You learn something new with every canvas. Every single one.
All colors go together. Some just go together a whole lot better than others.
Art is the deliberate attempt by someone to make something he feels is beautiful. That’s all art is. You’re not required to like it … to like it at all … but respect the time and effort the artist took to try to convince you otherwise.
If black ain’t a color … what is it?
Folks will like your art better if they like you. I know that thought might be repulsive to some artists. Some artists believe that the work should stand on its own. I don’t necessarily disagree, but if you make art and you’re the one personally selling it to prospects ... and not your agent or the nice lady in a gallery ... then being likeable sure does help people like your art a whole lot better.
Impress your friends by putting great art in unexpected places around your mansion or mobile home.
If abstract art was so easy to make I guess a lot more people would be making it. The hard part, some days, is selling it.
Imagine a world without art. Pretty sterile and un-fun, ain’t it.
Imagine a world with too much art. The thought makes you feel good, doesn’t it.
So you love an artist's art. Thank you ... it really is deeply appreciated, but you have to love one other thing, too, maybe even more. And that's the price of the piece you love.
Artists get your attention by using million year old tricks. Bright colors. Movement. Human faces and things that sort of look like human faces and body parts that look deformed. TV advertisers do the same thing except they can use sound, too.
Just because you can’t draw doesn’t mean you’re not an artist. There are a whole bunch of other ways to see if you’re an artist.
The moment you sell your first piece of art to someone who’s not a friend or a family member is quite a wonderful moment.
The piece you know in your heart is your finest piece and the one you cherish the most will be the first one you sell.
Hardly anybody ever asks how you made the art, but the person who does ask you how you made it wants to know every little detail. Fine with me. It’s usually the beginning of a fun and fascinating conversation with your new best friend.
If you love a piece so much that you might not want to sell it … then make another one just like it. I’ll bet the second one is even better than the first. Now you’re in a real fix, aren’t you.
It’s okay to have a bunch of favorite colors. Having just one is a little creepy.
When you start a piece you’ll know you’re heading in the right direction within about twenty seconds.
Never give up on an abstract piece until you’ve had a good night’s sleep, a good cup of coffee, and then spent some more time with it ... either working on it or just standing there dumbly gawking at it.
You don’t need training, a certificate, a license, a college degree, permission, or anything else to become an artist. You just need to be real brave.
Just like in writing, you’re born with the ability to paint funny. That’s just the way it goes. It’s a natural gift. In art, if you can paint something that makes people laugh the instant they see it then you’ve achieved something pretty incredible ... and you’ve had that potential since birth.
Please yourself first.
If you’re thin-skinned, then do everything you possibly can to make great art ... that people begin to really like ... which builds your confidence and thickens your skin.
So you’ve pleased yourself first. Good. Now go and please the hell out of your customers and patrons.
Have you ever looked at a piece of art and instantly thought ... What in God’s name was he thinking while he was making it?
You’re darn right you paint your ceilings a color. It’s cool and sophisticated. Like I said ... be brave. You’re an artist.
When customers and patrons ask for your opinion about something, usually starting with these two words: “Should we ...” tell them exactly how you feel. Don’t worry about what they want to hear or what they need to hear. What they want to hear is your professional and personal and decisive answer as an artist. Trust me, they’ll respect you even more when you give them the right answer with tremendous confidence in your voice ... and you always know what the right answer is.
I have finally figured it out. When people stumble into your studio ... even knowing it’s your studio ... they always ask, “Did you do that?” I think this is why: they look at the art and then look at you and then look at the art again and they can’t believe a dude who looks and acts like you actually made something so stunning or beautiful or wondrous or whatever. So ... “Did you do that?” Uh ... duh ... I sure did and just for you ... the price went up.
No one has ever asked if they could watch me make my art. I wouldn’t mind, though. While I’m making it I always think of certain people who’d be pretty damn amazed I sort of know what I’m doing.
I love it when people visit my studio ... to talk art or to buy. I really do. All of a sudden you’ve got a room full of like-minded people. It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world and the most deeply satisfying time you’ll ever spend with other human beings.
The art always looks better in person. During a delivery, I unwrapped a piece a customer had fallen in love with and she started squealing and giggling and jumping up on her toes. The lady was in her mid-to-late seventies. I looked around her living room to see if there was some sort of joke going on, but there wasn’t. The piece was bigger and better and more wonderful than she had thought ... and previously seen on just a small computer screen. A lot of folks get visibly and emotionally excited when they’re around art. It’s the darndest thing. I’m all for it. Jump up and down all you want.
The worst part about making art ain’t getting paint in your nose hairs ... although your friends think it’s hilarious. Anyhow, it’s waiting for your masterpiece to dry. Of course, starting on your next masterpiece while your last masterpiece is drying keeps you from being lonely.
Sales knows no hours. Neither does making art. You think about ... you look at books and web sites about art and artists ... and you dream about it. Good.
Here’s how you’ll know once and for all that you really don’t like a piece you’ve made ... you don’t like looking at it. That’s how you know.
Just because your art doesn’t sell the moment you’re finished doesn’t mean it’s not any good. It just means the person who ultimately falls in love and respect with that piece of art and who is happy to buy it and capable of buying it hasn’t started that special relationship with it. They haven’t seen it ... their heart hasn’t started beating real fast yet ... and they haven’t gotten to that moment where they’ve convinced themselves that they can’t live the rest of their lives without owning it and looking at it every day. Of course, not selling your art means that you might have to pick up your marketing campaign a little bit, too.
Why do folks always ask the artist where they should hang the piece? I don’t know where you should hang it. Hang it where you’ll see it and enjoy it every day? How about sticking it to the ceiling above your bed so it’ll be the last thing you see in the moments before you go to sleep and the moment you wake up.
So you’ve decided to make a piece of art and give it as a gift. No shortcuts. No thinking they won’t notice this little area or that little area where you weren’t perfect and professional. Nope. You still have to go about a gift piece as if you’re making a piece that’s been commissioned.
The images in abstract art are things that don’t exist in the natural world. But once you’ve finished a piece of abstract art that’s really good it all of a sudden feels like you’ve added something to the natural world that’s beautiful, valid, and worthy.
If you pump out a lot of good art very quickly, some people think there’s something wrong with you. That you’re a little bit crazy. Marathoners run. Professional golfers play in tournaments every week. Movie stars make a lot of movies. Get it done before you can’t anymore is the way I feel about it.
Stop comparing your work to the work of other artists, world-class or not. Stop it right now and never do it again.
The art you make is very personal for you, except for the art you ultimately hide or even throw away or don’t like to look at. When somebody you don’t know doesn’t like your art … it stings a little bit. When somebody you know doesn’t like certain pieces it doesn’t sting because you know that person knows you well and knows that you’ll never give up on making great art … sometimes, secretly, just to please that dang friend who is waiting for your masterpieces. This person … probably one of your best friends … is the person who’ll actually make you a better artist.
If you haven’t discovered how to become a world famous artist yet you’re not trying hard enough.
Desire to see how great art is actually made? Drop out of art school and don’t go to any more art classes. The ultimate secrets aren’t found there. They’re found by forming a relationship with an artist who’s been awarded a commission by a rich and demanding couple who understand and deeply appreciate great art. What you’ll see is an artist concentrating and performing at the highest level … doing everything right … while he’s probably got half of the commission amount already in the bank. He’s working while he knows somebody has already bought the art … while knowing this couple is expecting and maybe even demanding something that will blow their mind … while knowing that if he blows their mind that they’ll probably ask him to paint another commission piece for them for another big chunk of money. That’s how great art is made. Inspiration and skill and concentration under the delicious pressure of being paid a lot of money for something you’re good at. How a baseball player who’s paid millions of dollars a season can live with himself after he strikes out is beyond me.
Did you watch the documentary "Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock"? I have a theory. Here it is: Pollock started the piece, he died, and then his artist wife, Lee Krasner, finished it.
Eat before you make art. Otherwise you’ll be thinking about what's on today's menu at Mary Mac's Tea Room rather than doing a good job on the art you're making.
You may not be able to make world-class art, but you know what it looks like when you see it. Think about that for a long time … and then go give your own world-class art a try.
Want to paint a piece that’s sweet and sentimental? Listen to the Allman Brothers’ song “Little Martha” while you paint. Over and over and over.
Need help painting a vivid, energetic abstract piece? Cue up “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” and play it loudly. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” works well, too. Play both on repeat until you’re finished with your painting.
Do you have a lot of books about art and artists? Do you read them? Do you at least gaze through them? You should. At least one or two of them every day.
If you’re an instinctive abstract painter, and you can paint a piece quickly, and it comes out great … that natural talent should make you feel a little scared and a whole lot exhilarated ... at the same time.
Never give up on creating your own style and signature look. There’s still a whole lot of room out there for you.