Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Creating Great Art

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"Shasta Sweet Peas"

Mount Shasta is renowned for the splendid displays of wildflowers that cover the foothills every summer. Because of the high altitude and mild climate, abundant varieties of flowers, including some that grow only around Mt Shasta, burst with color all summer and well into the fall. The wildflowers that are the best known and loved are the wild sweet peas that blanket the meadow of the Shasta region. Today’s painting captures some of these magnificent little blooms that I found growing on the Grand View Ranch.

When I coach painters in my outdoor workshops in Mt Shasta, a recurring question that artists frequently ask as they struggle with their experience is “How do I create great art?”
First, it is essential for you as an artist to be true to yourself and create art that reflects what you care about and how you see the world as you develop your individual style. One of the reasons that I created The Grand View Ranch in Mt Shasta is that the landscape speaks to me. I am continually inspired to paint the infinite number of vistas, animals, and flowers that call to me. I am never at a loss to come up with original ideas for a painting. I believe that art is integral to your sense of who you are, and it is best if life and art intertwine.

Secondly, most artists, including myself, are driven by their desire to make art beautiful and meaningful for themselves and their audience by consistently probing and expanding their boundaries and setting new goals. To do this, artists must learn that great art results from doing your craft frequently, diligently, and passionately. If you only think about creating something, very little is accomplished. The fact is that you must actively create art to feel inspired.

Finally, the desire to enjoy art begins at a very early age. Give a young child paper and crayons and you will see that they instinctively create original art that has a message. Their works of art not only display passion for colors but also include stories about their world, family, and pets. If you ask them what their work is about, they will tell you a story that goes on and on.

Why do so many people lose the ability to share themselves openly through their artwork as they get older? I believe that everyone has creativity and talent, and the only thing that stands in the way of experiencing their creative self is fear, the fear of looking bad or failing to reach expectations that art must done “right,” perfect, or beautifully from the beginning. The “ego” is the part of our selves that censors our actions and limits our impulses so that we fit into society and behave in acceptable ways, but the ego can limit our creativity by demanding that we do things that are ordinary so we will blend in, instead of being unique and extraordinary when expressing ourselves. The fear of not being good enough can discourage artists so profoundly that they put down their brushes, and never paint again. Just think of the beauty that would be lost if the flowering sweet peas that I painted worried if they were good enough to be in the meadows, or pretty enough to be painted by artists, and hid from view so that no one ever saw them at all.

At our workshops, we explore and disarm many of the limiting and judgmental ideas that people have believed to be true since childhood and introduce new possibilities for creativity and artistic expression through the excitement of outdoor painting.

Come and join us in October for a life-altering experience!

Stefan Baumann, Premiere Artist of Mt Shasta

If you are interested in experiencing a breakthrough weekend that will take your art to the next level, visit our new website at You can download my FREE BOOK where I share “Everything I know About Painting.” At my website

I hope that we can build a community of artists that can share information with each other.If you know of any artists that might appreciate being included, let them know about this blog.
I hope to offer more painting tips as this conversation continues.

If you have questions that you can email me anytime, please don’t hesitate to email me anytime. I welcome your feedback