Strengthen Your heART

Take heART – every artist has events in their lives that force them to quit – and often it becomes a significant turning point for them. They either drown in the struggle of daily life events or they strengthen their resolve to find a space in their lives for their art.

I am writing a list of tactical strategies to strengthen artists to keep on working – to take heART! Yes the kids need you! Yes you have to make dinner! Yes you work late! the garden! the lawn! the dishes! the laundry! your email! the blog! the inlaws! the shopping…the gym… are all important but you – your art – are important too.

1. take a sketchbook with you – buy an over the shoulder bag and outfit it with a small sketchbook, eraser and your favourite mediums for drawing, charcoal, pencils, pencil crayons, small watercolor set. Make it small enough that you can take it everywhere with ease! I am happy if I have a piece of paper and a pencil. If it is too large you are discouraged and will leave it at home and miss an opportunity to draw.

2. Use your phone camera to take pictures and work on your compositions. Everywhere and anywhere.Look at abstract lines and colors or things that amuse you.

3.Use your phone apps to draw.  I have a note3 with a pen.  I hardly ever use the pen because I prefer non digital work but its there. If you want convenience you do not even need your sketchbook. A good app to download is sketchbook mobile auto desk. Or for the technologically advanced artist check out this – cintiq wakom companion -


Digital exercise on note 3 with digital pen.

4. Discover the wonderful sites available to artists such as

OR Youtube  has an amazing variety just search figure drawing tutorials or for figurative models to practice your drawing skills you can go to Croquis Cafe –

You can also get instruction through very very talented artists like Glenn Vilppu or Stan Prokopenko (among many). or

5. Search images on google and look at the amazing drawings of modern day artists and their styles, techniques and methods and incorporate them into your works.

Google search of figurative drawings

6. If you absolutely cannot make it to a life drawing session – draw people around you in everyday life. Eating, sleeping, reading, watching tv, at the beach,  coffee shop,  doctors office, library….draw your garden, sketch your kids, your husband, your dog, your cat your hamster, your friends hamster.

7. Buy time with another equally frustrated artist – trade babysitting or gardening to allow time to work on your art.

8. Schedule at least one hour per week minimum to devote to doing your artwork – and do not waiver on your commitment. Even if you do one hour per week you are working towards building your skills and can work on increasing the time spent on your art.

9. Buy a good drawing magazine or cds and copy the masters drawings even if it is only a hand – 5minutes can make a difference. Allow yourself to draw something everyday! drawing-book

10. Access the many drawing manuals that are now online in pdf format from charles bargue or

And wonderful blogs -

11. Become a subscriber to the many valuable newsletters that will enhance your email inbox such as artist network or ceramics monthly!

12. Most of all have fun!! join a group a course or a class online or in your community.  Give the world beautiful works of art. The purpose of  our united CREATIVITY, imagination and skill is to connect with our audience not to compete with our peers!  Other artist will give you techniques, strategies, ideas, inspiration and strengthen your spirit. Art is not a competition – it is our spirit our expression our way- each uniquely different.

‘Beauty appears when one feels deeply
Art is an act of total attention’ -Dorothea Lange

I hope some of these great FREE resources help – I find them to be a valuable and wonderful way to keep up my drawing skills and work on my composition.


And Happy Sketching Drawing Enthusiasts!!

Giovanni Bodini - master of swish!

Giovanni Bodini – master of swish!

Drawing from Photos vs Drawing from life video by Drawing Art Academy

“An Artist must have his measuring tools not in his hand but in his eye” – Michelangelo

Why is drawing from photos not good for you?

1.  Copying 2 dimensional photos inhibits artists from seeing objects in volume and space.

2. It prevents an artist from judging distance and perspective.

3. The artist does not think and visualize the 3 dimensional nature of an object, but subconsciously regards all objects and shapes 2 dimensionally as seen in photos.

4. By copying flat images, an artist does not make a constructive drawing: there is no comprehensive understanding of objects masses and their spatial relationships.

5. Drawing from photos forces an artist to draw from what he or she sees rather than  what one knows.

6. It stops an artist from learning traditional, time proven, step by step drawing methods, which have been perfected by many generations of fine artists starting from the old masters.

7. Working from photos prevents an artist from learning from his or her mistakes and makes it impossible to improve drawing skills by analyzing and fixing those mistakes.

If you get too used to drawing flat images you will most likely limit your ability to learn how to draw proficiently.

- Drawing Art Academy

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery it would not seem so wonderful at all” Michaelangelo Buonauroti

I am an avid believer in drawing from life. I encourage artists that are interested in working on improving their drawing skills to attend life drawing sessions, figurative art classes with a live model or portrait sessions with a model.


Golden Virtual Paint mixing guide- Link

Here is a link to an online Virtual paint mixing guide from Golden Acrylic paint website.

Online Paint mixing guide – Golden Acrylics


An indispensable guide if you are having trouble finding a certain color and need the mixing proportions- it also takes the color from a photo (on your computer) and gives you the exact colors to mix to achieve the color.

Now how cool is that?


color_chart_web-1ebdb0822fea8debe37fbb2591f94ae38BUT A word of caution – The trained artists eye and mixing color charts is still an important aspect of artistic skill building. I highly recommend not using graphs, tracing paper, measuring implements, projectors or computer programs to do your art for you. Build your skills and train your eye to see as an artist because it gives life, movement and energy to a piece. Measuring, detail and tightness will often lose a quality in your art that only the artistic eye can achieve. Sacrifice perfection and give yourself permission to explore.-PA


Gestural Sculptural Relief from Life

Just recently the Pistrucci Artworks team joined an enthusiastic bunch of artists to sculpt from the live model. Drawing, painting plein air or portraiture from life always adds a certain energy to a piece of artwork.

Here is a snapshot of the gesture sculpted from life in Relief 3hours- Models have a hard time holding poses for longer than that with many breaks in between to stretch – You need to sculpt very fast to get the pose in correctly -didn’t quite get the hand in.

2014-04-27 09.43.532014-05-02 13.39.54

A few quick life drawing 10-20mins:
20140501_2302062014-03-22 22.21.28

On my phone using the app -Sketch Guru – Artists can sketch anywhere  –


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