Inspirational Quotes Help to Keep Me Moving, to Inspire Me

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.  ~Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was one of the chief architects of our freedom here in the United States.  He was also one of the greatest sources of awesome quotes.  He never ceases to amaze me on how many great, inspiring, or just plain wise things he came up with and shared with the rest of us.

I think we all should read inspiring quotes daily by some of the most influential people in history.  There is a reason people have recorded their words for all posterity.  We should use these quotes to inspire, motivate, or just to keep us on the “straight and narrow,” or remind us that mistakes are human.

I’m not necessarily a feel-good kind of person, but wise is wise, and smart people are the best people from which to learn. Well, sometimes, dumb people are, too – but the smart people should be your first model.

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Make it a Drawing or Painting : You Are Not a Camera

So many people try to draw or paint and they stop because they can’t seem to get it to Hood River at Copper Damlook exactly like the photo or what they see in real life.  This is a major cause of why people abandoning drawing and painting do it.  You could say it’s a form of perfectionism, but I say it’s because they were never told that it’s okay to make it look like it was drawn, not snapped with a camera.

Take my photo of Hood River at Copper Dam, near the town of Hood River, Oregon.  This photo was taken on an uber-cloudy day, and it doesn’t have a whole lot of intrinsic light and color in it.  If I had shot for making the pastel drawing I did look like that, it would be a sad, lonesome place, and no one would want to look at it.

> Related Article: What is the Best Media for Drawing on Black Paper?

For my pastel drawing, though, I imagined the sun shining on the water and reflecting that through the trees, giving everything a sense of brightness.  It’s not how the photo looks, but I like it much better than that dismal scene.

Hood River pastel

Hood River pastel drawing

On a side note: for this drawing, I chose to do it on a piece of light green pastel paper (it has a good texture that “grabs” the pastels) to give it some earthy undertones and not be so glaringly white.  Let some of that green shine through and be as much a part of the drawing as the pastel.

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Still Life Painting with Apples and Developing Your Art Style

I think a still life painting can be one of the most boring things to look at in the art world.  Why?  Because a bowl of fruit is kind of boring to look at in real life.  Everyone has seen a bowl of fruit, not everyone has seen a photo of a crucifix in a glass of urine ***(if you are offended by an artist’s right to expression, don’t click on the link).

Okay, the last example is truly one of the most controversial in the artistic spectrum, I’d say.  A bowl of fruit is, well, not controversial.  It doesn’t tell a story, it doesn’t evoke an emotion (unless you want to evoke hunger).  It just lies there, on the table.

Despite this, I think a bowl of fruit is almost PIVOTAL to the art world.  Why?  It keeps an artist working, and it can be a serious means to sharpening one’s technical skills.  Painting and drawing are skills that should be honed – like a musician practices scales, a bowl of fruit still-life is a painter’s scales.

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Now, we can talk about art, and what constitutes art, ’til we’re blue in the face, but I truly believe that, as an artist, you NEED to always improve–and your technical and compositional skills should be on that list, in my humble opinion.

I wrote a post last week about needing to have creative heroes, and perhaps I should have added Picasso into the post (FYI, I think I will be adding more heroes as we go).  Do I enjoy Picasso?  I can’t say I always enjoy his style, but what I DO appreciate about Picasso is that he had solid technical and classical skills BEFORE he moved into exploring his style–his brand of art.  I specifically remember a pitcher of pears that he did.

I saw it when my lovely aunt took me to see a Picasso exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  As I looked at his work (I was a teen), trying hard to appreciate his expression, his motives, his style, his message, I found some of his earliest works and was amazed at how close to traditional artists’ stuff it was– and something clicked.

Picasso had mastered the skills and he had consciously moved into exploring his vehicle for expression.  He didn’t just draw weird because he couldn’t draw!  Wow, what a revelation that was to my teen mind.

picasso still life with pearsDon’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily think you or I need to MASTER our technical skills to explore our expression.  But, sometimes having skills helps you to fully understand that you are extending yourself past, and freeing yourself of it on a conscious level.  I think this is why it’s important to paint a bowl of fruit (how’s that for a long route to “paint an apple a day”).

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Painting Airbrushed Murals and Theatre Backdrops for Sets

Airbrushed Mural Theater Backdrop


Airbrushing murals and theater backdrops for plays is relatively easy when you know the basics of how to airbrush.  I learned to airbrush T-shirts, and then expanded it to temporary tattoos, then to airbrushing theatre sets.  It’s easy if you “block out” larger

Airbrushed Mural Theater Backdrop

Airbrushed Mural Theater Backdrop for “Cherry Orchard”

swatches of paint with a paint roller and regular latex housepaint.  The next step I do is lay in thicker details with an HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun
.  And finish the tighter detail work with airbrushes (like the Paasche VL, one of my favorite “workhorse” brushes). Now, don’t forget that, in order to spray with these methods, you’ll need a decent air compressor to supply a steady 20-40 psi stream of air and paint to the surface.

Airbrushed Mural Theater Backdrop

Full-size Airbrushed Mural Theater Backdrop

> Related Article: How I Learned to Airbrush

The efficiency of this method can take you from start to almost finished in a much quicker time than traditional brush painted mthods–for example, the mural shown in this post is from an Artists Repertory Theatre production of “The Cherry Orchard,” and I painted this (from start to this point) in about 4 hours.  Try THAT with a regular set of paint brushes!

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