I Can't Believe It's Already August!

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Where is the summer going?

I’m definitely not done deck-sitting and sun-soaking.

One of the most enjoyable things I’ve been doing this summer is painting outside. There is something so freeing about being in all that open space.

I’ve been exploring new techniques and approaches to painting. Puts me in that beginner state of mind where I have no idea what I’m doing. An exciting and scary place to be.

You can check out my new work on the home page. I’ve got more in the portfolio section but these four were my favs.

Oh and just so you know, I’m putting together a class schedule for this fall at the CoBACH. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s finalized.

Enjoy the rest of this glorious season!

Things I wish someone told me about being an artist:

Way back in high school I stopped drawing altogether because I had a girl friend who could draw ANYTHING. When I looked at my drawing attempts, all I saw was ‘less than crap.’ So I quit.

It took me decades before I started drawing again. And, guess what? I found out that I was pretty good at it!

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I Have Been Busy, Busy, Busy ...

I am excited to announce my shiny new online classes!

Want to learn more about color mixing? Composition? Got it covered.

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I’ve even included a course on how to paint an abstract, where you can follow along with me as I paint.

Each new e-course was created with you in mind.

They are downloadable after purchase for you to keep forever. Easy to digest. LOTS of info packed into each one.

Check out the intro videos here and let me know what you think.

Enjoy this glorious day!

P.S. If you don’t see what you need, let me know and I’ll put it on my to-do list.

Do You Believe You Have No Artistic Ability?

Or worse, you thought you did until you compared yourself to someone else.

Trust me, I’ve been there. When I was in high school I had a good friend who could draw anything. I mean anything! I was definitely not at her level and was so embarrassed by my feeble attempts that I stopped drawing altogether.

Don’t let that happen to you. I’m going to share a process I go through every time I go to my studio to work. This step-by-step checklist throws me a life line every time I start going down that rabbit hole.

It’s going to help you do 3 things:

  • STOP you from saying that you are no good at art.

  • REMEMBER that art is NOT a competitive sport. You are doing it because you love it.

  • Help you FOCUS on the process, not the product. Cuz, friend, the journey is what it's all about.

Ready? Here come the pearls of hard won wisdom:

  1. Take a minute to gather yourself. Clear your mind of the to-do list. Leave the phone in the other room. Tell your creative self that the two of you will make some magic today. I know it may sound a bit woo-woo, but trust me, it helps.

  2. The only way you can judge your progress is by looking at what you’ve done before. In other words, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. It’s irrelevant. The only measuring stick of any value is how far you have come on your creative journey. I kept a lot of pieces from when I first started out. I look at them now and say: ‘Oh boy, what were you thinking?’ Your artistic journey is like a metal spring. It starts at one end (the bottom for our purposes) and spirals to the other end (the top). Remember that early stuff I said I kept? Well, I actually redid a couple of them to see just how much I’ve improved. And WOW! I was amazed and secretly beaming at the progress I made.

  3. Never point out what you think of as mistakes. If you don’t tell anyone, chances are they won’t even notice. If by chance they do, say you meant to do that (with an appropriate smirk). Or better yet, if you think you made a big boo-boo, repeat it -do it again so it looks purposeful. Part of growing as an artist is being about to take risks, to think creatively to solve a problem. Look at you practicing some of Kosta’s 16 Habits of the Mind. Here’s a link to a visual for you.

  4. I have this critic in my head that spews out all sorts of negative comments: You have no talent. Who are you to think you are an artist? What makes you think you can actually create anything? You don’t have time for this. Yada, yada, yada … Don’t buy into it. Politely acknowledge the comments and then tell that critic to go site in the corner and leave you alone for the next few hours. (You don’t have to say it out loud, we don’t want peeps thinking you’ve lost it.)

  5. Dive into your project! Picasso says: ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.’ Ever watch a little one paint or draw? Are they worried about whether it’s anatomically correct? Whether it makes sense? My daughter took a little video of my then 2 year old granddaughter painting. It’s absolutely precious. Z is totally absorbed in what she is doing, intently watching what happens when she puts paint to paper. Work on developing that wonder and awe. Check her out in this video.

6. Remind the critic to stay in the corner

7. Realize that nothing is perfect. I still have issues when evaluating my work. First of all, there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an illusion because we all have different definitions of perfect. Don’t believe me? Ask three different people what their idea of a perfect day would be.

8. Breathe. In and out, in an out. This is supposed to be fun.

Let’s make some wild, wonderful art together!

Is Art Really Important?

The answer is a resounding YES!

I am so very grateful art is part of my life.

  • I get to meet wonderful people like you.

  • I get to make a difference is someone’s life.

  • I get to be creative (play), every day.

Some of you may not know that I’ve taught art to both adults and children for over 20 years. And I can say with all honesty and enthusiasm, that no matter the age, when a technique is mastered the same look of delight and satisfaction shows up.

During my 14 years of teaching art to K-8, I did a lot of research on this very subject. This is what I found:

The arts build a school climate of high expectation, discipline, and academic rigor.

  • Art strengthens student problem-solving and critical thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement and school success

  • helps students develop a sense of craftsmanship, quality task performance, and goal-setting—skills needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond

  • can help troubled youth, providing an alternative to destructive behavior and another way for students to approach learning

  • provides another opportunity for parental, community, and business involvement with schools, including arts and humanities organizations

  • helps all students develop more appreciation and understanding of the world around them

  • helps students develop a positive work ethic and pride in a job well done

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So what does all this mean for YOU?

It doesn’t matter what your experience level is!

Art is NOT a competitive sport.

I want you to know that, no matter what the reason you choose to further your art skills, you will be uplifted. Now, don’t get me wrong … During your journey you may get frustrated, think you have no talent, want to quit. SO WHAT? Anything worth doing requires commitment and practice.

Don’t give in to that critic in your head.

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Are you enjoying yourself?
Having fun?

That, my friends, is the most important thing.

So consider this your legitimate, endorsed Permission to Play Certificate!

Big Love,

Donna