Going from a small sketch to a large painting

Going from a small sketch to a large painting

Today I want to talk about something I am often asked about but rarely do. It is the particular way I move from a sketchbook to a large painting. Have a look here. I often work out ideas using sketches before starting a painting. I begin not just with one, but a series of sketches. I like to let the drawing develop in the sketchbook and then choose the strongest one. The other key point is that when I start the painting, I try not to copy a sketch exactly, but let the painting evolve from it....

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How to get into the flow of your art

How to get into the flow of your art

Today I am joined by Gay Hendricks, author of “The Big Leap,” and his new book “The Genius Zone.” Gay is a world-renowned expert on "connecting to our genius," that flow state, and offers a deeper understanding of what exactly this is and how to access it. Have a listen to NY Times bestselling author Gay Hendricks. It turns out that limiting beliefs and fears are the main culprits in blocking our creativity and joy, not just in our art, but also in our lives. Hendricks believes the key to...

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How to change intimidation into inspiration

How to change intimidation into inspiration

I used to think the more great art I saw of others, the more inspired I would become - not just in my art, but also in my desire to make it. One of the best places to see a ton of great art is at Art Basel in Miami Beach, Florida. I saw so much incredible art. Interestingly, though, I didn't become inspired. I became intimidated. Here is what happened... It took a while for me even to go back into my studio. However, once I did, I spent a fair bit of time thinking about future ways to stay...

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What is fine art?

What is fine art?

I define "fine art" as what I would make if I could make any art I wanted. For many years I supported myself by making illustrations. Sometimes I liked doing it, but mostly not. However, to start making my fine art seemed way out of reach. It seemed like a pipe dream. The gap between the art/life I was making then and what I wanted to make and live in the future seemed too big. So I didn't try. In the end, probably out of sheer frustration, I would occasionally make art that reminded me of my...

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How to choose for a Call for Entries

How to choose for a Call for Entries

Today I thought I would share a few thoughts about increasing the likelihood your art will be accepted into a juried show. These three ideas came from volunteering for an exhibition in NYC. Listen here. The first realization is that your art, to stand out from the endless stream of entered art, needs to be markedly different. So, try as hard as you can to enter what is your most authentic, personal art. There is so much art being looked at, that only the most compelling and different work has...

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Is this missing in your art?

Is this missing in your art?

John Le Carre, the famous British spy writer, said, "The cat sat on the mat is not a story. The cat sat on the Dog's mat is a story." Why? It has to do with tension. When troubleshooting our art, we rarely talk about tension. However, it is needed to make our art memorable and powerful. Sometimes I can't figure out why my art is just ok. I stare at it and make changes, but nothing seems to move it from the mediocre/good column to the great column. Often, it is the lack of tension that is the...

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What is your new story?

What is your new story?

When I pause my artmaking, the one thing that gets my creative juices flowing are the stories of other creatives. What cool things are being made by others? How are they doing this, and why? I love learning from seeing and listening to the stories of other creatives. Almost always, this leads me back in reflection to my own story. What is the story I have been creating? However, the best, most exciting part of this question appears when I go one step further. And that is what I am talking...

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The necessity of stopping

The necessity of stopping

The season of my art making is changing. June, for me, marks the beginning of a time of more reflection. My productivity lessens to take stock of where I am and where I might be going next. Now, I write more and paint less. I reflect more. I try to hold off from doing too many things. I want to create vacancy in my life. It is this opening that often permits something new, unexpected, and vibrant to arrive. Hear how I frame the natural rhythms of art practice. I know this, in the short term,...

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These might change everything for you

These might change everything for you

I like to paint boldly and a little out of control, especially in the beginning. If the picture is giving you bold, clear messages, you can better respond with the same. In other words, it is easier to know what to do next. A strong start can make your progress easier and a lot faster. Today I am sharing a few tips about how I make my art. I know how much it helped me to discover how different artists make art. Maybe one of mine will help with your art-making. Have a look here. Let's...

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What I am making this week

What I am making this week

Hi there, I thought I would share what I have been working on in my studio today. I always enjoy seeing what others have been making, so hopefully, you find some value in seeing my recent work. I am pretty excited about this new work. Have a look here. So what are you making that has gotten you excited? Leave a comment below. Thanks for being here! Nicholas PS If you want to see more videos of me working in the studio, tips, and tricks, inspiration, and more, head to my YouTube...

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