Friday, February 26, 2010

Art in the 21st Century

Despite my near addiction to PBS channels, I have somehow managed to miss most episodes of their great series, Art:21 Art in the 21st Century. The good news, I just found out, is that the entire series is available through Netflix. You can even watch episodes instantly on your computer screen. (They also have Simon Schama's excellent series, The Power of Art, another fav.)

If you go for Episode 1, you'll get to hear photographer Sally Mann make this fantastic statement about art: If it doesn't have ambiguity, don't bother.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Respect

As of yesterday, I have a new respect for all you non-representational artists out there. It's a lot harder than it looks to design and create a truly interesting, engaging painting out of pure imagination. I learned this by trying to do it myself. On a very large canvas. I'm now heading to the art supply store (in a snow storm, no less!) to buy a very large jar of gesso and a few more tubes of paint. My next attempt will be much simpler.

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Book

Looking for some solid advice on developing yourself as an artist? My friend Sam Adoquei has just published a new book called How Successful Artists Study. Sam is a fantastic painter and teacher, with a long and successful career in both areas. His book is full of insightful, thought-provoking advice for artists of all levels on how to move forward as professional artists. Some of the topics he covers include the stages of artistic development, finding a mentor, drawing, color, style, taste, and so much more. It's also loaded with dozens of wonderful paintings by Sam and many other contemporary and historical masters. I recommend adding this book to your art library by contacting Sam directly through his website ( or ordering from Amazon.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How Do You Make Your Art Personal?

I had a really interesting conversation with my dear friend and art guru Tina last night, which brought up a lot of questions in my mind. We were talking about the qualities that make some works of art feel really personal, as if they came right from the artist's heart. What are those qualities? When I think of the pieces that move me the most, it's rarely the degree of realism or the technical proficiency demonstrated by the artist. But what are those elusive qualities?

This brought us to another point of discussion: What questions should an artist ask herself or himself while painting, especially when finishing a painting, that will make the work truly personal and meaningful? Obviously, the questions What did I want to say with this? and Have I effectively said it? must be asked. But what else?

I'm curious to hear your ideas!!