Are You Clear?

Hi Everyone

Sometimes our lives can feel so full.
This can feel good but it also can be overwhelming.

This week I am going through dozens of old boxes
of stuff I stored in my studio 5 years ago.
So much of it I no longer need or even remembered I owned.

I don’t think the problem is having a full life.
The problem is having it full of things that are not
important or meaningful anymore.

The answer then, is to get super clear about what should
be in your life and what should not.
In other words, take action and let stuff go!

This same problem came up in my painting this week.
In fact, it happens all the time.
In the beginning stages of my paintings I can have way too much.
And that can be overwhelming.
I just can’t tell what is in and what is out.

So the work around is to take action.
Make some bold moves that make it easier
to see more clearly.

Art making is just one long life practice of
becoming clear about what is in and what is out.

Overtime, we improve at discerning the right answers.
And the evidence of that improvement is
stronger and stronger art.

How you do choose what is in and what is out in your art?

Hope your studio time is fun today.
Nicholas W

Is your art like a toadfish?

Hi Everyone

Here is my secret way I get unstuck in my art.

I just ask myself one question. What do I love in this painting?
Is it the color? Is it the tiny rabbit in the lower left corner?
Or is it the expressive, charcoal lines that criss cross at the top?
Of course, it could be anything.

The only thing that matters is to pinpoint
the one aspect you love the most. And once you know,
make sure everyone else does too.
Often, the problem is there are too many aspects of our art
that compete for our attention.

So the fix is to reduce the noticeability of everything
so that one thing you love stands out.
I know that sounds too simple but it works.
Just turn the volume down on everything so the song
of that one thing you love can be heard clearly.

This idea really can clarify and strengthen your art.
It also works pretty well in your life too.

I was reminded of this idea Wednesday night by a
creature that lives in the mud beneath my houseboat.

A toadfish.


You wont believe this one…

After you watch the video,
have a listen to the
toadfish love song.

Don’t let your art be like a toadfish.
Use this idea to diagnose and clarify
your art so everyone knows what you love.

Nicholas

PS What questions do you ask yourself
to problem solve your art?

 

Is your studio like mine?

Hi Everyone,

I tried to couch it as “this is just what a creative studio looks like”,
but now it has gotten so disorganized that excuse just won’t work anymore.

So… this week’s video is all about
messiness and organization.

Or put another way…
right brain or left brain.

Our right brain is generally better at
being more spontaneous, seeing the big picture,
and not so attached to specific outcomes.
In other words, it goes with the flow.

The left side is more formulaic, logical and organized.
And is quite attached to a specific outcomes.

In life we might use one more than the other.
But regardless, we need both.
Especially making art.

In this week’s video I dive into when and how we might
use both sides of our brain in the process of
making our art.

Let me know if this rings true for you.

Are you aware of these two sides of your consciousness?
And if you are, are you comfortable switching
between them when making your art?

Everyone, especially me, would love to know.

Hope your Sunday is going to be a good one!

Nicholas

What is Your Story? Are You Listening?

Hi Everyone,

Happy Sunday! I hope you are getting to the studio today. On Sundays, before I head to the studio,
I usually do a long but slow run on Mt Tamalpais

And when I do I often listen to audio books. The one I am listening to now is
Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind”

This is a riveting book about left side brain people and right side brain people. (We are definitely right brain people)
He talks about “narrative competence” as a right brain activity. It turns out the right brain is not just good at making art but also listening.

To listen empathically to the stories of not just others but ours too is a right brain activity. All of this got me
thinking about the stories behind our art.

What is the story of your art?

If we can listen and pay attention we can better translate our story through our art.

We often forget that the driving force behind why we do what we do is incredibly interesting
to our viewers.
And that is what today’s video is all about.

Getting in touch with the story behind your art.

Please share the story behind your art in the comments section. Me and a whole bunch of others would love to listen.

Nicholas

PS Good luck in the studio this week! Here are some pics of what I am making…

PSS Thanks to so many of you who have joined the Art2life FB Group. I am blown away with the
amazing artwork from all over the world.

I am so inspired by this sharing, worldwide community of artists!

If you would like to join, click here and we will get you in…

A Point Of Focus

I have been working on several large pieces in my studio over the last few weeks, and one in particular is starting to come together a little faster than the rest. This is somewhat typical of my process, where I begin a body of work at the same time, and eventually one piece begins to overtake the others.

Watch the video, and let me know what you think. Does this ever happen to you when you work on multiple pieces at once? And if so, why do you think that is?

In gratitude, Nicholas

PS After a long period of waiting, the new private Art2life Artists Facebook group is open! Already a vibrant community is developing in there – it’s so exciting (and amazingly inspiring) to see all the great artwork being shared. If you would like to join, just click here and then click “Join Group” and someone from my team will bring you in! I hope to see you there.

Learning To Let Go

I was looking at several nearly finished pieces and I noticed something: with this new body of work, I’ve been leaving more of the original first marks I make, as opposed to covering everything up. This is a bit different from what I normally do, and I am liking this new direction.

How have you developed in your practice? What changes in your approach to art making have you noticed?

Best, Nicholas

Go Back To Move Forward

I’ve been working on this giant blue painting for some time, and while I like where it’s at currently, there’s still a long way to go before it’s finished.

Watch the video and see how I start to shift the composition. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

In gratitude, Nicholas

How I Approach Commissions, Part 2

I’ve been working on this commission and it is coming along very well – it’s reached a point where the piece now has a life of it’s own, and I am loving how the composition is coming together.

Getting here, however, did not happen overnight – it was a process of building up the surface, subtracting from it, and then building it up again. In short, I had to lose myself in the piece before it reached a stage I could be happy with.

Watch the video and let me know what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts on commissions, and your creative process in general!

In gratitude, Nicholas

The Story of You


I’ve gone through several different phases in my career, each one usually accompanied by some kind of self limiting belief about what I could and couldn’t do with art.

Now, it’s been hard, but I’ve come to learn that these kinds of beliefs – which nearly all of us have to varying degrees – are simply not necessary.

Watch the video and let me know what you think – how do you deal with self limiting beliefs? How do you choose to define yourself?

In gratitude, Nicholas

PS I’m starting a private Art2Life Facebook group soon, and I would love for you to be a part of it! It’s totally free, and in it I’ll be sharing more content like this, as well as some other cool things.

It’s not ready just yet, but in the meantime if you want to register, click here and my team will get in touch with you when the private group opens!

Hope to see you there!

The Power of New

With every new body of work, I try to have one piece where I do the exact opposite of how I normally paint.

It may seem a bit counter intuitive, but having a piece where I stay away from my normal routine helps me remain motivated. It injects a freshness into my regular practice and pushes me to bring new elements into my work.

Watch the video and let me know what you think – how do you find inspiration?

In gratitude, Nicholas

PS I’m starting a private Art2Life Facebook group soon, and I would love for you to be a part of it! It’s totally free, and in it I’ll be sharing more content like this, as well as some other cool things.

It’s not ready just yet, but in the meantime if you want to register, click here and my team will get in touch with you when the private group opens!

Hope to see you there!