one woman's view into a world of creativity

Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category



Adrift from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

“Adrift” is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This is where “Adrift” was born.

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Simon Christen’s website and Facebook


Art Prosthetics

Check out what creative new ideas they’re coming up with over at The Alternative Limb Project.  While the artisans at The Alternative Limb Project do make traditional prosthetics, designed to look natural and be unobtrusive, they’re also creating a new flavor of prosthetics they call “alternative limbs.”  Rather than let prosthetics be artifacts of people’s disabilities, they’re turning them into empowering extensions of the people wearing them.  Instead of them being objects of pain or loss, they’re making them into representations of individuality and creativity.  As their website says,

An alternative-style limb can help to break down social barriers, delight the eye and provide an unusual talking point.

They’re making works of art that instigate conversations!  Curiosity about the artwork is helping people make connections and broach what is sometimes a taboo subject.  Suddenly that person is no longer a stranger; they become a flesh and blood person who is defined by more than their missing limb.

Check out these beautiful works of art showcased on their website. I’m only sharing a few of the pictures from their website, so be sure to check out the rest at The Alternative Limb Project.

The Alternative Limb Project, floral leg for Kiera Roch

Viktoria Modesta photographed by and copyright of Jon Enoch

Wooden arm photographed by Delphine Doidy

Crystallized Leg made for Viktoria Modesta playing the Ice Queen at the London 2012 Paralympic Closing ceremony fitted at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sponsored by Swarovski

Art Quotes

art quotes

I do love a good art quote.  My senior quote was by Georgia O’Keeffe (see first below).  Here are some favorites that speak to me:

  • I found I could say things with shapes and colors I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for. –Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Art is essentially the affirmation, the blessing, and the deification of existence. –Friedrick Nietzsch
  • Fine Art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together. –John Ruskin
  • Art is long, life is short (ars longa, vita brevis). –Hippocrates
  • In art the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Art is the window to man’s soul. Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could the world see the man within. –Claudia Lady Bird Johnson
  • Sir, when their backsides look good enough to slap, there’s nothing more to do. –Peter Paul Rubens
  • What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art. –Augustus Saint-Gaudens
  • Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. –Pablo Picasso
  • Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. –Pablo Picasso
  • A man throws himself out of the fourth-floor window: if you can’t make a sketch of him before he gets to the ground, you will never do anything big. –Eugene Delacroix
  • How important are the visual arts in our society?  I feel strongly that the visual arts are of vast and incalculable importance.  Of course I could be prejudiced.  I am a visual art. –Kermit the Frog
  • Art is not a thing.  It is a way. –Elbert Hubbard
  • I put my heart and soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process. –Vincent Van Gogh
  • You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use a work of art to see your soul. –George Bernard Shaw
  • Pictures just come to my mind, and then I tell my heart to go ahead. –Horace Pippin
  • Art is the most sublime mission of man, since it is the expression of thought seeking to understand the world and to make it understood. –Auguste Rodin
  • The question is not what you look at, but what you see. –Henry David Thorough
  • Each morning when I wake up, I experience again a supreme pleasure… that of being Salvador Dali. –Salvador Dali
  • No art deserves to be above the life of its time.  No living people deserve to be beneath the art of their time.  If there is to be dancing, it must at least be what the living dreamed –William Saroyan
  • Twelve photographs that matter in a year is a good crop for any photographer. –Ansel Adams
  • Every canvas is a journey all its own. –Helen Frankenthaler
  • Art is not taught.  What art is is taught. –John Wilde

Do you have any favorite art quotes?

Check this post for a few more art quotes.

TED Art Playlist

I love TED Talks.

In case you’re unfamiliar with TED, their website describes the project as:

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds:  Technology, Entertainment, Design.  Since then its scope has become ever broader.  Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference on the West Coast each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

The two annual TED conferences, on the North American West Coast and in Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).

On, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 1400 TED Talks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks are subtitled in English, and many are subtitled in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.

In case that didn’t get rid of the question mark floating over your head, here’s my synopsis:  In usually about 15 minutes each you get to watch video and listen to excellent speakers with intriguing concepts of philosophy, psychology, leadership, science, creativity, and more, making it an elightening 15 minutes you don’t have to feel guilty about.  Sorry, Youtube, I’ve found a better use of my video-watching time.

So when I discovered TED had a playlist curated just about art, I knew I had to share it with my blog viewers.  I tried to embed the playlist directly into my post, but failed.  So you’ll have to click a link and go to the TED website. Happy viewing.

The playlist includes the following videos:

  1. Stefan Sagmeister:  Happiness by design
  2. JR:  One year of turning the world inside out
  3. Raghava KK:  My 5 lives as an artist
  4. Shea Hembrey:  How I became 100 artists
  5. Chip Kidd:  Designing books is no laughing matter.  OK, it is.
  6. Philippe Starck:  Design and destiny
  7. Jonathan Harris:  the Web’s secret stories
  8. Vik Muniz:  Art with wire, sugar, chocolate and string
  9. David Macaulay’s Rome Antics
  10. Maira Kalman, the illustrated woman

The Artist Is In: TED Playlist

*Disclaimer, I try to keep my blog pretty PG, but these videos may contain foul language, images of nudity, or other adult content (but not that kind of adult content).  Viewer beware.

More Drawing Advice than Anyone Wanted

On the subject of artistic growth my mind wandered back to a post I discovered a long time ago.  Titled “More Drawing Advice than Anyone Wanted,” artist Kelly Turnbull, pseudoname Coelasquid, sits her readers down for a long talk about what it takes to improve your drawing skills.  Her words really resonated with me the first time I read them, and they still do today.

Her main points in the article are:

  1. Draw from Life
  2. Structure is Key
  3. Figure Things Out for Yourself
  4. Reference Other Artists
  5. All Art is Self Taught
  6. Constantly Challenge Yourself
  7. Don’t Hate on Successful People
  8. Don’t Hate on Newbies
  9. Don’t Hate on Yourself

These are the main points of the article, but you can’t just read these titles and “get it.”  What’s important is the content between the titles.  I’m going to pick some quotes from the reading that I really think are gems, but you can’t get the whole message without reading its entirety yourself.  So go check it out.

P.S.  While you’re over there, check out her hilarious web comic Manly Guys Doing Manly Things.  It’s a treat for video game lovers.

Learning to draw is a little like learning to speak a language, the younger you get into it, the easier a time you’ll have with it and the less you’ll remember the uphill struggle it took to get where you are… It is true that getting the basics down will save you years of mediocrity, but frankly, learning to draw is hard. If it feels like a chore and if you aren’t getting any kind of instant gratification out of it, you’ll probably give up before you get anywhere. Like language, you don’t jump right int the thick of it off the get go. Start simple, imitate, immerse yourself, and keep at it to grow.

If you never try to figure out what you could be doing better and expand your repertoire, you will continue to make the same mistakes for as long as you draw.

The short of it is, things will ALWAYS look wrong if you learn to draw them from copying the way other artists have chosen to stylize them rather than understanding how they work for yourself. This really seems to be a hangup that kids who learn to draw exclusively from copying anime or comic books have to get over. You need to think of a character as a three dimensional object sitting in space and figure out how to best represent that, don’t treat them like a composite of two dimensional symbols.

We are all the sum of our parts, every one of us is influenced by everything we ever see, hear, say, or do. What we bring to the table is our interpretation of all of those happenings, which we try to present in the most appealing or interesting way possible to the best of our abilities. Studying the ground other artists have already broken is nothing but a tool to help us figure out how to look at something from a new perspective, and there’s no reason to shy away from it.

It’s easy to become comfortable drawing one thing and put all of your effort into polishing that off, while neglecting everything else… If you don’t try to draw something, you’ll never learn how to draw it.

Few and far between are the fledgling artists who can’t improve without some practice and constructive criticism. You don’t have to sugar coat your suggestions and handle them with the kiddie gloves, but telling someone they suck and they should stop drawing is just being a dick.

There is nothing more annoying to listen to than an artist waxing on about how much they suck and how they’ll never get anywhere…Yeah, I get it, all artists are invariably disappointed in themselves. Everyone sees nothing but the mistakes when they look at their own art, everyone is always measuring themselves up against other people and thinking they come up short and wishing they had done better…But honestly, if most people spent a fraction of the time identifying their specific issues and working on them that they do crying on the internet about how bad they are at their hobby, wow, they’d be published professionals by now…If you feel self conscious accepting a lot of kind words about something you made, don’t just brush it off with “bleh, I suck”, say something like “Thanks! I really wish I had spent a little more time on *insert problem area here*, though”. That way you show them that you appreciated the compliment, you identified your specific issue with the drawing that you can work to improve next time, and you didn’t turn the situation into a self-pity circle jerk.

Art is dynamic, it’s exciting because there is always new ground to break. There is no ultimate conclusion, It’s like evolution. There is always the opportunity for your abilities to grow and change.

Artistic Growth

I found an amazing article on 22 Words that shows the artistic progression of Mark Allante.  From age two to twenty-five, he shares samples of his artwork.  I love this concept because it shows that good artists aren’t just born that way.  They start with scribbles, just like everyone else.  This collection of drawings demonstrates the importance of practice over years and years.  I’m a big advocate of this idea.  I hear lots of people lament at how poor they are at drawing or painting, and I want to ask them “How long did you work at it?  Did you practice?”  Just like any skill, whether it be running, singing, writing, or dancing, it takes a lot of time and effort to improve your talent.  I appreciate the generosity of Mr. Allante for sharing his artistic progression with the world.  It inspires me to want to create something similar.

So how about you?  What do you think is your greatest talent?  When did you first start, and how many years of practice have you invested in your skill?

An Artist’s Progression from 2 Years Old to 25

From 2 years Old…

Marc Allante’s drawings, at two years old.

…to 25 years old.

Marc Allante’s work at 25 years old.

Follow the link to see the whole progression!


Ink Drops 4k

A Jacob+Katie Schwarz Film
Music By Tony Anderson

From the YouTube page in which this video was posted:

Special Thanks to Daniel Blair for the concept and Willem Kampenhout for helping us out.

This video was filmed and edited at 4K (4096×2304) resolution, four times greater than regular 1080p HD. All 4K content are available upon commercial request. Shot on Red Epic.

I am a commercial director/cinematographer currently seeking additional representation. Please contact me directly for more information.

The creator also included a twitter page, in case you were inspired to follow his indeavors:

All credit goes to those named above.  I make no claims to it.  I am simply featuring this artistic and beautiful video in hopes that you too find it beautiful.

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