Over the course of the last month my art practice has undergone much growth and transformation. I started out a few months ago realizing how talented I am and that I should do something with it...Don't let it go to waste. So I got back into drawing caricatures for parties and events. Here is one I did for a client in Lafayette, California

I also drew caricatures for a client at San Francisco City Hall. It was a spectacular event. We were required to dress up in French attire and use French easels because it was a French theme. But each floor was like visiting a different country; all
different themes.
This is one that started out as a sketchbook drawing. Then I imported it to my phone where I used an application called Brushes on my iPhone 6Plus. (excited about the upgrade to 7plus!) The subject is a fellow caricaturist in an online caricature drawing competition I participated in. What I've learned is that I don't do competitions. They make me feel critical about my work and take me out of my zen space.

At the Art Cottage in Concord, California I had many sessions with instructor Frogard Schmitt. Here are some paintings we worked on.

The one of the left is a relative of my girlfriends. I framed it and gave it to her as a gift. The one on the right are kids somehow related to a college friend. I got permission from the photographers to use photos as references for each painting. The one of the right is not finished yet. I might do it over because sometimes it's nice to start over with a new approach. Sometimes I get caught up with too many thoughts about the end result of my art work, which usually results in depression and failure. My most successful art work comes from a meditative mind state where my mind is totally clear and focused on the experience of the creative process. In zen meditation the focus is the breath. The longer one meditates the more mindful and aware of consciousness one becomes. In long states of focus on an art work there is a deep feeling of peace and joy. If I think too much about what I'm doing I start second guessing and I get overly critical and agitated. I can't concentrate in that mind state. So if I become aware that I've been working that way for a while on a painting, I'll most often start over.

This is a great painting I completed on that back of a chair at Art Cottage.  People walk into the studio gallery and want to touch it because it looks so amazing. I used a photo reference with the photographers permission. These are Frogard's dogs, Keiko (left) Einstein (middle) JJ (right). I captured their likeness perfectly. Here is the photo reference:

One morning in Lafayette, California I was on a break from my day job as a bus driver. Finished using the bathroom at Jack In The Box and on my way back to the bus I saw this Red Hot Poker Succulent Plant with rain drops all over it. It was the most amazing and beautiful sight. Each rain drop captured distorted reflections of the world around it. The color was so vivid. I'm still not done with it, and I might do it over because I have an idea of covering the whole shape of the plant with that bright orange red and then sculpt out the shape of the plant more exactly with the color of the background. This will make the plant pop out more instead of being so flat. I also intend on spending long periods of time focused on what a rain drop looks like with all the distorted reflections that they hold inside...Like little worlds trapped inside I need to explore them all!
One truth about being an artist is there is never enough time to get all the paintings done. There is always more to do..And then life comes in with things like having to eat, shower, give the cats love etc. And these are all blessings that I am grateful to have in my life, but they are a distraction from the isolated focus needed to get the mind state of deep concentration on. I'm going to try to get to bed earlier so I can wake up at 3 am to meditate and create before I start my work day driving the bus. It's a split shift, so I have time to sleep in the afternoon in my car.  It's a long day and by the end of the week I'm totally exhausted, but maybe if I can get to painting every morning the experience of it will be so filled with passion I will be invigorated with supercharged energy and won't feel the exhaustion so much. I guess I'll have to wait and see how it goes.
The cats are all lined up by the window next to my computer as I type these final words lol.  There are 2 of them. Link and Oliver. Oliver is a big bushy black cat and he was a stray. The first week he was here he would get into the garbage can for a chicken bone and lick the water out of the toilet but I've shone him that he doesn't need to do things like that anymore. I got his back and he's got mine. Link is the older cat who was here before Oliver. They get along really well, but Link throws up a lot. He had pancreatitis  and I took him to the vet. I administered medicine through a syringe into his mouth and he got better. Link is very attached to me. Every night he lays on my chest or near by while I sleep. In the morning after I finish breakfast I get ready for work. Link follows me to every room I go, and he perches on the dresser as I leave him for the day as if to solute me a good bye and to have a good day. It really is amazing living with cats.
Okay. I'm going to have lunch now and hopefully have time to get more art going afterwords.