Tag Archives: painterly

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.

Be a creative monk, know your priorities

abstract painting of joshua lance, stage one

Finish what ya started!

Painting is a solitary activity.  You are really a monk of creativity.  Actually there are some similarities in being a monk and an artist.  You’re in a spiritual profession, because painting is a spiritual activity as well as a solitary one.  You must use your monk-ness to your fullest potential.  Of all the bombardment of being “connected” using the internet and all of its social media, the high-pace society we have constantly feel we’re catching up with, sometimes it’s all too much.



we need to slow down…

we need to breathe…

we need to reconnect with ourselves…

You know what I mean?  I wouldn’t be telling you all this unless I was going through the same crap like you do myself.  Fortunately, I’m in a cool profession where I get to not only paint, but to share my life, share my ideas with everyone who wants to see it.

I figured that you have to break your tasks, work, jobs, whatever you want to call it, to not only priorities, but first, second, and third class priorities.

the most complex questions usually have the simplest answers.


We must keep our priorities in order and keep them simple. Sure, we all don’t feel like doing stuff and we do get lazy.  We procrastinate, beat ourselves up, procrastinate, beat ourselves up, and get caught in this vicious cycle from hell.

So let’s break our tasks in priorities, start with mine as an example:

First Tier Priority

This is my #1 priority of the day, which is painting a picture or doing some kind of physical creative activity.  I must create, or my day will feel like it’s fallen short.  I hate that kind of feeling.  So if I’m going to do only 1 thing today, I will create art.  Period.  End of story.

Second Tier Priority

This is the #2 priority of the day.  After the first is complete, then do this priority.  For myself, it is to do my online ESL course I signed up for.  It’s very time consuming and there are times I just don’t want to do it.  But a little bit is better than none, and I will be closer to my goal.

Third Tier Priority

If you have done the first two priorities of the day, congrads!  You are ahead of the game!  Now if you have a third priority, go do it now.  Mine could be updating my website or contacting my clients, or something else.


I’ve read tons of posts about killing your to-do lists and only having one or two things to focus on per day.  All this is good and valuable, but everyone does them differently.  For myself, I like to write them down because they feel more concrete.  Artists must be organized and responsible if they are going to have a successful art career.  I know that I’m on my way, so what’s your priorities?

now I have to get to my first priority; painting!

This post originally was written in 2011, when I was living in New Mexico, USA.  It’s still an important post to me and thought how valuable it would be to my readers if I posted this again.  Thank you for your understanding!

Alligator Mountains

Alligator Mountains    oil on canvas board   7x10  ©Joshua Lance

Alligator Mountains  oil on canvas board  7×10  ©Joshua Lance

From the urban setting of my rooftops, comes a tale about find solace in the distance. I am surrounded my the urban landscape, but in the distance lies tranquility. Green mountains and a river bathed in a grey sky very common here in Taipei. I call it Alligator Mountains only because that’s the first name that came to mind when I looked at the mountains. They are various greens and it reminded me of the beast that is nature herself.

I had fun painting this on my rooftops of course.  I’m outdoors yet so close to home.  I feel very comfortable using greens in my art.  This was also very simple to do because of a simple composition.  Of course I’d rather just paint the damn thing and then start critiquing it later, because it’s the process that rules.  If I didn’t enjoy the process, I know my work would look uninspired and dull.  I purposely wanted to use greys, as I enjoy the endless possibilities.  When using greys the right way, it helps make a painting “pop” out their true colors.  Though the main colors are grey and green, there are many other colors in between.  I won’t tell you what they are, but you can take a look for yourself and tell me what you see.  Preferably on my Facebook Fan Page.  Happy painting!