So, you have to unroll the snowball and get back to the point and solve that one problem. Hmm. And I really think that a lot of people overcomplicate their paintings
Today. I'm feeling particularly thankful, not only for the big, um, important, impactful things that have happened in my life, but for the simplicity, for the simple things. And I think sometimes it's really the simple things that, um, make the difference, particularly when it comes to gratitude and the attitudes at the heart. And this relates to my art because it is really in simplifying that we bring focus. And I know that that's something we talked about last week, um, in the Bold Artist podcast, we talked about, um, boundaries and how we actually have freedom within the boundaries that we set in our, our art. Um, but then in other ways, it relates to aspects of our life where as we simplify, we bring even greater focus to what's important.
Yeah. I think if we look at the big, giant complicated stuff, you know, like these, we've had some big, complicated meetings lately. And they can feel overwhelming and, like, that you're never gonna come to a conclusion or, or figure anything out. But in the end, it comes to simplifying down those conversations to the topic, and the point, and the solutions. And then all of a sudden they don't feel so big and overwhelming. And I think life gets like that. Our relationships get like that. Um, this time of year being in Canada being Fall we're, it's like Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving in the US is coming like in another month or two. And it just, it, I think the nostalgia, you know, the time of year, it all kind of comes around and we start thinking about what we're grateful for and all of those big, overwhelming things that have taken over our lives over the last year. The only way to really see through it is to simplify it, break it down, and see like maybe you've had issues in your marriage, or issues with your relationship with your kids. But when it comes down to it, you love your kid, you love your spouse, and what makes it worth working out? What makes it worth being there? It's not about fighting over, who's picking up the kids, or who's getting the groceries, or who's making the bed, or who's doing the laundry.
Have you had some of those fights lately, Charla?
No, none of those fights, no. Um, but it's really like, who do I wanna hang out with at the end of the day? And who do I wanna go camping with on Friday? It's my husband and my kids. So you gotta, gotta break it down, and simplify, and focus in order to see all the wonderful, beautiful things in our lives, in our business. And our art is the same way. If we over complicate our art, and we wanna put every idea, and every thought, and every story into the canvas, it gets overwhelming. It gets frustrating and confusing, busy, and people don't wanna look at it.
Yeah. For sure.
So, I think it's really big, timely topic for this time of year.
I found that over-complicating our art, whether it be our careers and interests as an artist and then individual pieces that we overcomplicate it to me, it's a sign of in my own life, at least, it's a sign of me not being able to decide and choose and pare down what's important to me. We did a workshop inside the community, um, inside the Bold School community. We did a Find Your Why workshop, um, it's still available actually for any of those who are interested, just check out Bold School.
Hosted by Marijanel.
Yes. Check out boldschool.com. But through the, the workshop, we find our why of why we're doing what we're doing as artists, as painters. And we essentially make, if you wanted to call it a mission statement, but it's a personal statement of why we're doing what we're doing. And I found through that course so much clarity came, but it was this, the process of simplifying and, uh, and simplicity coming down to like reducing all the noise, and distractions, and complication of our, our art and bringing it into focus is such a, an art form in itself. Being minimal is an art form. And, you know, you mentioned it's Canadian Thanksgiving, um, coming up here, um, and it's, it's just, um, a time... It's, it's one of my favorite holidays, but it's this time where we really reflect on what's important. And that's what gratitude is, where you're, you really, you, you come down to like, what matters to me? What's important. What am I thankful for? And I find, you know, have you ever done that, Charla, where you sit around the table with your family? And you're like, okay, we're all gonna say what we're thankful for. We usually do that. You don't do that?
I hate those moments.
I appreciate those moments.
New Speaker (05:02):
I appreciate them, too.
'Cause I'm like, I love it when they're like, I'm thankful for my mom.
But I love it.
New Speaker (05:09):
You become very emotional because when you boil it down, you're like, I thankful for everybody here. And you mean it, but it's so cheesy and been said a million times, and people are like, be unique. Like that's why I hate it. 'Cuz I, I get all emotional, and my feelings come out, and I get vulnerable.
Okay. Well I love those moments. I thrive on those moments. And uh, I really appreciate it when they are all like, I love my mom, or I'm thankful for my mom. I'm like, yes, I can make it through another year 'till Thanksgiving next year. But I...
I'm thankful for my thankful kids who love me.
Yeah, have you ever found, though, that when everyone expresses what they're thankful for, it's the simple things. It's the relationship, it's the food, it's the drink. It's the, the house that you live in. It's the friends. It's like, those are the simple foundations of life and it, it's the simple things that it's all built on. And I think when we come into that kind of simple clarity in our artistry, um, it, it just helps to eliminate the noise. And on this topic,
New Speaker (06:12):
We could touch on the, the topic of simplicity on so many levels, whether it be actually painting simple, like simple palette choices, simple, uh, minimal distractions in the paintings or we could also go big and talk about it, like in the simplicity of our message as an artist.
But I think it's all important in one piece to have all of that in there.
New Speaker (06:38):
So that it's not, you're not overwhelming the viewer with too much information.
New Speaker (06:43):
Or, being too obvious in your story that, you know, like, oh, it's just like another sunset picture. Instead you, when you're simplifying, or you're concentrating the emotion, and the visuals, and the brushwork, and the color palettes, you're allowing the viewer to fill in the story with their own imagination.
Absolutely. So Charla, your work tends to be, um, complex. Like as, as a, a port, a bold color portrait painter and, and what you teach within Bold School, it's a very complex process. I have had the great privilege of standing in your studio, and we can't see it here on YouTube today, but you have a massive wall of art. You have all the faces that you've painted in, um, bold acrylic. And I will stand like mesmerized by the brushstrokes,, and the layers and the complexity of your work. And I wanna be clear today that as we talk about simplicity, it doesn't mean there's not complexity, too, because
Complexity of skill.
Yes. Because you, your work is what I would call complex, but your message and presentation is simple. And the beauty of, of Bold School and what we offer through our online classes is that you take a really complex subject... I mean, portraiture, they say is probably one of the most difficult painting skills to master you take not only the, the subject of portraiture, but painting it in bold color, everything, but skin tone, and you simplify this to where you honestly believe everyone could learn it or anyone could learn it.
Can you expand on that a little bit today of like how you're able to take this complex skill that you have and simplify it for us?
Well, it's also a process. So, it's like in order to be able to teach, so you you've worked for 10 years, or maybe you've worked for 20 years, or even maybe just one year, but you've worked for a while, and now you wanna teach somebody what you've just done. You have to be able... So, you've, you've built on layers of understanding. You've learned a skill, you've, you've, you've figured it out. And now you've learned another skill, and you've built on top, and another one, and another one. So, you keep building skills on skills, and then it becomes complex because you have a lot of knowledge that you're, you're pulling up outta your subconscious self.
New Speaker (09:16):
And putting onto your canvas intuitively within flow because you practice this forever. So, when you try to show somebody, you intuitively put it out on the canvas, but there's a whole ton of the, the past experience that goes into that.
So, to break it down, and teach it to somebody requires kind of backtracking. And boiling it down, concentrating it into, where do I start? What, what are the main skills that I'm teaching that can bring somebody to this place that I'm in right now? So I, I backtrack, and I look back to where I began. Um, I mean, there's a whole lot to sorting out how to teach your process, but it comes down to a lot of, of main basic points in a process that you can, you can outline and show people.
New Speaker (10:10):
I think when you're, that's how you can learn skills that I have, and that I use to put in my work. But when you're looking at your subject matter, or the message behind your work, or the, even the genre or the style of work you wanna create, I think it's the same type of processes.
What do you want people to see first? So, you, you boil it down to what is the, the goal of your piece? I actually don't like the word goal, but I can't think of another one at the moment. What is it? You want people to experience and feel and see, understand, walk away with when they see your work. And then, um, it, it becomes very simple. You, you don't wanna tell the story of a movie in one painting. You're not gonna be able to, but you can evoke the same emotion that somebody can have while watching a movie. So, how can you simplify your message,, and your process and your skills to do that? It's a process to be able to do that. But I think it's how we approach any situation in our life. Like if we have an overwhelming situation in business or in a relationship, you can easily snowball it. Like, especially if you're upset with somebody, you can easily snowball it into a million reasons. You're upset with that person, but you can't solve problems when you're fighting 10 battles. So, you have to unroll the snowball, and get back to the point, and solve that one problem. And I really think that a lot of people overcomplicate their paintings by trying to solve too many problems in one painting.
Okay. That right there, I just gotta stop you. Let's say it again. People overcomplicate their paintings 'cuz they're solving too many problems in one painting.
New Speaker (11:54):
So, this brings to mind, um, some tutorials that I was doing, um, on guitar, actually. Where the guitar instructor was saying, um, I, I want you to show me what you learned, but before you begin, you have to name what it is you're focused on. So, if you were focused on making sure your strings didn't buzz, you had to say that before you showed her what you were learning. Right now, I'm focused, no string buzzing. And then if you did it again, you had to tell her, this time I'm focused on my strumming because she wasn't able to critique what we were doing unless she knew our focus.
New Speaker (12:34):
And so putting that in the context of what you just said with art is like, I think students, learners, any of us trying to grow our abilities, we approached the canvas thinking we need to do it all correctly right then, and complicated, and nail every skill right then and there. But really we are even allowed to focus on what we're learning, or what we're sharpening during that painting session.
It's so important in becoming a better artist because you want, somebody who's just starting out my look at my work and say, I wanna be like Charla. But I didn't get here by learning one skill or in one class. You know, it took me years of building upon the skills that I had, and the practice, and the knowledge that I had. And you can't get there overnight. So, by recognizing that, take one part of the process, and focus on it, and learn it so that you're not, um, using your conscious thoughts to, to do it once you practice it. And it becomes like a muscle memory, it becomes intuitive to you. It goes into your subconscious and it, it hides away, and you don't need to think about it anymore. Then you build the next skill. And it's difficult because you don't know how to do it. You can learn how to do it. It goes down into your subconscious library, and it becomes easy. And that's how you enter into flow. And you build one on top of the other, and all of a sudden you're halfway to where you wanted to be. Right? It's, it's about... Learning is about simplifying and focusing. Teaching is about simplifying
Yeah. Good teachers. Yeah, good teachers know how to simplify the steps. And you've talked about that numerous times during class production in Bold School is just like the simplicity of the steps. Because a lot of times an artist, like a really skilled artist might not be able to break down steps to teach it. So
You forget where you came from, right?
Your beginning. Your small beginnings.
So, what are a couple examples within what you teach of what you encourage a student to focus on at a given time? I know one is values, and you have, um, a values class coming up soon here in the Fall.
Yes, I do have a values one. Well I think if we're on topic one, stay on topic, of simplification and focusing. Um, and I think one of the topics within Bold School and our personal lives has been sketching. We've got sketch, you've got a sketching workshop in our community. We've got a sketching introductory class coming out taught by Marijanel. I'm working on a marker sketching workshop. That's still in process. Um, but so sketching has been a big part of our discussions lately. And a sketchbook is a great place to learn how to simplify your work. And I showed this example in a previous podcast episode, but, um, I thought it would be, this would be a really good topic to show it again. And this is how, okay. So I, whoops, I hit my desk. Um, I started out as a realist artist. I used to think, when I was very, very young and naive, that the only real artist was a realism artist.
Because if you couldn't paint something realistically, you weren't a real artist. There's some truth to the point. But I mean, splashing paint on a canvas, doesn't make you an artist. So, skill is good. But, um, I used to think that realism was the only true way to get acknowledgement, I guess, to make it in the art world. So I was a realist artist. And I, I loved painting that way. Um, but I, I longed to kind of do something else. So, when I recognized that I could actually come out of realism, and I could still be an artist, a real artist, I had to untrain myself to paint, find details and realism. Um, which is an art form in and of itself. So, basically what that is, is simplifying things. Simplifying your brushstrokes, simplifying the figure or the subject matter, the shapes and the forms, and blurring the edges and blurring the form.
So, I always say within my classes, um, that I'm moving towards abstraction, 'cuz a full abstract piece has no form, no subject in it, which I find extremely difficult to create. Um, and I feel like realism is on the other end of that spectrum. So, to move from being a realist artist into abstraction, towards abstraction, you have to learn to simplify your form. So, what I do because I still have the realist part of me in there. Um, I like I take a sketchbook, and you can do this on your, in a painting as well. If you wanted to create a process that way, but a sketchbook is a really great way to do this. So, you take your sketchbook. I don't think you can see this really well, but this is a face with a beard and sunglasses, uh, or not sunglasses, but these big glasses. And he's got a beard. And I'll draw him in my sketchbook in a way that satisfies my realist self.
So, like, he's kind of detailed. It's not extreme realism or anything like that, but he is detailed, and it satisfied that part of me. So then when I do that, I decide I'm gonna do him again. Now that I have this piece it's done, I can now draw him again in a more simplified form, which you can see it begins to change and simplify. So then, um, I turn the page, and I do it again. So, this is like a contour drawing. You can still see him, his form is there. He's still a person, he's got glasses on. His beard is there. And then I did this guy where I did the emphasis on the line, and now I'm feeling really free. 'Cause I've got four of these. It doesn't need to be perfect. I'm having fun. So, then I do this piece where, you know, it's just a line, this, I love this piece.
New Speaker (18:17):
Like, and you don't have to love it. And I might never put it on a canvas, or make it into a big piece of art, but look how fun that is.
New Speaker (18:23):
I don't know that somebody would recognize that as a face. Maybe they would if they had never seen the other ones, but I would have never in a million years created this right off the bat. But as I train my mind to simplify through using this little process of just recreating the steps, I train my mind to be able to come up with this right off the bat. Like, eventually I won't be afraid. It's fear basically. I won't be afraid to create this one first. Right. Um, and having a small little sketchbook to do this in is good because you can do it quickly. The bigger your sketchbook, or if you're doing it on canvas with paint, is gonna take you longer. So, this type of a process, you know, you can practice and do it quick. There's no commitment, there's no pressure. And you can work on simplifying your ideas and simplifying your form. I think it's actually probably one of the best ways to, to practice that idea in your art and then see how it translates when you go to a canvas.
You're like able to loosen up.
So, what I'm seeing there is create, and express, and satisfy that, like get it all out.
New Speaker (19:30):
And then simplify, repeat, simplify, repeat, simplify until you've basically whittled it down to being the simplest form of expression that you, like, that you can possibly render that brings your message forward.
New Speaker (19:48):
Um, and that is actually something that I do teach in the sketching workshops is like looking for those basic shapes first, the biggest basic shapes, and then the simplifying simplify down to detailed. But, but you're still seeing everything broken into its basic forms.
New Speaker (20:09):
Yeah. And, and there are other ways of simplifying. 'Cuz like that's one way, like, I did it to a line. I did it to one line. You are talking about basic form. Simplifying can be not like having like almost a full abstract painting, but you, you can focus in on an eye. That's perfectly realistic that one eye, and all of a sudden you're super focused in on that painting, and you can see the person almost emerging out of fog, and there's this realistic eye there. It does... simplifying doesn't mean abstraction or like loose, basic form. It can have a lot of different meanings too.
Yeah, absolutely. And is reminding me of two of our upcoming classes as well, where we're, we're focusing on emphasis. And um, emphasis, and then we also have one coming that is on the blurring of lines. Like the, the, um,
New Speaker (21:02):
Do you call it abstraction of lines or what?
It's kind of the word I use, but blurring of lines, like creating movement with lines, blurring the edges is something that we talk a lot about within the school. I think there's gonna be a lot of focus on, on that within that class, too.
Yes. And in, in bringing the focus, we're bringing the simplicity. And, and that even relates to all forms of visual art, Charla. It's, it's just across the board, even as a photographer.
New Speaker (21:28):
We, we dial in and focus on just exactly what we wanna bring the viewers eye to, and that's by creating, um,
Depth of field.
Yeah. The, the depth of field. The movement that, that washes all the other information away or puts it in the background rather than forground.
Like a macro lens, where you can, like, really focus on something tiny, you know?
It's true in all the art forms. Actually, um, at Bold School, we have a free class that's available at boldschool.com. Right in the main page where I actually teach my favorite tips for loosening up. So, if you're not a member at Bold School, cause we're talking about all our classes that we have on this subject, you can actually go and take that class. It's a one hour class where you can watch me paint and I give you all of my favorite tips for loosening up. In to, to create work the way that I create work.
So, you can do that at boldschool.com. You just have to sign up for that class, and you get instant access to it.
Yes. And while you're there and make sure to hop on our newsletter and check out all of our socials boldschoolink on Instagram. And in closing, Charla, I just wanna tell a little bit of a funny story about, um, thanks like we're on Thanksgiving weekend. Uh, we were at the fall fair last weekend, and there was a tent for children's music. And I'm not sure if I've ever said on the Bold Artist podcast before that, about 20 something years ago, I was in children's music. I was a children's music performer. And I had this moment where I was like, I'm so thankful that I'm not doing that today. Now, there's nothing wrong with that. It's right for some people during that season of their life. But I had this moment where it just washed over me. I'm like, I'm not on a stage dancing with green hair.
I'm doing something different. And, and funny enough, the song that the performers were singing was about Thanksgiving, and they were jumping, and twirling, and the I'm sure. Breaking a sweat under their wigs.
Yeah. And probably loving it.
Who's thankful for water? And who's thankful for snacks? And
I'm thankful I'm not doing that, too.
I know. I know. I was like, and then I said to my husband, like, remember back when we used to come to this fair, and I was on the stage, and he was like, yeah.
And he's thankful, too.
Yeah. And see, it's just thankful for recognizing seasons in our life. And that you don't have to feel guilty for that. And you don't have to feel bad. Just like, I'm thankful that I don't have to feel guilty for liking realism art, and I don't have to feel bad for liking abstract art.
I'm thankful that I have the knowledge to know the difference of what, what that even means. You know, when you're so naive and young, but we all have seasons in your life. I think I'm thankful, 'cause I don't think I really said what I was thankful for, I'm really thankful for my mind opening up this year -- and this is genuine, this is real -- in learning the art of sketchbooking. Because you will hear me say in classes and in podcast past that I'm not a sketchbooker, and I never ever understood how I could use sketch booking to aid my painting.
Um, and I'm sure I had many people listening, thinking I was crazy, but my mind has shifted, and I've taken up sketchbooking. Like for real, I have this like sketchbook, I just showed you. I have been filling this in like all summer with, you'll probably see some bad ones in here. Um, these mini tiny sketchbooks with Copic markers, if you've been following me on socials, you'll have seen a lot of these.
And they have really been able to fill my creative soul. You know, like, really I can't be in my studio every day working. These kind of fill that creative part of me each day. But I'm learning, I'm changing, I'm growing, I'm learning a new medium. And it, it affects me when I get into my studio, but it also affects my daily mood. Like I'm happy that I can now go and create in a sketchbook, something that's fulfilling and, and satisfying. And, and that I'm loving it rather than only finding that when I'm in the studios. I am so thankful for tiny sketchbooks.
Yeah. And you're doing awesome with that. Your reels on Instagram are so inspiring. Um, so definitely everyone go give a follow on socials. And so in closing of the Bold Artist Podcast today, I guess we can say to keep it simple. And that means in both art, and in what we're thankful for in life. Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians here on this holiday, up here in the North. And um, we hope that you get on our newsletter. Go to boldschool.com and you follow us along on all the upcoming classes that we've been talking about. And don't forget about the free class that Charla mentioned. Uh, you can take that class and learn how to paint like Charla does. And Charla. I'm thankful for you. Thanks for doing what you're doing here at Bold School and on the Bold Artist Podcast, giving artists voices and teaching us how to be more wholehearted, very skilled artists. Until next time,
Thank you, Marijanel.
You're welcome. We are full of Thanksgiving, and until next time, keep creating.