Homage to “Starbucks”

Homage to Starbucks


As a coffee drinker, I often frequent “Starbucks.”  I find the environment inspirational…  it may be one of my “muses.”  It is a place for creatives to come together even though they are not communicating with one another.  Or are they?  I enjoy my soy latte as I sketch and write.  I also make lists…  lists of potential titles, a to-do list, a shopping list.  Back to writing, I write in long-hand.  I scratch, I scratch out.  I add, I revise.  When I finish my coffee and leave, I have a draft of a blog topic.  I can then return to my studio and wordsmith until I have a polished post.

I recently started a new process.  I am using oil and cold wax medium.  I can do so much with this medium that I cannot do with acrylic.  Starbucks gave me a bag of used coffee grounds.  I spread some out on a tray and placed it in the sun to dry.  I then added the grounds to the lower part of this painting which became my “Homage to Starbucks.”

The painting is available for $800.  If you are interested, please contact me at jerry@jerryhardestystudio.com.



Reinvention of the Artist


As artists with each brushstroke or each written word, we reinvent ourselves. With each painting and each article or story, we leave behind a piece of ourselves. We are expressing ourselves… we are finding our unique voice.


Reinvention through art becomes our focus. Without reinvention, the we repeat ourselves and work becomes stale. Today brings frustration… tomorrow resolution. Today the masterpiece is mud or a jumble of words… tomorrow, the message surfaces and gives voice to our art.


The Muse inspires “reinvention,” and we must put actions to that our transformation.


Actions to “TaDa”:


  1. Practice – We have much to share and we must practice our craft daily to become more convincing.


  1. Failure – Each brushstroke or written word is not going to be successful… a good reason to practice.


  1. Persistence – Another way to say continue to practice.


  1. Failure – Even though we practice and persist, failure is inevitable. Rinse and repeat. Professional athletes serve as good examples. They miss a basket or a touchdown and they immediately get back in the game. It’s persistence.


  1. Experimentation – We must step outside our comfort zones and try new techniques. As we do so, we become stronger. Our menu of choices becomes greater and be come closer to that “aha” moment.


  1. Failure – Not all experiments are successful, but we learn from these failures.


  1. “TaDa!” – That moment when we can exclaim “Look what I just did!” Finally, success.


Practice, persist, experiment, (add your own action), and reinvent yourself as you achieve your  own “TaDa” moment.


A Figment of My Imagination – Daydreaming

Which comes first imagination or daydreams?

According to the dictionary they are synonymous.  Castles in the air… fool’s paradise… head trip… in a zone… mind trip… musing… phantasm… pie in the sky… pipe dream… woolgathering… whatever you call it, it’s daydreaming. If you have done it, raise your hand. If you still daydream, a mere thumbs up will do.


The Muse

Could “daydreaming” be at the root of an Artist’s Muse? I often say that I don’t have a Muse. I do not need external inspiration or motivation to paint or write. It’s like Artist Chuck Close has said, “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work.”


I have always been a daydreamer.   For this discussion, I’ve come full circle… that’s where creativity enters my life.   Maybe I do have a Muse and just don’t know it. Oh well. I was raised on a farm although the first seven years of my life were in a small Kansas town. I was a loner, no one to play with. Aloneness morphs into daydreaming. What else is a kid to do while driving a tractor for hours and hours, and hating it. Daydreams were my escape from the reality of farming chores. I was my way of dealing with negative feelings.


Daydreams on the Farm

Some daydreams were somewhat unrealistic. I dreamed I was a quintuplet and had been adopted as my birth parents could not afford all five boys. I dreamed I was a millionaire. I dreamed I came from royalty and my birth parents wanted me to have a normal life. I dreamed of having a normal life, whatever that is. I most frequently dreamed of becoming a professional singer. I had started singing at a very early age, 4 or 5. I sang at school, church and social events, as well as entered every talent contest in our community. I received nothing but praise.


I Wanted to be a Singer

When I announced my aspirations, suddenly that praise was negated. It was gut-wrenching, at least I felt as if I’d been kicked in the gut. Parental comebacks followed: “You’ll never be able to make a living doing that. You need to be a teacher.” I was rebellious and majored in vocal performance in college. I eventually became a successful teacher, but after teaching for thirteen years I still daydreamed of singing. Guess what, it didn’t work out. Could the lack of support have anything to do with my lack of success? I went on to a corporate career as a manager.


Throughout the years, I have successfully tried other creative ventures. I acted in a number of community theatre productions. I took up creative writing. I taught myself to paint. I had to prove to myself that anything is possible. Now, I am a professional artist and I am writing this blog.


The Take-Away

The take-away for you readers, especially you parents, please do not discourage your kids from pursuing their dreams. Be their inspiration, be their Muse, if you will. Encourage them to dream big. Be their most supportive fan, and it will not only enrich their lives but also yours. I am thankful that I finally found creative niche.


“Dina” – A Documentary Film Following an Autistic Couple

A Film at the Sundance Film Festival

Each year at the Sundance Film Festival, my wife and I attend at least four films from a very diverse group, drama and comedy to documentaries. Yesterday, we attended “Dina,” a documentary following an autistic couple. When we selected this film, I did not realize that it was a documentary. At first, I was disappointed that it was in this category as I thought from the film description that it would be comedic. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely humorous moments.

   Throughout the viewing, I had some unanswered questions. Were Dina and Scott actors or were they an actual autistic couple? Could Dina and Scott be actors that were cast in the roles of an autistic couple? I decided they had to be damn good actors if they were. At first, the film moved rather slowly for me, however, it did become more captivating as it approached the end.

When the film concluded, a number of viewers quickly exited. My wife and I however stayed for the “Q & A.” It is always a treat to hear the writers and directors share their inspiration for a film. In addition, Dina and Scott were special guests onstage. They not only revealed much about the film but also their lives. The film was not scripted, but followed the lives of Dina and Scott, an actual autistic couple. In the film, Scott often responded with a grunt in agreement or a verbal “ahuh.” Likewise during the Q&A, he didn’t have much to say. Of course, Dina monopolized the microphone and was very transparent. She shined and called herself a “Diva.”

Dina shared several times that she studied acting, drama, and journalism in college. She also emphasized that she is a national public speaker. Not only was Dina very articulate, but also very inspirational.

The father of one of the directors had been Dina’s teacher. In fact, she had babysit that young man. The father had since passed, but the son stated he had known Dina his entire life. He had become Dina’s mentor.  TaDa! The film was born out of life experience.

Shame on those people who left immediately after the conclusion. They missed so much. Dina and Scott were also in the lobby afterwards. It was our pleasure to tell Dina how much we loved the film and that we find her very inspirational. For the many people who view autism with derision or mockery, shame on you. Take a ruler and smack your hand, better yet your mouth.

My wife and I are ready to see “Dina” again. I encourage you readers to see “Dina.” To Dina and Scott, I say thank you for sharing yourselves and best wishes to you both.