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Author: fly-admin

Creativity…it works!

I love this time of year at the art school!

This is the time when students in the studio art classes get to figure out what they want to learn and master.  Over 20 years ago, I started the art school with the option that students could always do what they wanted.

It was a risk then, a totally new model for art instruction.  It meant that I had to set up a complete art studio with “help yourself” materials so students could follow their creativity.

At Holiday time, I get to catch up with many of those former students and it is such a delight.  They are bright… and interesting… and most are still making art!

There is no “blank canvas” crisis for these creatives..they never had to give up their voice in order to learn skills and then try to find a voice again years later.  Their creativity is still a natural part of who they are.  This time of year reminds me to appreciate the creative impulse of every student I see….which makes it even more fun to be around the art school!

Thanks for checking in with me over the Holidays everyone!



I heard Tim Cook’s interview with Brian Williams and thought it was interesting….Tim Cook kind of comes across as ‘Mr. No-personality’ so it is easy to slide over what he says as Über corporate….but actually he had some interesting artistic ideas.

When he was asked how in the world Apple could hope to ever “stay fresh”….meaning creative, in a world where corporations fall from grace as a natural progression to high success….Tim Cook said in essence…we will stay creative because that is our mission.  Our mission is not the product…our mission is staying creative, innovative and connected to our customer.  That is a creative answer.  For true creatives, it is not about the fame…not about the money…it’s about being creative.  Being creative feels good.  It often requires more effort than is reasonable….takes more time than we planned for…but it is always our mission!

When asked about Apple’s legendary secrecy, Tim Cook had another interesting creative comment.  Roughly quoted, He said “Yes that it was a tough market out there with harsh competition but that is not so much the point of the secrecy as the element of surprise.”  People love to be surprised.  It’s true….so today’s thought…..add an element of surprise into what your doing…surprise yourself…hide surprises in your artwork for others…surprise me into thinking something new and different!


‘The Art Forger’, Glazing and Principia Cormorant

‘The Art Forger’ by B.A. Shapiro is a great read about a contemporary woman artist in Boston that gets totally embroiled in an art museum theft and forgery all while trying to get ahead as an artist.  The book really gets core with the difficulty women have in the art world, with the stuff that goes on for the artist within their own studio, and goes into great detail about the painting technique of… guessed it…..glazing.

Glazing is a painting technique of applying this, transparent layers of paint on thin, transparent layers of paint….on dry paint, by the way, (meaning a very s-l-o-w process).  Often you wipe some paint off with each layer, allowing the canvas or light under paint to show through creating a radiating, rich color that “smushing” paint just can’t achieve.

Sooner or later, most artists do some glazing.  I am a paint smushed.  I like immediate gratification.  I grew up with Abstract Expressionism, California Figurative, Pop Art…I have things to say and I want to get at it. But, the description of the layers and layers and luminosity had me going.  I am now playing with glazing in the Ghost Flower Series.

Next, I have a student ask how to get the transparent feel of skin in paint….this requires I teach him….glazing.  I am working on glazing myself around the art school and describing it to students and someone else decides she wants to try it for flower pedals.

Last, I am starting a thank you gift for a donation to the art school: I paint a painting of the family pet, in this case stuffed critters, in any style of any artist they choose…..this family chooses Rembrandt.  What does that require….you know it….glazing! And, black glazing at that!

That brings us to “Principia Cormorant”. An adult artist working with me coined the term “Principia Cormorant” for those times when you learn something new and then run into it all over the place right after that.  It had to do with her husband learning about Cormorants (local bird) and then hearing people reference them and actually seeing them repeatedly soon afterwards.

So, todays thought….Glazing is the Art School’s “Principia Cormorant” this week.



Before starting this blog I had to think about what the point of it would be.  It was actually pretty easy to figure out.  I do not LOVE to teach how to get the right consistency of block printmaking ink 1,000’s of times….or teaching contour drawing for the billionth time…I LOVE what I do because I get to help and hang out with all these creative people.

There is something fun and interesting that goes on when you get a bunch of creative people hanging out together.  You never know where it is going…it almost always surprises…sometimes gives pause and is almost always interesting.  This is what I hope to pass along and share.  The Art School zeitgeist!