Dive Deep Exercise #2 - A Bridge


Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge, Claude Monet 1899

Our second exercise is to create an image of a bridge. You can draw it, paint it, collage it, whatever you want. It can be drawn to look like it is made out of steel, wood, or even a swinging rope bridge. You decide.

Monet's bridge over the water lilies is probably the most well known bridge in the world. A bridge is a wonderful subject. It also can be painted as a metaphor. For example, where are you leaving from? What are you leaving behind? Where and what are you going towards?

Are there any obstacles on the bridge that might make crossing it more difficult. Are you on the bridge or look at it from afar? Are other people on the bridge? What's underneath it? Do you have a history with this bridge?

Here are some more artist paintings of bridges to inspire you...

Path of Gold, Jonas Lie, 1914

Booklyn Bridge, NYC Angela Wakefield

Langlois Bridge at Arles, Vincent van Gogh, 1888

I am beginning a mixed media piece of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It has much history and meaning to me. I have photographed it many many times - on days with clear skies and a view to Alcatraz and on days where the fog has rolled in and you can barely see the car in front of you.

What bridge calls to you? Is it a bridge you know well, made of steel and wood or an imagined bridge?

Late Bloomers

"A late bloomer is right on time."
Clarissa Pinkola Estés

I was curious about other older men and women who started to paint later in life. I was a professional photographer for over 30 years but it wasn't until I moved to Mexico that I began to take abstract painting classes. My painting intensified during the pandemic and now I paint most every day.

Lines of Sight - Carmen Herrera

I recently discovered the abstract minimalist painter Carmen Herrera. One article I read said she could be the poster child for late bloomers.

Herrera was born in Cuba where she studied architecture in Havana. In 1948 she moved to Paris with her husband and then to New York. Although she had many abstract expressionist friends like Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, her work remained largely unknown. Several art historians suggest this is because she was both a woman and a Cuban. 

She continued to create work which was stashed away in her studio until her first small show at El Museo del Barrio in 1998. She did not sell her first painting until age 89. Herrera died in 2022 at age 106 but not before finally achieving international recognition.

On those days I think I might be too old to paint, I remember Carmen Herrera and others like Sally Gabori, Harriet Powers and Hilma af Klimt. More galleries are beginning to show older women's work. Artsy.net recently wrote an article headlined "Why Old Women Have Replaced Young Men as the Art World's Darlings."

The time has come for us "late bloomers."

I will be posting about more older artists. You can find them under the Late Bloomers label to the right.

Do You Listen to Music While You Paint?


Almost all of my artist friends say they listen to music while they paint. I never have. I kind of like the silence of painting in my garden. However I am just beginning to try it to see how it changes my experience and paintings.

Here are two playlists I have gathered...

Quiet Painting Music

Paint the Sky with Stars - Enya
Always on My Mind - Willie Nelson
Queen of the Slipstream - Van Morrison
A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
Halleluja - K.D. Lang
Change the World - Eric Clapton
Crazy Mama - J.J. Cale
Gin and Juice - Andra Day
Perfect - Ed Sheehan
We Will Meet Once Again - Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli
What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
Who Will Comfort Me - Melody Gardot
Feeling Good - Nina Simone
Amazing - One Eskimo
You Send M - Rod Stewart
Sister Moon - Sting
Give Me One Reason - Tracy Chapman
I Only Have Eyes for You - The Flamingos
Seasons of Love - Rent

Painting For Energy

Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars
Cry to Me - Solomon Burke
Feeling Alright - Joe Crocker
Hand It Over - Kew' Mo'
Sing About It - The Wood Brothers
Climb Up On My Music - Rodriguez
Lovely Day - Bill Withers
Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
Go Crazy - LeslieOdom, Jr.
Your Mama Don't Dance - Loggins and Messina
Yes We Can Can - The Pointer Sisters
Dangerous Mood - B.B. King
Be OK - Ingrid Michaelson
Koop Island Blues - Koop featuring Ane Brun
Love Is Like A Heat Wave - Martha Reeves
The Girl Is Mine - Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney
Dance With Me Tonight - Olly Murs
Every Breath You Take - The Police
We Will Rock You - Queen
Who Do You Love - Candye Kane
Shake Rattle and Roll - Joe Turner

I am working on two more lists - Classical Music and Latin Music. Watch for them soon.

Dive Deep Art Exercise #1 Emotional Colors

 Create a series of boxes on a piece of paper or in your art journal. You are going to assign a color to each box. Then each color will be assigned an emotion.

I made 16 boxes and lined them up in a grid. Make as many boxes as you want. You can arrange them in a grid like I did or place them in a random design. 

To decide how many emotions you want, make a list of emotions you sometimes feel. You also can think in terms of "I feel..." (For example, I feel vibrant, I feel feminine.) Good "list of emotions" if you need help.

I also looked at my previous paintings and made a list of the colors I like to use most. I than assigned a color to each emotion on my list. 

Next I am going to fill each box with one color of acrylic paint. To keep the painted boxes clean, I outlined a few boxes at a time with artist tape.

Remember your boxes can be more abstract or even another shape. Don't worry too much about making them perfect. This is not a final piece of art but a practice exercise.

Fill in all of the boxes with your chosen colors. When all the boxes are filled remove the artist tape and let your page completely dry.

The middle of your journal can look a big grungy because of the journal stitching.

So I sometimes use a strip of wash tape to cover it up.

I can even use Washi Tape around the entire facing page.

I use the facing page to take notes and write down any thoughts I have about this exercise.

After the colors are completely dry I write one emotion in each box. I recommend that you use acrylic paints, gouache or watercolors for the boxes. They dry quicker than oil and it is so difficult to write on pastels.

Lake George Reflection.


Lake George Reflection
Oil on Canvas

I thought I was very familiar with Georgia o"Keeffe's paintings. Yet I had never seen this one before. I live  ½ block from a lake and have become very interested in lake art. 

Lake George Reflection was created from 1921-1922 and is owned by a private collector. Such a tranquil painting.

What would your creative version of a favorite lake be?

Artists Bucket List

Many people create bucket lists for places they want to go before they die. I decided I wanted to create an Artists Bucket List - artists whose work I want to see in person. Here they are...

1.  Faith Ringgold
2.  Frida Kahlo
3.  Robert Rauschenberg
4.  Gustav Klimt
5.  Mike Bernard
6.  Henri Matisse
7.  Elaine de Kooning
8.  Romare Bearden
9.  Claude Monet
10.Paul Klee 

It was interesting for me to see who is on my top ten list. Most of them did some mixed media, collage. The paintings of these artists tend to be colorful. Many are abstract and some tell a story. And two of the artists created a portrait of JFK.

Who would be on your Artists Bucket List?


The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin

When I decided to launch Artists Inspired, I knew what I wanted it to be. I knew I wanted it to be a place where I could turn to my artist friends and say "OMG, you have got to see this, hear this, read this."

Over the years I have read many books on art and creativity. And usually I end up feeling somewhat disappointed. Something's missing. I don't feel like reading the books over and over because I am so inspired. I am not jumping up and down yelling "Read this. Read this. Read this."

Maybe I don't need a library filled with books on creativity. Maybe one will do. And, I think I have found it... The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin. I just finished my third reading and it's bleeding yellow highlighter.

I had never heard of Rick Rubin until I saw him interviewed by Anderson Cooper on 60 minutes. Rubin is a well-known major success story in the music industry. He is a music executive and producer. He was named as Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People In the World.

During the 60 Minutes interview they discuss his just published book. I immediately downloaded it to my iPad and started reading. This is a book I will most likely read over and over again for the rest of my life.

The book begins with a quote from Robert Henri (1865-1929, American painter and teacher)."The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable." 

Okay, I thought. That was a great start.

Rubin describes his books as 78 areas of thought. The first thought is Everyone is a Creator. He says, "Creativity is a fundamental aspect of being human. It's our birthright... To live as an artist is a way of being in the world."

The second thought is called Tuning In. "Think of the universe as an eternal creative unfolding," he continues. "Trees blossom cells replicate. Rivers forge new tributaries. Every manifestation of this unfolding is doing its own work on behalf of the universe, each in its own way, true to its own creative impulse."

I was hooked. This book does not disappoint.

The Creative Act on Amazon - click here.

Origami Doves

I first heard about this art installation of origami birds during the pandemic. It was displayed at the Washington National Cathedral as a symbol of hope. Thousands of white paper birds hung from the 100 foot ceilings.

The exhibit was created by German artist Michael Penury and was replicated all over the world.

I have been thinking that maybe I would start making origami doves and start leaving them places and giving them away with the words "Que la paz sea contigo" Peace be with you. Is this something you might be interested in doing as well? 

Want to make a more elaborate dove? Click here...

Prolific Picasso


Le Revé

Le Rêve, Picasso 1932, Oil on Canvas

Picasso was one of the most prolific artists of all time. It is estimated that he made over 50,000 pieces of art. Yet only about 100 are considered masterpieces today.

I am not sure what that means except create a lot. It seems he worked on his art every day, from his teens to his 90s. You'll have to do the math. It makes my eyes spin.

Do you think creating every day is a reasonable goal?

Dreaming City


Dreaming City (1921)
Paul Klee (1879 - 1940)

What would your creative version of a Dreaming City be?