• Art Unboxed

    Art Unboxed The Common Spark

    Recently I’ve been painting a lot of chickens. This is in part due to a friend in our Church who’s family has their own chickens. What I did not know until their inspiration, was how many unique breeds of chickens there are. I learned something new, and what we view as common sparked inspiration. Often as artists we look for something to draw, and we can overlook so many great subjects trying to find something unusual. We can find the unique, and interesting in what is all around us. That is not to say we can’t also be inspired by great architecture etc, but it should remind us not to…

  • Art Unboxed

    Art Unboxed Pulp Versus Cotton Paper

    I think we artists would be better served if we viewed our art career in a similar way an auto mechanic views their business. I’ve seen incredible mechanics who only had access to limited resources, old tools, and less than wonderful automobiles. I’ve also seen incredible mechanics who used the latest equipment, the most up to date tools, and worked on top of the line vehicles. Each mechanic was wonderful, each were skilled, extremely intelligent, and great at what they did. One was not better than the other, the difference was not the quality of the mechanic, but the tools available to them, and their own journey. Each made the…

  • Art Unboxed

    Art Unboxed Conveying Detail

    Recently I painted a watercolor of a car driving in a hazy snowy scene through the woods. I was struck by the minimal colors in the scene, and could see how a painting could spark from it. Using three colors I painted a watercolor, and was happy how it turned out. First let me say I do very much enjoy detailed paintings, and I consider myself very much in the realist camp. However I also appreciate those paintings which convey detail with minimal effort from the artist. As a writer and an amateur magician I can appreciate conveying a message without filling in all the lines. It’s why I love…

  • Art Unboxed

    Art Unboxed Still Life

    Personally I’ve seen still life paintings that were exciting, and those which I felt bored by, and that has nothing to do with the quality of the painting. For me it depends on what the still life is, for example if it’s a collection of objects that hold value to me, I appreciate them more. I’m afraid I’m not a huge fan for example of floral pictures. There are amazing artists who do florals, but it’s not a subject matter that sparks interest for me. Ironically I enjoy drawing and painting them more than I do viewing them, because they are intricate work. The artists who do them are great…

  • Art Unboxed

    Art Unboxed The Ink Blots

    There used to be an old Jazz group known as The Ink Blots. There was also a Disney villain known as the Phantom Blot. I confess I wasn’t thinking of either when it happened. I was only trying to encourage the ink inside my fountain pen to flow to the outside. When you do this, usually a bead of ink flows from the feed. When it happened this time, I got busy and closed the sketchbook. It was when I opened it up they were staring at me. Two perfect mirror images of either a Christmas stocking, or the country of Italy. They call Italy’s shape on the map a…

  • Art Unboxed

    Art Unboxed Kindness Shared

    For me, one of the most special times for art as a child, was during Christmas. I still remember my Grandfather coloring in giant coloring books during the holidays. Only he didn’t just color, he blended them almost the way you would a painting. I can still see it in my head some forty years later. I love seeing the Santa’s, snowmen, and assorted reindeer pictures. Whether it’s a painting, sketch, or statue, they’re so creative. They also usually have some unique aspect to them. This is a lesson for me in and of itself, two people can draw the same thing, and find something diffierent in the process. I…

  • Art Unboxed

    Art Unboxed Learning From Others

    It may seem obvious, but I have improved my own art by leaps and bounds, through watching others make art. Whether it’s watercolor, pastel, acrylic, oil, or digital, I have learned from other artists making art. I mention it because in this day and age, we are blessed with resources beyond generations of the past. My grandparents could read about art, possibly take a class with a local instructor, but we can push a few buttons and watch people considered experts in their art draw, paint, and sketch. I have been blessed to learn from some of the greatest people in art in the world, without ever leaving my living…

  • Art Unboxed

    Art Unboxed Practicing Tonal Values

    If you follow my art, you may have noticed I have been doing a lot of fountain pen drawings in Prussian Blue ink. There is more than one reason for this, partially because I love both the color and fountain pens, but it has an important benefit. Drawing in one color allows me to continue practicing my tonal values. The famous artists centuries ago were well known for using sanguine in their drawings. Today I’ve seen a number of current artists who do amazing portraits in graphite, or ink. The main benefit of working in one color has a similar effect as black and white does for a photographer. It…

  • Art Unboxed

    Art Unboxed The Purpose Of Art

    Before I share what I believe the purpose of art to be, I would like to elaborate on two statements I’ve made before. It is that I believe art should inspire, reflect God’s majesty, warm the hearts of loved ones, and communicate with strangers. I believe that anyone can be an artist. I can tell you from personal experience, you can go from drawing stick figures to portraits. You can go from a very limited ability to a more advanced draftsmanship. It’s not that some are not naturally gifted, but that we all can become better. I don’t consider myself a great artist, but I am a far better artist…

  • Art Unboxed

    Art Unboxed To New Watercolor Artists

    What would I say to a younger version of myself if they asked me how to get started with watercolors? I have a few ideas, including starting sooner. I was intimidated for awhile before trying it, and I realize now I didn’t have to be. It has its learning curve, but it’s well worth it. One of the most enjoyable things about watercolor painting is the fact that you can quickly begin and wrap up with little or no mess. There is not a huge preparation time, or clean up effort. While it’s wonderful to have a prepared space for art, watercolor lends itself to being an almost anywhere, anytime…