Tag Archives: art blog

Small Wings

Here’s a story you may have heard of.   It’s about a small bird called “Small Wings”.  He was a lonely, little bird who knew nothing of the outside world due to the hidden, overprotective nurturing his upbringing was bestowed on him since birth.  But this baby bird also had a special gift also in its infancy waiting to share with the outside world.

 

He was colorblind

This little bird wished that he could see colors. He loved painting and always enjoyed painting from his heart. But something wasn’t quite right. He was born with a limited ability to see black and white images. Maybe it was because this bird was using substandard art materials that clouded his own vision to see correctly. And he didn’t know it, just kept moving along and painting what his skills allow him to do. This bird tried watercolors, acrylics, pastels and everything he could find to express his vision. But he was still not satisfied. Not yet.

So one day as he was painting outdoors, an old bird who also was an artist painting the same scene, decided to give the boy one of his paintbrushes. The little bird was puzzled, didn’t know why the old bird gave him a paintbrush. He already had many paintbrushes. So the little bird dipped his new paintbrush into the color paints and painted on his canvas.

 

Suddenly, Small Wings could see a few strokes in color. He painted more!  First the sky, then the sun, then the foreground where the trees were sparkling a few more breaths of the last light of day. Everything the boy was painting, now the boy could see in color. He had no idea why he could see color. Was the old artist some kind of magician? Or a superhero? This little bird has never seen the colorful paintings he has been painting for years until now.

 

Then a miracle happened…

Then he suddenly realized why he could see color. The universe might have granted his wish? Maybe someone believed in him enough that it manifested at the right time? What Small Wings saw was amazing and could finally understand why he’s been painting all these years despite his inability to paint with beautiful colors. You see, his colors were not so bright, not so clear before. But someone activated the bird’s belief in himself. Small Wings tried for years to paint from his heart, his eyes, his hands to the canvas, but the paintings never turned out as well as he wanted to.

This little bird years later turned into an older, wiser bird and soon went out of his comfort zone from America to the island of Taiwan where he found a second master bird painter. It was the first time this little bird was now taking private art lessons and this very old master artist was teaching him techniques that were more old world than he was.

This hardworking bird studied the materials and discovered the right brushes, the right way to stretch a canvas, the right way to compose a painting, and some of the best paints he saw on the master artist’s palette. There were all different brands to experiment and try out. What Small Wings discovered he liked best was the paint that was thicker in consistency, higher in chroma and close to old world colors that would impress even Michelangelo. A few of these paints were oil paints, such as Michael Harding and Gamblin. The bird was hooked!  As if he finally was painting with the right type of art materials. Some of his favorite colors were Naphthol Red, Indian Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White and Yellow Ochre.

 

Simplicity is still the best…

This bird believed that a simple core palette was the way for him. He liked his colors mixed and harmonious. He sometimes used a variety of other colors and brands, but usually went back to his core colors. The best part was that there was an art store in faraway Taipei that carried his favorite paints. “Just holding them in your claws makes you feel like a better artist” thought the feathery artist.  As he happily purchased his core colors and his paintings, especially his portraits began to improve and there was no looking back now. This baby bird was now a grown bird on a mission, painting his heart out in Portugal.

As a result of Small Wing’s newfound discovery of these amazing paints, his perception changed, and so his world as well. He will never forget how to paint his colorful paintings again. Things were not so black and white, or muddy again.  The right art materials do make a difference no matter how big or small you are.  His art became like a long-lost friend.  And our feathery artist finally learned to see…again.


Thank you for reading my blog. You can check out this painting in my gallery here. If you would like to keep updated with my latest art and blog posts, subscribe here.

Little Vivi & Art-Man

Little Vivi

Little Vivi

Sometimes the best thing about teaching are the students. I emphasize “students” because in the grand scheme of things, I like and appreciate children more than most adults. Children can be teachers too. They can remind you what it’s like to do nothing and still have fun. They laugh way more, about anything at anytime. They have so much energy and break out in song (‘Let it Go” is favored these days). How could you not love kids, they have so much to offer and it’s awesome to look at life through their eyes.

Now I say all this because the other reason I enjoy teaching very much is the fact children make great subjects for paintings.  ‘Little Vivi’ was no exception.  I painted a few of the other students but something about Vivi stood out and I spent more time painting and repainting this painting.  I started last year, put it away  and went back to it recently.  Sometimes you need to put a painting away to gain a fresh perspective.

Ok, but who is Art-Man?

Art-Man is a concept of my alter-ego, a superhero I created because of my desire to create my ideal self.  Just as children use their imagination, so I picked up some inspiration and went for it too.  Here’s what Art-Man is all about:

“Art-Man” is my alter-ego.  He is a small man with a big heart, strong-willed and compassionate to his fellow man, and consumes green tea, smoothies, and peanut butter for fuel.  He meditates and worships the sun for extra strength.  Art-Man strives for a passionate and simple life.  He learned from a Taiwanese spiritual leader that he was a Chinese monk 300 years ago.  Art-man creates art with a zen-warrior focus to spread beautify for an art-hungry world.  Art-man is a global citizen and his world is his studio.  Faith travels with him on his adventures.  He is a student and teacher, as he believes in the power of education.  His goal is to create art create high-quality, raw, timeless works of art that is ‘mystified in light’.  Essential accessories include his backpacker easel, palette knives, filbert brushes and oil paints.  Art-Man’s focus and creative will is so intense, that time becomes obsolete and becomes part of that moment.  Often misunderstood, he may appear aloof and lost, but really is connected to a higher spiritual dimension due to his solitary nature and artistic discipline.  The truth of his being may be found in his colors and brushstrokes.  His paintings are considered to be his greatest gifts to society, to those who cherish passionate works of art.

And there you have it.  Do you have your own superhero/alter-ego?

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Going back to moving forward

"Lambertville Vista" oil on panel - my old home

This has been a strange and surreal winter for me.  I have relocated to Albuquerque, NM from Santa Fe.  I painted in Tucson, redesigned my website and started an online ESL course.  I needed a cheaper place but more important, a new fresh beginning.

But to get to new beginnings, you must revisit and tie up some loose ends in order to move forward with your life.

 

 

Sometimes you have to go back to move forward.

The wheels started in motion for me last fall, when I did two art shows in NYC (Nov) and New Hope, PA (Sept).  This involved two cross-country trips by car, so 8,000 miles of driving to do two shows.

Why did you do it? (I’m asking my alter ego here)

Because I saw the potential.  If you’re provided an opportunity to do something special and positive with your career, why wouldn’t you want to take a chance?  And I believed that I was going to succeed.  No way I would have done these trips if I thought it was going to bomb.

but it did…

I don’t know how, I had some great booth set-ups, some of my best work.  I was ready to rock the house.  But I faced the same issues as many artists do.  Lots of lookers.  Very few buyers.

i didn’t even make my booth fee back…

Ok, so you can see I did lose some money attempting to further my art career with these shows.  Plus, name any artist who wouldn’t do a NYC show if offered the chance?

Anyone?

But before I’m accused of going in self-pity mode, let me emphasize the positives of my trips…

  • I reconnected with some family I haven’t seen in 20+ years
  • I took girlfriend along to the New Hope Show.  I finally got to experience the country with someone else.
  • Went to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of fame
  • Swam in the Atlantic Ocean
  • Hung out with my good friend (who’s getting married next month, and I’m going to the wedding!) in NYC
  • Stopped and painted in each state I passed  through on the way to Pennsylvania.
  • Learned more about who I was each day

These are just a few things.  To grow as an artist, you have to grow as a person I believe, experience life outside your own little world.  I really enjoy staying home, but I also love traveling because it’s in my blood.  I have to do it.

…and I’m visiting the East Coast next month to attend my friend’s wedding.

…and I’m working to get my ESL Certificate so I can teach in Asia this summer.

oh yeah, what about the negatives of the trip?

I lost a lot of money, but look what I got in return.