Thursday, May 3, 2018

Arnold Schwarzenegger's 5 Rules for Success

Very inspiring.

I have never been a big Arnold Schwarzenegger fan. But I saw this video on Facebook from the site Good News Network, and I felt there was some really good advice here on being successful, no matter what you want to be successful at.  


 

I would recommend watching the video, because his talk is inspiring.  But here are his five tips to excel in whatever you do:

1. Find your vision or goal.  Find your purpose.  Find your passion.  Follow it, or you will not feel happy in life.   

I agree.  Otherwise you will be floundering.  Having a dream, a goal, a sense of purpose, gives one a reason to get up in the morning.  Gives your life direction.  Gives you grounding.

2.  Never think small.  Think big.  

I say, why not?

3.  Ignore the nay sayers.  This is a big one.  For all of us.  Do not listen to them.  Move forward towards your goal.  

We have all dealt with nay sayers.  As an artist, since I was a child, I was told, get a "real" job, do art on the side, as a hobby.   By my parents, art was not looked at as a viable career choice.  And by a lot of society, art is looked at the same. 

4.  Work your ass off.

5.  Don't just take, give something back.  Help others.  Help create a better world.  

"If not us, who?  If not now, when?" 

Love those two lines. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Steal Like an Artist - On Art


One of my VERY favorite books about art is "Steal Like an Artist," by Austin Kleon.  He makes many good points about art that I would like to share.  Here are some of my favorites. 

1.  Nothing is original.  All creative work builds on what came before.

Every new idea is just a mashup or remix of one or more previous ideas.

2.  There's an economic theory out there that says if you take the income of your 5 closest friends and average them, the resulting number will be pretty close to your income.  (I heard this theory before in a Mastermind marketing group.)

The same is true of our idea incomes.

3.  Chew on one thinker, one writer, artist, activist, role model, that you really like.  Study everything there is to know about that thinker, artist, writer, etc.  Then find 3 people that thinker loved, and find out everything about them.  Repeat.

4.  Seeing yourself as part of a creative lineage will help you feel less alone as you start making your own art.  I hang pictures of my favorite artists in my studio.

5.  The great thing about dead or remote artists is that they can't refuse you as an apprentice.  You can learn whatever you want from them.  They left their lesson plans in their work.

6.  Carry a notebook and pen, or sketch book and pencil, with you every where you go. 

7.  Keep a swipe file.  A file to keep track of the stuff you've swiped from others.  Keep a scrap book, take photos, etc.  Need some inspiration?  Open up your swipe file.

8.  You're only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with.  In the digital space, that means following the best people online, the people who are smarter than you.  Pay attention to what they are talking about, what they are linking to. 

9.  Harold Ramis says "Find the most talented person in the room, and if it's not you, go stand next to him or her.  Hang out with him or her.  Try to be helpful."

10.  If you ever find you are the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.  

If any of these thoughts and ideas pique your interest, I would highly recommend reading this book.  It's a quick read, and well worth it. 



On Creativity, by Brene Brown

Love this quote by Brene Brown.  So true.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

My Art Website



I have been working diligently on a website for my artwork. This is the first website I have built, and it did have it's challenges, but I think I am done. I have tried a few platforms for building one, such as Wix and Big Commerce, but I decided to go with the company Big Cartel, because it seemed to be the most intuitive for me to figure out. 

I would recommend Big Cartel to other artists just because of it's ease to put together.  It probably took me about 6 hours.  I all ready had LOTS of photos to use.  It was really just figuring out how to use the template I chose.  The most fun part was setting up the slider of photos for the home page. 

If you have a chance, please go check it out and let me know what you think. I would appreciate the feedback.

www.MaryAnnTestagrossaArt.com

Monday, February 26, 2018

Wise One

The third print in my cat linocut print series, is "Wise One."  This was my first print using three colors.  


My method of printing multiple colors is by carving my block into pieces, like a puzzle. 
 

Once the pieces are carved, they are inked separately, and then fit back together, carefully, before the paper is laid on top of the block. 







As you may notice, the eyes for this print were left white, then I hand painted them in with the printing ink to match a combination of the background colors.


 
This is part of the 50 print edition. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Why Cats?

I adopted my first pet, a cat named Tiger just over twelve years ago.  I wanted a buddy for companionship for the days I was home, working in my studio.  I have learned so much about animals since adopting Tiger.  I would have to say, Tiger has changed my life for the better.

Tiger, just a few months old.
When Tiger was two, we adopted a second cat, Motor, the constant purrer.  Once again, this little furry boy changed my life, for the better.

My Motor, just adopted.
I used to say Motor was my heart on the outside.  I used to tell my husband, if anything ever happened to Motor, I didn't know what I would do.  I was so bonded to him.  Almost two years ago now, Motor got sick with intestinal cancer and passed away.  He had never been sick before.  It was quick.  I was devastated.  It's still hard to look at this photo of him.  He was just nine years old when he passed. 

In a way, this body of work is a tribute to him.  Many of the images start with a photo of Motor.  The cats in my prints are black, not because I am making black cat artwork, specifically.  For me, the black cat is symbolic of all cats.  My cat images could be blue, or brown, or red, but I chose black. 

When Motor passed, I had no thoughts or desire to adopt another pet.  But my older cat Tiger, my original cat, seemed lonely.  After all, Motor was his companion for nine years.  So five months after Motor passed, we decided to adopt again for Tiger.  There were not a lot of kittens available at the time, but we found two boys, similar age, fours months old, from two different litters.  This is Hobbs and Oreo.  You can see I have a thing for ginger cats.  They have been great additions to the family.

Hobbs and Oreo - just adopted.
Two brothers from different mothers.
So anyway, why cats?  I think you can see why.  For me, I want to create art that I feel passionate about, and I have a strong connection to animals.  So this is my starting point.  I know after a while, my imagery will change, but I will always come back to the cat.