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.

 

What If

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“Drawn By Fire”

From time to time my inner critic screams at me “Where is your focus Man? Don’t you know that a jack of all trade is a master of none?”. He has a point. I do have a tendency to be overly eclectic in my pursuits and I agree that in some ways life might be easier had I narrowed the field. The thing is that over and over again the words “WHAT IF” pop into my brain and I must drop what I’m doing and listen to the words that follow. What if I leave behind the safety of that solid career to try to build a new business from the ground up? That was a big one! What if I create videos that showcase the beauty of nature? What if those videos can promote tourism and the arts or sell real estate? What if I follow my childhood dream of being a photographer? What if I pick up a brush and move some paint around to see what happens? What if I use this time that I’m coping with illness to paint full moon winter scenes with cabins and skiers and full moons? WHAT IF? WHAT IF? WHAT IF?

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The truth is that listening to the “what if’s” can and will result in spinning wheels. You may be led down a few dead end paths and at times you may feel completely stranded but if you just keep the wheels moving eventually you will find traction. If you keep the wheels moving you will find yourself on a path to completeness that never would have been found had you played it safe. Don’t ever forget that “Every Brilliant Idea begins with ‘What If’”

 

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“Two Steps Forward”

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“Fetching Water”

 

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My Wall In The Denver Art District at Grace Gallery

 

Show And Tell

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The older one gets, the faster time seems to move. Do we all agree? Holy Cow It’s mid-October and I find myself refusing to believe that the autumn leaves are really falling to the ground. Where did those long summer days go?

I’ve been a busy boy. After returning from the annual late summer sojourn to the great northwest, I’ve been working around the clock to prepare for my first ever outdoor art festival. I completely underestimated the amount of time and energy that would be involved in purchasing and outfitting a show tent with marketable photography prints. Finally with a successful show behind me I have a chance to do some show and tell.

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The show was a complete success and the response to my work was overwhelmingly positive. I’ve been marketing my photography commercially and online for a number of years and it is super exciting to now have a tangible show space as well. I’m already beginning the process of establishing a show schedule for next summer. Michael Scott Studio is born.

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Necessity is the Mother of Invention! For me, the biggest challenge of the preparation process was to design and produce a framing system for my work printed on metal. I’ve had success in the past creating a wooden backboard on which the metal prints are mounted and they look great. The problem with the backboards is that they are heavy and therefor difficult to hang and expensive to ship. The answer came after a number of prototypes in the form of a lightweight solid wood shadow box . I’m now building these pieces by hand and on demand and I love the way they complete the art. What do you think?

 

Two Steps Forward

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The old saying “two steps forward and one step back” is a go-to mantra that often comforts me.  It reminds me that nothing worthwhile comes easily.  It is a way of verbalizing my intention to keep trying even when I grow tired of setbacks.

I can’t express enough how much joy painting is bringing me these days.  It is giving me a reason get up in the morning and push through the physical pain that I’m currently burdened with.  Without a strong desire to create art my forward movement would have surely ceased weeks or months ago.  Instead I am kicking and gliding like the two skiers in my painting, already thinking of the adventures to come.

Happy Friday!

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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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Monday Mantra ~ #43

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Well I blew it!  For 42 consecutive weeks I managed to post a Mantra each Monday without fail.  This week, I find myself trying to cover my tracks late on a Tuesday evening.  This is the season of travel and photography for me and I have come to realize that this will not be the last time that I’ll miss the deadline.  The good news is I’m going to have some really good work to share in the coming weeks and months.

I’m about to embark on what is becoming an annual sojourn to the great Northwest.  Images of Waterfalls, rainforests, beaches and mountains will soon fill my memory cards.  September and October will likely lead me into the mountains of Colorado to capture fall foliage and when all the leaves have fallen in Colorado I’ll head to the desert in Utah to catch the season’s last gasp.

Have a great week!