Look at what we are cooking up…

Since this all began I am making less art. But I am cooking way more. Making a big pot of soup somehow feels reassuring. As I was chopping onions the other day, I got to thinking how actually, making art is not so different from making food.

Both nourish the body, soul and mind for sure. But then more connections came the more I thought about it.

And that is what today’s vlog is all about.

Click on the video below to watch.

Maybe cooking is just another form of art making. I think it is.

I practice and teach art from the perspective of differences. When something new and different is experienced, generally one feels more alive.

It could be a tropical vacation if you have been inside all winter. It could be brilliant color placed next to areas of dull color in your art. Differences in art and life are what make both amazing.

Cooking, or rather, the sense of taste works the same way. Serving a crunchy cracker alongside a hot, creamy soup brings those two differences of texture together. They go beautifully together. The acid of a lemon perfectly compliments a buttery smooth, cold pressed spring olive oil. Great cooking, like great art making, is simply great curation.

And of course there are the colors. The purple of an eggplant is practically the only purple I love. The yellow of a Meyers lemon is to die for. Nature fills her colors with compliments, making all harmonize. There possibly is no better teacher of color than Nature.

Teaching the process of art making in The Creative Visionary Program, I encourage the making of big bold changes in the beginning stages of making your art.

Getting the big picture going first provides clarity and in the end can save tons of time in your art process.
This is also how I cook. Begin with fresh, raw ingredients and boldly combine them, saving the fine adjustments more for the end. Small refinements to a painting only seem to make a difference once the bigger design and value structure is working. Then and only then can we notice and appreciate the final seasoning of the art.

These are just a few of the art, cooking connections I have been thinking about this week. I know you have more.

How does your art making connect to your food making?

let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Also, this question,
How does your art making connect to your food making?

will be the starting place for talking, sharing and creating on this Wednesday’s episode of the
Kitchen Table Art Project.

This time, Wednesdays at 12 pm PDT, is just about talking, laughing and being together. And maybe making some art at the same time.

(This week, artists will be sharing some of their favorite recipes too.)

Stay safe and creative.

Nicholas

PS If you missed last week’s episode of the Kitchen Table Art Project or you want to get the episode’s
“KTAP Materials and Resources” PDF click here.

See you all on Wednesday!

From my kitchen table to yours…

I am sitting at my kitchen table and I just made this video with my phone.
Right now, I have very limited access to my studio. Like you, I can’t do many of the things I love right now. The hardest part is that I am mostly by myself. Everything feels uncertain.

However there are three things that I can still do that I love.

The first relates to the economic meltdown in 2009. I lost so much then. However, right in the
hardest part of that time I had a thought that really helped me feel better.

I thought about my future self. I decided it was important to create something at that present time so that in the not too distant future I could look back and say “Even though that time was hard I managed to do X.” What could I create now that would turn into the silver lining of this hard time?”

Click on the video below to watch.

Well for me it was my art. I learned about the power of setting intentions. This ridiculously hard time, when all seemed lost for me, ended up teaching me some crucial lessons about art and life making. I started to share what I was learning and this is how Art2life began.
The silver lining of that hard time was the gift of this community called Art2life.

So today, I want to pose a similar question to the one I asked myself about 10 years ago. And this is it:

“What does this time make possible for you?”

What seeds are you going to plant in this challenging time that will blossom in the near future? We all share uncertainty right now. But more importantly we all share in the opportunity to create something truly amazing. It will be different for all of us, but I believe it is super important to consider.

Especially now.

Our future is the creative expression of the seeds we plant today. I love this first idea because I can work on this now.

The second thing I can still do is my art. I can’t work on the really large paintings as my studio access is limited but I can still make small things. I can work in my sketchbook, make collages, draw, write and do smaller paintings on my kitchen table.

And most importantly, I can still talk and laugh with friends. Maybe not in person but virtually. Lately I feel like I need to do more of these last two. So today I am starting something.

It is called the Kitchen Table Art Project. Each week on this Sunday Vlog I will be sharing an idea that can be a starting place for talking, sharing and creating. Then on the following Wednesday from 12-1:30 pm PDT, I will be hosting a live event from my kitchen table to yours. We can talk, laugh and maybe even share what we are making.

The question, “What does this time make possible for you?” is just a starting place for a conversation. This time is just about talking, laughing and being together. And maybe making
some art at the same time.

I think we need this more than ever. I know I do.

“What does this time make possible for you?”

let me know your starting thoughts about this question in the comments below.

Make your art.
Especially now.
Nicholas

PS I look forward to seeing you this coming Wednesday at 12-1:30 pm PDT
Bring your friends. Bring your kids. Let’s do this. You can find all the details here:
www.kitchentableartproject.com
(if the above link does not work for you, please copy and paste the URL
www.kitchentableartproject.com into your browser)

PSS Stay safe. Stay at home.
Together we can beat Coronavirus if we do.

That fear in making art

In my studio there is a very large, 8’ x 8’ blank canvas. I am a little nervous about starting because it is so big. I have never made a painting this size before. So of course it is going to be a little scary.

Fear always seems to come bundled with taking bigger steps. It feels risky to try something new, but this is how we learn. This is how our art improves.

So, today I am talking about ways to take some of that fear out of the big steps we all take in pursuit of stronger art.

Click on the video below to watch.

Firstly, we need to remember that art making is the practice of taking these scary steps over time. This is how art is made. It might feel a tad scary, but the payoff in improvement is usually bigger than the initial fear. Much bigger.

Secondly, when we take on something we don’t have experience in, we are problem solving. In trying to answer the question “how” in art, creativity increases. It turns out, even though you might feel a little unsure, your creativity is not. It simply thrives when presented with a question whose answer is not immediately apparent.

Lastly, when facing a new challenge, look to your past work to see if there is a connection between what you made then and see if any of it can be applied to what you are going to make now. Often, the answers for the present challenge are nestled in the prior work you have made. That big scary step might not be so big after all.

What big, scary steps have you taken to improve your art? Leave a comment below and let the rest of us know.

Let’s talk about it below. Sending you courage today…

Nicholas

PS If you are new here click HERE to download my Color Tips PDF. This can help you improve the color in your art.

Where the edges meet

Hi there, Melissa Chandon’s art is so different than mine.
And that might be why it interests me so much.
We got to talking about the edges in her art and I thought you
might find it helpful.

There are so many decisions in paintings, but possibly the most important ones have to do with edges. The edges are where two worlds meet each other.
If there is a spark in the work, this is where it will happen.

Have a look and see how Melissa describes the edges in her art.

She highlights how she uses value, color and edge differences to create her bold, stylized pictures.
Not to mention this cool cadmium red underpainting…

How do you use edges to make your art stronger?
If you are not sure, then maybe there is some room to improve things…

Let’s talk about it! Leave a comment below and let the rest of us know!

Have a great day today!
Nicholas

PS Have a look at Melissa’s art and workshops here and follow @melissachandon.

Finding this could totally change everything

Hi there, our art is only as good as we are.
In other words, it is important to keep a steady stream of inspiring
input coming in so what is going out, our art, is inspiring too.

So how do we do that?

Here is an example I couldn’t resist sharing.
Aondrea Maynard, a San Francisco Bay Area artist has found a pretty cool way to do this.

The takeaway?

Be deliberate about incorporating wonder and discovery into your art practice.

If we optimize what is coming into our art making, then what comes out will be too.

How and where do you find inspiration to feed your art practice?

Leave a comment below and let the rest of us know.

Hope today sparkles.

Nicholas

PS. To see more of Aondrea’s luminous art, thoughts and upcoming events follow her on Instagram @aondreamaynard_fineart

Take a deeper dive into Aondrea’s world by going here.
(if the above link doesn’t work for you, please copy and paste
the URL http://www.aondreamaynard.com/)

3 Questions to Clarify your Art

If you can take the time to answer these 3 questions, very likely your art
will improve.

These are similar to a few of the questions we use in the Creative Visionary Program
to help bring clarity to member’s art.

It is so easy to fall into a routine in what and how we make our art.

Have a look here to see how these questions can prompt a shift in your art

These 3 questions can help you clarify how you might want to change your art.
1. What parts of my past art would I keep and what parts would I let go?

By subtracting what parts of your art you no longer need, what will remain will be
stronger and more vibrant.

2 How does your art relate to who you are?
The more you can connect yourself to your art, the more unique and engaging your art will become. Not just for you but for the world.

3 Describe the art you will be making in 3 years? You just might be surprised how much you already know about where your art needs to go in the future. Imagining it, even slightly, will help you see clues in the present to get you there more quickly.

What part of your art would you let go? What part are you going to keep?

Let us know in the comments,

Have a great Sunday!

Nicholas

PS Today at 12 noon PST, I will be live on the Art2life Facebook Page answering your questions about the Creative Visionary Program, and demonstrating changes to improve your artwork. Come join!

>> Join me at 12pm PST in the Art2life Artist’s Facebook Page — Click here to join!
(if the above link doesn’t work for you, please copy and paste this URL
https://www.facebook.com/art2lifeworld/ into your browser)

or

>> Join us by clicking HERE at 12pm PST (if you don’t have Facebook)
(if the above link doesn’t work for you, please copy and paste this URL
https://zoom.us/j/746010982 into your browser)

Differences. This changes everything.

The big idea behind  all my teaching is “differences.”

It is the key to solving most art problems and in many ways, life problems too.

We all crave feeling alive.

And what gives us this sense is when we experience things we haven’t before. 

Things that are different.

Things that are outside our everyday routine.

This inspires us in our life and especially in our art.

It is so simple.

Have a look here and see how this one idea can give you clarity on how you can fix many of your art making challenges.

If you want to dive more into this with me, join the Free Art2Life Workshop. 

It is happening now and it is not too late to jump in…

Enroll for the Creative Visionary Program (CVP) is open…join now!!!

Every year I teach this workshop, I get so excited by all those who, in the very first day, are fixing and improving their art.

It can happen so fast.

Do you use the concept of differences in your art? 

Leave your thoughts, comments or questions below.

Nicholas

PS Tomorrow at 9am PST, I will be emailing out my second lesson on VALUE. This is probably the most important lesson in the entire workshop. 

Enroll for the Creative Visionary Program (CVP) is open…join now!!!

Did you forget this?

Just thinking about being creative, can feel hard.
Finding the time and space to make art can even feel like a chore.

But it doesn’t have to.
Today I am talking about some hacks to get you back into
your art without the usual pain and procrastination.

Watch the video below:

Today I share that just 20 min a day for 5 days will lead you back into your art.
Artmaking is just like so many other things in life.
The more you do the more you will do.

But do you want to know the best part of all of this?
It is something we always forget…

And it is this:
The making of our art is not hard. What is hard, however, is all the time we
spend thinking about not making our art.

Seems so simple. But best of all, it is true.

I hope this rant was a little bit helpful today and you end up in the studio.
Even for just 20 min.

Enjoy this day.

Nicholas

PS: OK! We are almost here!!! The Free Art2life Workshop
is coming this Friday the 14th!

JOIN THE FREE ART2LIFE WORKSHOP

It is Valentines Day so let this serve as a reminder in case you need to get that special person, a special something.

But really, what I am hoping is that super, special person is you.

And that you are going to give yourself the gift of art by joining us for the
Free Art2life Workshop. I think you are going to love it.

Here is the link.
JOIN THE FREE ART2LIFE WORKSHOP

Do you love that ugly stage in your art?

I am pretty sure you are art goes through
the same ugly stage as mine does.

I hear from so many artists how much they hate this part
of the process.

Today I want to talk about this dreaded stage and maybe why it
is not so bad after all.

Watch the video below:

There are three ideas to keep in mind when it comes dealing with the ugly stage
in your art making.

#1 When you are making art that is ugly, you are doing so because you don’t know any better.
It is because you are in a learning stage. And this is good. However, the faster, bigger learning always comes with more pain and suffering.
It is just garden variety learning.
And this is the reason our art improves and changes overtime.
So remember the ugly stage is an absolutely essential stage of making
powerful, authentic art.

#2 Taking risks can result in mistakes.
This is why sometimes your art seems off.
It is why it can slip into that ugly stage.
Trying anything before you know feels scary and risky.
But risk makes a kind of mark that is super exciting in your art.
The viewer can feel you taking a risk and they become inspired as a result.
They too are on the edge of their seat. Risk is the antidote to boredom in your art,
and in you, when you are making it.
Risk is the 6th Art2life Principle for a reason.
It is a vital ingredient in all great art.

#3 It can feel so amazing to fall in love with what you are making.
But if this happens too early, then it can hold you back.
You simply cannot freely create as your art has become too precious.
A sure fire way to break this premature bond of love is to just allow any and all marks
to be made.
Even the unsure ones.
This usually will send the painting into that ugly stage.
And it is here where real work can begin. Now, freed from the tyranny of a perfect
outcome you can begin to really experiment and freely create.

I hope that the ugly stage of your painting now feels, well, a little less ugly.

How do you deal with this ugly stage?
Let us know in the comments below.

Happy Art Making!

Nicholas

PS In less than 2 weeks the Free Art2Life Workshop is starting!

JOIN THE FREE ART2LIFE WORKSHOP LIST
https://art2life.lpages.co/2020-workshop-opt-in/

It all starts this Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th.I will be doing additional trainings in the
Art2life Artists Facebook Group so make sure you are a member. Join in here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/411720195949335/

Do less so you can do more.

Do you ever feel like you are trying too hard when you are making your art?
I know I have felt this way.

It can feel like you are crawling through the desert on your knees.
But it doesn’t have to.

This reason this sometimes happens is because you are trying too many
new things all at the same time.

Does this sound familiar?

Listen to this Sunday’s Vlog to learn some ways around this challenge.
Watch the video below to check it out.

In it I hit a few workarounds.

Experimentation is fun because there are usually no expectations of a getting a final result.

However, experimenting with the intent of getting a particular outcome is not so fun.

In fact, it can totally take the wind out of your sails.

One of the ways to make the whole process easier is to reduce the amount of new
things you are trying to do from one piece to the next.

This allows you to more easily learn.
It is all about applying your learning from the first to the second and third piece of art.

How do you manage the need to change with the desire to consistently
make something you like?

Leave a comment below and let us know

And… today we announce the Cosmic Carnival photography book winner…

Good Luck!

I hope your Sunday is fabulous.

Nicholas

PS I am starting to get really excited… in just a couple of weeks, the Free Art2Life Workshop begins!

Make sure you are on the list…

JOIN THE FREE ART2LIFE WORKSHOP LIST
https://art2life.lpages.co/2020-workshop-opt-in/

It all starts this Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th. Tell all your friends!

It will let you see your own art in a brand new way.

PSS Here is the link where you can grab your own copy of photographer @arthur_drooker Cosmic Carnival. Enjoy!

Link to where you can buy the book
http://www.arthurdrooker.com/cosmic-carnival/