Process

Thankful

I took a walk on the beach yesterday.  Venice Beach, Ca.  The pier, the infamous boardwalk including muscle beach, the locals, the endless ‘characters’, tourists, artists, vendors, hustlers, musicians, and vagrants.  Eclectic, crazy, complex environment with complicated backrounds, lots of people, movement everywhere, and even more people.  Difficult environment to shoot in for all of [...]


Words

If a picture is worth a thousand a thousand words, could you write those words?  Can you communicate about your own work?  Can you write intelligently about your process, your influences, your passions, your creative issues?  While your work should do most of the talking for you, the fact remains that we occasionally have to [...]


Shy

Being shy gets you nowhere in the art world.  Plain. Simple. Quiet.  It doesn’t get you very far in many other worlds either.  A shy photographer puts out very little, if any, energy and gets very little, if any, back.  And, then he wonders why he cannot be a good, “connected” portrait photographer?  To be [...]


Focus

What is focus? The difference between sharp and soft?  Is that it?  No. Is focus expected?  Somewhat, but less and less these days. In the 1860’s, Julia Margaret Cameron didn’t care about exact focus for a number of reasons. She said, “What is focus, and who has the right to say what focus is the [...]


No Blog

I did not write a blog last month.  I couldn’t.  My brain was, and still is, numb.  Words had no meaning.  My friend, an incredible artist, is dying from brain cancer.  Chemo.  Radiation. Pain. Confusion. Wheelchair. We talked about life.  We talked about art.  We couldn’t understand why he was handed a death sentence one [...]


Inspiration

We all need inspiration.  Or do we?  Where do we get inspiration?  What is the magic formula?  What button do I push?  What number do I call? I agree with artist/photographer Chuck Close who says you should not sit around waiting for inspiration.  Artists show up and get to work.  “If you wait around for [...]


What do you want?

What do you want from art?  What do you give with your art?  Do you know what you do not want from art? Simple questions or complex?  What is the purpose of art to you? Is it to entertain, educate, provoke, stimulate, inspire, motivate, surprise?  Why do you look at art? What do you want [...]


Mistakes

What is a mistake?  Webster’s says a mistake is a wrong step, something incorrect.  Are there mistakes in art? Is there really a right or a wrong in art? Think about it.  There are rules and principles and supposed guidelines when you learn to make art.  Then you find that breaking the rules makes for [...]


Death

Death is absolute, permanent, it stops everything.  No more life, no more art – unless there really is that big darkroom in the sky.  I am losing two friends as I write these suddenly misty, somewhat out of focus words, and it hurts.  Life is unfair, the art world is out of balance, selfishness is [...]


quiet

Quiet. Don’t be afraid of it. It’s okay “not to do” once in awhile.  To back off, observe, ponder, research.  Don’t always put pressure on yourself to produce.  The brain needs to relax occasionally. Refuel.  Your creative soul will kick-start you back into gear when it is time.  Believe in yourself and your process.  Do [...]


The Zone

The “zone”.  How do you get into it?  What is it?  Why is it so important to your art?  Because it is the place you go to create, inhabit, take over to produce your work.  It is a state of mind.  It is a state of being.  It is where you go to get ideas, [...]


Technology

Many people believe that technology has taken the poetry out of communication and that too much technology is the destroyer of emotions and truth.  Does technology really do anything for creativity? Yes, it makes some tasks easier and you can finish some things quicker, but does it make you a more creative person?  Picasso went [...]


Mediocrity

I see more art [?] produced these days with less concern for quality than ever.  We are drowning in images to satisfy the thirst of the “media” for information, news, gossip, to see how we dress, what we eat, what we do, and where we go !  Where did the real art go?  The world [...]


Choices

As artists, photographers, painters, we are always making choices, every day, creative decisions pertaining to all facets of our art.  These choices define our direction, style, content, vision, point of view, who we are, what we say, and what emotional response is elicited from our art. What do you put into your work?  What makes [...]


Thinking

Artists think too much.  Not all, but many spend far too much time in their heads.  This is not to say that you should not have some kind of a plan, some direction, an idea to pursue. Just don’t drown it by thinking it to death.  A concept needs room to breathe, to grow, to [...]


Seeing

Do you notice how people don’t notice?  How little the average person sees, what they actually spend time looking at … or don’t?  We live in an increasingly selfish world.  We are being bombarded by an array of individualistic, self-contained “tools” on a daily basis. People isolate themselves, they detach, they tune out with their [...]


The Best

The Summer Olympics are on.  Very inspiring. The best athletes giving their best efforts after years and years of practice, pain, and perseverance.  To be the very best of something – what a goal!  Are you the best photographer / artist that you can be?  What % of every day do you spend honing your [...]


Visuals

We are visual people.  You know who you are.  Artists tend to be more aware, see more, appreciate more, and respond to more than the average person on the street.  Photographers, painters, cinematographers, and illustrators quite simply use their eyes more than others.  Visuals are inspiration, motivation, design, energy, and provide aesthetic companionship.  Yes, companionship, [...]


Books

Books are a good thing. Books are going away, as we know them. Really ?  Would we allow that to happen ?  Newspapers are dying, book stores and libraries are closing.  And nobody seems to care.  The world of paper is being given up to the world of electronics.  Saves some trees, I guess, but [...]


Failure

What is failure in art ? How can an artist fail ?  Isn’t the very nature of art to create something that did not exist before ?  If you create it, how does it fail ?  Who has the right to tell you, the creator, that it is not worthy, it is not art ?  [...]


Tension

Tension is important in art, sports, and life.  Tension in sports and life build strength, endurance, and character. In art and photography, tension is right up there with great light and fearless composition in importance as to how the viewer’s eye is grabbed, held or moved, within or out of a frame. Tension is often [...]


Struggle

According to Webster’s, to struggle is to resist opposition, to progress with effort or difficulty.  Most artists struggle on a daily basis, resisting opinions, criticism, negativity  [jealousy], trends, advice, etc.  Artists constantly struggle between time, materials, learning their subject, finding their voice, new directions, the next level, an alternative path.  Art is a struggle; art [...]


Resolution or Revolution

It is the end of the year. Another one in the can. Personal artistic inventory time. Was it a good year, as in productive, creative, and challenging for your art?  Did you do anything different this year?  Did you challenge yourself to grow as an artist? Did you do what you said you were going [...]


Palette

Do you have a creative palette?  What does it consist of?  What makes your work different from everyone else?  What makes you who you are as an artist?  What makes your artistic vision / voice extraordinary, unique?  What ingredients do you play with?  What actually goes into your work?  Where does your art come from?  [...]