Three Things To Consider Before Quitting Your Blog

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Writer’s Block is the culprit.  Over the past months I’ve learned, accomplished and experienced so much yet I’ve struggled to get myself to this place where my fingers are once again typing a blog post.  I’ve even considered giving up on the whole wordpress thing as life has evolved but in doing so I would be erasing seven years of this journey, 186 posts to be exact.  In some ways I wonder if it would be a good thing to light an imaginary smudge stick and let the smoke envelope my ramblings.  In so many other ways I am comforted to know that there is a chronicle of my slip into creative madness, a journal of sorts that my kids and my grandkids can use to avoid the pitfalls of the same condition unless of course they are also compelled to be Artists.  

You may also find yourself at a junction where you are considering giving up your blog.  If it has anything to do with something that you enjoy and are passionate about I offer you three things to consider before walking away.

  1. Before quitting be sure to ask yourself why you chose to start it in the first place.  If your dreams and passions have changed then by all means burn the bridge and move forward but if you still hold close the same hopes and desires as you did then wouldn’t it make more sense to keep at it?
  2. Just because you blog has underperformed in the past doesn’t mean that it can’t be an important cog in the wheel in the future.  Look for ways to make it fresh, alive and more convenient to add to.  When was the last time you changed your banner, your bio or page theme?  If your long winded posts don’t seem to be getting traction, look for  ways to abbreviate them.  Likewise, if the short one liners with a picture aren’t engaging your audience consider posting more substance, less often.  When was the last time you checked to make sure your links to your other websites and social media are current?  Chances are that if you give your blog some TLC, it will in return make a difference. 
  3. If you have any followers at all chances are there are some who have been touched or encouraged by your outreach.  They notice when you don’t post and wonder what became of you.  Some will assume that you have given up on your dream and in some way that may take the wind out of their sails.  Giving up on your blog also means giving up on those contacts.
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Recent Paintings at The Gallery

Seven Truths About Being an Artist

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“All About The Journey” (24×24) Acrylic on Canvas (12/2017)

To be an artist is to know what it is to be terrified and thrilled about what you do all at the same time.

To be an artist is to understand that every time we share a tangible form of our creative expressions we risk being judged and ridiculed.

To be an artist is to know that the sting of another’s criticism pales in comparison to the bite of our own.

To be an artist is to understand that embarrassments are temporary and dreams are relentless.

To be an artist is to comprehend that continuing on with our quest is not an option, it is something that must be done.

To be an artist is to know first hand how good it feels to grab a thought from the universe, work with it until it materializes then release it back into the universe. .

To be an artist is to understand that we no longer strive for a destination, we simply accept that the journey is what it is all about.

If you like this one please watch the Two Minute Video to see how I did it.  The original painting and giclee prints are available in my Etsy Shop.

 

Finding Balance Through Art

 

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During the winter of 2011 I found myself out of work for the first time in my adult life. Cabin bound at our remote home in the high mountains of Colorado I spent endless hours teaching myself how to paint with oils. By Spring I had completed a dozen or so pieces that I referred to as a “Full Moon Winter Adventure Series” At first my palette was limited to Paynes Grey, Titanium White and Liquin with which I concocted compositions in shades of grey. Images of mountain settings, log cabins, skiers and skaters seemed to flow from life experience and imagination with absolutely no visual reference. As the series progressed I added Cerulean Blue to better represent the atmospheric colors of a full moon winter night as well as a primary reds and yellows to represent firelight. At the time I was quite pleased with the outcome. I had leveled up as a painter; made great improvements over my earlier attempts at painting.

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“Finding Balance” 18″x24″ Oil on Canvas (2011)

I now find myself being forced to take time off from my business for health reasons. My battle with a painful autoimmune disease, Polymyalgia Rheumatica has once again left me house bound through an entire winter and once again I am striving to level up as a painter. Fifteen pieces later, I’ve completed a series that I call the “Super-moon Winter Adventure Series”. This time however, I’m using top shelf acrylics and lots of colors and I’m having a blast. I’m also experimenting with wood panels and painting board in addition to canvas. The verdict is still out on which support I prefer.

For reasons that I can’t describe, these compositions just seem incomplete without the inclusion of people. I guess I don’t really buy in to the idea that an image can be adventurous without an adventurer. My male figures often closely resemble me or at least the me of my minds eye, even if I set out to draw a human shape that is entirely different. Ooops..I did it again..that guy looks a lot like me.

Back in 2011, I painted a lonely ice skater gliding over a frozen pond and I titled it “Finding Balance”. Once again I’m compelled to compose adventurous ice skating scenes and I’ve included two of the new pieces for comparison. I’ve been so busy painting that as of yet I haven’t titled them. As always, I welcome critique and comment.

In my next post I’ll show more from the Super-moon Series and I’ll talk about a surprising way that I’m using photography to paint better. Until then take care and remember that Art Is Therapy.

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Healing With Art

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“This is no place for wimps” declared my Father as he coped with the final stages of Parkinson’s Disease. It was a mantra that would be repeated often between us, a go-to phrase that seemed to take the edge off. It was an attitude that had enabled him to adjust to a new normal as the physical casualties mounted. Up until the day he died, he managed to focus on the things that he could do rather than the things that he could not.

Just last summer I was celebrating a major life accomplishment. My photography/video production business had finally become self sustaining and I was ecstatic to be doing what I loved. The long daylight hours meant more time to squeeze in more images and I loved every minute of it but I also began to notice that my energy level was dropping and I began to feel body pains that I hadn’t felt before. By Fall, around the time of my last blog post the pain and stiffness in my muscles was so severe that I could barely walk much less lift a camera to eye level. Soon thereafter I was diagnosed with a debilitating auto immune disease known as Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

I’m not going to be the old me again anytime soon. Best case scenario is that the disease will go into remission within a year or two. In the meantime I’ve being forced to recon with a new normal that I didn’t anticipate. This is no place for wimps! Healthy daily doses of a corticosteroid are now keeping me mobile but not without continued physical challenges associated with systemic inflammation and side effects from the drugs. I’ll spare you greater details of my struggles and get straight to the point of this post.

Just like my Dad did, I’m being forced to focus on the things that I can do. At first the creative void seemed bottomless and I moped about drinking cocktails of self pity mixed with overdoses of political television, a deadly combination. After about a month of that nonsense I forced myself to pick up a paint brush and I haven’t set it aside since. I’ve learned that healing is a powerful byproduct of the act of creating art. My depression has been replaced with a calm knowing that my journey as an artist is continuing just as it was meant to. While painting I’ve learned that I can reach a meditative state that pushes physical and emotional pain to the background.

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I’m very excited to begin sharing my new artwork on a regular basis and it is my hope that someone out there might be inspired by me to embrace the healing aspects of creating art just as I have. As always, I welcome your comments and I hope that you might share your own stories about how art has helped you heal.

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The Fine Art Of Healing

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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.

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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

Mamas, Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Artists!

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
Everywhere

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)

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Artist Albino Perez Yojcom at San Juan (Lake Atitlan)

My World Is A Camera Obscura

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Tiny Planet Photo – recent sunset

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.

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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.

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photo courtesy WikiMedia Commons

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.

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photo courtesy WikiMedia Commons

Featured Artist Ted Garcia: His 365×5 Journey

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything” ~ Napoleon Hill

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Our short video profiling artist Ted Garcia – From the Cutting Room Floor

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.

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Daily Paintings by Ted Garcia. Looks like one sold 🙂

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.

Ted Garcia Gallery

Largest One Man Plein-Air show – 365X5

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.

One Man Show Daily Paintings for five years

Visit the Artist at the Aspen Grove Shopping Center in Littleton, Co. or at his website http://www.tedgarcia.com

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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!

"Back In The Day"

“Back In The Day” –Please click on the photo and give me your vote!

Larger Than Life

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“Larger Than Life” (36″ x 96″) Acrylic on Canvas

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.

Happy with the progress - a year ago

Happy with the progress – a year ago

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.

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A Grandfather’s Advise

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Unfinished painting hangs on the wall

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?

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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.