Russell Chatham 1939 – 2019

Last Sunday, the extraordinary landscape painter,
Russell Chatham passed. He was a writer, avid fly fisherman, and naturalist.
But above all else, he was a painter.

He grew up in California painting the wild, untamed places of Northern California.
He developed his art in Montana and late in his life returned to West Marin, California.

It was here that I had the good fortune to visit with him.
I saw his magnificent paintings up close.
He taught me what refinement really looks like in art and that color and value can be used so sparingly, but still convey deep, soulful emotion.

Words cannot describe Russell’s art, nor the remarkable bumpy and circuitous road that
was his life.

I won’t soon forget the wonder of talking with Russell in his studio, surrounded by his art, listening to fishing stories, financial losses and gains,
celebrity collectors and everything that comes with a life dedicated and centered upon creating art.

Today, I thought I might share just a bit of one of those
Fall afternoon conversations I had, sitting with Russell in his studio in Inverness, California.
His art must be seen in person to appreciate, but maybe it is possible to get a
glimpse of this remarkable artist by listening to his words.

I am not quite sure what to say. I feel the loss of course,
but I also feel gratitude. Gratitude to have met Russell and see and feel
his art close up.

It is a privilege to become an artist. To have the good fortune,
the wherewithal to attempt to live in a way that makes you simply pay attention more than most.

Russell Chatham demonstrated what it actually looks like to be fully present in life,
and above all else, to be most fully alive.

He will be sorely missed.

Maybe his passing will galvanize, remind us of the vitality gained and the importance of
perseverance when it comes to the making of our own art.

I know this is the case for me.

Let me know your thoughts below..

Again, thank you for being here.

Nicholas

Hard to start your art back up? Try this.

Yep. This is one of the biggest challenges most artists struggle with…
Starting your art again.
It is so easy to lose the rhythm of making art.

Sometimes it is a big life thing that gets in the way. It can even be a vacation.
What about that friend who comes, visits and stays for just a little too long?
That will do it.

Whatever the reason, it can just throw your practice off.
And then, what’s worse is it seems harder and harder to start the longer
you postpone.

I am not sure why this problem grows the longer one doesn’t deal with it but in this
week’s video I will be sharing with you my 3 tips for getting your art going again.

For those of you short on time or if you are really,
really needing to get back to your art right now,
I will give you the short version of my 3 tips below:

#1 The more you do, the more you do.

Remember this…the more you do (in art for sure) the more you do.
And unfortunately, the less you do the less you tend to do. In other words,
the snowball grows in size as it rolls down the hill.
Things just tend to grow and not in your favor.
This is why it is super important to keep the “habit” of at least going through the motions of
art making…even for 10 minutes.
I suggest breaking the pattern by just doing anything in the studio.
Even cleaning.
This will break the pattern of doing nothing.
It is better to re start that pattern, that habit,
even if it is only minutes a day.

#2 Little and Often.

The science on how we learn teaches us that we actually learn faster and more efficiently if we do shorter but more frequent intervals of an activity.
Surprisingly, it is more likely you will achieve more if you can work 30 minutes,
3x a week than waiting all week till you have 90 minutes on the weekend.
I love knowing this because all I have these days are tiny chunks of time!
It turns out this situation actually works in our favor!
So grab 20 minutes and get going!

#3 Don’t Start. Play instead.

When you are returning to your art, if it feels hard, make it easy.
Talk to the kindergartener version of yourself.
Invite them to play!
Notice what colors do and how fun it is to actually just put paint on a surface.
Begin with no agenda except to entertain yourself. Finding the wonder
in our art process is what will seduce you back.

The practice of art making sometimes needs a nudge to get it going again.
Know this happens to all of us.

What are some of the ways you jump start your art?
Let us know in the comments below.

I am in Phoenix today but kind of wishing I was in the studio.
Regardless of whether I am in the studio or not,
I always take time on Sunday to think about what I am making or want to be making.
Reading and commenting back with all of you is part of my art day too.
So thank you.

Have a great studio day if you are able to get there!

Nicholas

PS If you are new to Art2life,
click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

Maybe you are not an artist?

Do you ever have the thought that maybe you can’t pull off making your art?
Or even worse, that you are not an artist after all?

I know I have.
I hear a lot about this challenge from other artists.

But you know what?
These limiting beliefs don’t have to occupy any space in your life.
They serve no purpose.
They certainly don’t help you make your art.

In today’s video I am going to share the 3 ideas that can help
eliminate the doubts that inevitably creep up on all of us
when pursuing our art.

I share 3 ideas that have helped me stay focused on making my art.
These can help keep the doubts at bay regarding your
creative potential, that naturally come up from time to time.

#1 You are original.

There are 7.7 Billion on Earth this year. You are completely different than all of them. Next year there will be 100 million more. Your originality actually is increasing every year. Your art, if it is truly a reflection of you, will reflect this originality.

#2 All art making is learned. Period

When we learn we generally go from worse to better. Doing things multiple times is how we progress. Never confuse the fact that you are simply learning with your creative capability. They are two different things. Learning, especially at the beginning, always looks messy.

#3 There is no such thing as talent

I have never met anyone that could not make original, strong art. All you need is desire, curiosity and to learn the basic art making information. Talent is not a magical gift given to some and not others. We all have the capacity to be extraordinarily creative. Talent, if there is such a thing, is given out in equal measure to all of us. Including you.

What are some of the limiting thoughts you have had?
How have you overcome them?

Let us know in the comments below. I have a feeling this is something we all have
experienced…

Hope today is a great day for you.

Nicholas

PS Today is my youngest daughter Hannah’s birthday! Many of you might have met her at
one of my workshops….

Happy Birthday, Hannah!!!

PSS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

Is your art and life aligned?

Do you see a lot of different directions when you look at the arc of your art?

Sometimes this can make us feel scattered and unsure about where exactly we want to
put our creative energy.

This was the case for me. Of course I love doing so many different kinds of things, especially in art.
But after awhile, I grew disoriented about where I should put my focus.

I could make a case for almost any of the directions I had tried.

In the end, I figured out some ways to bring an end to this indecision and create coherence,
not just in my art but my life too.

In this weeks video I share some thoughts and solutions on this common challenge artists face.

I share three key ideas.

#1 Create Coherence between your Art and Life.

Your Art becomes stronger the more it reflects you. Write down 2 lists
of what you desire to happen in your life and art.
What ideas can be taken from either one to form a new, more aligned art?

We need to be thinking differently if we want a different result.

#2 Coherence creates Momentum

Coherence between your art and life makes your art practice unstoppable. It is how to make
kick $*# art that also fuels your life. In fact, when your life is connected to your art, they feed
upon each other, galvanizing both.

#3 Discernment is a practice

Your ability to choose what to keep or eliminate in your art and life is a practice.
Your improvement occurs over time.

The evidence of this is seen in the evolution of your art.

What aspects from your life can you add into the art you are making today?

Let us know in the comments below.

I hope your art goes especially good today.

Nicholas

PS Thanks to Art2Life community member Liesbeth Groenewald for
asking this question that prompted today’s video.

PSS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

Do you have too many directions for your art?

Do you feel overwhelmed with too many directions to take your art?

The problem for me is that practically all of them seem like good directions.

And probably, most of them are. But that isn’t the problem. The problem, at least from
my experience, comes when we are doing too many at the same time.

Overcoming this challenge is what today’s video is all about.

I have learned that my art turns out best when I have a singular focus while making it. Often I
apply this same focus or direction to a series of paintings.

Here are the 3 key ideas I share in the video that could be helpful in reducing this overwhelm.

#1 WRITE THE IDEAS DOWN
Download from your brain any and all directions you have for your art into a journal or
digital notebook. The idea is to get these ideas saved but no longer holding so much mental space.

#2 CHOOSE ONE
Look over your list of directions … choose one based on the answer to this question:

What is the one direction I can take my art that would make feel most excited? Most engaged?

A little side note here: It is much easier to come up with shiny new ideas than it is to take action
on one of them. I think this is why we all have a gazillion shiny, new ideas that seem to pop up just
when our art making becomes harder!

#3 GOING NARROW, BUT DEEP.
Your art will strengthen over time by choosing and going deeper with one direction. It might feel more
engaging to have a wider focus with multiple directions but that precludes you from going deeper with any of them. Try going narrow and deep, instead of wide and shallow.

The kind of art that slowly emerges from a more singular, deeper exploration is far rarer. It also, in my opinion,
generates stronger, more authentic art.

And remember, you don’t have to have one focus for a lifetime. Just for now. Anytime in the future you get to
change based upon what makes you feel most excited.

What direction have you chosen to focus on in your art? Let us know in the comments below..

Enjoy this Sunday.

Nicholas

PSS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to
get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

How to get rid of your fear of failure…

The fear of failing in art is one of the biggest factors that holds your art back.

If I feel afraid while making art it never works out. My art always ends up looking and feeling, well, fearful.

It’s not the kind of art I want nor how I want to feel.

In today’s vlog I share a few ways to alleviate this problem.

In this quick talk I go over 3 key points.

#1 You are not your art. Your art is merely the process you are using to discover and share with the world who you are and who you are becoming. Sometimes you will love your art and other times not so much. See each
painting, or whatever creative expression you are currently working on, as just one tiny part of a big ongoing beautiful process. It is about the whole journey not whether the zip on your luggage broke on the third day.

#2 Art is messy. Art is learning. If you are not making half starts, corrections additions and sometimes wondering if you are going the wrong way, you just might not be making art. Art making is by its very nature messy. This is what makes art, art.

#3 You can’t lose. If you take a chance, do something daring in your art (even though it is scary) one of two things will happen. You will either learn something or you will dramatically improve what you are making. Both
are fabulous outcomes.

It is so important to work towards feeling utterly free in your expression. This headspace is what makes amazing art. Not just for you but for the world to see.

How do you tame your fear in your art and life?

Let’s talk about this. Click here to leave a comment…

Hope you’re having a great Sunday!

Nicholas

PS Hey Nina Mayo Souther! You won last week’s giveaway! Give me a shout at info@art2life.com and I will send you my signed, illustrated book.

PSS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

Are you in a palette rut?

Do you get tired of using the same colors? I used to feel stuck in the same colors.

I kept repeating myself because it worked.

Now I have learned an approach to making any color work.

In today’s video, I will demonstrate a way to discover new color.

In the video, I give a quick refresher about color harmony.
This is at the root of making any color work with any other color.

Next I share an exercise that almost forces you to create new colors.
As long as you like the first one, you will probably like the ones that follow!

Thirdly, don’t forget that a super fast way to get color working is to glaze.

Creating the harmony by mixing paint or glazing over paint has the same effect.

Try and do a little of both.

And try that exercise! It works!

In the comments below post your new favorite color combinations!

Enjoy this day.

Nicholas

PS Towards the end of today’s video I show a book I illustrated. I will be giving this away next week
to one of our commenters!

PSS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

The best white in the world.

I am not even sure if white is one of the colors. Which is odd because it can look so great amongst them.

That is, if you pay attention to a couple of key ideas.

And that is what I am talking about this week.

And not just talking, but demonstrating.

Join me for a few minutes as we take a closer look at my favorite non color, white.

In this weeks video I am demonstrating 3 ideas.

#1 White will work better in your art if it’s just a little bit harmonized with the surrounding colors.

#2 Adding the tiniest amount of pure white in a spot or two of your painting can be a subtle but potent final adjustment.

#3 OK here goes… I am going to share the recipe of my not so famous, custom white color. It is called “Lyla’s White” and is named after my eldest daughter, Lyla. I love both so much.

We sell “Lyla’s White”, along with our other standard, custom colors in the Art2life Store.

But do me a favor and keep this recipe a secret just between us…ok?

Let us know in the comments what you know about white.

Happy art making today…

Nicholas

PS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

3 AWESOME things I was just reminded of…

I recently was reminded of 3 things. When I think about them I always feel more excited about what is possible for my Art and Life.

And this is what I want to talk about today.

If you are rushing out to get your coffee and don’t have time to watch right now, here are the 3 awesome things I want to remind you about…

#1 Making amazing, authentic art is available for anyone. Yes, that means you too.

#2 The big mover and shaker in making your Art friggin extraordinary is…. YOU! It is all about leaning into who you are…and guess what? You already have all that!

#3 Here is, hands down, the coolest way to think about and motivate yourself to make more art more of the time…

Art making is the time in your day when you get to entirely, unequivocally be yourself. No phone calls, no one looking over your shoulder, and no one even in the room but you. It is the time you get to be totally free.

How great is that?

I was reminded of these 3 empowering ideas while sitting in the audience, listening to Marie Forleo at her recent book launch event in San Francisco.

These ideas got me all fired up and so I just had to share them with you.

Her new book “Everything is Figureoutable” is easy, funny and CLEAR. (Which I SO appreciate.) It is also super helpful and I bet will inspire your art as well as your life. It did mine.

Marie Forleo, in case you haven’t heard of her before, teaches and inspires entrepreneurs, creatives to dream bigger and create results in their lives. She is the creator of the uber popular MarieTV and the Marie Forleo Podcast.

Marie is very successful, but most importantly she is down to Earth. She is accessible. She makes the rest of us feel we too can realize our biggest dreams.

I love people like that.

Anyway, I was given an extra copy of her book at the event so I wanted to give it away to one of you!

Later today we will choose a standout comment and let you know next week who will receive this signed copy of “Everything is Figureoutable” (Signed by her, drawing of Maizy by me!)

What inspiration thing are you reminded of today?

Let us know in the comments below.

Make art today like there is no tomorrow. That is my plan!

Nicholas

PS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.

Are you playing big?

Do you ever feel like your art has stayed the same for too long?

When this happens to me I do a this really cool exercise. It totally works for me. Let me show you ..

Here is the basic idea…    

I give myself the task of only doing two things. Do something big and make it different than what I have done before. Whatever you make, providing it answers those two criteria, will often jumpstart your creativity. 

Bold, different moves lead to bigger, faster changes in your art. 

And change is what it is all about. Especially in art. 

How do you jumpstart your creative process? Let us know in the comments below.

Hope your day in the studio is great.

Nicholas

PS The winners of the Sennelier T shirt giveaway are Kelly Bracamontes and Kendra who commented about overcoming her dry spell in art. 

Shoot me an email at info@art2life.com with your shirt size and mail delivery address! Congratulations! 

Special thanks for the folks over @artsavoirefaire for hooking us up with a few of these great shirts. Also check out @sennelier1887 to learn more about these oil pastels and oil sticks.

If you want to purchase them you can find them here https://www.art2life.com/product-category/pastels/ or in better art stores in your area.

PSS If you are new to Art2life, click on the link below to get my free Color Tips PDF.

This can help improve the color in your art.

Color Tips Download.