Creating the Space-Time to Create

One of the biggest barriers to the creative process is not having a place, time, or discipline to do creative work. This is a common problem among creatives, especially those who have never gone to completion on any of their work however talented they may be. Starting and abandoning projects is only a problem if it bothers you. It bothered me, so I had to make some changes. Below are the step I took to create momentum. 

The most common hurdles to creative success: No space; No time; No inspiration; No discipline; No Goal; No confidence.

As a beginning artist, completing work can be really hard to accomplish. You get into the zone you do 70% of a piece and then you abandon the project.  Next thing you know two years have passed, your paint set is dried out and your brushes are destroyed.

This is actually really damaging; it upsets the creative/reality continuum.

It creates insecurity in the mind about your talent and desire. It also robs you of the rewards inherent to the creative process. It is such an amazing feeling to create something and have it be done. Once its done it can be shared, it can be hung on the wall, it can be shown at an exhibit, it can be used for its purpose. By completing the work you unlock its potential energy.  By leaving it unfinished you create energetic clogs. 

Another major impediment to work is mental confusion relating to your identity as an artist. Is this a hobby? Is this my calling? Whats selling right now? What do galleries want? Do I even want to sell? You need to quiet all this talk.  Give yourself permission to follow the process below without knowing what your endgame is. Make things that matter to you for now. 

There is hope! This past year I was able to overcome many of the hurdles blocking my ability to bring works to completion.  I have a few tips on how I was able to create the space-time to create. 

1. Develop a concept for your project: Commit to completing a single project. It should be big enough that it requires time and effort to complete, but not so big that you could create any excuse for putting it off. In my case, I knew that I wanted to create a series of my dance-music-paintings which became Impressions of Stardust. I had done a few demo paintings and liked how they turned out. I felt conviction to complete the project: 12 Paintings.

2. Create and publicize and event to showcase your project: When you are developing discipline, it requires accountability. By creating and publicizing an event about your project, you manufacture accountability.

Make the event manageable and don't give yourself too much time to complete it (in my case, less than 6 months).You do not want any excuse to cancel your event or push it back. It's time to put on your big girl panties and put yourself out there! 

I decided to throw myself a 30th Birthday Party/Art Show.  I did not collaborate with anyone nor did I wait for a gallery to pick me up. I rented a space and  sent out the  invitations. The paintings had to get done because people were coming and by the time my art show happened I had invested a lot of time and money. 

So you have a project in mind, you have an event planned - now its time to create the space-time to deliver on 1 & 2. 

3. Carving out Workspace: You need a place to work because creating art can be messy business.  If you want to accomplish your show, you will need a place to work where you can leave things out to dry,  a place to store your materials and utensils, and a place where you have some privacy. If this is your first show, you need a place where the naysayers cannot enter. You cannot let anyone get in your head, in fact you need to get out of your own way, so you need a private space where you can make mistakes and fail.  I reclaimed the second bedroom in my apartment. I made it clear guests can sleep on the couch. I cleaned the room out, then i prepared the floors, organized my paint, bought loads of canvas.  

4. Prepare your canvases: My project goal was 12 paintings. So once i did two or three and i got a feel for my technique and style, i stretched all the other canvases i would need to complete at once.  Getting these small tasks (preparing studio and canvases) really clears more mental clutter than you can imagine. These preparatory steps can really make the difference between success and failure.  

5. Sketch/Map 0ut Your Project: Before you start creating, draw a loose outline of what each component of your project will be and what is required to complete it. Get those things. For  my show, I needed to get my songs picked out and make sure i had colors for them. Then i completed different paintings with similar colors at the same time. 

The studio is ready, the canvases (or whatever) are stretched, the project is planned.  Now its time to create. The following may not apply to everyone but works for me. 

6. Don't get Wasted: I do like to sip some wine while I paint, but there is a fine line. I made the mistake on my first attempts of thinking that I should create while "pleasantly activated". Don't do this!

Next thing you know you are in the kitchen, covered in paint, calling people just to see how they are and tell them you love them or hate them! So if this is a potential issue,  sip don't gulp and reconsider drinking all together. I live and let live, this is just my experience. 

7. Stretch/Warm Up Physically: In my case I dance my paintings, so I have to warm up. However, I recommend this for all artists. Whether you are drawing, sculpting or painting your body is involved. By taking some deep breathes and stretching out your body it helps relax and energize your body, it helps your mind get focused, and its a great way to energetically open and close your session. 

8. Prayer: My personal experience suggests that by opening creating sessions with a prayer (in addition to the stretching and breathing) you are attuning your body to its own creative energy and universal creative energy. In my case I use two specific methods a prayer/poem and a breathing/chanting exercise. 




Back in the Studio

Getting ready to gear up for my next show and studio visits. It's feels so good to paint again and process my emotions through the brush and dance and music. 

richness doesn't only come from money and sales numbers. It comes from the heart. 



Emilio Villalba: Talk to Me

Emilio Villalba: Talk to Me                                                               Modern Eden Gallery                                                                             801 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133                                        October 14 through October 29                                                      Opening Reception: October 14, 2016 from 6:00PM-9:00PM

I bet you, you cannot look at the paintings from Emilio Villalba’s new exhibit Talk to Me without doing a double take. The prominent theme of the paintings are facial features which are offset and repeated sometimes on a head or as part of a face and other times against an bleak or black abstract backdrop, out of context. The unexpected offsetting and repetition force the viewer to get in close and really use the eyes and engage the mind to understand, I had to use one eye at a time even. Even after a careful up-close and thorough inspection of the work, stepping back again to take in the entire piece and it boggles the mind all over again.

The repetition of facial features also creates ideas of a disjointedness-two mouths, three eyes, and rubbed out features. There is a darkness, there is a mystery, there is pain, and there is a struggle for the true face to be revealed out of a stark landscape - the form of a face is only visible in relation to the light which illuminates it. Nothing appears complete, there is a veil which drapes itself over the subjects of the painting hiding them from view.

Very engaging, dark, and powerful work which forces the viewer to look hard and think. Furthermore, the painting technique and overall aesthetic of the exhibit is cohesive and compelling.

The Lonely Painter Facing Death

The Lonely Painter Facing Death

Chrystal Morey: Delicate Dependencies

Crystal Morey: Delicate Dependencies (more info)                                    Modern Eden Gallery (more info)                                                                801 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133                                               October 14 through October 29                                                                  Opening Reception: October 14, 2016 from 6:00PM-9:00PM

 In her exhibit at Modern Eden Gallery, Crystal Morey brings us a series of porcelain sculptures featuring hybrid human figures. About a half of the sculptures feature a female body with an animal head including a bear head, a crow head, and a ram head. The other half of the sculptures feature a woman with plants or trees as her hair and/or horns. The sculptures are realistically carved making the hybrid look reasonable as opposed to grotesque, in fact they are a delight to view. Even though the concept of the series deals with complex and important issues society faces, the figures individually open up the viewer’s imagination to the magical fairyland of myths and legends. Ms. Morey’s sculptures are clever, eye catching, and executed with tremendous skill.


Ms. Morey was raised in what she calls an “alternative environment” in Northern California, close to nature, which contributes to her inspiration to explore the idea that humans have become the driving force and influence behind natural evolution, as with the Peppered Moth during the Industrial Revolution and our countless hybridization and engineering of plants. Ms. Morey’s human-animal hybrids represent an ultimate evolutionary, engineering and genetics feat and she said her sculptures are meant to serve as a warning that if we continue relating to nature as we do, then there is a potential for destruction and downfall. Her metaphor of hybrid humans to direct attention to the ways in which we are affecting nature is brilliant; however, the sculptures themselves do not necessarily serve as a warning because they are simply too delightful!

By Krystal Morey

By Krystal Morey

Robin Kandel: The 45th Parallel

Robin Kandel: The 45th Parallel (more info)                                                                                            Andrea Schwartz Gallery (more info)                                                                                545 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107                                                                   October 13 – November 11, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 13, 2016 from 5:30pm - 7:30pm

         Her latest in a series of exhibitions with the Andrea Schwartz Gallery, artist Robin Kandel brings us The 45th Parallel. Ms. Kandel describes her exhibit, “This work is about a specific place and any place. It’s about midpoints, landmarks, road trips, road maps, and long stretches that take us somewhere and elsewhere.” The 45th Parallel series was inspired by Ms. Kandel’s experience globe making in Geography. The 45th Parallel is the lagitude line which goes around the equator, the midpoint of the earth.

          First and foremost, Ms. Kandel’s works are an exercise in craftsmanship and patience.  Many feature dense vertical and/or horizontal lines make using pencils and a ruler, some have color others are black and grey. The rhythm of lines is meant to create subtle movement for the viewer. Imagining the concentration required to achieve such a feat inspires awe. The most prominent painting, placed on the floating wall in front of the entrance, is titled Mr. Irving’s 7th Grade Geometry Class #2. It is a patchwork of green, white, brown and blue vertical and horizontal lines. Upon inspection it strikes the viewer that there are various fault lines, highlights, and fractures creating a plaid effect. The viewer wonders, is this by design or by accident? As we often reflect upon those moments in our lives where our patterns change and all we can do is wonder if it was preordained or whether we just fucked up or whether we are finally ready to change and grow.  

     When I first arrived at the exhibit very green about the whole concept, my first impression was this painting (Mr. Irving’s 7th Grade Geometry Class #2) looks like a quilt. At that point I couldn’t connect the concept I had read about in the marketing with what I saw before me. However almost two weeks later I have thought about that painting a lot. The quilt immediately made me think of my grandmother and the quilt she sewed for me when I was born, which sits in my hope chest presently, waiting for the future.

            The reception hosted at the Andrea Schwartz Gallery and was a class act with a three piece band, wine, and wonderfully curious attendees. 


Mr. Irving's 7th Grade Class by Robin Kandel

Mr. Irving's 7th Grade Class by Robin Kandel

Finding Myself in Dance

When I dance, I pray – even when I am getting freaky with it.

I feel the rhythm, it moves through me creating an impulse that propels me through space with energized motion. When I dance, I charge my body and the atmosphere around me.

When I create a space for dancing, I am creating a space of transmutation where I can elevate my lower emotions such as fear and self-doubt into higher emotions like joy and self-love. It is an altar upon which I develop myself by doing what I love and loving what I do.

When I dance for a painting it will only turn out if I am able to get into my zone. The state of being conscious of my dancing, the music, and my painting - thinking of little else, just as one does during meditation. I have been a bit destructive by talking on the phone in my studio, a habit I must break. It’s important for me to let go of the thoughts of the world and become absorbed into the moment. There is a creative state of consciousness where one is mastering one's craft whilst quieting one's mind which creates a channel for a creation come through.

 I have been dancing since I was old enough to walk and it is a refuge for me. When I am depressed, I dance. When I am happy, I dance. When I am confused, I dance. When I feel ugly, I dance. When I feel beautiful, I dance. When I hate my body, I dance. When I love my body, I dance. When I am lost, I am always found in dance.

Dance has never failed me and I honor its place in my life by dancing my paintings. These paintings are moments on the altar, impulses of transmutation, and visions of a better future.

If you can talk you can sing, if you can walk you can dance.