I rode my red bicycle back to Italy

‘Red Bicycle in Florence’
14×11′
oil on panel oil on wood

 

I took a much needed hiatus to work on my life and art. Last time I posted, I was living in Vietnam as an art teacher. The job didn’t pan out like I hoped. I had such high hopes building a quality art program at a local, private school. I did all kinds of cool projects with my students. However, the school and myself didn’t quite see on the same level about the art program. So we parted ways and I stayed in Vietnam until February. I took short trips to Hong Kong and Cambodia before deciding to go back to the USA. What really drove me back to my own country? Well, besides wanting to see my family again in person, I got an art studio in Ft. Collins, Colorado. It was full of possibilities. To be in a great working environment with other artists was truly intriguing to me. I did have a small studio, about an 8×10 space. I was painting there nearly every day. Life was good.

But things quickly went south because I didn’t account for the high cost of living.  I’m still adjusting to American life and was in sticker shock about the food and rent here.  I couldn’t afford an apartment and an art studio.  And though I tried to live in my art studio to help save up, it wasn’t going to be a long-term solution.  So I had to give up the art studio and paint in my bedroom or outdoors.  So the past few months was quite an adjustment period and I’m happily back on course again.

So I decided to revisit my Italian trip from last summer and start a series of paintings that’s long overdue.  So I proudly present the first painting of my Italian series.  I actually did rent a red bicycle and rode around Rome.  Even though this shot was from Florence.  I do love doors and there happened to be a blue bicycle parked in front.  I thought red would be a much better color and ended up working well.  Sometimes a color tweak can really improve the scene.  And most important, I didn’t just work from a photo, but the feeling of being there again.   I wanted this old world feel to it, yet have some different styles I enjoy playing with.  And I love the bricks going around the old door, yet it’s still a simple scene.   When you have a mixture of styles, I believe it makes things more dynamic and interesting.  So there you have it.  Stay tuned for the process of my next painting.  And feel free to sign up for my newsletter 

I’m looking ahead, not behind this time

‘We Watched After Christmas Day’ 8×10 oil on board $250

The last day of the year means something to me as I’m sure it does to you. Like every year, we tend to review in our minds the highs and lows, the dramas, and the circus of life we go through in our strange highlight reel that purges our brains.

But this time I’m not backing down so easily, whimpering another year of my life away hoping next year will be better.

No, I’m out for something different.  I new and improved mindset of conscious action, of replacing old, worn out beliefs that have held me back for too long.   In 2017 and beyond, I now expect something different.

I have never said this before a new year like this, so I not only want to end 2016 on the right foot, I want to start 2017 on the right and left foot.  To stay grounded while my dreams fill the skies without any ceilings.

  • I plan to do better paintings.  Scratch that.  They’re already good, I will improve and work on my craft with pride and honor.
  • I will live in a nurturing environment and surround myself with positive artists and other people who want to be with me.  I can’t live life without people on my side.  We are social creatures.  Though instead of partying this year into 2017, I am relaxing in my own place writing my blog and watching Star Wars.  But then I’ll get busy soon.  For example…
  • I will get my first portrait commission.  How?  By creating more work and finding the right clients.  Those right clients will love my work and want to keep it in their families  for generations.
  • I will visit or possibly live in the USA again.  It’s been nearly 5 years since I was last back.
  • I will take care of myself so I can take care of others.
  • I will learn how to have faith and trust myself.

This is my business plan.  It’s also the blueprints of my life plan.  Maybe this time, next year I won’t be alone by myself wondering where has my life gone?

The main reason I haven’t been keeping up my blog is that I’ve relocated to Danang, Vietnam in October to teach art at an international school.  I learned to teach art projects on a shoestring budget.  In the end, the job didn’t work out.  I’m faced with a future of options that seem endless.  But I won’t step backwards this time.  Whatever moves I make will be forward and deliberate.  I owe that to myself.  Life is all about progression, not regression.  Maybe you can relate?  So anyway here’s to a wild ride of painting and travel in 2016.

And to my audience who have been following my adventures, thank you for keeping up.  Life always seems to get in the way of everything, doesn’t it?  Just don’t forget the important stuff.  Family, friends, love, nature, and art.  These are the finest things in life.  I have exciting things coming up in 2017.  I will do some videos.  New paintings from Vietnam.  And I’m just getting started.  Here’s my first one available

‘Marble Mountain’
Oil on paper
6×8
$100 usd

and last but not least…

 

Blog Challenge (Day 7): One breath at a time to freedom

101_in_middle_Joshua_Lance HP
I’m taking a 10-day blog challenge by Natalie Sisson, the suitcase entrepreneur who is an inspiring artist of a lifestyle I would like to attain. Let’s go!

Day 7

I have to pick one imperfect action that will lead me to the life I want.   It would be easy to pick something creative, but I want to go even deeper.  I love meditation but I do it sporadically.  I haven’t done it on a regular basis when I should.  So I will spend at least 5 minutes every morning so I can start my day off right, and on a positive note.  Meditation is a source of spirituality that I embrace.  More than anything, it is the foundation of what I want to accomplish.  It is my sanctuary, my temple, my breathing space.

My mind can easily be scattered and cluttered with the garbage I want to toss.  I need a  way to help purify myself like water coming down a mountain stream that lovely animals would take the pleasure to drink on a sparkling sunny morning.  Drawing or painting for 5 minutes would be too easy, give me some meditation, which even done for 5 minutes, now that’s difficult.  Try to keep your active mind calm for 5 minutes.  Well, I will try and do just that, cause you know why?  Because it’s worth it, I’m worth it, and I love how I feel after I do it.  Enough said.  Time to beat procrastination one breath at a time.