogh sent sketches of two no. 30 canvases depicting immense streches of wheat after the rain.......the unfinished letter to Theo, a draft of the one that was actually sent was found on Vincent's person after he shot himself in the fields on 27 July 1890 (and is in the exhibition)
From The Exhibition Catalogue: The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters

If you'd like to read the letters you can now do so now by visiting the new Van Gogh Museum website dedicated to them - Vincent Van Gogh - The Letters. This gives you access to all 902 letters.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Envision Cascadia

Yesterday I view the exhibit "Envision Cascadia."

It is an exhibition curated by Jake Seniuk for the Port Angeles Fine Art Center that is now on display at Olympia’s Art In Ecology venue.

The show includes works in various media by 33 artists and is subtitled “Artists ponder the Homeland”

The exhibition will remain on display until the end of February.

On January 18 Arts Olympia members and guests gathered for a "Salon Conversation" about the works in the show.

I enjoyed the variety and expressions portrayed by the artists. My favorite pieces were the two sculptures. One was made of cardboard to resemble a large tree stump and the other was a table setting representative of the Pacific Northwest. I apologize for not writing down the artists and titles. Well worth the trip to the Washington State Department of Ecology Headquarters in Lacey at 300 Desmond Drive. This is off Martin Way, across from Top Foods.

An added attraction is art by Maitri Sojourner in the 2nd Floor Gallery. "Meet 'The Polyakovs' " will be on display through February 26th. This is a fabric collage series that illustrates a short story by her daughter, Andrea Mudd. Maitri has an open house on Friday, January 22nd from 3-6 pm. World traveler and storyteller Rebecca Hom will be telling stories starting at 5:15 pm.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Van Gogh's Gardens

Did you know that Van Gogh made many drawings and paintings of gardens? Apparently, gardens are identified as a favorite motif of Van Gogh.

Flowering Garden with Path
Vincent Van Gogh (Arles July 1888)
Oil on canvas, 72 x 91cm,

Flowering Garden
Vincent Van Gogh (Arles July 1888)
Oil on canvas, 92.0 x 73.0 cm.

Here is the letter to his brother, Theo, about the above paintings.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Art From Recycled Tires

Today a fellow artist sent me photos of art created with recycled tires. I wish I knew who these artists are so that I could give them credit here for their amazing creativity.

Maybe someone out there can enlighten us?

Fabulous art and creativity!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Artists Supporting Haiti Relief Efforts

This week, after the terrible earthquake in Haiti, I've become aware that a number of artists are auctioning or selling artwork to raise funds for the relief of the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

There is to be a 140 Hours Haitian Relief Auction on January 29th for 48 hours. It starts at 9PM EST.

This is going to be a world-wide event, raising disaster relief funding by donated art at 100% transfer rate from all over the planet! Interested artists send reply to:

This is not about getting help to the survivors who need water or medical aid right now. This is about helping to provide the funds to support a rescue and aid programme which will need to be long and dedicated.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Divine Forces - Art That Awakens The Soul

I just learned that Paul Huessenstamm's book, Divine Forces - Art That Awakens The Soul, is now available.

Paul who creates incredible mandalas believes in the mystery of the artist. The action of the artist involves surrender, letting go, allowing, opening, petitioning, prayer, and inner supplication. Paul believes that a transformation takes place spontaneously without conscious participation of the individual. He or she simply wakes up to the fact that something larger than his or her own sense of self is operation inside and expressing itself through action in the world.

Paul shares the spiritual path of the artist in his book. The artist, according to Paul, is truly an instument It is not a choice or a willed expression.

I cannot wait to read more.

ordered a copy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Recently I traveled with my good friend Elaine to Leavenworth, Washington.

I had heard of this charming village of Leavenworth, a Bavarian getaway in the heart of Washington State at the base of 8,000 foot high Cascade Mountains, but had not been there. During the months of December and January the entire town is jeweled with lights and covered with snow. It was enchanting!

One morning we explored the Waterfront Park where the trails wind along the Wenatchee River and through quiet riverbank forests. Here I am.....

Cold and hungry we happened upon the Gingerbread House at the edge of town.

Too perfect!

Another adventure while in Leavenworth was skiing at Stevens Pass. A cold but sunny day........a rare treat in the middle of winter in Washington.

Leavenworth is truly a winter wonderland.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Landscape Art

Did you know in the last 50+ years, landscape art does not seem to be produced by contemporary artists who get into major galleries or have exhibitions in the important museums or sell for big sums in the auction houses?

It seems to be a lost art form. It is interesting to note that the painting of landscapes such an enduring form of art across cultures, continents and centuries does not continue to get much notice in the 20th century.

Katherine Tyrell, an artist and author, ponders the question of why landscape art has been downgraded in contemporary art circles in her blog Making a Mark. She poses some valid thoughts on the subject. She will be having this discussion on her new blog when she builds its audience(after 12 days it is now up to 73 subscribers!).

You might think about joining in.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Talent or 10,000 Hours of Practice?

According to Malcolm Gladwell's in his book Outliers, he identifies 10,000 hours as being the minimum requirement for becoming seriously good at whatever you do based on various research which has been done.

Gladwell highlights the need to put in the hours as a really important explanation of why some people become very successful.

Outliers is a fascinating and thought-provoking read. It's about unpicking the explanations behind people who have produced exceptional results. Note I didn't say that the people are exceptional. That's the point of the book. Too many times people who have done well are described as 'very smart' or 'very ambitious'. Gladwell's point is that there are lots of talented and/or smart and/or ambitious people who don't do exceptionally well.

Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over 10 years... No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.

"In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals," writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin, "this number comes up again and again."

Have you put in your 10,000 hours?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Typewriter Artist

Paul Smith, a man with extraordinary talent was born in Philadelphia on September 21,1921 with severe cerebral palsy. Not only had Paul beaten the odds of a life with spastic cerebral palsy, a disability that impeded his speech and mobility but also taught himself to become a master artist as well as a terrific chess player even after being devoid of a formal education as a child.

When typing, Paul used his left hand to steady his right one. Since he couldn't press two keys at the same time, he almost always locked the shift key down and made his pictures using the symbols at the top of the number keys. In other words, his pictures were based on these characters ..... @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ .. Across seven decades, Paul created hundreds of pictures. He often gave the originals away. Sometimes, but not always, he kept or received a copy for his own records. As his mastery of the typewriter grew, he developed techniques to create shadings, colors, and textures that made his work resemble pencil or charcoal drawings.

This great man passed away on June 25, 2007, but left behind a collection of his amazing artwork that will be an inspiration for many.

Here is a detail of the lighthouse

View more of this amazing man's art.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Friedl Dicker-Brandeis

In the most recent Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, I read an article by Linney Wix about Friedl Dicker-Brandeis.

Friedl Dicker-Brandeis (1898-1944) was an art educator who taught art to children in the Terezin concentration camp north of Prague in what was then Czechoslovakia between 1942-1944. Although she was formally an art teacher, her approach resulted in a practice that was similar to art therapy.

She invited the children to discover their own forms of expression and waited for what would emerge. For some children distraction from the daily traumas of camp life may have been enough; others may have used the art lessons to create beautiful pictures, to remember a past family joy, or to image a future reunion with a parent.

Although Dicker-Brandeis took charge of scrounging materials, she understood that her students would take just what they needed from each art class. She offered herself, all the materials she could find, and the invitation. Then, providing guidance as she saw fit, she accepted what the children created as valid. In this way she supported their spiritual and artistic strengths and helped them contend with the conditions under which they were living. Providing access to beauty through art classes was her way of helping children to psychologically survive the war and its circumstances.

"I Never Saw Another Butterfly" is a representation of those surviving pictures, which are now housed at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. Illustrating the pictures, as it were, are collections of poetry and prose, and excerpts from a few journals.

It is amazing that this art and collection of writing survived!

Thank you, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis

Friday, January 1, 2010

Virtual PaintOut

It amazes me the great ideas that you can find on the internet.

Recently I came across this blog where each month a different part of the world is selected for artists to paint. Virtual Paintouts uses Google Street View as a resource for traveling the world to find interesting locations and subjects to paint.

I found it rather challenging to learn how to move the yellow pegman.

This month you will find an interactive map of the island of Corsica. When you click on "View Larger Map", a map will appear on your monitor. The idea is to drag the little Yellow Man onto the map, step onto Corsica, and start exploring. When you find an interesting subject/area begin to paint.

Thanks to Google, they have given their permission for artists to use Street View as a reference for paintings that can then be sold without fear of copyright infringement.

You can access previous paintings of selected virtual paintouts.

What a fun way to travel and enjoy art!