Art Spirit Village

Imagination – Inspiration – Transformation

  • What is Art Spirit Village?

    Art Spirit Village is a sanctuary, a state of mind that exists within all who are compelled to express themselves through art. Michael Scott’s Art Spirit Village is my own safe haven. Here, I am the Butcher, the Baker, The Candlestick Maker and I suppose I am the Mayor as well. This is where I will share my Artistic Transformation, my imagination and my art work, hoping to somehow inspire others to do the same. I invite YOU to drop in for a visit, stay for a while and come back as often as you wish (PLEASE SUBSCRIBE-It is easy and FREE). Art Spirit Village has an open door policy. It is my hope and intent that the creative world will beat a path to the doorway of Art Spirit Village. Comments, Correspondence and Guest Posts are highly encouraged as long as they support the themes of Imagination, Inspiration and Transformation.
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Posts Tagged ‘art’

The Fine Art Of Healing

Posted by Michael Scott on May 19, 2015

Breathe In Peace

Breathe-In Peace – A Digital Sketch

Our trip to Colorful Guatemala is now a fading memory but it did supply me with blogging material to keep me busy for a month or so. Two planned hip surgeries for my wife in the past 5 weeks have made for a bit of a bumpy landing back home in Denver but we are getting through it. I think the toughest thing about spending a lot of time in the hospital for me is that it’s hard watching someone you Love going through so much and memories of other traumas come flooding back to me.  It also is takes me away from my creative space and slows my productivity to a snails pace. I find myself trying to feed my painting addiction with an iPad and an App. I find myself walking the grounds of the hospital looking for photographic opportunities with my i phone and I find myself rambling about my plight on my Macbook Pro……Thank God for technology!

“Early Train To Aurora” – Heading to the hospital one week ago

University of Colorado Hospital

University of Colorado Hospital

The Anschutz Campus of the University of Colorado Hospital is an amazing facility that rivals the best in the world. People often joke about losing money in Vegas, that they helped build the place and must go visit their money occasionally. I make the same jokes about Anschutz but also feel lucky that my family has such excellent care. You can’t go wrong with a place that hangs a Bierstadt in the Lobby.

Anschutz LobbyMountain Landscape

mountain landscape tag

Art fills the gardens, lobbies, hallways and waiting rooms at UCH. Thousands of patients with all sorts of serious afflictions spend days and nights in this place and the art has a powerful healing quality for them and for those who are supporting them. Have you personally experienced the healing power of art? I’d like to hear about it.

“Let It Out” – my own healing digital doodling

Posted in art, health, Inspiration, Oil Painting | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mamas, Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Artists!

Posted by Michael Scott on May 10, 2015

Working For A Living - Antigua

Working For A Living – Antigua

Artists are somewhat akin to the cowboy. At times, neither is easy to love or to hold and almost without exception they’d both rather give you a song (or a painting) than diamonds or gold. It would have been so much easier had they grown up to be doctors and lawyers and such, Right? I think My Mom knows that I walked the straight and narrow for as long as I could before I jumped on my horse and rode away from that steady paycheck and the status quo. This Mother’s Day, I honor her and thank her for accepting me the way that I am.

Guatemala - Art Is  Everywhere

Guatemala – Art Is

An artist never takes a vacation from his(or her) work for traveling only fuels the fire that burns within. For me, my recent trip proves case and point. For a month now I’ve been doing more than just posting a travel log, I’ve been expressing the impressions of my travels made on me. I’ve come to understand that there really are no borders or language barriers in the world of art.

Street Music - Guatemala City

Street Music – Guatemala City

Mime - Zone One

Mime – Zone One

En Plein Air

En Plein Air

Traveling helps one realize that we humans are all pretty much the same yet we are at war with one another over the most trivial differences. Our scarcity mentality is choking out fields of Abundance like a noxious weed. Our appetite for material wealth is surpassing the appetite for the life giving elements of air, food and water. Our spirituality is being totally mistaken for culture and politics. We my friend are a bunch of freaking idiots. On this Mother’s Day I say, Mamas Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Artists!

San Juan Gallery

San Juan Gallery

Artist Gloria Cholotio  - San Juan (Lake Atitlan)

Artist Gloria Cholotio – San Juan (Lake Atitlan)


Artist Albino Perez Yojcom at San Juan (Lake Atitlan)

Posted in art, Oil Painting, Photography, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

My Uninhibited Impressions Of Lake Atitlan

Posted by Michael Scott on May 4, 2015

The Most Beautiful Lake In The World

The Most Beautiful Lake In The World

Ok, so my previous rant about the perfect blog post and the patience of the reader is about to be contradicted. My idea was to begin sharing contact sheets instead of large photos, yea right. It seems that I am so excited about sharing my recent trip that I just can’t help myself. If you don’t have the time or don’t care, give me a like and move on. Otherwise fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a little whirlwind tour of Lake Atitlan.



Textures of Lake Atitlan

Textures of Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan is like no place that I’ve visited before. I’ll describe it as I saw it, exotic, noteworthy and unexpected! The Crater lake is huge, it covers over 50 square miles, is over 1000 ft. deep and sits at the base of three prominent volcanos. It’s shoreline is dotted with villages and outposts that are interconnected with a highly efficient network of water taxis. We stayed at on the outskirts of the city of Panajachel at the Atitalan Nature Reserve. At 5200 feet, the same elevation as Denver, I was surprised to find a Sub Tropic rainforest complete with Waterfalls, wild Hibiscus and Bamboo. As guests of the ecolodge we had access to the hiking trails and suspension bridges that climbed and meandered along the mountainous shoreline. The Reserve was home to a healthy population of Spider Monkeys and an impressive Butterfly Pavilion/ Research Center, it was awesome.

Waterfall Bridge

Rainforest Hiking at Reserva Atitlan

Hibiscus Atitlan

Bamboo Texture

The Water Taxis were basically floating chicken busses, nothing fancy. Embarking and disembarking required a level of agility that would disqualify the handicapped and the elderly. I cringed as I watched a healthy young anglo Woman miss the step and fall hard to the floor of the boat. She smiled off the embarrassment but it was obvious that she would be nursing her pains for a while. At 6’3” and on the heavy and out of shape side, I was at a complete disadvantage as I crawled my way through the crowded boat. Most of the locals avoided eye contact with me but I know they must have been scared to death that I would fall on them. I laugh now when I think about it.

Last Boat Home

Last Boat From San Juan

Atitlan Lakeside Homes

Lake Atitlan Outpost

Meet The Haves

Not The Have Nots

It Takes All Kinds

A Home With A View

The shoreline between villages appeared to be inaccessible by land in many places, yet elaborate private residences with there own boat docks are everywhere. The growing global disparity between the very poor and the very rich is on display on this lake that many would say is the most beautiful in the world.


San Marcos Intersection

San Marcos Courtyard

Cafe Courtyard In San Marcos La Laguna

The first Village we chose to visit was San Marcos La Laguna, a holistic mecca for enlightenment of the mind and body. A narrow pathway led us from the dock into a maze of retreats and facilities that catered to the interests of Yoga, Reiki and Massage among other things. It was on that narrow pathway that I finally gathered my nerve to take a close up photo of two local kids who sold us chocolates. Sure enough I was verbally flogged in English by a self righteous expat of some sort, “How would you feel if we came to your country and took pictures of your children” he lashed out. My luck to have a confrontation with the one guy in town who wasn’t quite succeeding in the arts that he likely came here to practice. I tried to shake it all off, but ended up waking up the next morning with him on my mind and felt compelled to sketch my impression of him.


Looking For Enlightenment

The following day, we visited San Juan La Laguna and its picturesque artist colony. I loved the way it felt there and if I go back I’d like to spend a night or two there. We spent the afternoon looking at and buying local Mayan influenced oil paintings and fabrics. I’ll show off the paintings we bought in my next post. Anyway, we had a such a relaxing afternoon that we failed to take note of the time and we nearly missed the last boat of the day back to Panajachel.

San Juan Roof Tops

Roofs of San Juan La Laguna

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Note To Self: Don’t Forget To Make Contact

Posted by Michael Scott on April 30, 2015

“Headless Manikin Man”

Okay, so I’m having a bit of a blogging identity crisis. For several years now, I’ve held fast to the notion that a reader friendly post should include a couple of images and about three paragraphs of good copy. I do enjoy post of all sorts and I read and follow a ton of them, but I have to admit my attention span and my patience does have its limits. Am I saying that I prefer single image posts with a short caption? Not at all, in fact I often wonder if some people have simply not heard of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Am I saying that I devour well written novelettes disguised as blog posts, or that I seek out Photo Essays that require page scrolls until my fingers cramp to fully appreciate, definitely not. In my view, the ideal blog post falls somewhere in the middle ground. Look at my last few posts and you will see that I’ve strayed. My recent trip to Guatemala has turned me into a Monster, a Mr. Sit Down On The Couch And Look at My Photo Albums Guy. I’m so ashamed and I’ve gotta get back on track.

Architecture of Antigua

Architecture of Antigua

People of Antigua

People of Antigua

Back in the old days, we used contact sheets to show off our slides and negatives. You would throw them down on a light table and let others pick and choose what they wanted to see in more detail, perhaps through a magnified viewer. If one or two of the images were exceptional, you would invest the time and money necessary to further process them to a more presentable format. Sounds pretty ideal doesn’t it? It wasn’t, for if it were I wouldn’t have boxes of contact sheets and prints collecting dust in the basement. Digital did change everything and mostly for the better. We now have the ability to invite the WORLD to sit at our light table but it’s still important to hand them the contact sheets and not the sixteen by twenties.

Drying Her Tears

“Drying Her Tears”

Do you periodically get confused about your blogging identity? What do you think about bringing back the Contact Sheet?

This Father's Daughter

This Father’s Daughter

Before I go, I want to tell you about Photographer Rudy Giron in Antigua. First of all, he is an incredible Photographer with some of the best images of Guatemala that I’ve seen. Second of all, he has a popular Photo Walk Business where guides tourists/photographers through the streets of Antigua, giving history and cultural lessons and photo tips all at the same time. Thanks Rudy for re-kindling my desire to shoot people (with a camera of course). If you want to see a great example of an Artist who is thriving in his own originality, look him up.

Photographer Rudy Giron

Photographer Rudy Giron

Posted in art, blogging, Photography, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Gringo’s Impression of Semana Santa in La Antigua

Posted by Michael Scott on April 26, 2015


Uno Mas Cerveza – Waiting for the procession to begin

Jessica and Tammy from our table side vantage point

Jessica and Tammy from our table side vantage point

In my previous post I highlighted the ornate Alfombras (carpets) that are laid out in the streets of Antigua, only to be erased by the feet of the many who participate in the Semana Santa Processions.  The Processions are impressive on all accounts and as a first time observer it took me a while to acknowledge the magnitude and complexity of the spectacle. Even now, a couple of weeks after returning home to Colorado, I am still trying to figure out exactly what I witnessed. I’m not Catholic but I know about the Stations of the Cross and the Passion Play which are traditional manifestations that commemorate the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ. Semana Santa was a whole new experience, a Passion Play on steroids if you will.

Roman Soldiers

Roman Soldiers

Roman Soldiers On First Ave

“Marching To The Beat Of Their Own Drummer”

Signs of the Times

“Signs of the Times”

Turning A Corner copy

“Turning The Corner”

Good Friday, the day known for Jesus’ final march up Mt. Calvary to be nailed to the cross, is the busiest day of the week. Three massive processions, one for each of the three Churches in town, begin at their places of worship and wander through sixty some odd blocks of the ancient city. The first procession embarks at 4am and the other two in the heat of the afternoon. Keep in mind that these processions are very slow, taking up to 12 hours or more to make the rounds. Pace is set by the swaying feet of those carrying Andas (floats) which weigh upwards of eight thousand pounds. A changing of the guard takes place every block or two as a fresh group of Cucuruchos (Male Float Bearers) step in to keep the heavy Andas aloft. Throughout the day and night, the processions and participants and onlookers manage to steer clear of one another without a glitch, pure logistic genius.

Big Andas

Cucuruchos and the swaying Andas

Above the Andas

“Changing Of The Guard”

Toward The Hill

“Up To The Hill”

las dolorosas 2

Las Dolorosas

The Cucuruchos pay an entry fee for the privilege of carrying the Andas and they are grouped with others of similar height so that the weight of the float will be evenly distributed. At 6’3” I stood out like the towering Gringo that I am and it made me very self conscious but it did give me an advantage as a spectator. I can only imagine that if I had the upbringing and ambition to sign on as a bearer, I might be politely re-directed to another assignment after they measured my shoulder height. In addition to the Cucuruchos, there are many roles to fill. Roman Soldiers on foot and in Chariots, sign bearers, and more Men and Boys cloaked in purple or white or black lead off the procession. Incense smoke fills the air surrounding the floats thanks to those in charge of swinging fiery pots back and forth as they march and at the heels of the floats marches a band playing dramatic and mournful music. The float of the Virgin Mary brings up the rear and is carried by Dolorosas (scarfed Women dressed in white or black). Throw in a city cleaning crew which immediately picks up the remains of the destroyed carpets and a generator and lighting crew after dark and it all adds up to one heck of a production.

las dolorosas

Las Dolorosas at night

Band at Night

Lights and Music

Posted in art, Photography, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Alfombras, The Temporary Masterpieces of Antigua

Posted by Michael Scott on April 23, 2015

Ornate Fountan La Merced

Ornate Fountain at La Merced, Antigua

Consider the artistic pursuit of the ice sculptor, how he or she carves and etches the most elaborate details into their frozen medium only to have it melt a short while later. It makes me wonder how a person can find the inspiration and the motivation to create something so beautiful, to be seen and appreciated by so few in the fleetingly short period of time that it exists. Likewise, the sand castle builder, the live performer and the master Chef have come to accept that being present in the moment is as much a part of their craft as the art itself.

I am aware of the fact that all art is temporary, yet so much of my own personal motivation comes from the desire to create something that will outlive me. I am driven by the notion that somehow, the legacy of my work will make me a little less mortal. I guess that is why I’m drawn to the mediums of writing, photography and painting. The extent to which these things will remain in existence is unknown, just as the architects of the ancient city of Ixemche in Guatemala had no way of knowing that their structures would still be standing some 600 years after their deaths.

Two Beauties At Iximche

My Wife Tammy and My Daughter Jessica at Ixemche

Contemporary Guatemala is like a giant museum of fine art and Antigua is one of it’s most impressive exhibits. Art is everywhere in Antigua. Art is in the ornate Spanish and Mayan influenced architecture. Art is in the cobblestone streets and the clay rooftops. Art is in the quiet out of the way courtyards and the public gathering places. Art is in the gentle slopes of the surrounding Volcanos and in the fertile crops that grow on them. Art is in the colorful skin tones of the native people and the fabrics that they wear. I think you get the picture, Antigua is Art.

cafe courtyard copy

Cafe Courtyard, Antigua


Blood Moon Rising on Good Friday, Antigua

Purple Robe and Mayan Soldier

Mayan Soldier and Cucuruchos

If there is one week of the year that one would most want to visit Antigua, it would be Holy Week. Semana Santa is the week prior to the celebration of Easter. Needless to say, religion in Guatemala is overwhelmingly Catholic and Semana Santa is revered as the most important week of the year. For us, we were lucky to secure reservations for Wednesday through Saturday. It was fascinating to witness the population expand from around 35000 to over a quarter of a million as people from the surrounding villages and from all over the world squeezed into Antigua to join in the celebration.

Getting Buzy_tonemapped

Before the Procession

I’ll be sharing a bunch of my photos from Antigua during Semana Santa in the next couple of posts, but for the remainder of this post I want to re-visit the idea that Art should not be judged upon how long it lasts. Of all of the images that I left Antigua with, the Alfombras (Carpets) that are laid out on the cobblestone streets are the most indelible. Alfombras are made out of sand, sawdust and pine needles and are adorned with grains and seeds and plants to produce masterpieces that will be walked on and destroyed by the extensive processions that follow. Enjoy!

Green Carpet

Carpet Artists

Carpet From Doorway copy

Carpet Characters

Carpet Stencil

diamond carpet

Family Carpet

Red Purple Carpet


Long Carpet

Posted in art, Photography, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Reflections Of Guatemala

Posted by Michael Scott on April 18, 2015

Cucuruchos Waiting Room

Cucuruchos Waiting Room – Before Thursday’s Semana Santa Procession Through the Streets of Antigua

Its been a solid month since my last post and I have a boat load of excuses. Income tax season always comes with it’s own complications. Throw in a Mac Book Pro crash, a few business woes and a trip abroad. Even super man would have a hard time lifting the blogging pen. As the dust settles I find that Spring is exploding all around me and I’m ready to get back in the groove. I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire artistically speaking. I have two canvases on the easel and many more on deck. Our video business is evolving as we await our television debut (One of Our Videos will appear on Arts District, a weekly show on Rocky Mt. PBS – 5/7/15) and our trip to Guatemala for Semana Santa (Holy Week) has filled my inspiration bucket with an abundance of inspiration. I can’t wait to share it all with you. cityviewblog   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Our Daughter has been living in Guatemala for almost four years and I’m ashamed to say that We’ve been too busy during that period of time to visit her, until now. Easter is a magic time in a land of Volcanos and Coffee. Experiencing it with Jessica, from the perspective of an Expat was really special. Tammy (my Wife) and I have been drawn to Mexico and Central America over the years and have always managed to find ourselves in places where English is used, at least enough for us to get by. I can say that we would have had a very difficult time on this trip, had it not been for Jessica’s understanding of the culture and native language of Guatemala. Note to Self: Learn Spanish.

Cupuchins Rooftop

Church And Convent at Capuchins – One of Antigua’s Beautiful Historic Buildings

As we approached, the lights of Central America’s most populous city were an impressive sight. Traffic lined Streets and Avenues weave their way through the hills and valleys, stitching a luminous quilt of light over the darkened land. Over 4.5 Million People live in the greater metropolitan area of Guatemala City, a melting pot of the Indigenous Mayan and Spanish Cultures. Once on the ground, we gathered our luggage, made our way through customs and looked for Jessica’s welcoming face in a crowd at the terminal exit. First impressions included brightly lit advertising signs everywhere, Motorcycles delivering fast food, stop signs (Alto) that mean go, razor wire everywhere and armed guards in front of businesses….Oh how I’ve missed the exhilaration of culture shock.

Boys Fishing At San Juan Boat Dock

Boys Fishing At San Juan Boat Dock – Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

In all, we spent eight nights in Guatemala including two in the city, three at Lake Atitlan and three in Antigua. Our adventures would take us to Jessica’s home and workplace, to the crowded markets of Zone One and to the winding and hazard filled roads through the highlands. We would ride water taxis from village to village, hike among waterfall’s, spider-monkeys and bamboo at Lake Atitlan. We would witness and participate in the pomp and pageantry of Holy Week in one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen, Antigua. In all, I have way too much to share in one post. I’ll be breaking down my show and tell into a series of posts over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy.

Mother And Child Antiqua

Mayan Mother and Child – Antigua


Tuc Tuc Ride At Panajachel

Posted in art, Inspiration, Photography, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

How Digital Art Can Help You Become A Better Painter

Posted by Michael Scott on March 18, 2015

In The Studio..How do you know its done?

In The Studio..How do you know its done?

At a very young age, I learned from my Father the virtues of working hard and finishing what has been started. In our house, quitting was not an option, at least not if I wanted to avoid disappointing him and the consequences that would likely follow. Somewhere around age six, I decided that the guitar was not for me. I had been taking lessons in the back room of a music store for perhaps several months. I remember how sore my fingers became, pushing down on the steel strings for hours each day while I struggled my way though Camp Town Races and Clair de lune. The deal breaker for me undoubtedly came on the day of my first Recital. I was baptized by fire in that overcrowded room as it fell silent in anticipation of a performance by Moi. I may as well have been naked, for right then and there I exposed to the world my frets and my fretting. This was not for me.

Today, I see how my Dad’s lessons on quitting have helped me with my patience and perseverance. I’ve done a lot of things and succeeded as well because of what he taught me. The problem is I now I have a difficult time knowing when it is appropriate to quit, a confusion that plays out nowhere more than in my art. When is a video as good as it can be, when is a photograph ready to be archived, when is a painting really ready for that signature, not to be touched again? The answer most often only comes with the test of time. My painting studio is also a gallery. I hang my more recent work on the walls so I can use it as reference but also so I can study it often. What I find is that over time it becomes clearer to me whether or not a piece is finished, unfinished or worthy of the junk pile.

Experimenting with a painting on iPad

Experimenting with a painting on iPad

Thanks to Steve Jobs, I now have a new way of using technology to experiment with and make hypothetical changes to my existing work. Take my most recent painting called “Perpetual Motion” as an example. I basically completed if fairly quickly, at least to the point of its first critique. My wife accurately pointed out that the lines between the water, wet sand and dry sand really needed more definition. I agreed and identified a number of other things that bothered me as well. After downloading a photo of the piece into the ArtStudio app on my iPad, I was able to experiment with enhancements in a most fearless way. Throw in fine lines or broad washes, not a problem. Add opacity or transparency, piece of cake. Change course and try something else, simply click the “undo” button and start over. I’m actually blown away with how realistic electronic “painting” has become and how effective it can be as an aid in my process.

"Perpetual Motion"  (12"x 48") Acrylic on Canvas

Finished! “Perpetual Motion” (12″x 48″) Acrylic on Canvas

No doubt, digital art is becoming more and more prevalent. You might say it would even impress the Impressionists.  Look online and it won’t take you long to see how some folks are painting en plain air on tablets and with impressive results. Go to the movies these days and you’ll see how much this art form has been embraced by Hollywood. For Me and for now, I see it as a tool that can help me be a better painter. Do you think digital painting is cheating? Have you worked with a digital painting program? If so, I’d like to hear about your experience.

Posted in acrylic, acrylic painting, art, Inspiration, oil, technology | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

A Rambling Remembrance Of My Four Legged Friends

Posted by Michael Scott on March 5, 2015

“I love to take photographs, So Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away” ~ Paul Simon

Dogs In Snow

“Icy Paws” (24″x48″) Acrylic on Canvas – The Boys are all together now.

I’m having a tough time even coming up with one post this week.  In fact its been tough getting anything done this week.  We had to put down Old Charlie Boy, Our beloved 15 year old Wheaten Sheltie mix.  It was time for him to “head off to college” to join his brothers.  Charlie was our last man standing.  So I’m grasping a bit for a subject, but hang in there with me, it usually works out the way it should.

There is something to be said for always having a camera in your pocket.  As a professional photographer I’m well aware of the limitations of my new iPhone 6, but as fine art painter I celebrate the convenience it provides.  When I see something that inspires me, no matter where I am I can point and shoot in a matter of seconds.  What I end up with is valuable reference material that will later help me understand and remember how it looks and feels.

These “pix” were shot last evening as Tammy and I returned to Denver from an afternoon outing to the foothills.  It was quite cold out (9 degrees) and a full moon was rising over Denver as the sun was setting behind, the perfect ingredients for a subtle and pleasing collision of warm and cool hues and values.

i70 moon 2

i70 moonrise

My Dad grew up along the banks of Dry Creek in Englewood, Coloroado.  Now, life’s twists and turns have led me to live just upstream from his old stomping grounds and I hike along the Big Dry Creek often.  The Denver Metro area has done an incredible job preserving open space and creating hundreds of miles trails for walking and biking.  Thanks to my iPhone, I can listen to podcasts while I walk (Artist’s Helping Artist’s is my favorite), and when I see something I want to remember I pull it out and snap a pic.

Big dry creek


walking dogs

You never know when one of these snapshots will become your main source of inspiration to do something very creative and you never know when a simple cel-phone pic will become a lasting image of what you hold close to your heart.  “Icy Paws” was one of my first ever paintings.  It was a gift to my wife, who is seen walking through a blizzard with our motley crew about 8 years ago.  The painting was inspired by the adventure of living at 10000 feet in the Colorado Wilderness, but i never could have captured the personalities of these guys without photos to remember them with.

Wheaton Sheltie

Posted in art, Inspiration, pets, Photography | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

Three Ways I’m A Winner, Even Though I’m A Loser

Posted by Michael Scott on February 26, 2015

“Ethereal Autumn” by Bill Wakeley (the only one of my selections to make it to the judging round- Good Luck Bill)

I’m currently enrolled in a National Photography Contest with This is one sexy contest with a very big prize. The work is judged by world renowned photographer Anne Geddes and the winners will star in a new flashy television advertising campaign for Fine Art America. Photographers are allowed to enter up to three images and each one that receives 250 votes from the general public advances to the judging round. As you can imagine, this has been an absolutely brilliant marketing campaign for Fine Art America as thousands of photographers are pounding the pavement of social media, scrambling for enough votes to have a shot of glory. On the flip side, what could have been a contest that is solely based on artistic achievement has turned into somewhat of a popularity contest that has left many of the participants gnashing their teeth and tearing their clothes.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 8.15.24 AM

Like I said, this is one sexy photo contest

When was the last time your lips uttered the ugly words “Its Not Fair”? Be totally honest now. We are all guilty of hosting Pity Parties occasionally and when we do, we invite everyone. Misery loves company and having company means surrounding ourselves with other “victims”. The problem is that when the party is over, nothing has changed for the better and the hangover can be hell. Take Kanye West for instance. Fame and fortune are in his grip, yet he has a big enough chip on his shoulder to possess him to make an ass of himself at the Grammy Awards, twice. Whats going through the guys mind that makes him want to put on a whiney baby face on national TV and basically say “Wah Wah Wah, It’s not fair”?

I have to admit, It wasn’t real pretty when I realized that I didn’t have the social moxie to get more than a few votes for my work. Goodbye Limousines and Red Carpet. With two days to go there is very little chance I’ll come up with the 250 vote ante to get into the game. So what do I do now? Do I pull a “Kanye” and whine about the process or do I choose to see the glass half full and find a way to top it off? Finally, I’m able to step back from my blind ambition and see what the contest is really all about. Here are three ways that I’m a winner just for showing up.

1. I have been motivated to ramp up my own marketing efforts. If you have a look at my recent post called “Facebook and the Art of Shameless Self Promotion”, you will see that my wheels are turning.  Welcome to the real world Boys and Girls. Talent and Hard work are admirable but it is Marketing that will unlock the door to success. Marketing is the reason that a particular work of art might sell for $1500 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and only $150 on Santa Fe Street in Denver, Colorado. Marketing is a big deal and I want to get better at it. I want to be a guy who can get that 250 votes next time.

2. Taking the time to work my way through 2500 images with a critical eye has inspired me tremendously. Napoleon Hill said “Just as our eyes need light in order to see, our minds need ideas in order to conceive”. This process has given me a very real opportunity to rub elbows with a lot of talented Photographers there is nothing wrong with letting some of their energy and originality rub off on moi.

3. I’ve realized that its not all about me! Look what just fell into my lap, an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and talent of a handful of my peers right here in my very own blog. When I started Art Spirit Village a few years back, I envisioned a space that promoted Imagination, Inspiration and Transformation. It’s my hope that the photographers that I’m featuring in this post will feel validated at least a little bit more than they would have otherwise. I think their work is awesome.

“Portrait of a Snowy White Egret” by Jennie Breeze

With less than two days to go only about 100 of 2500 images have received enough popular votes to advance to the leader board. In other words, 99.5 percent of the entries will not even be considered by Anne Geddes. Hey Losers! Welcome to the Art Spirit Village Virtual Gallery. Come in and have a look at some of the images that won my 22 votes (I only posted the ones that I had permissions for).  Stroll through the halls, look at the walls even have a seat as you really study your favorite image. My selections are skewed toward my preference for landscape and nature.  If you see something you like, click on it and off you go to a page where you can learn about the photographer, see their entire gallery and have a chance to purchase relatively inexpensive reproductions of their work.

If you prefer other styles and genres, head over to the contest gallery, you will be amazed with the diversity.  If you are an Artist and you have never visited the Fine Art America site before, I think you will be impressed.

Which one is your favorite?

“Virgin River At Night” by Richard Dickinson

“Boston Snow Day” by Sarah Levy

“Air Snowy” by Jim Cumming

“Golden Hour” by Bahadir Yeniceri

“Green River Overlook” by Michael Ash

“Rufus” by Rob Mclean

“Hello World” by Donald Brice

“Waves In Nature” by Gabriel Gutierrez

“Real Horse Power” by Mike Quinn

“Acrtic Splendour” by Ralph Brunner

“Lake McDonald” by Daniel Wilde

“Deserted Lighthouse” by Bahadir Yeniceri

“Tampa Color” by Kevin Ellis

“Sunset Lightning” by Dwayne Kear

If you have any comments about this post or this contest, please send it my way.  Thanks for the visit!


Posted in art, Inspiration, Photography, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 18 Comments »


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