Artists Create in the Year of Protests, Marches and Resistance

Stand-Up Comedy, Mixed Media, 30×40


Artists unite to create resistance pieces during the past year of protests and marches.  If they have not, they should.  I have the pleasure of creating “Stand-Up Comedy” for a group show called Truth and Consequences  at Art Access Gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The vision for the show was:  “A multi-media exhibit exploring Salt Lake City based artists’ attempt to make meaning out of the socially turbulent early days of the Trump presidency… Using the capacity of artmaking to try to make sense of the impact this time has had on our communities, our neighbors, families and ourselves as artists.”

Following is my statement regarding “Stand-Up Comedy,” the piece shown above:

“The World is laughing as the Orange Twitler pretends to govern our nation and make it great again. He seems to be against many of the programs and infrastructures that have already made America great… education, justice, freedom of speech, the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, all of which affect every American community and many American citizens. Furthermore, he seeks to ban immigration, the backbone of our culture.

“What dominates the Twitler’s thoughts and actions, golfing, tweeting, Putin, lining his pockets and being reelected? He claims he stands for patriotism. He bashes the NFL players for kneeling and expressing their freedom of speech. He claims he supports the troops yet he shows no compassion for fallen soldiers or their families. He dishonors a POW by stating he’s not a hero. He teeters on indecisiveness as he sides with white supremacists.

“With this ideology I painted “Stand-up Comedy,” leaving bits of newsprint in the oil paint that represent, to me at least, the half-truths that spew from Twitler’s self-aggrandizing tweets. I am angry that our system of government is failing America and has disintegrated to such depths. As I painted, I returned again and again to my embarrassment that the World is laughing at America and it hurts. Perhaps it’s more of a tragedy than a comedy… yet it’s the Orange Clown, his Cabinet of Jesters and Congress of Monkeys that makes it a stand-up comedy, a comedy of errors.”


4 Ways to Free Your Mind from a Creative Rut


4 Ways to Free Your Mind from a Creative Rut

Guest Post by Larry Mager


It’s inevitable —there will come a time where there is a halt in your creative process and you will feel blocked. Sometimes this block can last for hours, other times for days. It is a frustrating place to be in nonetheless, and for a moment it may seem as though your next big idea or surge of creativity is far away in the distance. It is important to use moments like these to reboot your mind and use subtle yet effective activities to give your creativity the boost it needs. Here are a few ideas to get those creative juices back flowing. 


Listen to Music

 Good music that you enjoy has the tendency to pull you away from the current situation at hand and allow you to roam into a fun, care-free zone. When you have your headphones in and you’re jamming out to the latest by Bruno Mars, you are not thinking about your problems or that mound of unfinished work on your desk [or easel]. Allowing yourself the mental break that listening to music provides will jumpstart your creativity and get the ideas flowing again. The next time you find yourself in a creative rut, grab your headphones and vibe out for a few minutes before resuming your tasks as usual.


Practice meditation

 Meditation is one of the most ancient, yet effective practices you can use to jolt your creativity. 

Make your home a clean, organized and quiet space for you to be able to de-stress and relax. 

Practicing the art of mindfulness is a great way to focus your attention inward as opposed to whatever may be going on around you. In mindful meditation, you bring awareness to your breathing and the parts of  your body. In a world full of constant chaos and movement, taking a mental time out to meditate will improve your creativity tremendously. Allowing your mind to relax and go to its natural calm state is a very beneficial tool to use when it comes to decompressing, relieving stress, and inspiring creativity.


Get some rest

 That’s right —good old fashioned sleep. If you are pushing yourself day to day to the point where you are running on fumes, then you need to scale back and take time for some rest and relaxation. Nothing zaps your strength and creativity more than exhaustion. If you are overexerting yourself, you are limiting your brain’s ability to function and think clearly. When you find yourself overwhelmed or frustrated with the creative process, take a step back and allow yourself time away from the project. Take a nap or appoint yourself an earlier than usual bedtime and just sleep. It’s almost guaranteed that when you wake up, you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated, which in turn will allow creativity to return to you abundantly. 


Write it out

 A lot of times thoughts don’t get sorted properly and it causes deep anxiety or dissatisfaction which no doubt can be a creativity-killer. When you find yourself with a lot of thoughts swarming through your mind and you don’t know which route to take, get everything out of your head and in front of you by writing it down [or sketching]. Once you start writing, nine times out of ten even more ideas will begin to flow and before you know it, creativity will be back in your presence!


Having a creative block is not a fun place to dwell in, however with little to no effort, you can get your mind back on track and back to producing the results you desire. Choose to implement one or more of these tools daily and watch your creativity begin to skyrocket!

Photo By Adi Constantin (Stock Snap)

Artists, Have You Been Scammed? Help is Here!

As Artists, we probably all have at least one horror story about a gallery or gallery director.  We need to share those stories with one another and unite.

Several years ago, I had a solo show at a local gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah.  At the opening reception, one painting was purchased.  According to the contract, I was to have received payment within thirty days.  It was beyond thirty days and I contacted the gallery to receive my check.  The director/owner told me she didn’t have it.  She had invested the money back into the gallery.  I threatened a suit in small claims court.  She stated she still would not have the money.  To shorten the story, she began sending me $20 a month.  A year later, I finally did receive the entire amount, and it was years later before the she would share the purchaser’s information with me.  That gentleman and his wife have since become loyal collectors.

More recently, I was verbally and with a hand shake promised a solo show at another local gallery for the month of October.  I had not received a contract or vital information needed for the event.  I sent the director a text.  No response.  I called and left a voice mail… no response.  A second call resulted in the same… I left a voice mail and again no response.  I have since given up and I will be blackballing that gallery.

As Artists, we deserve better.  We deserve to be respected.  Help is on the way!

I recently came across a website through an email from Brainard Carrey where we can not only share our horror stories, but can also search potential galleries or juried calls for submission for legitimacy.  As more Artists learn of this resource, the data will grow.  It will be a useful resource here in the United States as well as Worldwide.  I encourage you to review and share on this site:

Jerry Hardesty

How to Get into Your Creative Flow

Guest Post by Larry Mager



Photo courtesy of Pixabay



Creativity can be expressed in our lives in many different ways. From painting to writing to experimenting in a lab, your own personal creative expression might look very different from someone else’s. Some people even use their creativity to form businesses and make a living. So how do we increase our levels of creative flow?


Recent studies are showing it is increasingly important to perform aerobic exercise not only to help our physical health, but also to benefit our mental fitness as well. Heart-boosting “cardio” exercises can actually improve the function of the prefrontal cortex of your brain. The prefrontal cortex controls thinking, memory, emotion, and – you guessed it – creativity.


Studies have shown that the benefits of cardio on the brain are increased when we perform exercise while surrounded by nature. You’re boosting your creativity when you play an outdoor tennis match, take a romantic walk on the beach, or hike your favorite mountain trail. StanfordHarvard and even the New York Times have noted the scientific benefits of outdoor exercise on the brain’s creative potential.


Why is it so much more powerful to be surrounded by nature? If you are looking to improve your capacity for creativity and get back into your prime mental flow, you’ll want to minimize stress and distractions in order to create a productive work environment. When we’re constantly checking Facebook or sending emails, we are inhibiting our body’s natural creative process. Give yourself permission to unplug!


If, for any number of reasons, you are simply unable to perform cardio exercise outside in nature at this point in your life, don’t fret. There are still other ways you can improve your creativity including meditation and art therapy. Meditation is known to boost your creative thinking skills – and it is something you can easily do at any time, from the comfort of your own home. You can even meditate while resting in bed! And of course, we can all help our brains by avoiding drugs and alcohol – which change our cognitive functions and may decrease creativity.


Creativity is about noticing and assigning meaning to those moments that make life worth living.  Some of the world’s most successful people are able to boost their own creativity by staying positive, controlling their thoughts and choosing what aspects of each day they focus on. This improves mental fitness as well as quality of life. In the famous words of the late Albert Einstein, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”


Have you been pondering whether you should take the leap and quit your corporate job? Have you been thinking about whether you should ask your girlfriend to marry you? Next time you are asking yourself those big, soulful questions, it can help to get back in touch with your creativity. Go for a walk in nature, and meditate on how you want to feel in your everyday life. Eventually, the answers will start to come to you. Creativity is a practice, and the more you get in touch with it, the happier you will be.


New Process… Oil and Cold Wax

Noir et Blanc in 6, Mixed Media, 6×6


I haven’t forgotten you.  I’ve been painting daily.  In fact, I am adding a new process to my repertoire…  I’ve been painting with oil and cold wax (don’t confuse it with encaustic, it’s not the same).  I start on canvas or panel with an acrylic layer to which I add an oil layer followed with cold wax.  I then repeat with more layers of oil and the wax.  For Noir et Blanc in 6, I added charcoal powder and graphite powder.


Summertime is a busy time.   In addition to busyness in the studio, preparing for contests and shows, I’ve had some chores outside and taken a couple of trips back to the Midwest to see two of my kids and their families, as well as my nephew and his extended family.  We enjoyed having my daughter and her husband visit Father’s day week-end.  Don’t forget that I’m a tennis fan and have watched the French Open and Wimbledon on the Tennis Channel. To top all that off, I’ve been dealing with recurring aches and pains.


BREAKING NEWS:  In the near future, I will be videotaping myself painting.  I’m excited and hope you look forward to these visual Studio Scoops.  Stay tuned!


“Three wishes, to be exact.  And ixnay on the wishing for more wishes.  That’s it.  Three.  Uno, does, tres.  No substitutions, exchanges or refunds.”  -The Genie, Disney’s “Aladdin”


Showcasing “Torrits & Paynes,” a New Painting

Torrits & Paynes, Oil & Cold Wax, 12×12


Every spring, Gamblin [a manufacturer of art supplies] collects the pigments that have been trapped in the factory’s air filtration system and recycles them into a paint named Torrit Grey. The mix of pigments is different every year, so Torrit Grey is always unique. 


For the past four years, I have collected a tube of Torrits Grey, each a different shade.  For this painting, I used the four Torrit Greys along with Paynes Grey and white.   Hence the somewhat esoteric title.  As part of my creative process, I apply paint before adding the following layer. This gives me a sense of my progress.  I may study a painting for minutes, hours, or days before moving on.  It’s like writers sleep on their prose before declaring a piece finished.  I slept on this painting for several days.  I had thought it needed more oil and wax; however, I finally blessed it with a title and photographed it.  I love the subtle nuances, depth, and textures.  The line work pulled it all together.


Torrits & Paynes is available for $425 plus shipping.  If you would enjoy having this painting in your home or office, please message me at


Happy viewing.




You Want a Sticker?


Daniel, Checker at Sprouts Grocery:  How’s your day going?

Me:  Not well.  I was just rear-ended (fake cry).

Daniel:  Oh, I am so sorry.  Are you okay?

Me:  I believe I’ve had a bit of whiplash.

Daniel: Oh (opens drawer).  Would you like a sticker?

Me (Laughing hysterically}:  You made my day.


I declined the sticker, but in hindsight I wish I had taken one.  I was waiting for the light to change to green, and BAM I was suddenly struck from the rear.  At first I was in panic/surprise mode.  My response WTF!  When I finally realized I had been rear-ended, I was shoved into the vehicle in front of me.  No one was hurt except me and I’m milking this whiplash for all it’s worth.  My car sustained damages both front and back.  My front license plate was just hanging on.  I now have it wired up and my car looks like it belongs to a redneck.


Don’t you just hate it when the mundane challenges of life interfere with your real purpose?  I had purpose, I had errands.  I needed Quest bars from GNC.  I needed some groceries to make dinner.  I needed to get back to my studio and paint and write (now that’s the real purpose).  I did finish my errands about an hour after the accident.  Then, I came home for a glass of wine and rested hoping my pain would recede.  My insurance agent told me to sleep on it and if I get up the following morning and don’t hurt I would probably be okay.  I responded I wake every morning in pain!  After all I am a senior citizen.  Well, I still have some pain, but I power-washed my deck and moved around a lot today…  seems to help.


I’m still kicking myself for not taking the sticker though.