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December 2015

Finding our worth as artists...


Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso


I just got off a Skype call with my grandboys and I can't stop from smiling.  They are always such a delight even through a computer screen.  Almost immediately after we started talking one ran to get something he had painted and of course his younger brother ran to do the same. I was offered painting after painting much to my great delight.  Children's art is so spontaneous and loose, filled with exhuberance and without a trace of insecurity. At least that is true at first.  I always have wondered why it stops, when is it we begin to censor ourselves?  Why we let the opinions of others stop us from drawing, painting, singing out loud, and dancing to the music in public

I met with a group of artists last week who work in an art collective.  We talked about lots of things regarding art and business.  I was struck by the lack of confidence many expressed regarding the worth of their own work and especially the perception that our work has value only if it sells.  There are many factors that influence sales: The ups and downs of the economy, the area we live in, the marketing strategies we employ, our exposure to the community. These are factors that affect our ability to make a sale, they are not factors that decide our personal worth as artists. As history demonstrates time and again, fame comes slowly and late to those who are great. But our value as an artist is separate from the value society at a particular moment places on a piece of our work. Be straight about this point please. 

As creatives we must find a different set of criteria to use to determine our worth besides the price of a painting. We need generate a sense of worth directly from the actions we take, through the actual process of making art.  Let our worth be determined by factors we have control over.  Ask yourself these questions:  Am I investing myself in the process of making art? Have I developed a set of strategies that will encourage interest in my art?  How am I insuring that I continue to grow as an artist? What am I doing to discover more of what I have the potential to do? What am I doing to challenge myself?

As 2015 ends and 2016 is showing us its possibilities let's retrieve the child inside of all of us and embrace our spontaneous artistic selves once again.  Let us put aside criticisms heard or perceived. Make art from your heart and mind and spirit.  Let us challenge ourselves creatively to push beyond the familiar and embrace something unknown.  Let's make marks, splash color, and find what is hidden beyond the obvious.

I hope you will stop by to let me know what you think.

Best wishes to you and yours throughout the holiday season and into the year to come






Artfully yours, Chris

Catching up...and a giveaway!


It seems that this year was a year to get things done. Reaching December feels really good to me.  My new book "Acrylic Color Explorations" is out and available.  Working on a book takes the better part of a year and half. At this time last December I was in Cincinnati at F & W (North Light) shooting the photos for the pages.  In between writing and editing and teaching, I traveled.  All in all I was away from home for 14 weeks in 2015.  I love to travel, don't get me wrong.  When I travel I encounter visual delights that are amazing.  This year we were in Cleveland visiting the Grand boys 4 times.  We love them so much that we decided to buy a condo and spend part of the year beginning in 2016 closer to them.  The condo is on Lake Erie and we look forward to our time there. Kids really keep your creativity in high gear.  My first career was an early childhood educator and I so appreciate that it enabled me to stay in touch with the fluidty of childhood.  Moving quickly, thinking on your feet, being silly, expressing creatively.  We also visited Annapolis, Maryland for the first time.  What a lovely old sea port.  We took a long (almost 4 weeks) road trip up California, through Oregon and onto Washington visiting friends and family, teaching some, and getting to know the Pacific Northwest.  My oldest lives in Seattle and we were there in the glory of spring.  Trees were ablaze with color, the weather was lovely and crisp.  We took some side roads, meandering through places we had never been.  I saw more rhododendrons of various varieties than I could count. VIsiting an Iris farm was a highlight for sure.  These regal flowers are just my favorites.  Our "big" journey was a trip back to Italy to visit Rome, Florence, and Venice.  I was enchanted with Venice, loved every bit of its meandering streets and canals.  Florence is fraught with tourists, but the art is not to be missed. The food was spectacular too.  Rome as always is never-ending in its possibilities.  There is always more to discover. As I write this I'm heading off to Florida to see my family (sister,brother, and cousins, aunt and uncle, etc.), teach a couple of classes, and enjoy the Atlantic Ocean.  By the time I return it will be time for the Rose Parade here in Pasadena and of course that means 2016 is right around the corner.

Before I close, I'd like to ask you to leave a comment on this page about the place you saw or visited this year that made an impression on you.  I'll be picking one of you to send a little gifty to.  Of course, I'd love for you to let me know if you liked my new book as well.  (And please leave a review on Amazon if you liked it!)

Here's to the close of a fruitful and adventuresome 2015 and a artful and fulfilling 2016!





Artfully yours, Chris