Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Favorite Art Teacher - Cletus Smith

Chickens In the Yard 18X24 Watercolor (Cletus Smith)
Cletus Smith - Artist - Graphic Designer - Teacher

     I studied art at Eastern Illinois University with an emphasis in Studio 2D/Painting. Although I love the smell of oil paint and the feel it has as it glides over the surface of whatever support it's offered, and I had the most amazing teacher any art student could ask for, Yu Ji, it was a time of beginnings for me. A time of opening my heart to the possibility of taking the challenge to become an artist. Testing the water to see if my skills were sufficient to become competitive in a hard and difficult market. All of my college instructors were in agreement that my skills would take me far if I kept focus and continue to work hard. And they have proved to be correct.
     However, it was a life-changing experience for me above my college years of instruction to find an artist in Oklahoma City, where I live, whose work inspires me to be everything I can potentially be... and take private classes from him. That artist is Cletus Smith, and he is possibly the MOST inspirational art instructor I've ever had. Truth be told, I haven't even done my best work during my time under his instruction, but the RESULTS of learning from his classes have changed my life and work since. Something about his influence and watching him demo a watercolor on a weekly basis caused my work to "loosen up." Something I desperately needed. Artists, especially the young and inexperienced, often have the hardest time understanding the value of being able to move away from painstaking detail and grasp the beauty of letting paint be paint in a manner that creates a mere suggestion of a detail and lets the viewers brain do the work of filling in the blanks. Seeing the work of artists who have this down to perfection is challenging, exhilarating, inspirational and motivating for me. That is why I love the work of Cletus Smith. Watching him create some of his pieces gave me the firsthand opportunity to see how and learn why he made the choices and took the liberties and artistic license that seemed to come as second nature. As I continued my own development in painting, especially water media, I began to do the same... and finally understood WHY. I love it when an idea for a new image for a painting comes into my mind like an illumination rising from somewhere deep within. The process to make it a reality always now accompanies the creative idea. I used to wonder if that would ever happen. Would I ever be able to spontaneously sit at my easel and instinctively KNOW the process I should take, or would I remain in a state of "hit or miss" as so many do in their early stages of development? I have walked through that door and I give Cletus Smith, an extraordinary artist, the thanks for this. Imparting ones self and gifts and knowledge into the lives of others is possibly the most valuable thing we can do for others. Cletus Smith did that well, and is greatly loved by everyone who has the pleasure of being on the receiving end of his capacity to mentor.
Thank you, my dear friend...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This Memorial Day Weekend!
on the Paseo in OKC!
Don't miss it!
See my work there at The Purple Loft Art Gallery!

"Les Fleurs du Soleil"
36X48 Mixed Media on wrapped canvas
$1295 + S/H
Available at The Purple Loft Art Gallery
Avalon on the Paseo in OKC

"Summer Sorbet"
36X48 Mixed Media on wrapped canvas
$1295 + S/H
Available at The Purple Loft Art Gallery
Avalon on the Paseo, OKC

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I cannot encourage people enough to continue to learn. Life is about the journey... not the destination. Anytime we allow ourselves to think, "I've arrived!" We place ourselves into a tight box that is ready for early onset stagnation. Art should always compel us to stop, look and listen. It has the capacity to draw our desire into the direction of life and activity that demands of us, and encourages us to grow! Are you feeling frustrated, unmotivated, creative juices not flowing? Take a class. Go to the library and browse through the books and videos available that spark your love of visual art. Attend a gallery opening. Listen to music that makes you dance! Call a local artist whose work you respect and admire and ask if they would talk to you about their art and what keeps them motivated. But, whatever you do... keep your journey fresh by daily awareness that the learning never ceases and the growth never stops... let it refresh and empower your inner drive. Feed your creative self!