What makes art effective? How can we bring the best of ourselves to the canvas?

1) Developing skill

In order to make anything effective, we believe there is a period of applied “dirt time” or “woodshedding” as they say in music terms that we need to go through in order to gain the precision and artistic vocabulary to express what we want. Whether that be a rendition of a landscape, a contemporary abstract piece, or a vision seen from within, we need the skill to execute. It may mean that you put many hours into drawing the figure or painting the way light reflects off water for instance. It may also mean cultivating an inner translation process which allows you to bring your deeper and subtle feelings into form.

As your skills refine, your enthusiasm strengthens.

2) Knowing the Why

Contemplation on why we are making what we are making is helpful. Dig down within to find the core reasons of why we are making art. It gives us a chance to reflect on which motives are worthwhile and reject the ones that are not. Sometimes this contemplation can lead to breakthroughs and new evolutions of your art practice and style.

Sometimes we just need a little push to go deeper and we will discover an expression that feels more genuine.

After some contemplation,
I felt my art needed to have a quality of “letting go” and thus my style became much more loose and expressive. The focus shifted to the “process” of making a painting rather than the finished “result”.

Above is a painting made prior to an inner shift. Below is a painting that followed the shift. – Mike McDonough

3) Organization

Organize your workspace. When your art materials have a beauty to their organization it will inspire you more. This could feel counter intuitive but when the work area and materials are in their proper space you’ll find it easier to utilize your intuitive nature and it will save you much time in the long run.

More time = more accomplished 🙂


Before we execute it is important to cultivate some patience. feeling rushed can lead to a work of art that lacks gravitas. An urgency can be a motivating factor which is great but if we let it cloud our focus and attention to detail then it becomes a disadvantage. Let’s be Patient!

5) Being open / listen

It’s important to have an open mind and heart before and during the art process. We should feel willing to do time-consuming intricacies yet spontaneous enough to abandon the plan and “ruin” the art or rather let something unexpected show up through improvisation or happy accidents. Allowing yourself to make “in the moment” decisions is a beautiful thing. Bottom line is that we need to listen to ourselves and act on the promptings felt within.

6) Focus

Once we have initiated the art process, it’s best to avoid distraction. Be in an environment where you feel free. You should not feel pulled in several directions. Be one pointed. Once you start, make an effort to keep the link strong between you and your work of art.

Dive into your art. Remember being a kid and playing pretend? Art is similar. “Diving in” to our art allows us to be with every stroke of paint and line of graphite. It allows us to live what is being created. We enter the world we are creating and begin to experience that world. In that state, a union is forged between artists and artwork and it is unparalleled the result this can have. His/her aspirations, goals, and points of interest are all contained inside. Art then becomes a solidified form which embodies the artist’s consciousness and state. Others will most likely catch at least a glimpse of the artist’s consciousness and an experience can surely be transmitted to some degree.

Listen to something you love, be in the heart and go!

May you inspire us all <3