musings on life

Long Live Strong Coffee

Are loyal coffee drinkers becoming extinct? Yes, there are those people that drink the new lattes and other fancy forms of coffee today. But, what about drinkers of old-school, spoon standing, Java rich oil brew that granddad and pops used to drink every morning before the rooster crowed and throughout the day?

Are you someone who can remember the smell radiating throughout the house morning, noon and night? Well, I can and there is simply no cup of coffee equal to it. Please don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy creamy, frothy cups of flavored coffees from time to time. But at the end of the day I feel like I have cheated on my best friend when I take a walk on the wild side.

There are huge clubs dedicated to drinking new flavored coffees every month and sometimes every week. I do understand that continuous daily consumption of dark roasted liquid gold may become a bit repetitious and possibly boring for some people. Thus, it is understandable why people choose to cross the line every now and again.

Can we please have a moment of silence for the many classic roast consumers that have been captured by the enticing and addicting flavors of today’s fancy brews. They just can’t seem to find their way back to the dark side of the cup.

I am going to be honest with you, I too am struggling with a few cravings for some of the flavored coffees that I’ve tried over the years. It seems like the gurgling sounds of the latte machine calls out to me by name. I do my best to shake it off, but the puttering and puffing sounds take hold of my taste bud’s memories like a vice while at the same time attacking my nostrils with the sweet aromas.

Now that I have found a local place to buy an old-school 40 cup coffeemaker in the city where I now live, I can once again prove my loyalty to the dark roasted beans on a daily basis. Many people swear by their small coffeemakers that only allow for 2-8 cups at a time. Some have taken it a bit further by purchasing units that brew one cup at a time. I have tried them all at one time or another and they worked well under certain circumstances.

I am now on my fourth cup of the morning. Long live strong coffee.

The Instagram Accounts Art Lovers Should Be Following

The internet can be an intimidating place for art enthusiasts. You scour the web; being inundated by gorgeous drawings, surreal paintings, and incredible artistry. The internet offers a plethora of outlets for artists and artist-lovers alike. Social networking became the basis of business and shared creativity from the launch of Facebook, Tumblr, and even Pinterest. However, Instagram turned into a powerful marketing tool for artists.

For some artists, the reality of social commerce has turned a random photography platform into a publicity opportunity and a chance to increase business.

There are specific Instagram accounts that every art lover should follow. If you’ve been overwhelmed by the breadth of talent online, here’s a quick guide to a select few Insta-famous artists.

Gary Baseman (@garybaseman) is an illustrator, toy designer and classified as a pop surrealist. His Instagram is littered with unique characters that appear in places and moments where they don’t belong. He tells photographic stories with these revolving characters of his own creation. If you aren’t afraid of the jarring and unexpected, you should follow Gary. His images will either stun you or make you take a second look.

Post-pop artist Rob Pruitt (@robpruitt5000) was made famous by his “party animals” series. The image of stuffed animals hinged on a fluffy cloud background is praised for the strange levity he brings to the genre.

If you love travel photography and the use of unconventional materials in art, then Vik Muniz is a must-see. Brazil-native Vik Muniz (@vikmuniz)is a contemporary visual artist with a penchant for incredible travel photography and his ability to twist concepts of photojournalism into his own work. His “Pictures of Chocolate” series made him world renown. Who wouldn’t follow a man that used chocolate syrup to create his art?

Do you want art that speaks to you? Have you ever felt relieved because of a moment when you knew that you weren’t alone? If you search for affirmation, then you need to follow Don’t Fret. Don’t Fret (@dontfretart) is a Chicago-based art Instagram that posts daily quotes. The work is not extraordinary in its beauty, but in its real-life impact. They use captioned illustrations to capture the ceaseless struggle of being human.

Do you like things outside of the norm? You’ve found it here. Crochet artist Olek (@oleknyc) does street and conceptual artwork. She believes that both life and art are inseparable. Her Instagram account follows her personal life as well as her professional work. She comes critically acclaimed and is one of the most famous conceptual artists of her time. Olek crochets around the shape of an object with vibrant colors and beautiful patterns.  The art world is incredible, but following Olek is a definite necessity.

Graffiti-artist Jose Parla (@joseparla) depicts the world in bright colors, vigorous patterns, and harsh reality. He does abstract to typography, and every image he posts has something to tell its audience. If you’re a fan of bright coloring and spray cans, then Jose Parla is the street artist to follow.


Should You Go To Art School?

You’re an artist. You paint, sketch, draw, sculpt or design. It’s in your heart, in your soul. You just don’t have the credentials—yet.

The question you ask yourself—in your mind and in your soul—is whether or not you can get those credentials by going to art school.

The answer might surprise you. Here are three reasons you should go to art school.

Should you go to art school? Yes, if you want to develop a solid understanding of fundamental methodologies.

There are basic, fundamental rules when it comes to art. Do you always have to follow them? No, but knowing what they are will serve you well—both personally and professionally. Art school will teach you what the rules are, why they exist and how you can incorporate them (or not) into your own art.

In addition, a lot of organizations and corporations employ artists, and most expect their artists to have a solid understanding of the rules and follow them. Which leads to the second reason the answer to the Should you go to art school? Question is yes.

If you want to work as a professional artist, you should go to art school.

When you’re interviewing, you’re going to have to show examples of your work as well as know how to talk about them. Art school will help you develop a body of work (a portfolio) that you can share with perspective employers during your interviews.

Art school will also help you talk about your work in a clear, knowledgeable way. You might be a great artist, but if you can’t talk about how you connect your skill, passion and vision with that of the company or organization for which you hope to work, chances are you won’t get hired—and getting hired is what it’s all about (at least in terms of working as a professional artist.).

This leads to the third reason you should go to art school: connections.

Connections are important for any artist. Professional connections can help you get your foot in the door with companies and organizations looking to hire artists. Personal connections can get your work into galleries, inspire your creativity and give you honest feedback about your work.

So, should you go to art school? Yes, if you want to understand the fundamental principles of art, work as a professional artist and make connections that can inspire you to greater (personal and professional) heights.

Best Art Channels On YouTube

YouTube is a video-hosting site that spans many, many, topics. Many of these stand out for exemplary content or just popular topics- Art as a topic is no different. Though it isn’t described as a main “genre” of the website, it still has plenty of channels and such dedicated to it.

Vamos Art” is a personal favorite of many- it combines an uncommon, 3D art style with a nice use of things like time lapse and even step-by-step tutorials if you wish for one. The channel even provides insight into the history of various arts in different periods of time. Many people also enjoy the number of optical illusions you may be shown in the videos.

The channel known as “Tate” is also a very popular and well-made one. It doesn’t only post videos about art or such, it commonly gives you an insight into the industry with interviews with various artists of different skills- even musicians! This can be quite helpful to anyone aspiring to become an artist of any caliber. Even if you don’t wish to be one, it’s always nice to know what inspired an artist to create the works that they did. This channel is second to none for interviews and insights into art itself- painting, sculpture or otherwise.

Art 21” is a nonprofit organization highlighting and supporting art in the twenty-first century. They feature many kinds of art and artists, going as far to show videos and support of various new artists working in New York City. With everything from sculpture to contemporary art, this channel is more focused on showing and supporting art than tutorials and such.

Next is a channel from the Guggenheim Museum, named simply “Guggenheim“. This channel is a host to everything from music,  filmmaking clips, definitions of common artistic usages and terms, as well as moments with bands. This is obviously a very diverse channel, one that everyone should at least take a look at.

Last on my list (Not ranked as worst to the best, the decisions for that depend on the likes, dislikes and interests of yourself.) is a channel dubbed “Gagosian Gallery“. This channel showcases both modern and contemporary art from many, many famous artists. In reality, the Gagosian Gallery is a large chain of art galleries- over 10 exist world wide.



How To Learn Glass Blowing

So you want to learn glass blowing? It is a rather interesting technique that is performed by only a handful of artisans around the globe. And it is one of the coolest creative arts careers out there. But with most glass now mass-produced, this art form has started to become something that is not heavily used or utilized. Due to this, you might find it a bit tough to determine where you can learn glass blowing. Because of this, it is a good idea for you to seek out one of these different options, which can help you discover the secrets of glass blowing and how you can do it on your own.

Local College

Community colleges are a great place to start. This is because enrollment is easy and you do not need to spend a large amount of money to take classes. Of course, you need to check the course schedule to see if glass blowing is actually offered. Art courses can be a bit tricky to know whether or not a college actually offers it or not, so look around. If the community college closest to you does not offer glass blowing, chances are there are others in at least a short driving span that does.

Community Centers

Many community centers offer art classes, and these are not just centered around watercolors and photography. Many community centers look to expand the kinds of classes offered, which is exactly why glass blowing is often an option. Make sure to check out the core classes offered by the different community centers. There is no telling what a community center might offer. However, even if the community center does not offer it immediately, you need to contact the center and request the class. Make sure to tell other friends and family members who might be interested in the class to give them a call as well. The more people that contact the community center, the greater the chances are of the location eventually offering the courses. Just stay on top of the community center, you never know what influence you might have.

Learn From the Masters

If you have ever wondered where you can learn glass blowing and the local community centers and colleges do not offer these kinds of services, you need to learn from the local masters themselves. There are different options available for this, you just need to know where to turn. First off, an excellent way to start is to look online for a local artisan who is produces hand blown glass in the nearby area. Many of these individuals have their own studios in the area. You can always contact these individuals and see if you can apprentice with them. Some individuals are going go be open to this, while others might turn you away, as they simply like to work on their own. If you do not see any individuals in the area, another great way to find people who practice glass blowing techniques is at renaissance festivals.

What Are The Benefits Of Attending Art School?

Art school isn’t for everyone. Many successful artists will claim that art school is pointless and a waste of time. However, just because they were able to succeed in the art world without any training doesn’t mean you can. Art school isn’t for people that want to learn to paint or draw. It is for people that already know how to paint and draw and want to become experts.

There are many people that are great artists and can draw well. Just search for fan-art for a random television show and you will find tons of talented works of art that will never get real respect. These are the types of people that could benefit from the structure of art school. However, art school will not guarantee you a job. You won’t find a painting factory opening in Detroit.

Benefits of Art School

What art schools do offer is that it takes what talent you have and turns it into a viable skill. Of course, having a degree from an accredited art school will make a better impression on potential employers. Unless you have experience painting or drawing already, you will find that people won’t take you seriously.

Another benefit of art school is it allows you to network with the art world. Many of the professors are either artists themselves or know people in the art world. They can offer you good career advice too. Art tends to spread by word of mouth, and it is notoriously hard to sell your art or get hired as an artist if you don’t know anyone. If you had a good reputation in art school, they may recommend you for jobs later.

One benefit that most people don’t realize is the prestige. There is more prestige in graduating from a good art school with an art degree rather than graduating from a regular four-year school. For example, getting a degree from Juliard means a lot more then getting a fine arts degree from Harvard or an Ivy League school, despite the prestige at those schools.

Art school can be a great experience and offers many benefits for those who are serious about art. There is no job security in the art world but going to a good art school can put you ahead of the rest of the competition.


How To Choose An Art School

If you are interested in going to art school, then you might be wondering how to go about determining which one you should apply to (and hope to get accepted into). The truth is that you might not even need to go to art school. In fact a lot of very successful artists do not ever attend college for their craft. However, if you have decided that it is important for you to further your art education, or even if you just want to be an art teacher, then going to art college is a good idea for you.

So, how do you pick those art schools that are worthy of your application?

First, you need to determine why you are going to art school in the first place. Are you just interested in getting better at your craft and maybe learning some new techniques? Or do you aspire to teach art to other people? Once you know that, you will know what types of schools best meet your needs – ones that are great for refining your skills or one that gets you a teaching degree.

After narrowing down the types of schools, you need to start reading up on them to see how current and previous students feel about the institutions. It is really no different than knowing that you want to buy an inflatable standup paddle board and checking out some inflatable standup paddle board reviews before making your final purchase decision – same principle just a different “product” that you are checking out reviews for before you “buy” the college choice. You might want to start reading college reviews on a site like this one.

Starting your search like this will help you to narrow down the options in this round one of preparing. Once you have a list of good options, you might want to see where each is located and then eliminate any that are in states or cities where you do not want to spend your college years.

Then, it is time to schedule some campus visits so that you can see what each school is really all about. After you do this, you should be left with only a handful of places that just might be a good fit for you. When you get to this stage, then you know the places where you should focus your time on applying to and maybe you’ll get into your top choice!

Another thing is that you might also want to look at the tuition costs to rule out any that you simply cannot afford before you waste the application fee. Granted some of the schools may give you a scholarship, so keep that in the back of your mind as well.

How Get Good Enough For A Show at an Art Gallery

Art is a wonderful thing in life, it gives people an outlet for their emotions and really gives them an outlet for their frustrations, which can be plentiful in life. It can be a great opportunity to get to display this at an art gallery with a show. It can give a suitable platform to showcase all you wares and perhaps give you the acclaim that you deserve after putting in all your hard work in. However, getting a show and a space at an Art Gallery can be problematic as so many other budding artists are trying to do the same thing.

The first thing to do is to make sure that you put all your effort into your work. Top quality work is more likely to get top billing at an Art Gallery as that is what the audience wants to see. Some might argue that art is about expression and the quality of the work depends on this. This seems to be a valid point. Therefore, if an artist made their work personal and unique then this can really enhance how their work resonates with the audience. Rather like a good poem and song, the artist’s personality needs to be conveyed through the medium of the piece. Who you are as a person needs to be represented through your artwork in its lights and shades. Letting it flow is better than forcing it.

Another thing to try and get your work into the Art Gallery is be definite about the niche and genre you are going for. Art encompasses a multitude of themes, so it is important to nail down which one your artwork belongs to. It may have elements of a couple of genres but it needs to be placed in the theme which suits its best. Making this explicit is certainly key to getting it to a show.

The other thing you may like to consider is to try and find out what style of artwork the gallery likes and possibly adapt your artwork accordingly to meet this. That is not to say that you change your artwork completely, although a few amendments here and there towards a certain preferred category that the Art Gallery desires may be advisable, whilst still retaining the uniqueness of your own work.

Tips For Selling Your Art On Etsy

There are multiple opportunities available for artists who want to sell their artwork. Although some of them turn to art galleries and exhibitions, there is an easier way to sell art. Etsy is a common market place for anyone who wants to sell his or her handmade products, artwork included. Selling your products on Etsy enables you to reach a wider market and also sell them faster, but you have to follow the following tips for you to be successful.

Create a Catchy Profile

When shopping online, many buyers always look at the seller’s profile before they make up their mind. Therefore, you need to have your profile professionally done. As much as the description that you post is important, you also must have a relevant avatar to accompany it. Using your photo or one of your products for the avatar is the best decision here. Remember to make the write up as catchy and interesting as possible.

Upload Pictures

There are many people selling artwork that portrays the same theme as yours. Therefore, you have to find techniques to make your artwork stand out, and the only way to do that is by uploading professionally taken photos of the pieces of art that you are selling. These pictures need to be taken from multiple angles so that potential buyers do not feel like there are parts of the artwork that you are hiding. Ideally, you need to have at least five pictures of each piece that you are selling.


You may have the best pictures on the website, but you can ensure that you get buyers by pricing them correctly. For you to quote the best price, you must know and understand what you are selling and the amount of money that production cost so that you can make the right quote. Furthermore, understanding how your competitors have priced theirs can also help you in setting the right price which will in turn attract customers.

Choose Your Tags Carefully

Tags enable visitors to the website find products that they are looking for quite easily. This means that you must choose the right tags if you are to make your artwork visible to as many people as possible. However, you have to choose tags that relate to your products. You can also join teams and use some of the tags that they have for your products.

Always Proofread Your Listings

When it comes to typing, many people make errors despite reading through whatever they have written. Therefore, you need to have a third party proofread all your listings before you post them. Potential customers will definitely be turned away by grammatical errors in your posts.

Selling your artwork on Etsy is not that difficult. With these tips and perseverance, you will be able to reach a global market with your art.

Additional Etsy tips can be found on the following sites:

Acrylic Painting Tips For Beginners

Acrylic paint has become very popular for use by both beginners and experienced artists today, and it deserves its popularity. Unlike oil paint, acrylic paint does not need solvents to dilute the colors. It dries more quickly than oil paint, producing the finished product more quickly and making the painting surface easier to transport. Perhaps the greatest reason acrylic paint is loved by artists is because it is highly versatile to use in achieving many different painting effects. Here are some tips for beginners to keep in mind when using acrylic paint.

Start With The Right Surface And Tools

There are many different types of surfaces on which acrylic paint can be used, but acrylic paint should not be used on any surface which is oily or waxy. Acrylic paint does not adhere well on these, and will tend to separate. This means you cannot apply acrylic paint over oil paint; however, oil paint can be used over acrylics to add special effects.

Most acrylic painters like to use canvas as their painting surface, but you can also use water color paper or sealed wood as a good beginning surface. As you become accustomed to using acrylic paints and how they look, you can experiment with different surfaces. Remember that the texture of the surface you choose to paint on will affect its finished look.

It’s easier to use synthetic brushes rather than natural-hair brushes with acrylic paint. Acrylic paint clings more readily to natural-hair brushes. Try various sizes of round synthetic brushes for detail strokes, and flat brushes for softer paint strokes and blending.

A plastic palette works great for mixing different colors. Acrylic paint doesn’t adhere to plastic, so it is easily cleaned with water.

Using Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is available in tubes, jars and cans. Many people prefer the tubes, but use the one that seems easiest for you.

You can vary the thickness of your paint to achieve a different look. Thicker paint will give a stronger, more vibrant color to the painting. Thinning with just a little water will somewhat soften the look and make it more transparent. Don’t add too much water, however.

Keep a container of water nearby as you paint, to keep your brush damp while you are painting. Wash your brushes with soap and water after you are finished. Don’t allow paint to dry completely on the brush; it is much more difficult to remove once it has dried, and can damage the hairs. Use cold water, not hot water, to clean the brushes.

Beginning painters have trouble with the paint drying too quickly on the canvas. You can purchase extender from your art supply store, which will keep it wet a little bit longer.

Trying Special Effects

You can create many beautiful special effects by varying your brushes and brushstrokes in different ways. Experiment with different techniques on watercolor paper until you are confident enough to use them on your painting.

You can also create unusual optical effects by adding different painting mediums to your acrylic paints. Many of these are available in your art store, such as gloss, matte, and gel.

This is only the beginning of what you can do with acrylic paint. Once you learn how to master it, you will be able to use your creativity to its fullest potential in your artwork.