Category Archives: Articles on travel

Travel articles including trips where art is a large focus. Food, travel and general interests including food reviews.

At the Birth

At the birth-
The light broke through clouds
A crack in the gray and pale white
She in
Her final bout
All her weight carried
Her voice loud
The steam erupting to the cool autumn air
The silence is deafening
The pause
And the moments becoming
Memories crawling off of walls
And into albums
I remember the hospital white
The bed
The room
The simplicity of timing
The impatient nurse
And the tv fading into the silence
As the room spun around
The doctor in all his formality
And every moment before and after
The one great divine moment
Of creation
And God shows his window
One small glimpse of this perfect soul
Captured just before
The world robs its eyes
And slowly steals
What was only for a moment
Hers and mine……

The Media Teacher

The Media Teacher

I’m so glad to have the media
To teach us about the world
To teach us how to talk with our children
To show me that most things can be unsafe
To show me how to use common sense
To instruct me how to eat
And what to eat
And how to feed my child
And what my favorite celebrity eats
And what insignificant thing they said
That I need to hear
And what product will kill me
And what I should be afraid of
And what I shouldn’t fear
How I should feel
What’s fake, what’s real
To distract me from the government
With their fingers in my life
Teaching me what’s wrong and right
Showing me how to decide
Keeping everything bright for the side they choose
Teaching me which politician needs to win
And lose
Showing me what the weather is like
Every moment, every day, every night
but don’t look at the electorate
they’ll decide
keep my eyes
on kims new dress
or her marriage failed
tell me rumors about celebrities
show me how to watch sports
and who’s guilty and who’s not
the story, the most important aspect
trumping true or false
courtrooms on tv
mesmorize me
so I don’t notice the real
I don’t know what’s false, or what to feel
They keep me tuned to tv
On the radio
On the web
Show me how to analyze sports
And how to understand celebrity
And how all my heroes fall
And most people are bad
And most things that happened aren’t good
What is sensationalism
What is a theatrical event
Rats in a maize we are
Listening to them feeding us
Spoons of words that mislead
As we follow
The news
But no one teaches propaganda
versus truth…….

Customer Service: A vanishing idea

I watched a customer walk into a shop today and stand for a while waiting to be served before ultimately leaving. I felt bad for the fact that clients are what make your business and to lose just one in this economy is a sad state of a companys’ priorities. The respect for customers has gone with the idea of personalized service and actually listening to the consumers needs.

Again I believe that customers should not be seen as numbers that increase the bottom line and the more customers you have to advertise to the bigger your bottom line will be. I believe a business should personally know everyone on a database-what they need, why they are on the database and what they will need in the future. A customer knows when a company sees them as a profit margin or genuinely fills a need for that particular client.

One unhappy customer talking negatively about your business is enough to lose more potential business. I would rather direct them somewhere they can get what they need and leave them with a good thought of customer service rather than trying to sell them something they don’t need. The confidence you build will more than make up for the sale you may lose and confidence is one of the most important things to build and retain in clients.

Art Meets Poetry and Vice Versa

Inspiration for paintings versus writing comes from the same place in the brain and for me the stimulus is normally somewhat similar. The big difference is that words for me come from varied glimpses-on the way to work I can see multiple images and there is no specific reasoning or place or thought-the words create themselves and the images collected are weaved throughout a series of poems-no one would see the image or anything specific about the scene but all the elements appear either symbolically or even representational.

In painting, the images are captured often from multiple images and the atmosphere is derived from the initial image but also from intangible elements that are not necessarily seen in the initial inspiration. While painting or writing most of the work is without realization of the final product and the image creates itself. The less I am aware of the painting or the words the better the end product as I think at that point the subconscious takes over and the creation is almost reflex.

I am working toward bringing together two aspects of creativity that together I think will greatly improve my final work. First of all is the discipline of technique, I plan on reworking the initial image on several mediums and several sizes until I work out the final composition and the final product. I also intend to overlay a more meticulous approach to underpainting and over painting layers. In the past I have created complementary colors next to each that create the vibration and movement in oils-I plan on adding a technique where complementary colors form from the layers beneath them and the vibration of color will be achieved by the layers of paint visually creating their color combinations. The affect will be more intangible but it will be stronger and have more of an impact on the viewer.

The second aspect  I will bring to future paintings i words that inspire the painting or the painting that will inspire words. My next painting is “Love Lies Bleeding-it is a painting of a garden-the plant love lies bleeding is in the garden and there are morning glories climbing the fence and across the yard is the moon settling into the sky. I wrote the poem first and the image became out of the words that I wrote. Love lies bleeding is the plant but it is also an image of the garden and the melancholy of late evening-I want the viewer to feel the sadness of loss and the mysterious of the garden at night. I want the colors to be rich and vivid and the moon to be mysterious. I will post the poem and the painting when they are complete.
I plan on combining more words and images in the near future.

I’m starting a new painting course next weekend and I’m really excited. This time instead of a large painting with lots of detail where the intent is the movement and feeling of water-– this painting will be even a bit larger but much fewer details. This new painting will be about an effect of light passing through a leaf on the surface of water. The details are much fewer but the initial underpainting is even more crucial.

My first session will be to create the underpainting and description of how the overlayers will react with the under layer. I need to have the  light and colors beneath react with the over layers of paint. If it is overworked it will quickly lose the freshness and transparency of the light-not enough details and you will not be able to see that it is a leaf with light streaming through. Again the depth will not be as much a factor as the movement and feeling of the water.

I would have actually worked more with depth on the previous course but the main idea was to paint the feeling of the place and not complicate the course with changes in the values of the colors although I did explain the fact that colors change with distance but if I were to paint the image myself, much of the distance in the background would have been more blurred than detailed.- This is the difference also between working from a photograph and working from life or even memory. When you work from a photograph most of the image is in focus and the overall scene is flattened-the idea is the whole image clarity instead of focusing on the parts.

In the previous course I used a piece of paper with a square cut out of the  center-this was so the student would not be overwhelmed with details and could concentrate on the area she was reproducing. In this next course the focus will be more on the effect of the water and light and with the use of complementary colors-asking the question whether the light and color vibrate to the eye and if the colors have become to muted which would relate to being overworked. I intend to paint multiple very thin light layers of paint but the paint should never get too thick and some of the white of the canvas should show through the image. I will have this course layed out in steps the same as the previous course. I will also have updates of the course so stayed tuned. Thanks for listening please comment as to help me craft future writings for followers. Any input would be really helpful. Thanks

I have been seeing on linked-in some questions about creativity and I believe there are several aspects of creativity that have to do with different parts of the brain in the physical sense as well as an openness and willingness to connect with that part of the self. The act of creating images, words, etc. for me is an act of being absent for a while. If I know what I’m painting and think of what I am painting I tend to push paint around, it’s when I instinctually and usually quickly create a work of art, that’s when I feel like I have truelly touched that part of the brain.

In my experience, the right brain has its own connections and relations of words and objects that don’t necessarily have any comparison from a logical side. The motivation and feeling of creating art and writing is intangible and the work pretty much creates itself. The conscious side of the brain fights with the creative subconscious side and questions the comparisons which creates breaks in the creative process.
When I sit down to write, it usually is from many different snapshots of things from the day and the images and thoughts create paths in words-this is referred to as a trial web shift when the right brain kicks in adn takes over.

I collect images from places-it might be the way light hits the water or the way a field blows in the wind and when I paint all of these images come together from memory. I use photographs to support the images that I see but memory fills in the gaps. In the future I plan on getting more observation in before the act of painting and more drawn studies to emphasize more details.

Commission vs Inspired Paintings

Doing a commission for someone can often feel like selling out even if you rationalize that it pays the bills. I take it a step farther-I believe that doing a commission is an exercise in discipline. Creativity without discipline can be often without direction or a series of delayed satisfaction. Doing a commission allows an artist to step away from the canvas and the emotion connected to painting and work on the skills and sense of space and design which an inspired image may lose sight of in the passion of creating art. I believe that doing inspired art can become very subconscious and the artist almost loses his place in the scene. My best work is when I am barely present in front of the painting and I instinctually know what to do with the paintbrush. When you do a commission there is no bending on the what the image will become, there is also a bit more of a separation between the artist and the canvas.

I think one way to make the commission process more easily agreeable to the artist is to use Photoshop as a means for proofing the work. Photoshop can make the proofing process easier because you can use elements from photographs and do multiple options and ideas-you still have the option of  free creativity but it’s faster and more easily duplicated for multiple options to show the prospective client. Any way you can keep the time and effort of the initial proofing of a commission down and make it easier for sending out proofs for the client-the easier and less expensive it will be for doing commissions and the more enjoyment you can get out of the final process.

Art Using the Computer Compared to Painting

I must admit there have been times when I am painting and the idea of undo comes to mind. The thing about painting vs electronic is that paining tends to be more immediate for me. Electronic art appeals to my logical side, I have many different options to get to a finished point and I have many steps and processes that I can experiment with and build upon. Oil painting tends to be more to the point and sometimes letting the painting create itself, in fact the one thing that stops the flow of painting is when I get overwhelmed by the details and can’t see the whole picture.

Before I started teaching painting I would have said that painting didn’t have a formal step-by-step process but after having to put it across to a student I can see that there is a logic progression an steps to creating a painting. The underpainting is the first process and it sets the tone, the very basic layout and underlying atmosphere of the finished painting. In painting images form somewhat subconciously and the intricacies form often without planning. In computer graphics I control the process and have the ability to test what may work and what won’t, I have more freedom of options with undos and saving as other files or options. You can always work over with oils but the area will quickly get an overworked look and the colors can tend to go muddy.

I have recently decided to start doing multiple studies like the master painters of the past. I think the finished painting will have more of a worked feeling and the problems would be worked out over the progress of several painting options. I also plan on working more layer on layer as opposed to wet on wet, I believe I will work toward having more of a discipline logical approach to painting in the future.

The Buzz of Social Media

Getting the word out

Just getting the word out starts the process of attention but does nothing for engagement. Consider posting something is like putting up a sign in the middle of no where-no one knows or cares about the sign-your job is to first show people how to find the sign, and second convince them why they need to read the sign and last what to do in relation to the sign. Engagement begins when people of like interests and shared needs connect, this connection can be as simple as answering eachother’s questions or sharing ideas and information about their products or other products they endorse.

The new media can seem cold and impersonal and the storefronts of today anonymous and distant but the personal side of human nature still seeks to communicate. Sales has become a game of numbers without knowing customers  nor listening to their wants and needs. The sale is contingent on the ability to approach a large quantity of clients whether they are interested or not-an example is SPAM, and the customers ability or need to buy the product. The relationship between the customer and the business suffers when the customer feels like a number or a pawn in a marketing scheme. People like to be talked to ad resent being talked at, you may sell more in the short term dealing with a large quantity of contacts but the amount of return customers you will lose will far outweigh the benefit of mass impersonal marketing.

I  believe a database full of nameless, faceless customers is like a  store full of customers who can and will go anywhere including to your competitors, leaving your store for anyone who engages with them and no business wants to lose those contacts as clients. Engagement and building a relationship with a customer is so important because customers want a business they can trust-they will return to that business because that trust and sense of relationship sets that business ahead of their competitors.

Next, the difference between computer graphics and painting-positives and negatives of both.

From Art to Marketing and Back to Art

I have just started learning the processes of marketing after creating and launching a website. I am beginning to realize that if you spend all of your time marketing you never get the time to paint. Even still an artist is not like a salesman that sells a product to strangers who could buy the product from anyone but is seeking the best price or the best service. I believe artists need to know their clients more than the standard business relationship, we need to create relationships with buyers, the buyers need to know why we create art and understand the meaning or inspiration behind what they are buying  and we need to understand what about our art inspires them.

Both disciplines can be done well in tandem but I do think you need to work smarter in the field of marketing. Constant checking, posting and adding to twitter and facebook can become tedious. We need to contact the right people that are interested in buying but we also need to build relationships with people that know about art and have sold art. I have recently learned many things just by reading through linked- in and Artpromotivate-a website that has many great examples and effective techniques to successfully promote artwork. All this information is so helpful in saving time because you are learning from people who have sold art and have been promoting it for some time.

Another important aspect to selling art and connecting with other artists is a real relationship. I think that if anyone in sales treats customers like they are only patrons that pay the bills, they are missing a large portion of the sales/customer relationship. Most customers know when they are being taken advantage of or just being sold, they want to feel as if there is something more than just the sale and the salesman is thinking of their best interest. I think artists and their customers take that relationship to another level. I would rather have fewer customers that were very happy with their product and offered repeat business than more customers that only bought one painting or print.

I think community is something that people are really needing these days and the relationships of artists to artists and artists to their clients should be as genuine as the inspiration that initiated the work itself. I am learning so much every day, from other artists, web processes and social media. I will continue to update this blog on the successes and roadblocks I have experienced through marketing my art and my website.
I hope my information will be as helpful to others as the information from other artists has been for me.