Thoughts of A Sociable Artist
Sociable Art - Creativity is contagious - pass it on!
Thoughts of A Sociable Artist

the Lure of Getting Lost

"I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks." Daniel Boone

"I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because the journey back always reveals something new, and that is ultimately good for the artist". Billy Joel

I grew up in a small town in Ohio – a picturesque postcard kind of place with historic buildings lining Main Street and a waterfall running under the bridge.  The local paper reported on criminal activity involving the theft of Halloween pumpkins and the bitter controversy over the architectural plans for the new post office.

How to Climb a Tree

"One of the best ways to see tree flowers is to climb one of the tallest trees and to get into close, tingling touch with them, and then look broad." John Muir

"With ideas it is like with dizzy heights you climb: At first they cause you discomfort and you are anxious to get down, distrustful of your own powers; but soon the remoteness of the turmoil of life and the inspiring influence of the altitude calm your blood; your step gets firm and sure and you begin to look" - for dizzier heights.

Painting Stardust

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
― Carl SaganCosmos

Have you had one of those moments where you are witness to a scene of such beauty, a moment of such striking clarity and significance, that you want to capture it to revisit for a lifetime?  

Once I was on a ranch in Colorado miles from the nearest town in early winter for cross country skiing.

8 Tips for Painting a Floral like Van Gogh

"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

"It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent." Vincent Van Gogh

Do you love the loose style, the bright colors, the vibrance and movement of Vincent Van Gogh's Impressionist style paintings?  Are you interested in replicating the style on your own?  I'd like to share a few tips to help you to translate the passion, urgency, and emotionally charged composition of a Van Gogh floral into your own style on your own personal canvas.

In Appreciation of Clouds

“When we look up, it widens our horizons. we see what a little speck we are in the universe, so insignificant, and we all take ourselves so seriously, but in the sky, there are no boundaries. No differences of caste or religion or race.” 
― Julia GregsonEast of the Sun
"Rows and flows of angel hair, 
And ice cream castles in the air, And feather canyons everywhere.  I've looked at clouds that way."- Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now

When my son was young, we spent a lot of time looking up at the sky.

Jump in the Water, Moving Forward Courageously

"Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall." 
- Ray Bradbury
 "We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen." 
-Paulo Coelho

A couple of weeks ago, I started out on what was meant to be a very reasonable ten mile trail run in the North Carolina mountains with five other running friends.  There were a few factors I didn't take into consideration. First, our event organizer, an Army veteran, had a reputation for memorable "adventure runs".

Burn it Down

I recently took a hike through the Linville Gorge Wilderness in an area that had recently experienced a forest fire.  The fact that hundreds of acres burned leaving a charred landscape may have kept away those seeking natural beauty, but to my surprise, the devastation of the fire cleared the way for wildflowers to bloom in the areas now open to the sun.  The path was bordered by purple irises, dwarf crested iris, pink trillium, hepatica, larkspur, lady slipper orchids. The backdrop of burned debris made them all the more stunning.

Creating a Community Circle Mural

We can begin by doing small things at the local level, like planting community gardens or looking out for our neighbors. That is how change takes place in living systems, not from above but from within, from many local actions occurring simultaneously. 
-- Grace Lee Boggs

This Sunday, April 9, I'm inviting you to come to theDowntown 
Cary Food & Flea to grab a circle of plain, white paper and draw or paint whatever design comes into your mind.  The circles will then be added to my large

Staying Within The Lines

"Of course, coloring within the lines compared to, say, painting a blank canvas is mostly simple decision-making — choosing which color goes best where, with relatively little skill involved. Our prefrontal cortex is responsible for coordinating thousands of decisions each day, from which socks we should wear to life-altering relationship and career choices. As an unconscious response to this so-called daily “decision fatigue,” making a series of small, inconsequential decisions (teal or mahogany for this squiggly line?

How to Find a Four Leaf Clover

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."

"I find luck, because I'm always looking for it."

How do you find a four leaf clover?  You look.  Sorry if you were looking for a more elaborate answer.  If this answer does not satisfy you, try readingthis article on scientific ways to increase your luck.

I found the four leaf clover in the picture this past Saturday as I was walking my dog along a busy four lane road.

The Lure of Abandoned Places

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools, singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
-Sara Teasdale

What to Do When You Know You Should But You Can't

“Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.” ― Albert Camus
“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.” 

Love Letters

"The word that is heard perishes, but the letter that is written remains." - Anon

Valentine's Day seems like an appropriate time to remind you of two things, people cannot read your mind no matter how well they know you, and you should never take the important people in your life for granted. Valentine's Day gives you the perfect reason to express your feelings. Forget running to the greeting card aisle at the corner drug store to search through cards filled with generic sentiment.

Becoming Weightless

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” 
― Leonardo da Vinci
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” 
“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” 
― Toni MorrisonSong of Solomon

When I was in Vegas last month I saw a Cirque de Soleil show and watched as acrobats soared through the air over my head on trapezes.

Courage and Admiration in Las Vegas

“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.” 
― Hunter S. ThompsonFear and Loathing in Las Vegas
“Buy the ticket, take the ride.” 
― Hunter S. ThompsonFear and Loathing in Las Vegas
"Bees blew like cake-crumbs through the golden air, white butterflies like sugared wafers, and when it wasn't raining a diamond dust took over which veiled and yet magnified all things" 

Hand Painted Murals vs. Computer Generated Wallpaper Murals and Wall Clings

I must admit that every time I see an ad for computer generated wall art pop up on my computer screen, my heart tightens a little.  I cringe and worry. These businesses specialize in mass produced wall clings and printed wallpaper murals, and they are making it more difficult for independent artists to make ends meet and stay in business.  Their ad pop ups nag me everywhere I go on the internet.   My advertising is almost all word of mouth.  It's hard to compete with them.

You Can't Draw a Circle

"I can't draw a circle."  - an anonymous guest at one of my events

I began my instruction at one of my recent art events by making a simple request - "Draw a circle".  One guest looked at me in utter exasperation and said, "I can't draw a circle". She then firmly set aside her pencil and looked at her sheet of paper with an expression of utter defeat. She was done. She left the class 5 minutes later.   

I must admit that at first I was dismayed by her attitude, her lack of confidence in her ability, and her refusal to make an effort.

Grow Business by Planting Seeds

Grow Business by Planting Seeds

Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream. Debby Boone

From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow. Aeschylus

There is a bumper crop of acorns this year.  Every corner of my yard is filled with heaps of brown nuts.  My neighbor hates it.  I see her in her yard daily muttering to herself, shaking her head, and trying to scoop them up into trash bins. I like the sound of them plunking to the ground from the high branches of the oak every time the wind blows.

The War of Art

"An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one."  Charles Horton Cooley

I am in the process of gathering all of my blog posts into book form, and I was trying to think of a title for the collection.  I am considering calling it,The War of Art, as a play on words on the ancient Chinese military book,The Art of Warby Sun Tzu, which discusses military tactics and strategy.  This book has influenced businessmen, lawyers, and the military alike over the years, and, let's face it, choosing to pursue art as a business is a bit like voluntarily going to war.

Finding Art in The Woods

"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."
- Khalil Gibran
When I was young, our parents used to shoo us out of doors to play for hours on end.  I would explore the yard and nearby forest through all four seasons, collecting shiny golden brown acorns with jaunty caps, fresh green Spring tree buds, fallen blossoms wet with dew, seed pods to open like fortune cookies, and other gifts from Mother Nature to stock my "store".
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