Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The latest . . .

One of the great things about teaching at DaVinci Academy is that I get two weeks off for Winter Break.  Normally I would spend that time trying to relax a bit, but not this year.  This year, I'm playing catch-up.  In late October, my wife and I traveled to China for two weeks to complete the adoption a little girl.  The adoption process has been a wonderful experience for us, but obviously, it requires great amounts of time and energy.  So, this week, I'm taking advantage of any free time to work on Julie Wright's and my book, Hazzardous Universe.  In fact, I've been drawing aliens and teenagers like a mad man with the hope and intention of completing the art by the end of the week.  The book is entering the final editing stage and is planned for release in March 2011.  It's exciting to see it take shape.  The cover art is complete and I'm working on 29 black & white interior illustrations.  I'll post a couple sneak peeks as soon as I can.

In the mean time, here's an illustration I did a little while back for Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show.  It's for a story called "The Vicksburg Dead" by Jens Rushing. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Playing with Abstraction

Here's a digital illustration I did a while back for Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show.  As I drew it, I became very interested in vertical and horizontal lines and the shapes these created around the figures.  It became a sort of game in which I tried to create a realistic painting based on a more abstract composition.  Tonight I took it step further and quickly rendered the painting as a complete abstraction.  What do you think?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Isolation, revised

This is a digital painting I did several years ago for my friend, Darwin Garrison.  It's based on one of his short stories, entitled Kyrie's Gauntlet.  I happened to take a look at it the other day ended up tinkering with it in photoshop.  I made just a few minor changes.  In particular, I added a hint of green cloud forms behind Kyrie.  I think the complementary colors of the cloud and the red jumpsuit help create greater emphasis and energy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Troubled Angel, Oil, 15"x30"

I snuck in a little painting time here and there between other projects and finally have this one close to a finish . . . or in other words, I better stop before I completely ruin it.  I've enjoyed working with black and white and examining the power of values.  I've also incorporated a lot of texture into this one, most of which isn't very evident in the photo.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A "Perceptual" Approach to Teaching the Visual Arts

photo by Hipnos
In Utah, the state's Office of Education provides two "goals" to direct how and what visual art teachers present in their classrooms.  These are "creating meaning in works of art" and "perceiving meaning in works of art."  These goals are then broken down into four "standards," namely Making, Perceiving, Expressing, and Contextualizing.  These standards are intended to "guide the student toward a deep and holistic comprehension of the Visual Arts."  (See Utah Arts Core.)

Unfortunately, Utah's visual art standards are inadequate.  While they may help students to express themselves and make cultural connections, they fail to demonstrate sufficient awareness of the skills required to create meaningful works of art and do not provide enough guidance for educators. It is this lack of structure that contributes to the devaluation of the arts in schools and is the primary reason that the arts are one of the first programs to be cut when funding is limited.

Something needs to change.

I've spent the past several months considering which standards I believe should guide the visual art classroom.  This has resulted in the following four guiding principles: Perception, Knowledge, Mastery, and Creativity.   I call it a "Perceptual" approach to teaching the visual arts, and it is based on precepts taught by Leonardo da Vinci, who stated that "all our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions."  It emphasizes visual intelligence and technical skills at younger ages and provides opportunities for greater creativity as students mature.

Following is a brief summary of this Perceptual Approach:


Above all, an artist must develop the ability to “perceive” the world around him, which is to gain an awareness of nature through the senses, primarily the eyes.  Perceiving is shaped by preconceptions and biases, so it becomes necessary for the art teacher to instruct the student how to perceive accurately.  Perceptual ability can be simplified into palatable concepts (which I simply call Percepts) that should be emphasized in lesson plans.  These Percepts include the "elements" of art, such as line, value, and color, as well as many more advanced concepts, especially the "behavior" of light and complex visual-spatial relationships .  An extensive, but open-ended list of perceptions should be developed and provided to art educators.

(Note:  "Perception" as used in Utah State's core standards refers to the ability to criticize and evaluate works of art and does not refer to the student's awareness of nature.  This marks a sharp difference between the State's approach to the visual arts and a Perceptual Approach.)


As the artist becomes aware of nature, the door is opened for inquiry and learning. This Standard emphasizes that students should take time to contemplate that which has been perceived. Questions are asked and answers are discovered through inquiry, experience, and reason.  In turn, as one gains greater knowledge of an object or concept, she becomes better able to perceive greater details and gain deeper knowledge.  Therefore, it is the responsibility of the art teacher to pass knowledge (Menes) on to her students and to provide opportunity for contemplation and inquiry so that the student might interpret and adapt the knowledge to their own experiences.


Mastery is the ability of the artist to render his perceptions successfully in his desired medium. Mastery is obtained through practice.  It is the development of technique through imitation, rehearsal, and trial and error.  Without mastery, the student lacks the ability to express that which he perceives.


Creativity is often misunderstood by both students and teachers alike.  Frequently, creativity is mistaken for "self-expression."  Students often complain that a particular art lesson "stifles" their creativity because it requires them to draw or paint a way to which they are not accustomed and does not allow them to complete the work the way they want.  But in truth, the student who limits his perceptions, knowledge, or techniques actually lacks the ability to be creative. For example, an artist who has entirely practiced abstract painting techniques may one day wish to paint a realistic human figure, but would lack the ability to do so.  The artist must then seek knowledge and mastery of new techniques in order to accomplish this new goal.

Creativity is the culmination of choices that an artist makes in producing a work of art, therefore the artist who is capable of the most choices has the greatest creative advantage.  An art teacher should structure lessons so that students first take a disciplined approach to developing Perceptions, Knowledge, and Mastery, and then provide opportunities for the student to use those abilities in  unique and personal ways.

I propose this now, not because I think it is the best or only solution, but with the challenge of discussion and debate, and the possibility of advancing the arts in education.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Over-Confidence vs. Self-Deprecation

Hasty Thoughts:  Creativity requires confidence and courage.  You have to believe in your ideas or you'll never invest the time and effort that is required to see them through.  With that said, let me add that you must also be willing to accept criticism and perhaps even doubt ideas, just a bit.  Often it's in those moments when someone questions your ideas and forces you to rethink your views that you discover a better solution. The challenge is to be open to new ideas.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hazzardous Universe Art Update

I submitted three concepts for the cover of The Hazzardous Universe today.  I'm anxious to get feedback from Covenant and to start painting.  Julie and I are still on track for release in early February 2011.  The book is going through final edits while I'm working on the cover art, 39 full-page illustrations, and numerous spot illustrations.  The next couple of months are going to be busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Hazzardous Universe Update

I've been looking forward to today for a couple of months . . . actually years.  This afternoon, I'm heading to Covenant Communications to meet with the designers to discuss the cover art for Hazzardous Universe.  After that, Julie and I are meeting with our editor, Kirk Shaw, to discuss the interior illustrations.  Then it's draw, draw, draw in order to wrap up the book for a February 2011 publication.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Good, Better, Creative!

I discovered Cuponk today while shopping.  In its simplest form, it's a game where you try to land your ping-pong ball in a cup.  The trickier the shot, the better.  The basic game has been around for years, but it took some clever people at Hasbro to redesign, repackage, and market it as Cuponk.  For about $13, you get a couple of ping-pong balls, some trick cards, and a fancy cup with lights and cool graphics.  I have to admit, I considered buying it.  But then I had a better thought.  I walked over to the sports area and found a box of 36 ping-pong balls for $8.86.  I bought that instead.  I already had a plastic cup at home, and I figured my kids would have more fun designing and painting their own ping-pong balls.  And guess what . . . I was right.  We've spent the last hour sitting around painting ping-pong balls with magic markers and water color paints, which both worked fabulously.  I then sprayed them with a clear acrylic coat to protect the paintings.  And now . . . Let the games begin.

Here are some sample "designer" ping-pong balls, just to give you an idea of what you can do.

photo credits:  dzingeek
One more thought:  I'm considering using this game at school as a filler project.  I think it would be fun to design balls and then trade them or try to win your opponents ball in a bit of friendly competition.  With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless.  :)

Okay, ONE more thought . . . my last, I promise:  I just found a pack of 144 balls for $11.69 from Amazon.  I'm ordering that right now.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Problem With Education

photo credit: foundphotosl
In order to graduate from high school in Utah, a student must have 24 credits, 18 of which are "core" class requirements.  The course requirements are as follows:  4.0 credits of Language Arts, 3.0 credits of Math, 3.0 credits of science, 2.5 credits of Social Studies, 2.0 credits in Physical Education, and 3.5 credits in Directed Coursework (which includes 1.5 credits in the Arts).  The additional six credits are "electives."  

Utah gubernatorial candidate, Peter Corroon, would like to change that.  He has proposed adding another year of math and reducing electives.  Students would be required to have 22 credits in "core" subjects.  He suggests that his plan will make graduates more employable.  And I have to admit, he may be right . . . if you're looking to hire a mathematician.  Unfortunately, Corroon fails to realize that what education needs today is greater diversity, not a one-size-fits-all solution.  

I do agree with Corroon that there's room for improvement in our math and science programs.  If you study the greatest periods of human advancement (i.e. Ancient Egypt, Classic Greece, Renaissance Italy, The Age of Enlightment, etc.) you'll see that math and science were highly valued by the cultures of the time.  But you'll notice something else . . . art was also of great and perhaps equal value.  If we take a lesson from history, we'll see it's important to diversify education. 

Let's consider, for a moment, Renaissance Italy of the 1400s.  Here we find an explosion of growth and creativity in the arts and sciences, as well as many other disciplines.  There are many possible reasons for this, but one primary cause was the philosophy of Humanism, or the belief that humans have limitless potential for advancement.  This idea sparked a thirst for learning and creativity in all areas of knowledge.  As Leon Battista Alberti (1404 - 1472) put it, "a man can do all things if he will."  The Renaissance became a time of polymaths, or people who were experts in many skill areas.  The most famous polymath is Leonardo da Vinci.  He exemplifies what I consider a "well-educated" person with a broad repertoire of profound skills.  Truly, the Renaissance was a testament of the potential of humans to learn and advance. 

Today, you could argue that things are different, that in our "tech-driven" society workers need to be more specialized and there's no need for polymaths.  And there's some truth to that . . . on an individual basis.  Statistics do show that the more education you have, the more specialized you become, and the more likely you are to be employed.  However, from a sociological perspective, I believe it's dangerous to funnel all of our students into mathematics and science.  I believe the idea of the polymath--ideal yet unrealistic for all individuals--is absolutely applicable and necessary for all societies and civilizations.  It's akin to the theory of evolution, which suggests that the more diverse the gene pool, the more likely a species will adapt and survive.  In a similar fashion, the more diverse the talent pool, the more likely we will see the development of meaningful ideas and products, and the more likely our economy will grow and our societies advance.

It seems to me that the best solution for fixing education is not to force students to take more math and science, but to provide greater opportunities for specialization in a wider range of areas while still in high school.  We need to help our youth discover their talents sooner and to develop them to the fullest.  They say it takes a good 10 years to master a talent.  Let's give our youth a head start.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

DaVinci Academy Art Department

As you may know, I teach visual art at DaVinci Academy in Ogden, Utah.  I love it.  I get to teach some of the most talented youth . . . ever.  Many of my students are leaps-and-bounds ahead of where I was when I was their age.  Their potential is amazing.  They are driven, they have something to say, and they are creative.    These are kids who have faced more than their fair share of challenges, and yet, they are still moving forward and excelling.  Art is how they learn, how they express, and how they live. 

Unfortunately, art is one of the most difficult programs to adequately fund.  The cost of art supplies quickly add up and the ability to produce meaningful projects is greatly limited.  And, with the economy crunch, this year is already looking tight.  That's why we are launching the DaVinci Academy Art Department Winter Fundraiser 2010.  Donating is easy, and it's tax deductible.  Small donations are welcome.

10th Grade Student Work
Here's a list of some of the projects that your donation will help fund:  Anatomy for Artists (advanced drawing, college prep course), Sketchbooks for Kids (creativity initiative in which high school students will gather art supplies and provide them to children in under served areas), college portfolio development, student art shows, Shakespeare Competition (acting, music, and visual art), student concerts, two annual student plays, FUSION (an evening of collaborative arts), and more.

For your donation, you will receive a special thank you from DaVinci Academy's art students.  You will also be recognized in all programs printed for this year's art events.

I probably sound like a salesman.  I'm sorry.  But I believe in this cause and the potential of my students.  I hope  you can too.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about DaVinci Academy or the Art Department Fundraiser.

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Balancing Act Called Success

Photo by Brent Moore.
In my last post, I wrote about failure.  Now it seems only right that I take some time to address the concept of success.  I was about to call success the opposite of failure, but I don't think it is.  I would rather think of failure as nothing more than success in progress, a WIP for lack of a better term.

So, then, what is success?  How do we define it, especially with regard to creative works?  Is success always an accomplishment of great meaning and popularity, or is it simply the absence of failure?  Or as author Samuel Beckett suggests, is it the process of "fail[ing] better"?

And who or what determines the success of a creative work?  In sports it's easy.  They have games and tournaments, and you win if you score the most points.  In art, there are competitions, but the whole "win or lose" concept doesn't really work.  In my own experience, I've had paintings that have been accepted in one art show, only to get rejected in another.  In such cases, a creative work gets judged by a jury.  It's a process that works well for thinning entries, but it is subjective, which means that one jury's decision will be different from anothers.  And, honestly, that doesn't seem a good way to judge a person's success.

Pschychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi argues that creativity results from the interaction of three elements, namely "a culture that contains symbollic rules, the person who brings novelty into the symbollic domain, and a field of experts who recognize and validate the innovation" (Creativity, p. 6).  I would like to borrow those three components and rename them simply Culture, Creator, and Audience.  Just as each element contributes to creativity, it also helps us determine the success of a creative work.  The catch here is that each element, in its own way, wants to take all the credit.  For example, an artist (creator) will think he has been particularly creative on his own, but culture will be quick to point out that the artist's work would never have been accepted had not the attitudes and values of the population changed so drastically over the past 50 years.  And the audience (some proclaiming to be experts) will say, we found him first and he is only successful because we value his work.  They will go on bickering in such a way. 

I think the key to becoming successful in creative endeavors is to balance these three elements, to make them work together.  It's when the artist becomes caught up in the "bickering" that his success becomes shaky and fragile.  To illustrate, I'm going to present what I call my "Lucas Theory."  Yes, it might be a bit corny, but it makes a point.  It's basically this . . . the first three Star Wars movies (episodes 4 - 6 ) were good because George Lucas came up with some pretty cool ideas that fit within the culture and were received well by the audience of the time.  He had things pretty well balanced.  But sometime before making Episodes 1 - 3, he became "off-balance."  He focused more on himself as creator and less on the culture and the audience.  In fact, while defending Jar-Jar Binks in an interview, Lucas said, "I can't make a movie for fans."  But of what value is a creative work if it is not made with an audience in mind? 

So, I suggest that the success of a creative work can only be measured when we take into account the ability of its creator, its acceptance within a culture, and its appeal to an audience.  When we give too much weight to any one of the elements we spin off course.  We get a false measurement which results in a false perception of our work.  Balance is vital to a true and enduring success.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Fabulous Failure

When is the last time you were grateful to fail?  Seriously, have you ever totally messed things up and said to yourself, “wonderful!”?  Well, if you’re like most of us, you probably prefer to think of yourself as a complete idiot in such situations.  Odds are--if your mistake was big enough--you’ll avoid trying to do whatever it was you were doing, ever again.  But not trying again is truly the greatest, and perhaps only, mistake you will ever make.

I just read a fabulous quote by Madeline L’Engle, one of my favorite authors.  Keep in mind, Madeline’s book, A Wrinkle in Time, was rejected 29 times by pretty much every major publisher for over two-and-a-half years.  She said:
Human beings are the only creatures who are allowed to fail.  If an ant fails, it’s dead.  But we are allowed to learn from our mistakes and from our failures.  And that’s how I learn, by falling flat on my face and picking myself up and starting all over again.  If I’m not free to fail, I will never start another book.  I’ll never start a new thing.
Here are a few more quotes you should take to heart:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal.  It's the courage to continue that counts.”  -Winston Churchill

“I haven't failed. I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.”  -Thomas Edison

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” –Henry Ford

“Failure is merely feedback that there is something blocking the path of the emergence and expansion of the greatest version of yourself.” –Mother Teresa

I believe one of the most important traits a creative person can acquire is the ability to take risks.  You must be willing to risk failure in order to succeed.

Don’t be afraid to try.  Don’t be afraid to “say something.”  As stated by Mother Teresa, you are in the process of discovering “the greatest version of yourself.”  Allow yourself the ups and downs of that search.  And allow the same for others.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Spirit of Exploration

(Note:  Please forgive today’s fragmented post.  If I were a writer, I would take more time to edit and refine my words.  Obviously, I’m not a writer.) 

When I was a kid, I loved to explore.   That simple desire opened the floodgates of my imagination.  As a child, I trekked across Antarctica in my dog sled.  I journeyed to distant planets as an astronaut.  I searched magical woods, surveyed the ocean floor, and reached the peaks of the highest mountains, all without leaving my own back yard.   As I grew older, my desire to explore continued, but extended beyond my own home.  I lived in a rural, farming town and had the opportunity to explore mountains and forests.  I discovered wonderful things like tadpoles in shallow lakes that formed when the snows melted and lasted only a few short weeks.  I walked the hills looking for arrow heads left behind by Native Americans.  I drove along winding dirt roads, just to know where they went.  Today, that sense of exploration continues, but it has evolved.  I find myself exploring ideas, concepts, and thoughts.  I ask “what if?”  I draw, paint, write, and then try to share my explorations with others.

At the root of exploration is Curiosity.  It’s a desire to know what is “out there.”  Children are naturally very curious, but their ability to explore is restricted by parental impatience, age, ability, and fear.  As children grow into adulthood, some stay curious, but many of lose their desire to explore.  Exploration is risky.  And when you have bills to pay, you shy away from risk.  You stifle your curiosity.  You settle into routine.  You become concerned with comforts.  You worry about entitlements.  You work hard for your home, your cars, and your flat screen televisions and that is good enough. 
That scares me.
And it’s an attitude that’s becoming more prominent in our culture.  For example, when I was in elementary school, astronauts were honored and shuttle launches were broadcast, but today, we no longer value space exploration as we did in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.  Why?  Because many think it is frivolous to spend money on exploration, on curiosity.  Not to mention, space exploration is risky.  People can die.  But when did Americans become afraid to take risks?     Risk-taking is vital to innovation and creativity.  when we take risks, we’re bound to make some mistakes, but we’re also going to discover some revolutionary advancements along the way.
Have you noticed we now live in a world where “standard” is considered good?  We require “standard” in our education systems.  We are pushing “standard” in health care.  We set “standards” for near everything.  But if you look up “standard” in the dictionary you’ll find a lot of words like “average”, “common”, and “normal."  And, with regard to the beef industry, “standard” is one step down from “good.”   Now, I agree that there is some nobility in trying to make sure everyone reaches a certain “standard”, but it can only be done by pulling down or taking away from those above said standard.  Standards restrict the spirit of exploration.  They limit creativity, and should be used sparingly.
I believe that compulsory standards may help a few, but overall they have a detrimental effect on the advancement of civilizations and the human race.  I don't believe that government intervention is needed to fix all (or even most) of our problems.  What we need is innovation (builders building what dreamers dream).  We need people willing to take risks in order to solve problems.   
As an artist and educator, I worry that we are robbing future generations of the magic of exploration.  We are teaching them it’s wrong to be curious.  We are pulling down creativity and innovation.  And we are left with nothing but “standard” answers where “exceptional” solutions are needed.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Quick, find me some wood to knock on.

Dare I say it?  The past year has been a pretty amazing year.  I don't mean that it has been free of problems.  It hasn't.  In fact, if I wasn't so overwhelmed  by the good things, I might complain that this has been one of the most difficult years of my life.  Instead, I'm thrilled to be employed as a teacher at DaVinci Academy,  I'm overjoyed that Julie Wright and I have found a supportive and visionary publisher for The Hazzardous Universe, and I'm very optimistic about several other projects currently in development.  Not to mention, there have been a number of wonderful experiences in my personal and family life, most of them too personal to share here. I feel a sense of gratitude, but also a little fear.  I worry that my "15 minutes" will expire soon.  So, I'm knocking on wood, hoping for continued satisfaction and success.  I'm hoping that it's true that a little talent and lot of perspiration will go a long way.

As I mentioned, The Hazzardous Universe now has a publisher.  If you would like to know more about our experience of finding a publisher, I suggest you read Julie's blog.  I was going to write about it, but I'm an artist and she's a writer . . . she has already said it all more eloquently than I ever could. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thoughts on Measuring Creativity in a Historical Context

Can the creativity of historical artists be measured? Obviously, that's been on my mind this past week.  The "Michelangelo-vs-Van-Gogh" discussion gave me a few ideas.  For instance, if we define creativity as "the ability to organize raw materials and undeveloped ideas into new and meaningful products", then perhaps we can find a way to measure a "product's" creative value in terms of how new (novel, original) and meaningful (enduring, influential) it is.  Perhaps we could assign a qualitative number (from 1 to 10) to each of these categories, multiply them, and arrive at a quotient between 1 and 100 (the higher the number, the greater the creativity of the product). In that way we could assign a value  to the creativity of a product.  For example, let's consider Vincent Van Gogh's painting, "Starry Night."  How does it rank with regard to newness?  Well, Van Gogh was influenced by Japanese woodblock prints, and he associated with several notable artists of his time, yet his work was highly original.  In fact, Van Gogh's art was never well received during his life time, which, arguably is a testament to it's uniqueness.  It often takes time for the populace to accept new ideas.  This was the case with Van Gogh, so let's give him a 9 for newness.  And how about meaningfulness?  Well, this Starry Night was created in 1889, so it has endured only a short period in the history of art, but since then it has become one of the most popular images of all time.  It's young, but has connected with a lot of people, so let's give it an 8.  So, 9 x 8 gives us a quotient of 72.  What do you think?  What works of art might receive a 100?

In addition to analyzing the creativity of a product, we would also want to consider the creativity of an individual.  Is there such thing as a "creativity quotient"?  What designates a person as creative?  And what makes one person more creative than others?  If we identify those traits, then perhaps they could be measured independently and help arrive at a quotient.  We might consider the quantity of products that an individual creates during his/her lifetime, the average quality of those products, and the breadth of that person's creativity achievements (i.e. DaVinci's interest in art, science, engineering, etc.).  What other measurable traits might be considered?

I should probably explain my current obsession with creativometry (did I just coin a new word and does it work?).  As I mentioned in my last post, I teach a class called History of Art and Science, and at the root of that class is creativity.  And as I have taught that class, it has become quite obvious that--although I believe we're all born with it--not every individual develops creativity in the same way or to the same extent.  I don't necessarily believe that creativity can truly be measured, however I would like to give my students some sort of tool they can use to compare and contrast creative individuals, products, and periods throughout history.  So, I hope you'll let me know what you think of these ideas.  Thanks.

BUY IT:  Starry Night, c. 1889 Art Styles Poster Print by Vincent van Gogh, 36x24

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Who is more creative, Michelangelo or Vincent Van Gogh?

Let me begin by way of confession: I used to hate studying history.   In college, it was torture for me to sit through American History.  Even my Art History classes pushed me to the edge of human endurance.  Ironically, this past year I was asked to teach a unique class at DaVinci Academy called The History of Art and Science.  I was intimidated.  How could I teach the very subject I so greatly disliked?    But, as I considered the class, I soon realized that, at it's core, it was nothing more than the history of creativity . . . and, as many of my family and friends know, I like to talk about creativity . . . a lot.  I fully agree with Sir Ken Robinson when he writes, "The highest form of intelligence is thinking creatively."  And now I had the chance to teach my students to be creative through analysis of history's greatest cultures and individuals.  I found a reason to enjoy history, and my obsession for creativity gave it meaning.  I think overall, my first year of teaching the class was successful, but I feel I only scratched the surface of the class's potential.  I'm reading a lot, hoping to expand the class's concepts, but I would like to also get some input from others . . . yeah, by "others" I mean you.  I want to know what you think.  In particular, I would like to bounce around some ideas and questions and get your feedback. So let's start with these:

Who is more creative, an artist like Michelangelo, whose greatest works were commissioned by the Catholic church, or an artist like Van Gogh, whose art was inspired only by his own observations and imagination?  How do we define and measure creativity in a way that lets us compare these artists?  What system of metrics can we use?

 There you go.  Please, leave your comments below and help start a discussion.  Thanks.

Book Recommendation:  The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything  by Sir Ken Robinson

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Serenity" Prints Available

Giclee Prints (signed and numbered, limited edition of 50) are available of my painting, "Serenity."  These prints are 15" x 30" on canvas.  They are amazing reproductions of the original painting.  Price is $125 plus shipping & handling.  Please contact me via the email link in my blog profile.  Thanks.

 For you Ogden locals, I have my prints made through Fine Arts Gallery on 25th Street.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Almost Angel

One of the nice things about summer break is that I have more time to paint . . . just a little. I worked on this painting a bit more the past couple days and figured I should post an update. I've enjoyed working with straight black &white on this one. It has allowed me to focus on value without the added complexity of hue. I still have a lot of details to finish . . . which reminds Teacher Me to say to my students,"The difference between mediocre art and good art is in the finish work!" Let's see how well I finish off this one.

Book Recommendation:
Drawing with an Open Mind

Monday, March 22, 2010

Drawing in Spare Moments

I've had little time to update my blog this year, and unfortunately, I haven't had much more time for my own drawing and painting. It's one of those challenges that presents itself for teachers: How do you find time to create your art when so much of your time is dedicated to helping others create theirs?

One option I've discovered is to work on a drawing or painting during school. I snag a few minutes here and there, usually in the form of demonstration. As a student, I always learned a great deal by observing other artists. Therefore, I hope my students will gain a little more by watching me.

Here is a charcoal drawing I started the other day for my illustration class.

I'll try to add updates as I continue to work on the drawing. It still has a long way to go.