Artistic reflections and News

Insights and news

The Artist Project 2014

I am very excited and pleased to announce that I will be one of the 250 artists who will be showing and selling their artwork at the 2014 Artist Project, one of the most prestigious and contemporary art fairs in Canada!  Wow! I am still reeling and ecstatic from receiving the news this morning!

The Artist Project, features original works from over 250 carefully juried, contemporary artists, and runs from February 20-23, 2014 at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario. Discover all mediums, including installations and video art.  Experience special features, Art Chats and docent-led tours. For more information, please go to: http://www.theartistproject.com/dates-times-location/

So, come by my booth at the Artist Project, and support a local emerging artist! My acrylic paintings will far surpass your expectations, and will invigorate, empower and beautify your home and office space.

 

Art Battle 78! Live competitive painting

On Tuesday November 26th, I was one of 12 successful artists who participated in Art Battle 78, which took place at the Great Hall located at 1087 Queen St. West, Toronto, ON.  The live painting started at 8pm, and was exhilerating, fun and challenging.  I started in the 2nd round and in 20 minutes ended up painting a great landscape featuring an Aikido Master and a Rhino! I sold the painting so am happy about that!

For more information please visit: http://artbattle.ca/art-battle-78-toronto/

 

Meadowfest 2013 is a HUGE success!

On Saturday September 28th I exhibited some of my best paintings at Meadowfest 2013.The event ran from 10am – 5pm, and took place in a beautiful outdoor space on the St. John’s Presbyterian Church grounds.

Meadowfest is a celebration of community, arts and culture in York Region, and takes place in Bradford, Ontario. The event features live performances, live music, dance, visual artists and crafts people. The event was a huge success and many customers came by my tent to look at and inquire about my artwork. I sold two paintings: one acrylic and one water colour painting.

For more information about the event, please visit: http://www.bradfordartsguild.com/meadowfest-participants.html

Art Portfolio Development Boot Camp – FALL & WINTER 2013

Are you looking for professional and affordable Art Instruction? Do you want to get into Art school, but need to put together an amazing portfolio? ART on the Go is committed to preparing you to get into the Game Design, Animation, Illustration or Fine Arts program of your choice!

2013 ART PORTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT BOOT-CAMP

This five-day intensive program is designed to help anyone with an interest in getting into art school, to create a portfolio that truly KICKS ASS! A portfolio that other artists would be envious of and that can get anyone into the following programs: Gaming Design, Animation, Illustration or Fine Art.

The Portfolio Development classes include:

  • Basic, intermediate, advanced life drawing and still life drawing
  • Portraiture – learn how to accurately and creatively draw and paint people’s faces with ease
  • Draw and paint animals
  • Draw and paint landscapes
  • 1, 2 and 3-point perspective (including drawings of multiple angles and perspectives of rooms)
  • Human anatomy and physiology for artists
  • 2-D Animation, claymation, toymation and stop-motion
  • Layout, design and portfolio best practices
  • Tonal and value studies (light and dark studies/application of gray scale)
  • Gesture, mass, weight drawing, contour, blind contour, and drawing basics

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Daily instruction by professional certified artist(s)
  • Animation: produce 2D animation, storyboard, character sheets, backgrounds, and film clips
  • Live models and props for life drawing and portraiture
  • Plein Air painting
  • Fun and innovative field trips to local attractions and art galleries for portfolio development and drawing and painting exercises
  • Individual one-on-on advice and portfolio development and review
  • Complete report and assessment of areas of strength, areas for improvement and a strategy to achieve excellence in those areas
  • Materials and supplies, including student’s very own professional portfolio case for storing and carrying their work.

Already have a portfolio?

No problem!  Get your portfolio assessed professionally, complete with specific recommendations, advice, resources and an action plan specifically tailored to get YOU into your Art school of choice.

Drop in and one day classes are available as well.  The cost of this assessment is $150, which covers  3 hours of portfolio review and a final assessment report, complete with recommendations on how to improve and what areas need improvement.

COST of week-long course: $400 (includes cost of materials and supplies, and light snacks/refreshments).

For more information about this course and other courses/workshops please contact Les Luxemburger at: 289-340-0128, or via email at: luxeartstudio[at]gmail[dot]com.

Environmental Art for Sustainability Program

I have developed an Environmental Art for Sustainability Program (EASP) and will be implementing the EASP in York Region and Southern Ontario in 2012.  I am very excited to be test launching this program in York Region. Here is a little info about EASP…

The Environmental Art for Sustainability Program (EASP) consists of the following components:

  1. Personal development component: helping participants and clients to establish ecologically sustainable behaviours, daily consumption habits and values, to reduce their ecological footprint and become community stewards and environmental leaders.
  2. Environmental Artwork for Community sustainability:  This component is designed to educate and inform participants and the general public, as well as targeted businesses and industries/sectors, about their challenges in meeting environmental sustainability, and environmental impacts they are responsible for; in addition to, providing them with clear and viable solutions to reducing their ecological footprint.  Through the use of visual art, art methods (painting, drawing, sculpture, mixed media, installation art, digital design and animation), students/participants of the program are able to create works of art that express solutions and tell a specific story in a compelling, liminal and experiential manner.
  3. Art consultation and creativity consulting services:This project includes:
    • Art on the Go traveling/portable art exhibitions about environmentally and socially-themed artwork;
    • Career/professional networking and development for artists;  and
    • Weekly “Creativity Matters” support group and networking to help build capacity within a community, and serve as a community hub, sustainability generator and creativity incubator.

If you would like to get involved, please contact Les Luxemburger at: 289-340-0128, or via email: luxeartstudio@gmail.com.

For additional information, please contact ART on the Go at: info@artonthego.ca.

The evolutionary stages that every creative person goes through

Since the release of the seminal book on creativity, “The Artists’ Way”, and “Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain”, there’s been a steady increase in the knowledge and acceptance of the role of the human mind, the human experience and most importantly the spirit, in creating art.  This article reveals some of the truths behind the artistic experience and presents simple yet effective methods that any person can be “creative”. Many authors have written about the “Creativity Class” (i.e. Richard Florida) or the “Creativity Revolution”.

First, let’s be clear about some common misconceptions about artists…

Myth #1 – Artists are born not made. This belief is actually fueled by popular and new media and throughout history, has been the widely accepted norm about artists. After all, Van Gogh, Gougain, and many other artists were poor… However largely mainstream outlets have penetrated the public consciousness and helped to spread this popular belief of the artist as “strange”, irresponsible, selfish, unrealistic, unfaithful… POOR. But this is in fact not the case.  Artists are not born (although some artists may have a genetic predisposition toward becoming an artist – e.g. their parents or family had artists).  Artists, successful ones anyway, go through a long and often arduous journey of ‘self-discovery’ which is riddled with self-doubt, fear, anxiety and sometimes loneliness.  Much of this isolationism that an artist will experience comes from the simple act of having no clear measure by which to evaluate their artwork – art is merely an expression of the soul, and a natural by-product and process of being intimately connected to the divine/God and open to the thrust of grace (i.e. open to receiving divine blessings, ideas, information and serendipitous/synchronistic events that unfold naturally and effortlessly).

Many martial artists and Tai Chi and Qi Gong practioners describe this as Tao (the way), or as “effortless effort”; Bruce Lee, who many don’t know had a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Seattle, described it well in his poem (excerpt written here from his seminal martial arts book “The Tao of Jeet-Kun-do” (1973):  “…Victory is for the one, who even before the combat, has no thought of himself, abiding in the no-mindness of great origin”. Now this doesn’t suggest that one should forget oneself and do whatever you want to (reckless behaviour, immoral life, foolishness), but is means that one has to empty one’s mind and free oneself of the “ego”, before achieving success.  It also makes reference to our own inner enemy – i.e. that critical voice which is so often responsible for ruining our dreams, for complicating our lives, and producing our fears, worries, stresses, anxieties and sorrows.  We mustn’t pay attention to these as artists (or whatever profession you’re in), as these are false illusions, which Bruce Lee refers to as “…the reflection of the sun and the moon”, and are thus not the sun or the moon. Similarly, the criticisms we receive from art critics, and especially from within ourselves, we should take with a grain of salt.   Concentrate on the solution to a challenge, not on the challenge itself.

The other important myth (myth #2) about artists is: artists can’t make money or survive on their art. The popular and indeed false representation of the classical artist struggling to make ends meet, and starving in the process, is a common Hollywood/film icon.  As artists, we are to a large extent, more sensitive and intuitive than the rest of the population, but that is because we listen, which is really a form of acceptance, and embracing one’s own creativity, is a form of connecting with and embracing one’s own creative drive and one’s creative potential.

While there is a lot of existing knowledge and scientific information on early childhood development, human development, psychology, etc, I make no attempt to draw upon any of this research in detail, and only highlight some key concepts to make a point with respect to creative potential and creative growth and evolution of the ‘artist’.   Each artist, regardless of discipline or life experience goes through a similar journey of “self discovery” (i.e. know thyself and what thy is capable of achieving and pushing one’s boundaries and expanding one’s self and one’s consciousness):

  1. Exploration of the natural, built and imaginary world: as toddlers and children our senses are open to taking in a robust and rich tapastry of tastes, sights, sounds, kinesthetic feelings and touching and interacting with objects, etc. Our world is expanding by the second as we take in all the splendour and experiences of the world, and establish critical neural connections and networks, which form the basis/foundation for further brain development and emotional intelligence later in life.
  2. Discovering our natural talents through our interactions with the built and natural world.  Conditioning, which results from our interactions, experiences, traumas, etc as an infant, child, but also as a young adult, affects our ‘points of reference’, our values, goals, etc. Our creative potential often lies dormant or hidden, unexplored, or worse – unconsciously blocked through limiting beliefs).  Through the process of discovering our creative talents, interests and creatively communicating it freely and openly and playfully, we grow both as artists participating and expressing and exploring, and become more intuitive, more aware, sensitive and aware of changes within us, our environment, and also we become much more curious. This is an experimental stage for the artist/emerging artist
  3. Artists interact with the world in a playful way, and long for play, touch, interaction and the art of “effortless effort”.  As artists, we tap into our inner creativity which requires heightened senses, perception and sensitivity to being, experiencing and living.  As artists, we soak up things like sponges: that ray of sunlight streaming through the open blinds, reflecting on the glass ornament on the table…the same light which softens the hues and tones of the table cloth and creates cast shadows… we are simply clear observers of the world around us.   And in many cases, we invent and add to, change, take away from what we see and experience, through our imaginations and the process of ‘visualization’.  Visualization is an artists’ critical tool, since as artists we are always picturing an outcome or weighing and making often unconscious decisions about the composition, subject matter, etc.
  4. Artists connect with their subconscious mind more frequently, and draw upon those parts of themselves (their liminal selves), and multiple senses, which many ‘normal’ or non-artists or unconscious artists, still dismiss as being ‘childish’, naieve, non-existent, or illogical.  Just as David Abrams wrote in “The Spell of the Sensuous”, there are not five senses as we are accustomed to believing; there are in fact more than 70 senses, and multiple ways of relating to things in the world.  Many of these extra-sensory perceptions or ‘senses’ are experienced when we connect with our soul, and with the divine essence of life – i.e. God/our creator.  In this way, the process of creating something, is divine and magical.  Creating or performing art brings you closer to the divine…it makes you feel good, happy, joyful and in many cases makes you very aware of your sensory body and subconscious mind.

It’s good as an artist or as a person wanting to cultivate and develop their creative faculties, to become away of this creative process within themselves, and better cultivate conditions in their lives which permit them to be creative.  Being aware of your likes, dislikes (contrast), and who you are (self-knowledge), tends to heighten your senses, and the depth or extent to which you interact with the world, and different parts of yourself/your subconscious, your conscious mind, your soul and heart.

Above all, just do it. The process of creating something, is both very therapeutic and healing, deeply enriching and rewarding.  So next time you hesitate to make something or do something that involves ‘creativity’, don’t hesitate…break through and do it. At least try it, and see if you like it.

Artwork free of life’s follies

Art is work but of a different kind than 99% of the world is used to.  From an early age we are conditioned and raised to believe that Art is just playful interaction with the senses, nothing to take too seriously, just something that children and childish-adults do.  Well, that’s a load of CRAP!   Since I was a child, and even today, people are trying to convince me to abandon my artistic pursuits in favour of a full-time job.  My father even wants me to get a ‘desk job’ because he really thinks that’s what I went to school for.  Anyway, there comes a point where you have to: whole-heartedly recognize and accept that you are a creative being, and that whatever form or career you choose, you have a choice to meet the minimum standards (just to get by) or to thrive, push the boundaries and tap into your inner creativity and ideas to do what you want to do very well.  It is not enough to just survive, to just get by!  Yet, when I ask my father how he’s doing, his answer is “Surviving”.  That’s a load of SHIT, and a false reality to live in.  Maybe he was conditioned, like so many of his generation, to focus on “what matters the most”, which was usually dictated by their parents and social norms, and usually rhymed with “$”.

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s move on to the topic of today’s discussion/blog:  “Artwork that is original and free of life’s follies”. What I mean by this is artwork that is “Soul Art” or art that lives, breathes and grows in your soul and your heart, and expresses itself through joy and bliss, through creative urges and pleasurely pursuits.  This inner divine force of divine magic must express itself, for if it’s denied, your ego will rule your life and express itself in destructive and irresponsible ways.              There are some ways to tap into your inner creative divine soul, which is inherently beautiful and knows what it is you need in any given point because it’s essence comes from God and is connected to God.  Here are some ways to ‘listen’ to your inner divine soul and allow your creative spirit to unfold and manifest itself creatively:       i)  Sit on a pillow on the floor or sit in a chair in a comfortable position.  Sit still and scan your body – how do you feel in the present moment? Anything on your mind or any aches or pains in your body? Any distractions? Remove the distractions as best you can.  Then sitting still, close your eyes, breath deeply…IN for eight seconds… hold for five seconds… now OUT for eight seconds. As you do this more and more, you will feel a deeper connection with yourself; really allow this process to unfold naturally – give yourself permission to just ‘be’ (to be still, to be relaxed, to have peace, to feel joy and love and connection with God and yourself). Allow all the thoughts, worries, and verbiage that is spilling itself out of your rational brain, onto your consciousness, to simply wash away and fall off of your mind’s awareness.  Sit still and allow the words to pass.     Continue this until you feel completely relaxed and at one with yourself.  Now focus on positive things – things that make you happy.  Pay special attention to those images that feel strong or contain a ‘special’ meaning or vibration for you.  Take a walk through your inner garden of wonderful and awesome images, words, feelings, desires and dreams and ideas – all of them positive…all of them coming from within your SOUL.  Keep doing this until you’ve explored several key concepts, ideas, dreams, positive affirmations.  Then slowly count in your soul from 1 to 10. Tell yourself that when you reach 10, you will open your eyes, and you will feel completely connected, stronger, whole, happy, healthy and holy.

Artwork is a deeply spiritual process that unfolds organically

As artists, we contain within us tremendous potential and ability to make our mark in the world; to use our skill and God-given talent to explore important issues relevant to us, and negotiate a space for ourselves in this world in which we live and contribute.  As artists, we also have the power and passion within us to access and draw upon this universal, divine life force called “creativity” to make the world a better place.  But may question the ability of art to transform, to engage, to inform, compel, provoke, challenge, redefine and shape both discourse, theory, reality and space and time.  But as artists, that is just what we are all called to do – to be catalysts, instruments of this creative divine life force which beats within us, fuses us and connects us to each other, in an intricate web of life and creation.  “Life is energy, pure creative energy”, and “creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God”, suddenly become more vivid and transparent, understandable, and realistic.  Concepts and ideas start as the seed of creativity, as the conglomeration of this unifying creative force, coming together and working its divine magic within its co-creator – YOU.

As co-creators of our destinies, artists are particularly vulnerable, aware of the multiple sensory stimuli, of senses and feelings, patterns, and seemingly regular, every day concepts, people, places, events, symbols, suddenly take on new meaning through our interaction with them.  The very process of living, interacting, having courage to explore how far the rabbit hole goes, is by itself a deeply creative and spiritual process.  For “art is not limited to the visual”, but incorporates the full range of sensory experiences, and “living life” that fate and decisions bring to us.   Many artists are “compelled”, attracted, or intuitively moved to do, act, think, say, be a particular way – the way of the warrior…having the courage to withstand criticism, especially from internal sources and falsities, and to explore hidden avenues, shadows, honestly tread where man dears to tread, for fear of losing his sanity, which is in itself only an illusion, for it is in this intimate and divine connection with our creator and our inner selves that truth, love, joy, bliss and salvation are found and harvested, used and made manifest.  Often released into the world with an orgiastic swing of the paint brush, an ah-ha moment that resounds through one’s being, and vibrates through one’s every cell.  This process that leaves one screaming for joy in the bliss and ecstacy of being a co-creator in ones destiny.