Life is so fragile, so fleetingly temporary, yet I live it as though it would never end. If I woke up one morning knowing that it would be my last, all of the complexities of life would be boiled down, reduced to two simple choices. Would I choose to spend the time that I have left filled with Fear or with Love? Would I choose to spend my final moments on Earth remorseful about the mistakes that I’ve made and angry that I don’t have more time to make amends or would I choose to celebrate the fact that I am alive and present in this moment, thankful for the fullness of Life? It is so easy to predict that I would choose the latter, yet in truth the gravity of habit would likely make the choice for me.
Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’
Posted by Michael Scott on June 22, 2015
Posted by Michael Scott on May 10, 2015
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.
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.
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!
Posted by Michael Scott on April 18, 2015
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. 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.
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.
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.
Posted by Michael Scott on March 18, 2015
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.
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.
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 by Michael Scott on March 5, 2015
“I love to take photographs, So Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away” ~ Paul Simon
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.
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.
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.
Posted by Michael Scott on February 26, 2015
I’m currently enrolled in a National Photography Contest with FineArtAmerica.com. 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.
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.
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?
If you have any comments about this post or this contest, please send it my way. Thanks for the visit!
Posted by Michael Scott on February 18, 2015
Marketing 101 teaches that a well written Bio and Statement are essential for a successful career of any Artist. It doesn’t teach us that writing either might take us years and once written, the information is sure be out of date. It takes time to identify what inspires us and even more time to learn how to transform that inspiration into something tangible. Personally, I’m Eclectic to a fault and I find it very difficult to find the words to describe myself. Where do I begin my story and where do I end it? How do I write something that doesn’t make me feel as though I’m stuffing my aspirations into a metaphorical “box”?
Actually the “Box” is quite misunderstood. It can be a static and confining environment with a musty smell. A place where the living and the Divine simply do not belong. Yet if you add the right sized whole to the outer wall, the light of day streams through and creates a live reversed image on the opposite wall.
I’m not making this up. The concept of the Camera Obscura was first conceived by philosophers Mozi and Aristotle long before the Birth of Christ, as early as 470 BCE. In latin, Camera Obscura simply means “Dark Chamber”. By 1700 AD, some of these “chambers” were large rooms where the image outside was projected on to the wall. Some theories suggest that some of the master painters of the time actually traced and painted what was seen by the Camera.
My Bio and Statement should definitely include the fact that I became fascinated with photography at a very early age when I received a Kodak Brownie as a gift from my Parents. I knew right away that I wanted to be a photographer. In recent years, my passion for the photograph has morphed into a passion for drawing and painting. Occasionally I paint from real life, more often I paint from photo reference and more often than that, I paint from the enduring images that dance on the walls of my imagination. If I must live in a box, may it be a Camera Obscura.
Posted by Michael Scott on February 11, 2015
“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything” ~ Napoleon Hill
Once a week or so, I make the rounds in the realm of the Blogosphere, looking for everything that has to do with Imagination, Inspiration and Transformation. My queries are usually weighted toward the arts of Painting and Photography. I do read a lot of posts and I can tell you that something is in the water, or in the Air for that matter. An ever increasing number of painters are challenging themselves to produce 30 paintings in 30 days. Think of it as a diet where old heavy habits are eliminated and light and nimble habits are established, hopefully with lasting results. A lot of people are doing it, maybe I should as well.
It has also become apparent that the recently resurrected Plein-Air Painting Movement has staying power. A lot of painters are turning to the great outdoors for studio space and for inspiration, painting what they see with a naked eye and what they feel through unfiltered senses.
Most of of the daily painting challenges I read about are of the short term nature and occur within the comfortable confines of a studio where a controlled climate and reliable lighting can help a person meet their goals. After all, seasons change, lives evolve and weather is unpredictable. Keep it simple and don’t bite off more than you can chew, right? Apparently Plein-Air Painter Ted Garcia of Evergreen, Colorado didn’t get the memo. Ted has been making Daily Plein-Air Paintings for over five years now. In fact he has gone somewhat above and beyond, completing his 2014th painting in 2014. The results of Ted’s painting challenge are now on display under one very big roof. Ted Garcia’s 365X5 is likely the largest ever One Man Plein-Air Painting Show. We are waiting to hear from The Guiness Book of World Records on that one, seriously.
Currently, my Wife Tammy and I are creating a video spotlight for Ted Garcia, an Artist’s Profile if you will that I’ll be sharing in a week or two right here at Art Spirit Village. We think you will be just as inspired as we are by the Passion, Dedication and Perseverance of this Man. Stay Tuned! You can visit Ted on his website, TedGarcia.com and follow him on Facebook where he posts his new work every day.
Another Side Note: I only need a few more votes to push this old truck photo into the judging round of the national Fine Art America photo contest. Please take just a minute to click on the picture and throw me your vote. :) I’ll remember you when I’m famous!
Posted by Michael Scott on February 1, 2015
It always feels good to unveil a painting. A process of letting go of it and knowing its good enough, its finished. The ritual of photographing my work is always a celebration. For precision I’ll engage a tripod, a level and a measuring tape and then I’ll wait to position the painting in the best ambient light possible. The completion of this painting is extra special, significant in ways that its difficult to describe. I recently posted a picture of me at the easel working on this one and I think most people assumed that it was current, it was actually taken about a year ago. Despite the mass of canvas I was working on, it came together very quickly. I have more total hours in many paintings one tenth the size. It took a year to complete because of the events that took place in my life during that time. I’ll try to explain.
The year began with the purchase of a new home. We had been living in a tiny apartment for a year and it felt good to have more space for ourselves and for visits from family and friends. The wall of the long skinny living room begged for attention and a very big painting was born. For a long time, it was good enough unfinished to just warm the space up with light and color. It hung on the wall somewhat askew and strips of blue painters tape held the two canvas’ together.
Last June, my youngest daughter was preparing to get married and a Bridal Shower took place at our home. It turned out to be the first and last opportunity to bring my Dad to our house. He so much enjoyed being part of the celebration. While the Ladies sat at the dining room table, He and I sat in the living room eating finger foods and talking about life. Dad had really not seen much of my work in person before. He knew about my artistic ambitions and he more than anyone knew what I had given up to pursue them, but he had never felt the space that I create in. He stared at the big painting for the longest time, impressed by the details and the colors, he loved it. On a number of occasions during the following weeks he would ask me if I had finished the painting. Dad died on August 12th.
I procrastinated on finishing the painting for the longest time. I think I was fearful of painting over all of the love and warm memories that had attached themselves to its surface. This week, the finishing touches went on effortlessly in the end and the two pieces are now held together tightly by a border made of red oak. Well, what do you think Dad?
A side note to all of my readers. I’ve entered a few photographs in the national FineArtAmerica.com photo contest and I’m pushing one in particular just to make it to the judging round. If you would be so kind to look at my post titled “Three Inspiring Quotes About Thinking Big” and cast a vote my way for “Back In The Day”, I would be forever grateful.
Posted by Michael Scott on January 29, 2015
“Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive And Believe It Can Achieve” ~ Napoleon Hill
Chances are, you and I are kindred spirits in that we both have something great that we want to do with our lives. If so, we both understand what it is to dream big and we both know how quickly our confidence can be shaken. “What was I thinking?” are the words that the inner critic whispers in my head when fear and doubt sneak up on me. The words of Napoleon Hill have a way of echoing through space and time to reach me just when I need them the most. Three quotes that always inspire me to think BIG and Persevere are:
1. “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”
2. “The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm andhidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.”
3. “If the winds of fortune are temporarily blowing against you, remember that you can harness them and make them carry you toward your definite purpose, through the use of your imagination.”
Currently, I have a short term goal of getting 250 people to vote for this photo which will carry me to the judging round of Fine Art America’s National Photo Contest. It sounds so easy…its not. Of my three entries, “Back In The Day” is the one that I’m pushing. In any event, you my friend are my greatest chance to get one more vote. If you have the time and want to help me achieve a small goal in a great way, click on the truck photo and give me your vote. I’ll like you a thousand times over.:)