for my students

todays advice for my students:

Art for me, has been, is, and likely always will be mainly intuitive.  I had some amazing teachers.  Teachers are guides.  They can only point you in a direction.  I try to guide my students to a place where they trust themselves.  We all have obstacles to overcome and in the overcoming of personal things, we will learn how to do better art.  Finishing a painting is kind of like waking up from a dream.

Directions for beginning:  (how to start dreaming)

Be comfortable.  Wear what you want to get paint on, because you will.  Also wear what is not constricting.  If your pants are too tight you will be struggling with the self criticism that comes with eating too many brownies.  I say,  “if you are going to eat brownies, enjoy them in looser clothing!”

Second, buy the grade of paint that you dont mind being generous with.  It is inhibiting to be worried about wasting your paint.  Keep a  jar for the extra paint which you can use later for staining your canvas or board, and which becomes the best gray you will ever find.

Have your tools at hand.  But remember that your hands can also work very well as tools.  Blend with the side of your hand or with your fingers.  Keep a rag handy to use when necessary.

Take some deep breaths.  shake off (literally shake off)  the stressful thoughts that you may have brought into your space with you.

Now give yourself permission to play.  Begin with color.  Choose what color you need in your life at this moment.  Approach it with the same excitement that you made mud pies with as a child.  We can bake them and eat them later,  For now,  FEEL the paint.  dance with it.  absorb the colors into yourself.  Your purpose is not to work out a piece of art.  it is to know your paints and your self better.  Relax into this.  Let it last as long as it lasts.

You can use this exercise at any time in the process of birthing an image.

When you have your surface covered with a middle tone, you can quickly sketch with paint or with your finger, or with charcoal,  the shapes of how you want the objects to be placed in your painting.  if you are doing a landscape, find the horizon line.  begin to design your painting.  Put things where you want them to be.  This is your world,  own it.  I use a palette knife for most application of color.  But, in the beginning I dont think much about specifics.  It is fun to put bizarre colors on the surfaces.  Layer after layer if desired, until you find the one that tells you that it is the final layer.

Try not to fall in love with the painting itself..   Rather, love the process.