A lot of my most recent work has included female faces, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make these faces look “real” enough, constantly fixing and tweaking and figuring out the right proportions. When I get caught up in this cycle of perfectionism, sometimes painting is no longer fun and finishing one can start to feel like a chore.

Some recent paintings of mine featuring female faces.

If I’m not having fun and feeling free and inspired while painting, then why do it? I've learned to use these feelings as a guide, following my own creative spirit wherever it takes me.

It’s not always easy to follow though, because I get ideas about what I want my art to look like, or what I think it “should” look like. It’s pretty easy to start comparing myself to other artists with more developed realistic painting skills and trick myself into feeling not good enough.

But then I remind myself to just do what feels fun and freeing for me--to take the path of least resistance instead of trying to force something. When I follow the path of least resistance with my art, it usually leads me to something new, which is exciting and sparks new inspiration and ideas.

So I recently took a break from painting faces and started a series of large abstract designs which felt like a breath of fresh air. I put on some of my favorite music and just made up the designs as I painted, a fun and intuitive process.

Two new abstract paintings I'm still working on..

Two more new large abstracts on canvas, almost finished.

New abstract large canvas

A friend let me borrow some Martha Stewart rubber painting tools which have been really fun to experiment with. They inspired me to create texture, something I haven't really played with much before in my art. You can see close-ups in the next two photos.

texture close up

texture close up 2

I know that eventually I will want to paint faces, animals and things again. I also know that as long as I’m painting, I’m growing.. and so is my art.

So here I am, floating freely in color, shapes and texture. Creating my own abstract designs that don’t need to look like anything. Existing in a reality free from the confines of right, wrong, definitions and labels.

A deep breath of fresh air in and a bold sigh of relief out, “ahhhhhh”.


Golden Nuggets and Energy Creatures

"So, where do you get your inspiration and ideas?"

This question just won’t go away. It just keeps coming and coming from people who meet me & my art. I never have an answer for them, so I will try again, here.

There is no question that my ideas come from inside me or through me. I might be channeling ideas from some other realm/spirit/energy source/universal mind or my own subconsciousness, I do not know. However, the best I can do is shed some light on the process I use to uncover these ideas. That is how I feel I do it, I uncover them. Sift them out... Find them... Discover them.

You’d think for a visual artist I’d spend my time doodling to come up with ideas. Well I don’t. I can doodle and create visually in my mind. It’s a lot faster that way and easier to change things. For me, the real meaty process of coming up with ideas is writing.

When I do stream of consciousness writing (writing whatever comes to mind immediately without stopping) it's like I stab a spicket into my temple and turn the faucet on and let the juices flow out of my head all over the page.

Words, phrases.. things that make sense and others that don’t. Mundane rambles and philosophical rants. Narcissistic self obsession. I let it all go baby, judgement free. It’s only me, my inky gel roller pen and this piece of blank paper--no lines, no rules, no structure.

I must have this pen--no other pen will let me flow as freely as this one.


So I turn on the faucet and let it all rush out of my brain. Some days it’s a slow trickle, others it’s a full-fledged flood gate opening as the words just pour out. I barely think about what I’m writing and wonder what sort of energy creature has infiltrated my body as I watch ideas that I hadn’t consciously even thought of before flow effortlessly from my fingertips.

Sometimes it flows so fast I can barely keep up. I’ll have multiple ideas trying to come out at once but my hand can only record one at a time.

After it’s done I am left with pages like the one in this picture. Chaotic, hand scrawled words peppered with nuggets of golden ideas. I see it as my job to regularly turn this faucet on and get it all out, then go back and edit later.


So I go through it (as you can see I did with a blue highlighter) and pick out the golden nuggets--the next big idea for a painting, blog post, business thing, life goal, and occasional revolutionary, mind-blowing spiritual epiphany.

Sometimes I get lazy and put off the going through it part. Then I end up with these pages piled up in boxes, all ripe with hidden golden nuggets. On a particularly idea-less day I may grab a highlighter and go treasure hunting through these old pages.

So like I said before, I have no idea where exactly my ideas/inspiration come from. It all seems to me like some sort of subconscious digging or energy channeling.

All I know is that as a creative, it’s my job to keep letting it out. Through this process I never fail to uncover something interesting hiding under a rock that I didn’t even know existed...

So if you want to have more creative ideas, try this process out. You may be surprised at what comes out!