the artist's notebook










the creative life

creative issues

learn to paint

inspirational artists





Most people think of artists as those who spent a lot of time creating art. However, we artists spent much more time looking at and taking note of visual phenomenon around us. Without this ability, we cannot produce our art.

For example, let's look at a rose. Okay, it is red, but what color red? When that red goes into shadow, what hue does that shadow take on? What does the sunlight do to the that red at the points it hits most brightly? What shape are the petals? Are the petals stiff or soft, thick or delicate, and how can that be reproduced in paint? Does the flower express an emotion? Are the petals young, reaching upwards with optimism? Or, are they more mature, wide open in a soft, welcoming shape?

A visit to the mall means I notice the patterns created by the overhead lights reflecting off the hard, polished floor. The window displays are like melodies, some flowing and smooth with coordinating colors, others loud and discordant.

A car trip takes me through groups of colored vehicles dancing on the highway. I note the strong contrast of a lemon yellow taxi against a midnight blue van. Driving through a rural area, I watch the ever changing palette of green paints (spring, sap, hooker's, teal, olive). At the shore, the ocean rolls gently in teals and violets, and I wonder how to paint the twinkling of sunlight on the waves.

The visual search never ends.