Showing posts from 2016

What's your WORD for the New Year?

Recently I read a post by a FB friend who talked about choosing a word for her year. It spurred my thinking about this year and a word that I have focused on - creativity! And if you've been reading my blog this past year, you are familiar with some of the thoughts that word brought to mind!

But I began thinking about a word for the New Year and wondered how to choose. So many words came to mind that I thought would fit but which one was right for me? Here are a couple that I mulled over but didn't make the cut....declutter! Yep, that would fit me just fine since I have a tendency to "collect" things, so for a week I decluttered! But one can just do that for so, the next word that came to mind was....completion! And I won't go into the list of projects that I have labeled for completion in the next year but just making the list was tiring! I decided the best way to choose a word for the New Year was to allow the word to choose me and it did!


When A Painting Speaks

No, it's not during the painting process that I'm writing about today. on!

I have a wall across from the kitchen in my sitting room where the dining table resides against the wall. On the wall hangs a favorite painting that I feel has said all there is to say. Gradually over time, the painting begins to catch my attention with its, "hey there, look at me. I have something more to say."

After a month of hearing that nagging voice, I comply with its wishes and replace it with another finished work! Now it sits quietly in the corner by the door until I have time to do some repainting but I hear it humming every time I head to the studio and pass it by. Finally, I can ignore its voice no the studio...onto the easel today! I can hear its shout of pleasure as the paint flows across the surface. Not a total the change is subtle, but neverless, dramatic to the overall statement.

I hear a sigh of relief. The painting smiles back at …

Hurricane Season!

Today I'm on the schedule to work at ArtTrends Gallery...the weather has a hurricane heading across Florida in our direction but for the next few hours it's cloudy with rain falling occasionally. Tonight the winds and rain will pick up and I'll be tucked in at home hoping no trees come falling thru my roof!

Was thinking how storms in our art life often send us into hiding or at least seeking cover! What kind of storms you ask....well, how about the unexpected closing of a gallery where you have shown for a few years and have been successful with sales? or how about the gallery that calls and they want you to pick up your work due to lack of sales? or how about rejection from a show where you have won awards in years past? or how about rejection of a commission that you've worked on for months! I'm sure you can remember some other "storms" that have happened without warning at times in your art career.

Storms in our creative life happen....just like the ap…


Put you heart and soul into a painting! You are on a creative roll! You love the process and the outcome! Excitement builds just thinking about the sales to come! Red dots are manifested! Galleries will be knocking on your door this time!

Oh wow! is that a dream or reality? Often we set our hopes on a new technique, a new concept, a change from the old way of creating and what happens. The galleries are not's too this or too that. Friends are saying, What is it? Not your usual way of working....

and your confidence drops to a new low! You tell yourself "ignore what others think" but in the back of your mind you're asking, "are they right?" Oh my! Intimidation has struck a blow in your creativity.

First realize that galleries know their client needs and are not always willing to try a new approach. They may be filled to capacity and simply cannot take on a new artist. Follow their advice if offered and don't give up. Comments from others …

"Get Down To Work!"

A quote that has stuck with me recently....

“If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.” C.S. Lewis

I've thought about how to apply this to the challenge of being creative while the situation around you seems to be falling apart. "Just keep painting" seems to simple and "Just ignore the circumstance" is downright unrealistic. So what's the key? Lewis gives us a part of the key in his statement. "those who want knowledge so badly" badly do you want to become a better painter? How badly do you want to achieve your dreams? How badly do you want to step out of the box? I know everyone reading is thinking...yes! I want it!

Ah.....but then comes the second part of the key..."they seek it while the…


In the past couple of months, I've had two long distance drives. To Mississippi to deliver paintings for a show at the Corinth Art Gallery - thirty two paintings to be exact! I wasn't sure my Nissan Rogue would hold them all! And the return trip to bring unsold paintings home. While driving all those miles I had plenty of time to think about life, art, family, the world today and as I covered each topic in my mind - and often aloud - I found myself considering all that I had to be grateful for.

I've been accused of being somewhat of a "pollyanna" because I choose to look on the bright side of things instead of gloom and doom! But I personally feel that mindset comes from being grateful for the things in my life. I choose gratitude when others choose worry. And with art as a career there is always something to "worry" about!

When "worry" rears it's ugly head, I begin to list all the things I'm grateful for instead of all the things that…


In the past few weeks I've realized that as artists we face so many obstacles, not only in creating our works, but also with presenting those works to buyers or galleries or shows....the list goes on and on. So what is this new obstacle that I seem to have just come across?

Doubt! Not that I haven't experienced it before but this time it seems to have become one of the biggest roadblocks ever encountered. For example in my mind I hear...

Is this work really worth your time and energy?
Do you really think someone will be interested enough to purchase?
Do you really believe a gallery will want to represent these?
And what show will these even be accepted into?
Oh, that's just the cusp of the questions that filter thru my brain as I sit typing and watching the paintings across the room glaring at me. They too have questions!

What were you even thinking when you began this series?
Here we what?
Hope that you don't have those kinds of questions coming from your a…

Be Careful of Envy!

Linda Blondheim is a wonderful artist and friend who often shares her wisdom about being an artist with her followers on FaceBook. Today her post on envy really struck a cord with me and knowing that others often deal with this problem, I ask to share her thoughts with all of you. She graciously said yes.

Artists Be Careful of Envy (by Linda Blondheim)
As you make changes in your career path of painting methods or marketing, it is common to be unsure of the results. It is easy to become jealous of the success someone else may achieve on the path you left. I was guilty of this myself in my younger, hubris filled days. Many artists jump on various band wagons of seeming success to get publicity and to join the crowd. Sometimes it is wise to leave the wagon and go out on your own. Publicity doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t produce regular sales. If you really don’t enjoy the venues you are using, are they worth your time? Out time as a creative is precious. We should use it well and wisely…

A Double Blessing!

A brief lapse from the thread on creativity! And yet, it still has a lot to do with creating!

This past week I drove to Corinth Mississippi to join another longtime artist friend, Barbara Curlee, in a two women show of art at the Corinth Art Guild Gallery. Two things are important about this event. One, Barbara was my first art instructor. She more or less coerced me into taking a summer workshop she was teaching which awakened my creative desire to paint! So this show was a long awaited goal that we talked about many years ago.

Barbara and Me

And two, this was my 50th year having graduated from Alcorn Central High School which is located about 15 miles from Corinth. Since I could not juggle the schedule to attend the reunion dinner planned for later this month, many of my classmates came to the show reception to visit with me and to see my artwork! What a blessing!

50 years later and still BFF's!
I am amazed and thankful how art brought all of us together for such a fun weekend..…

Practice With Purpose

So you have a new exciting idea! A fresh look at an old subject? An abstract longing? And you're ready to tackle that blank canvas again....what's next?
What's your intent? I ask these questions in my last blog post...why do I want to paint this? How can I achieve this? What do I want to say? That takes me to the third step....creating!
SKILL! There are no shortcuts to achieving a skill level that enables the artist to bring an idea to  completion. However, achieving a great technique with one's medium is not the same as being creative. Skill gives confidence and needs constant practice.
Someone once told me to "practice with purpose". Try new things - play! Combine your skill with passion and creativity can't be held back.
Do you stick with the tried and true? or strike out in new directions? Do you always do it the same way? or are you willing to explore?
Hope that my thoughts have given you new ideas about your personal adventure with creativity!


Caught In A Rut?

Image you feel you're back on track and for a time it's clear sailing and then "it" happens. Yep, you find yourself in a rut! How does it feel? For me it's when I go to the studio and nothing seems to grab my attention. Painting subjects become repetitive. There's no communication with the canvas...just rote strokes of paint that get wiped away in frustration. Ever been there?

First, recognize what might be causing this feeling of futile creating....

Have your circumstances changed?
People trouble?
Money concerns?

I think you can see that almost life itself can effect our creativity. And while I can't solve all of the problems or concerns that you may be facing, I can give you some advice about how I pull myself out of the "rut". I look for new ideas! I asked myself "Why would I want to paint this?" or "What do I want to say in this painting?". Having an idea is just the first step...ques…

Don't Get Derailed!

Last post said "Don't Over Plan".....Today let's think about not getting derailed! Or how about sidetracked! and no, not speaking of trains...

How can we get derailed or sidetracked? Any of these sound familiar?

Other people? Do we tend to listen to other artists who offer advice or maybe family, friends? How often do we ask what someone thinks before we have reached our own destination in the painting?

Expect Perfection? Do we tend to have expectations for our art, our creative endeavors, before we have the experience. Someone once told me that he would take a look at my paintings "after" I'd completed a hundred more. Sounded like a put off at first but after the 50th, I began to see that the experience was actually causing me to improve on my own. Expecting perfection too soon can cause derailment!

Trying a new medium because someone else loves it?  I've been ask several times if I've ever tried encaustics and the answer is no. I love what oth…

What's Luck Got To Do With It?

Today's blog will be shorter than usual....I just heard a sigh of relief!

Don't other words, Don't stifle your creativity. Respond to the process - use good planning - not too much planning.

E. B. White said, "prepare to be lucky".

Be prepared to work at your art and accept "luck" when it happens!

Here's one of those paintings that began with a thought, a very loose plan, and somewhere along the way luck happened. Hope you enjoy viewing as much as I enjoyed painting.

Till next time....carly

"GO FISH" 24 x 36 mixed media Available at ArtTrends Gallery, Saint Simons Island, GA

Ideas For Paintings

I follow Robert Burridge's blog posts occasionally and one of the things he talks about is "what is the idea?" for the painting. Got me thinking about how I come up with ideas and recently did this exercise and shared it with a couple of my students.

On a piece of paper, write 20 things that you "see". You can stay in a room or go outside. Keep it simple...just record things that you see. 5 minutes.

Second step is to turn the paper over and on the other side write things that "interest" you. Take 20 minutes for this part. You may not even get to 20!

Now, what is the difference between the two lists. "Interests" come from within....touches a cord that you, the artist, can turn into an idea. I read recently that Ann Baldwin, well known mixed media artist, used Shakespeare as an idea for paintings for 3 years! Obviously a good idea that expanded her work!

What happens with good ideas? They open the artist within to new adventures, excites, makes yo…

Creative Thinking

Are you a distance painter? Middle ground? or more close focused? Do lines invade and define your shapes or does texture dominate? Are you obsessed with detail or find yourself longing for those loose abstract shapes? In comparing yourself to others, you invalidate your own creative approach. Accepting and understanding that you are unique and that all approaches to creating are valid, you will begin to see yourself in the art. The story you want to tell, the "why" of the painting, becomes more apparent.
Understanding my creative approach to painting helps in not doing what doesn't work for me too. I enjoy experimentation and research which also leads me to follow various approaches to painting. And at times have found that not all techniques or mediums are for me! In other words, if it doesn't resonate with your creative instincts, don't waste a lot of time chasing another rabbit down a hole. (Imagine a smiley here)
If you're new to painting, there is a world …

The Alone Practice

Art is an alone practice!

That does not mean that you should exclude painting with peers or occasional critique sessions. I often enjoy a day painting plein air with a small group and on occasion have dinner with a group of friends who bring paintings for critique. The encouragement and thoughts shared give me new ideas and directions to explore in the studio.

How do I handle the solitude of the studio?

First I sit and look around the work space and catalog projects mentally - as small as fill the water jugs to buy more 30 x 30 canvas. The list may be the same day to day but the importance of it is to clear away the distractions from the work of painting.

Then I sit quietly absorbing the white of the canvas or the unfinished painting allowing either to speak with its own voice. In the background of my mind are years of study, experience and failures (Yep....failures!) that guide me into creating. Ideas come out of this "aloneness" becoming companions.

Although "alone" i…

Distraction Substraction

Quite a tongue twister for a title! but what does it mean? How many distractions or what are the distractions that keep you from becoming the artist you are meant to be? This is just a list...not in any particular order! that I've found have often become more of a distraction in my life rather than an enhancement to my creative life. Recognize any in your own life?

1. Art Associations / Clubs / Societies

2. Social Life

3. Social Media

4. $$$ (shopping, etc.)

5. Errands

How do you know if something is a distraction? Can you live without it for a day, a week, a month! Taken in moderation all are good things but as a distraction from creating, any of these things can consume and drain!

I call the TV a "time thief"!

What can we do about distractions? Set goals for creating.... establish routines....and then  begin to say "no" to the "time thieves".

Let me know if some of my thought resonate with you! I enjoy hearing from my readers,

The Kim Sea Docked    …

Combat Fear With Rituals!

I bet that title caught your attention! Artists should know that the white canvas - or paper - or board - represents many things. Speaking personally, it's my ambition - my ideas - my passion - my needs - my goals - my memories - my body/mind - and yes, my fears.

We view fear as a negative. How? Ever use any of these comments on yourself?
 - My work is no good.
 - No one will like this!
 - I'll never get better...
 - It's just mediocre.
 - It will never sell.
 - It's all been done before....

How do rituals combat our fears? Story > As a child I always had to have a drink of water before bed. My ritual was...drink at the kitchen sink, then I had to be in bed by the count of 10 or the black leopard would get me! I could make it on 3 but would drag out the count til on 10 I was pulling the cover over my head! Safe! This ritual warded off all the fears of the night.

Rituals Today? Wash dishes at the sink by hand. Organize the closet. Clear the clutter from my desk!
How do …

Establish Rituals

Rituals....we all have them even if we are not aware! As I mentioned in a previous blog, my day begins with a ritual. Hot tea or coffee...most likely coffee. Then it's out to feed the cat and sit on my studio porch watching the sun sparkle thru the hanging moss. Next the studio. Even on days when I can't stay long enough to paint, the studio welcomes. In the evenings, I light a candle. It's the ritual that ends the day with a warm glow and enticing aroma. But what about "creative rituals"?

Music for some becomes a ritual. Someone told me recently that Bach gets them in the mood for painting. I usually begin the studio day with music but after awhile, silence is more conducive to creating.

Sit down and contemplate the days work to be done....make a ritual. The studio should not be a place to fear, but a place where you want to spend your time. What works for one artist isn't ideal for all. You have to personalize your rituals.

When I sit on the porch in the morni…

Habit or Routine?

Instead of the discipline of painting, I call it the "habit" of painting. So how do you get into the habit?

1.  Set goals.
2.  Get up and Show up!
3.  Artwork is work! (my bumper sticker)
4.  Routine! Let it become habit!

Some think that creativity is about imagination, a gift that only some receive. Routine can be seen as boring repetition...but it's actually skill building. It takes skill to bring to life those things that you imagine. We are not born with skill. That comes with study, practice, repetition.

Respect your abilities. Use them wisely and allow yourself the routine of creating.

River Flow is a painting from a scene that I return to "routinely". It never fells to inspire! Oil on 16 x 40 canvas

Be At Home!

Morning ritual....cup of coffee in hand I step ten paces to the studio porch. The door to the studio opens and once again I'm confronted by the need, the desire, my own admonishion to create.
Awaiting me is the blank stare of the white canvas.
Some find this moment daunting - so painful in fact - that flight is the only course! And if running isn't an option, some find that procrastination will work just as well. Think of all those chores, or just sit, take a nap, go shopping....lose one's self in a busy week! Sound familiar?
I am both humbled and blessed by that blank space. It is my job, my calling, and my passion. It challenges me with it's quiet, and therein is peace. As the first stroke of the brush caresses the canvas, I'm at home.
Be at home today with your creative challenge.

Brush of Yellow 36 x 36 mixed media on "a blank canvas"

Releasing The Negatives

How do friends and/or family effect you as an artist? Short story....
I began sketching seriously when I was about 10...really don't remember much artwork before that. My brothers laughed at my first rendition of our pet collie....but they were younger. The real pain came when my mother looked at my drawing and gave a negative comment. I allowed no one to see any sketches from that time until ten years later. My boss noticed a sketch of sunflowers on my desk and wanted everyone to see "what a great artist they had working there"...his words, not mine.
Hearing that positive comment changed my attitude toward my drawings completely. However, even today, I'm nervous to show my artwork to someone close to me, but I've also learned to accept a negative the same as an accolade! "Thank you, I appreciate your comments." 
Another way to release the negatives is to "paint them out". That's my term for pouring those hidden emotions into art that speaks l…