Discover Your Inner Artist - Doug Johnson

Ted Orland, in his inspiring and instructive book "The View From The Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way In An Uncertain World" persuasively argues that everyone should able to write, draw and take pictures -- not professionally, not masterfully but, you know, capably. Although these three skills are valuable in and of themselves, the real benefit comes from the doing.

Writing helps you to figure out what you really want to say. As E.L. Doctorow noted, the hard part is thinking clearly -- the actual writing part is easy.

Drawing helps you to look at things more closely -- not only lines, shapes, textures, colors and perspective but also the essence (the "ness") of things. What is "rose-ness" and "hand-ness" and "mountain-ness?"

Photography helps you to more thoughtfully observe the world around you. Hands become more than hands. Bark becomes more than bark. Clouds become more than clouds.

And don't say you can't do it because you don't have the time or talent. It doesn't take that much time and, trust me, it certainly doesn't take much talent. Buy Ted Orland's book ($5.38 from Amazon). Take a class at your local art museum or community college -- it's fun and you'll meet some really nice people and they could use the money. Write something, anything -- a blog, a poem, lyrics to a blues song. Create a free MailChimp account and hoodwink your friends and family into subscribing!

Writing about my work (with a deadline and an audience!) has helped me figure out why I like some of the work I've done and what I'm trying to do.

Speaking of clouds being more than clouds, here's a few images from Santa Fe. Nice segue, huh? ;-)

Santa Fe Clouds

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