Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Art Is Daring!!

Let me tell you about Leigh Hyams. I first met her on an art camping trip in the wilderness of the high Sierras in California. It was a trip another art teacher, Medora Bass, organized, There we were without any amenities, so close to the stars they seemed to sing at night. Leigh is a great inspiration as it was on that trip that art became alive for me and I forgot to be afraid, partly because of her example. I went out on trails that were so foreign I didn't know if I could make it back to the tent. I sketched and sketched and painted with watercolors by a stream. Later I was in a class in Leigh's studio/home in San Francisco. That class was organized by the wonderful, inspiring teacher, the late Charles Miedzinski. Again Leigh's daring to paint on canvases cut to the shape of ancient pots helped me to see outside the box. Yesterday I painted a red ground instead of green or brown. Last week I wouldn't have been able to do that. And this is a huge step for me as in the beginning of my painting I shunned red as it frightened me for some reason, and now I'm painting it big. What is your creative and life daring today?
Happy Spring Holiday week!

P.S. Visit Leigh's web site: and get her juicy book, How Painting Holds Me on the Earth, Writings from a Maverick Painter and Teacher, ISBN: 9780557012855

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Inspiration & "finish what you begin..."

TheTurtle's Dream and Keys
Benrali, Author & Illustrator

I recently decided to begin writing book reviews again after Benrali sent me her query. At first I thought I shouldn't, but her amazing images haunted me. And now that the book project I was semi-ghost writing is into the publishers, I have time to indulge my love of childrens' books and talking about them.
As creatives we all need inspiration whether it's from nature, others' work from our own media or cross-over inspiration from another media. Go to to see my review of two of Benrali's books.
And, sometimes, like happened to me this week, something we view, read, hear, or see just doesn't inspire us. I was starting to read a novel that is being raved about. It bored me, and I had to put it down. Now, that was hard as - remember - we were taught as children to finish the food on our plate, our homework, our chores, etc. As creatives and adults we have finite time; therefore we can give ourselves permission to chose what inspires us. If it doesn't, then we can put it down and dash to the studio to work on our latest creation. What inspires you this week?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When will we get there?

"Old Reliable," 3 x 2, ink on wood
Judith, Feb. '10

Remember when you were a kid and you would ask your parents, from the back seat, on that interminable car trip, "When will we get there?" That question sometimes pops up when we work long and hard on our creative project. I just came off a marathon writing project where I was a semi-ghost writer. The project was sent to the publisher last Friday. So, I knew when it was due, but with my own book there is no due date, just milestone, daily, and weekly goals as I go along. And the question is a variant: "When will it be finished?" How do we know when we have that piece of art, that score, that novel really polished and done? I'm not sure except I know with my art that it is a matter of practice and instinct, and in the early days my teacher Fred Reichman helping me to decide. In the ghost writing project, though I'm glad it's done, a part of me wishes there was a little more time to proof read. I'm was not satisfied 100% when it went in, and I'm thinking perhaps that's when we know. When we feel satisfied. I feel that way now about the first quarter of my own book. It feels just about there. When I'm close to finishing a painting, I'll put it in a different place in the house to just look at it for a few days. I usually see something to tweak with that different pair of "observer eyes." Then, when I don't see anything amiss or to add, I just know it's done. Have you found a way to know when your piece is done? Let me know. It's an art in itself to know when we are there.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bragging Rights

"On a Telephone Pole," acrylic on canvas
6" x 4," August '10, Judith Nasse

I have to "brag" as my miniature sold at the annual Millicent Rogers Miniature show! This means I can really call myself a "Beginning Artist." The next step will be to work my way up to "Emerging Artist." I learned recently that it's o.k. to brag in spite of the early training most of us had that it was not polite to brag. It's one thing to aggrandize ourselves, but another whole thing to just let others know about our progress. By the way that increases our own inner creative confidence too. Have fun with your bragging rights this week!