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ART IN THE TIME OF PLAGUE

world horses by E.C. Sullivan © 2016 E.C. Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

So you had a thriving creative business going (I had both art and music) and this corona plague came along and the government shut you down. I don’t think any of us were prepared for that, as I don’t think any of us have lived through times like these.

I had several different sources of income – fine art sales, teaching art classes, commissions for public art (murals and sculpture) and I was actually making the most money playing music gigs. Suddenly all the music venues, art galleries, art shows, art classes, and yes, even the public art commissions I had won and was about to start, were closed down. March 7 was my last gig.

I was so angry I wanted to throw something. I just got angrier and angrier. Which, of course, didn’t do any good at all.

Right now the world needs art and music more than ever before. Anything you can do to make people smile. I started a YouTube channel and put my music online. On facebook, too. Made a website for music. And let me tell you, this was a big deal for me – I didn’t know how to do any of that before! I’m 71 years old and learning to create a youtube channel was quite a feat. (The Bess and Mike Show on Youtube.)

I’ve been painting – I’ve been posting new and old paintings all over the place online. I’m going to paint a mural on the fence at my house. I created an art gallery in my house that will open as soon as people are allowed to gather again.

I’ve taken several online classes. I was invited to perform on a famous YouTube channel – that was a hoot. We had an online tip jar which actually netted us about $500. Not as much as we would have made performing regular gigs, but imagine that – people liked our music so much that they gave us tips! I’m floored.

I have my little small town projects, too. I planted more in my garden so I can give some away. I have chickens so I gave away eggs. I have an incubator which has now been running full time for almost 9 weeks. I’m hatching out chicks, because now my neighbors want to keep chickens, too. I’ve given away chicks to two neighbors who are first time chicken keepers and I have a waiting list for the next two batches to hatch in the incubator.

The game now has got to be how can you help? How can you make people smile? How can you spread a little joy and bring some beauty to the world? This pandemic will be over one day and what will be your legacy? You can do something about it, and you can help others get through and you can bring joy to the world.

Wild Spirit Artworks

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3 Tips from Chuck Rosenthal Fine Artist

Being a good painter is not done because of accidents. You need to pass through lots of challenges, trials, practices, and failures. To help you in painting, here are Chuck Rosenthal Fine Artist three simple yet valuable tips that you must always remember as you go along your journey in painting.

Light Controls Everything

You must have been thinking of the best materials to use in painting and must have bought very expensive ones just to be sure to have a great outcome. However, the expensive items will turn out to be worthless if you cannot imagine how the lighting will be on your painting. You must understand that everything in the painting depends mostly on light. The absence and the presence of it control everything. Light provides glow to your painting. The objects will appear gloriously with the appropriate lightings. Using the best angle for lighting, the viewers will experience a very tremendous impact. This is the first thing noticed by viewers and this entices them to look closely and longer at the painting. Your work will not appear dramatic as it is, not until you will paint the right light within it.

Color Matters Greatly

Colors highly influence the overall impact of the painting. There are pieces wherein the color enhances the message to make it clearer. It can describe a scene that other aspects find hard to show. The color used in painting plays a major role. It can harmonize, it unifies a scene, it produces rhythm, it shows a clear visual path, and it creates emphasis. The colors can be greatly shown using the right kinds of brush as well and the appropriate strokes. The best way to understand the value of colors, and how to use them in a painting, is by studying and practicing what the different colors are and what will happen if colors are mixed up. You can learn different combinations of the color wheel and try new ideas for color combinations in your paintings.

Aim to Improve

There is no such thing as steady best painter. All painters grow with each new painting. If you can’t seem to get a particular effect that you want, practice till you get it. Keep learning – read books, watch videos on Youtube, look up definitions of words so that you understand – it’s a continuous process. When you achieve a painting that is the best one you have ever made up, try to surpass that quality. Aim higher. Compete with yourself.

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Viewpoint and Appreciation

Viewpoint and appreciation

Imagine two lifelong friends, Bill and bob. They grew up together, shared many adventures and were as close as two men could be as true buddies, like brothers.  They bought houses next to each other and their kids played together.

One day Bill found a pebble lying in the grass alongside the sidewalk as he and Bob surveyed their newly mowed lawns. He picked it up, felt its weight and its smoothness. He held it up to the light and noticed the way the light reflected off of the rounded surface on one side and how a rainbow of colors emerged when he held it in a certain position.

He smiled while holding the stone this way and that, getting different colors as he did so. Something within him relaxed as he absorbed the feeling he sensed gazing at the two inch particle of nature he held between his forefinger and thumb. He thought of how this rock was born, beginning with the fusion of particles through heat and pressure, perhaps thousands of years ago, and wondered why it gave him this mellow and happy sensation, just holding it and looking at it. The stone became more and more real as he rolled it around between his fingers and felt it grow warm in his palm.

“Hey Bob, check this out, man.” He handed the stone to Bob, who glanced at it and handed it back. He said, “It’s a rock, man, nice rock, smooth.”

Bill felt odd. There was a slight invalidation as his sense of values and worth of the stone stood trembling on the edge of “throw it away, it’s just a rock,” or “I see something I have never seen before, feel something new, and it is real.” Bill let out a breath he had been holding since he handed the stone to Bob. It breathed out any of the old Bill, who had always played the “agreement to not be different than others,” and he felt a natural sense of personal integrity and honor, to know that if it is true for me it is true, not what others say is true. This stone is beautiful, and if he can’t see it, it is his problem.”

At that moment Bill lifted his eyes to his environment and saw it all in a different light; it took on a new dimension of livingness he had never seen before. Bob couldn’t see this dimension. He was blind to it.  Bill felt an instant sadness for Bob. But Bill had a new life. He now had a new world to explore, and Bob couldn’t explore it with him, but Bill couldn’t stop grinning. He had perceived the new dimension of beauty, aesthetics and art. And now he wanted to see, to learn, to know more about this, whatever it is. He knew it had worth beyond any accounting, and he could share.

Bob said, “dude, what’s with you, why you grinnin’ like your face gonna break?”

“No worries, Bob, no worries man.”

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Introduce myself and a thought about art

Hello guys, I am L D Sledge. This is my first post on IAC and I intend to post regularly. I am a writer, author, poet, copywriter, visual artist and mess with a piano keyboard, guitar and a couple of other things as a mediocre player. But I love making visual and physical art whether it is an oil or acrylic canvas, a great shot with my camera, piano melody, a flower arrangement or a string of words on a page or pages that gives that joyous heart bursting joy of having flowed something extraordinary. It is all art, whether a fleeting shadow or a childhood memory of geese flying across a great yellow winter moon, with their lonely cries in the night, or the scent of a rose. This world is a sumptuous feast of eye, ear and sensual candy just waiting to be slurped up. It is all candy to me.

The test is not technical perfection. The test is if it creates an emotional impact on the observer. What impact does the Pieta have on you? If you have seen it, as I have, in situ, right there before my eyes, you would receive a palpable impact, as I did. Even looking at a picture of it does that. The artist imbued that marble with his very spirit that lives on and on in the stone, singing its beautiful melody through every molecule and atom of its self transferred through the hammer and chisel of a great artist.

But an artist, whether a writer or painter, makes a serious mistake at trying to create this impact on others. If a writer writes to please others, to make money, as a vanity exercise or as a effort to make an impression on others, it changes the essence of the form to something other than real art in my opinion. An artist must just open the doors and let it out, flowing, without concern of any other person or mind of others, except to please the artist and to make sure it speaks a language that can be understood.

Iris

Too much individuality makes it unintelligible, and a thing that renders itself even ugly to my mind and it has an instant effect the moment I lay eyes on it. I went to the Dali museum in St. Petersburg recently, in hopes of seeing something deserving of the publicity. Sorry. His work is strange, kind of scary, gross in a way, certainly not something that you can take away feeling inspired, delighted or aesthetically gratified. He just made lots of noise with melting clocks, etc. There were two or three very excellent pieces, like the Last Supper, which was inspired. And no double he was a fantastic artist. I see good artists waste it on gross, ugly, scary things. That is just my viewpoint.

Art should communicate, create a “good” impact that makes a person better for the experience, taking away a good feeling, free, happy and loving life more than before. How to do that? Just be yourself, and if it is ugly, it may be beautiful to you; don’t fret over it.  Just let it out. Let your art be you. You live on as you in your art. It is your communication line, you have given it life through your brush or pen or fingers on the strings. It may make them feel good, laugh or cry for joy, (maybe not) but just be you, you are eyecandy. But most of all. Just do it. 

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Is Criticism Ever Really “Constructive?”

Is Criticism Ever Really “Constructive?”

With out having a solvable solution to the mistakes, criticisms make you feel less in control, keep you from performing at your best AND consequently, cause you to sing, speak and perform worse!

Criticism is about finding fault with someone. At Voicercise, we believe in building up an artist and helping them to expand their abilities so they can better perform in ways they can’t imagine.

“My daughter quickly learned how to get her voice to a higher range and she has learned how to sing intricate RnB runs. Her singing has definitely improved and she has so much fun during her lessons.”  – Alahni White

Putting your attention in something that’s wrong, without the correct fix, will usually juts create a deeper lack of confidence.

A Voicercise coach, on the other hand, understands the underlying strengths that need to be worked so that any weaknesses just disappear along the way.

“My daughter has been attending classes here for just a few months and they have done an awesome job. She’s built her confidence and learned new techniques. She always has such a great time with during her lessons too.”  Betty Nolan

Criticism causes stress that can negatively change your life forever. Without the proper singing lessons to correct the damage, your vocal machinery starts to loose strength and as a result causing you a lose vocal ability and control.

Roxy Miller
Voicercise
Owner – Vocal Coach

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Bob Dylan “Blowin’ In The Wind”

Here is a piece that was written by arguably the most influential poet of the late 20th Century. I used to perform it — a lot — in the late 60’s and 70’s. So simple. So powerful. So pertinent right now. It deals not just with war and social injustice. More importantly, it deals metaphorically with truth as an undeniable fundamental, and of seeing what is truly happening around you.

“Blowin’ In The Wind”

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, and how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’til he knows
That too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

–Bob Dylan

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Chuck Rosenthal Six Techniques for Still Life Oil Painting

Chuck Rosenthal FIne Art copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

If you want to create a good painting, you must be very careful with the details, especially if you plan to make still life oil painting. Here I will introduce to you the techniques on how to make your painting satisfying in the end.

1. Take time to examine your object.

You must lay put your object in the right place with the correct lighting. If needed, you can make a setup box with a side hole to enable little light to pass through. You can also take photographs of the object so you can examine it clearly to ensure you have just the right lighting effect that you wish. With Still Life painting, do not rush this process.

2. Use a pencil to begin.

A smart move to do before applying oil paint is to make a fairly detailed pencil drawing. This is where you can freely adjust the measurements of the object you want to paint. You can use rulers to measure distance and size. Just remember to remove the excess lines that are not needed in the final drawing since the graphite might contaminate the oil paint.

3. Diluted Oil Paint

To create a still life painting of objects, you must first fill in the backgrounds instead of making the object first using a diluted oil paint. This is because if you do otherwise, the object might seem to float. You can use a soft-haired brush to create a film background layer. You can also use the same oil paint for the objects.

4. Undiluted Paint

After the layer using diluted oil paint, you may now use undiluted oil paint using colors that are quite similar to the diluted oil paint you have used. This is used to remove unwanted brush strokes to create a smoother effect. You can add more details to this part then. You can use a palette knife and coarse brushes if you want to create a thick paint, where necessary. You must remember not to continue with this new layer without drying the previous layer.

5. Add the final layer.

You need to build up liquidity and transparency to the painting so you must add a lot of mediums into it. It will result to subtle gradients. You can use ½-alkyd medium in combination of ½ linseed oil.

6. Final Retouch

You can add retouching glossy varnish to finish your work of art. However, remember to wait after a week of drying your painting before applying this layer. Once you apply the glossy varnish, the next one need to be applied after 6 months or so. This enables the surface quality to regain its original look.

These techniques will surely make your work of art amazing in the end. You just have to follow it carefully. When you get practice with the different techniques, you can expect to have great results. When you have it, you will grow more as an artist.

Chuck Rosenthal Fine Art

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Sail On Silver Girl

After my Mentor, Ralph E. Grimes, got me rolling with my art and learning about The Arts, he often mentioned my rapid progress.  Each week we would meet, listen to classical or jazz music, discuss the problems encountered and work out handlings.  After a while of doing this, Ralph bade farewell at the end of each meeting with “Sail on Silver Girl.”

Ralph’s method of mentoring was from the Old School of Validating the Rightness.  This method is the fastest route to helping creative and talented folks to succeed. I always felt as if that particular method of mentoring was pure magic as I went from sketches to professional paintings in a matter of months without once taking a painting lesson!

Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Paul Simon is about providing comfort for someone in need which is very applicable to this type of mentoring which is a Friend and Guide using the Validate the Rightness Method.

To me the “Sail on Silver Girl” verse of Bridge Over Troubled Waters had a very special meaning, especially the lines “All your dreams are on their way, See how they shine.

I’ve continued the tradition of mentoring artists with the “Validate the Rightness” method now for twenty years!  In all that time, I’ve never received a negative comment!  And, when my artists start taking off on their flight to success, I bade farewell at the end of each meeting with “Sail on Silver Girl” (or boy).

Here’s Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel from the concert in Central Park:

LYRICS
“Bridge Over Troubled Water”

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
Oh when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I’ll take your part
Oh when darkness comes
And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on, silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
Oh if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

You can find me at ILIA LIFE and Help-2-Succeed.

 

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Flowing admiration and what you like about it.

I’m going to share with you an action, or a series of actions, that I did a few years ago that brought me some recognition, success, and friendships with regards to my music.

 

Back in 2007 there wasn’t much happening for me music-wise. I was getting over the death of my father and hadn’t really focused on much to do with my music. I was still writing of course, but a lot of it didn’t really seem to matter that much at the time. One evening, I was invited out by my friend Vince to go and see some DJs at a club in Glasgow. Vince was already recognized worldwide as a top DJ and “techno” producer. He had played all over the world and had released many records. But more importantly, he was my friend. He had been so since I was twelve years old. Despite his worldwide “superstardom” (that’s a joke by the way!) within the scene, he was still just Vince. 

 

Now before I go any further I feel that it’s important to point a few things out with regards to electronic music genres. 

Imagine that you’re a guitar player and that you play a little jazz, or some folk music, blues etc, but everyone assumes that because you “play guitar” it means that you only play death metal!

It would get a little frustrating having to keep explaining to people that you don’t play as loud as to burst eardrums, nor do you drink two bottles of Jack Daniels before going on stage, nor are you particularly fond of biting the heads off bats! I’m sure you get the idea. What I’m trying to communicate is that quite often when I mention terms like “techno” or “dance music” it is assumed that I’m referring to promiscuous people off their heads on drugs dancing to painfully loud, bass heavy music.

Techno is not that. It is not “EDM”, or is it “Trance” or “Hardcore”. It’s a style of electronic music which draws heavily from sci-fi ideologies, technology, futurism, and environmental soundscapes. It is often repetitive in nature but not always. The repetition makes it good to dance to and because of its subjectivity, techno tracks often find themselves in little parallel universes and being associated with some seemingly unrelated styles of music! (For example, I once got a fantastic review in “Blues and Soul” magazine for what was very much a techno track.)

It is not “drug music” either, although unfortunately, and like every other style of music, drugs often find their way into the scene. It’s important to point out though that many of the world’s most successful techno DJs and producers are very spiritual people and many don’t even drink alcohol never mind take drugs. I guess it’s the same for many “out of the box” thinking artists. I mean, to create other worlds and other universes with their art, they HAVE to be on drugs. Right?

 

Wrong.

 

It’s likely that their aversion to such substances keeps those “creative juices” flowing and keeps them from finding themselves IN the box.

 

Anyway, I thought that I’d clear that up. You don’t have to like the style but it helps to knock off some of the negative preconceptions, and to understand the art a little more.

 

Right, back to the story! So Vince and I were at some club in Glasgow listening to a few DJs from Italy, and from The Netherlands. After the show I was introduced to the two Dutch DJs. They were introduced to me as Stefan and Esther. Both were quite soft spoken and kind of reserved. They were friendly though and we chatted about music, Glasgow, The Netherlands, and the record label that they ran. We spoke for about 45 minutes and then, before going our separate ways, Esther handed me a cd of her music. 

 

I played the cd in the car the following day and enjoyed what I was listening to. Nothing overly dramatic or particularly “out there”. The tracks were quite simple in a way but they had just the right blend of rhythm, melody, and groove. The tracks had my hand gently tapping on the steering wheel – always a good indicator.

 

A few months passed when I received an invite from yet another “music buddy” to sign up to a new music platform online. The platform would allow producers, artists, and DJs to keep in touch, collaborate and listen to new music. “Soundcloud” was pretty new when I signed up and the first thing that I did was to look up all my music contacts and start following them. I included my two new contacts, Stefan and Esther. I then uploaded some of my music, you know, just to get a little feedback on what I was doing.

 

I would log on every other day and listen to a lot of different styles of electronic music. Some artists I noticed were more prolific in uploading music than others. I also saw that my own music was getting quite a few listens. The comments left were pretty positive. It’s always nice to get encouragement and although I had written a lot of new material over those past few months, I hadn’t really found a record label who would release the tracks. To be honest, I wasn’t looking that hard.

Then one day, Esther uploaded one of her tracks. This one I really liked, in particular I loved the percussion she had used. How did she create those sounds? What instruments, what software was she using? I thought I may as well ask her. I complimented her on her track and explained what I loved about it. I then asked her about her production techniques, inspiration etc. Her reply was not what I expected. She was so pleased that someone took the time to not only compliment her music, but to explain to her what it was that they liked about it. She was already quite an established DJ around the scene in Europe and like my friend Vince, she had played in many places and had released a lot of music but she pointed out something to me. Although she got a lot of people saying that they loved what she did, her music, her DJ sets, almost no one ever explained what it was that they liked about the music! And she was right. I looked at the comments on Soundcloud relating to her tracks. I then looked at the comments relating to my tracks. “Nice!”, “Great track”, “Love this”, “Love the vibe” etc etc.

I had honestly never noticed it before. I found it both kind of strange and amusing. Esther never did explain how she got those percussion sounds. I think that she was too caught up with the first part of my email. But she did ask if I wanted on the mailing list to her’s and Stefan’s record label. It meant that I would get these great tunes before the general public providing that I give “a little feedback” on the tracks. So I said “sure! Sign me up!”.

 

Every other week I’d receive a message in my inbox to click on a link to listen to the music. On doing so, I would be presented with the feedback form to fill out while I listened. Once I had submitted the form, another link opened for me to download the track. It was quite fun to do. As I had done before, instead of commenting with something like “great track” or “nice one!”, I chose to give a more in-depth insight to why I liked it. Even on the tracks that I wasn’t so keen on, I always focused on something that I did like about that particular piece of music and gave my feedback on that. I figured that these artists on the label rota put their heart and soul into their music as I did when writing mine, and I wanted to validate them for doing so.

 

A few days after submitting the form and downloading the track, I’d receive another email. This time it would be the promo for the release. I’d read through it and then look at the comments from the other reviewers’ forms that were copied and pasted onto the promo. My comments stood out like a book in a bowl of post-it notes!

 “Amazing track.”

“Definitely on my playlist.”

 “Nice!”

“The deep subterranean bassline throbs beneath one’s feet while reverb soaked percussion clatter in the background like distant locomotives pulling through rain.”.

“Love this track.”

“Gonna play in my next DJ set”

 

Can you guess which comment was mine?

 

It wasn’t long before Esther emailed me again, “Dear Colin. Myself and Stefan absolutely love reading your comments on our feedback forms. As you can see we always include them in our promo. We were wondering if you would like to work for us in writing the text for our future promo? We will pay you of course. Also, we listened to some of your tracks on Soundcloud and would very much like to release some of your music.” 

Now I was getting PAID to listen to music, and I had found my record label. This was amazing!

Amazing that by simply explaining what it was that I liked about a piece (and being a little creative in my explanations) I had created a little sideline job for myself, and that my music was now being played all over Europe. 

 

There seemed to be a kind of flow to it – admire, but not just “admire”. Take time to admire. Why are you admiring? Let the artists know what it is, then receive admiration and opportunity in return.

 

The next time you feel that you “like” something, ask yourself why. And if it’s a work of art, a story, a sculpture, a piece of music, and if you can, let the artist know what it is that you love about their work!

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Reviews – Michael Graves – Poet

Brilliantly life-affirming! I haven’t read anything like this since ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull!'” – Holley Stewart, Life Coach

 

Michael Graves is the real deal. He takes us into the poetic and philosophic life, good literature, and full relationships with gusto. He engages us thoroughly, often jauntily, with the full cooperation of his highly knowledgeable, metaphoric, rhythmic, and often comic, poetic mind. Very highly recommended!! – Carole Brooks Platt, PhD – author of “In Their Right Minds: The Lives and Shared Practices of Poetic Geniuses”

 

 Michael Graves is one of the most truly gifted poets of our time. His insight, wisdom, reflection, optimism and positive thinking are a true pleasure to enjoy in every stack and stanza.” – Gunther Bedson, Poet/Composer

WEBSITE:  www.michaelgravespoet.com
Click on the “Projects” button in the upper right for  information on books.