Love and Creativity - Valentines for Artists

In the arts, as in life, everything is possible provided it is based on love. (Marc Chagall)

The things we do in life purely for personal gain or fame often end up not being fulfilling. Being an artist is a job that requires patience, bravery, and openness. When making art comes from a place of love, joy and flows with passion it is possible go anywhere.

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Love art, love yourself, do what you have to do and what only you can do. utter honesty is the only path to originality.(Roberta Smith)

Doing creative artwork only to impress others or be ‘liked’ will not make you truly stand out.

We can tell the truth with the art we make if we open our hearts fully and don’t hold back ourselves from fear of criticism.

One of the biggest challenge for artists and creative people is to simply get out of the way of the artwork happening.

Love always creates, it never destroys. In this lies man's only promise.
 (Leo Buscaglia)

Using your artistic skills to tell the truth can transform the world in profound ways. When you choose to be a shining example of honest that inspires others to do the same. As we choose to a portray message of love joy and kindness in our artwork we will uplift ourselves and others around us.

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Image by Johannes Madsen

Image by Johannes Madsen

Happy Valentines Day

From Artopia Magazine


How to be Creative in the Year of the Horse

The world celebrates the Chinese New Year.  2014 is the Year of the wood Horse.  The horse is active, fast and adventurous. This is a change from the previous slower year of the water snake.

The lively spirit of the horse this year is a great opportunity to take the energy and use it to unfold your creative abilities.

Make this the time to really get going. To set a direction for what you're going to accomplish and stay true to the path while embracing the surprises that will occur along the way.

  • Create more work than you ever have before 
  • Publish your work and get it seen by the world
  • Create partnerships with other artists, galleries, art shows or businesses

How you use the power of the horse in your creative life is up to you. The power comes from setting a tone and harnessing the energy for the next while in your life.

Use the start of the Chinese New Year for inspiration on setting your intentions and following through on them.

Write a top 5 most important things you want to have happen.

Be conscious every day of your top 5 .

Follow through on it and evaluate your progress

Draw, sketch or write about your feelings for 2014.

What you would like to see happen and how that would feel. Then you have that to remind you of the intentions you set now and it will help you stay on track.

artwork by Anna-lise

artwork by Anna-lise

The Power of Artists to Change the World


Artists are the real revolutionaries. Their power to speak to the minds and hearts of the world threaten powers of authority. Truth seekers and truth speakers are exploited for their ability to change people's perception. Throughout the ages art was used to harness protest power and to mislead people through propaganda. We can only be truly free when our minds are free. Artists have the power to set free the heart and mind of humanity.

To some their artistic journey is a sacred mission to spread seeds of enlightenment. Seeking to find and spread truth through a dedication to the craft of producing artwork. It takes a lot to effect change. It is not enough to dream, we have to put our actions towards realizing our dreams if we want them to come true. When we unlock our creative abilities together our work can inspire a new world of independence and freedom.


Queen Victoria was an Artist

She ascended to the throne as a teenager in the late 1830s and reigned for 63 years! Victoria Dressed in Black for Nearly 50 Years. She was determined not to show any emotion in public after her husband Prince Albert died when he and Victoria were both 42 years old

She Gave The United States the Presidents Desk in the Oval Office

The US Navy found an abandoned Royal Navy ship that had been frozen in ice and returned it to England. To show her gratitude, Queen Victoria had a desk made from parts of the wood of the ship called The Resolute. She Then gave The Resolute Desk to the white house as a gift.

The desk is still in the Oval Office today and can be spotted in countless pictures of historical Presidents.

From Wikipedia

The Plaque Reads:

H.M.S. 'Resolute,' forming part of the expedition sent in search of Sir John Franklin in 1852, was abandoned in Latitude 74º 41' N. Longitude 101º 22' W. on 15th May 1854. She was discovered and extricated in September 1855, in Latitude 67º N. by Captain Buddington of the United States Whaler ‘George Henry’. The ship was purchased, fitted out and sent to England, as a gift to Her Majesty Queen Victoria by the President and People of the United States, as a token of goodwill & friendship. This table was made from her timbers when she was broken up, and is presented by the Queen of Great Britain & Ireland, to the President of the United States, as a memorial of the courtesy and loving kindness which dictated the offer of the gift of the "Resolute'

Queen Victoria was an Artist!

As a child she began drawing, and throughout her life she continued to sketch and paint. She produced both drawings and watercolors to record things she had seen.

She enjoyed writing and her daily journals eventually spanned more than 120 volumes. Victoria also wrote two books

Watercolor Landscape by Queen Victoria
Watercolor Landscape by Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria's Artwork was Leaked in the 1840s!

Queen Victoria didn't always want the world to see her artwork. She was furious when a series of her family sketches were leaked to a journalist in the 1840's.

She sought an injunction and had the courts stop the publication of the drawings.

After being hidden for 150 years the world is again viewing her sketches. Six rare copies were recently sold in an auction.

Read more:

Rare family portraits drawn by queen victoria
Rare family portraits drawn by queen victoria
Queen Victoria by Bassano
Queen Victoria by Bassano
Queen Victoria by Heinrich von Angeli
Queen Victoria by Heinrich von Angeli
Barack Obama sitting at the Resolute Desk
Barack Obama sitting at the Resolute Desk
Resolute Desk Blueprint
Resolute Desk Blueprint
Plaqe on the Resolute Desk
Plaqe on the Resolute Desk
Queen Victoria Self Portrait from 1835
Queen Victoria Self Portrait from 1835
Sketch by Queen Victoria
Sketch by Queen Victoria

10 Ideas for Artist Halloween Costumes


Looking for a cool Artist or Art themed Halloween costume?

Here are 10 ideas with tips and supplies to inspire you to create something amazing this year.

1. Famous Paintings Costume


From Sparksummit

Famously frame yourself as fine art, become The Girl With The Pearl Earring or The Mona Lisa. Artistic fabric draping and lightweight frames is all it takes to recreate these well-loved portraits.

So which one of these famous muses is more ‘you’?

TIP: Take photos of your costume as you work on it to help you to be objective.

2. Picasso Couples Costume


From Be Lured

A unique two person costume of Picasso’s Head Of A Woman.

The dark and mysterious eyes of Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s muse for nearly 20 years, makes for an outrageously creative costume.

Simple materials and some painting skills is all you need

TIP: use an art projector to help transfer lines for painting on faces and ‘canvas’.

3. Frida Kahlo Costume


From Oh Happy Day

Beautiful mini Frida Kahlo is ready for her next colorful self-portrait. Beautiful folkloric patterns express a vibrant spirit. Mix contrasting colors like lime green, pink and orange.

“I don't paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.” ― Frida Kahlo

TIP: Layer the skirts for festive fullness

4. Living Art Gallery Costume


From Evil Mad Scientist

Why just be the art when you can be your own exhibition with this group idea! You and your friends are a living gallery. Use your own paintings or recreate famous works of art.

This idea would be great for art educators and special events.

TIP: This idea is a great attention getter to use for promoting special events.

5. Andy Warhol Costume


From Oh Happy Day

Little Andy Warhol’s cool costume could be made in 15 minutes. Cans of Campbell's tomato soup is the only accessory you need. This easy to make costume works for every age group and gender.

TIP: Style the wig with several coats of super-hold hairspray

6. The Scream Halloween Costume


From Kids Out and About

Make them all scream for Halloween with a costume of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. A fun idea for you and a friend. Since this painting has been a target of many art thieves, maybe a third friend can dress as an international art thief. Scary!

TIP: Use lightweight foam-core board to mount poster of The Scream

7. Cubist Halloween Costume



Picasso yourself! Release your inner Cubist with this great last-minute costume idea. Be the art! A great low cost / high impact group costume idea. Don't forget an extra bag for all that candy.

TIP: Mark the eye, ear and mouth holes before painting[/note]

8. Leonardo Da Vinci and Mona Lisa Costumes


From Coolest Homemade Costumes

Leo and Mona make a cute couple in this artist and muse costume concept. Gold spray paint on cardboard for the frame and a palette cut out of cardboard and you're ready to draw a Halloween crowd.

TIP: recycle graduation gowns to make flowing smocks.

9. Living Masterpiece Costume


From SFMOMA on the go

Become a masterpiece ! If this 7th Grader can make this clever costume, so can you. Frame your face with Picasso's Girl Before A Mirror. Carefully cut out the opening to make it comfortable for your face

TIP: Recycle an old frame from a second-hand store[/note]

10. Baby Artist Costume


From Crazy Costumes

What’s as cute as puppies and kittens? Cute Baby Artists of course!

Make your tiny artist irresistible with an artistic mustache pacifier.

Create a french style striped artist shirt by drawing on white baby shirt with black fabric marker. Draw a red neck scarf with a red fabric marker.

TIP: Paint cute exaggerated paint splashes with acrylics or fabric paints on stained baby clothes for costume

Realize Your Dream to Be a Professional Artist


Do your dream

London street art by .akajimmyc
London street art by .akajimmyc

If we have great dreams we must to be willing to do something for them. Define your dream and put your effort towards realizing it. It takes work and dedication but if you are passionate you will attract things that someone with lots of money and no passion never could. If we are brave enough to follow our passion and shift our life towards realizing our dreams they will happen.

It takes believing in yourself and being responsible to yourself. We are responsible to our dreams.

Someone will think of their company as like their baby and take care of it as such. Can you nurture your art and make it grow, anticipate its needs, plan for its future, protect it and show it the right attention and care? Like investing your heart and soul into making your child grow up you put the same passion into realizing whatever vision you have. Following your passion will take work and in many ways a regular mindless job is much more comforting. If you want to be in charge you have to be the boss and the employee. That is a lot more responsibility and it takes managing yourself in a practical way.If you are do it and stick to it you will be able to live comfortably doing what you love.

Say 'I am an artist' proudly!

Things you can do to bring your dream into reality.


  • Write 5 things you want to make happen.
  • Do a dreamboard, put up pictures that remind you of what you to create.
  • Write inspiring affirmations on post-its down and put them up places you will see them.
  • Set up your workspace to you have things ready when inspiration strikes.
  • Dedicate structured time to working to working on your artwork.
  • Connect with like-minded creative people around you.

Artopia Book Recommendation

The War of Art

by Stephen Presfield

Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Expect this book to make a change in your creative life. This book is a classic among working artists

Yeah, that's a bold statement. But deep down inside you know that it is only you standing in the way of your potential.  This book will take you from the mentality of the weekend warrior - amateur artist, to what it is to be a professional artist.


Becoming a Professional Artist

We have the distant goal of wanting to be a professional artist but we might not think about what that really means to us. What life changes do we need to make to live a sustainable life as an artist? What do we actually want and how much work will it take to achieve that? What most of us want is really just a comfortable place to live and having food in the fridge. What will that cost and many paintings do you have to sell, at what price to maintain that?

These are practical questions that many artists don't ask themselves. Artists want to make art but besides making artwork there is figuring how you making artwork is going to sustain your lifestyle in the real world. That is an art in itself and we call it artrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are sometimes people who dedicate their heart and soul to realizing a vision for products and services that changes people's lives. In many ways it is similar to being an artist, having a vision and putting effort towards creating it and getting it in front of people.

  • Managing their time.
  • Setting goals and deadlines.
  • Leading themselves and others by example.
  • Networking and making connections to people.
  • Promote and stand by proudly of their product or service.[/list][/box]

Incorporating these disciplines into the work of being an artist is blending what it means to be an artist with what it means to be an entrepreneur.

That's why we call it artrepreneurship to describe the practice of being entrepreneurial with your artwork.

do your dream big
do your dream big

Artrepreneurial practice can help artists:

  • Earn more money.
  • Get more artwork done.
  • Be more established in communities.
  • Have consistent outlets to express yourself.
  • Feel better about yourself as an artist.

photos by

Johannes Madsen of artwork by .akajimmyc of London

Creative inspiration - Moving the world


by Johannes Madsen

We have separated our selves from the rest of the world. We look at ourselves as moving on the earth, we are in the world and not of it.


In that way we also cut ourselves away from what is most nourishing to us and from who we truly are.

When you look out there at trees, houses, grass and birds what you are seeing is you.

Without air, shelter, ground or life around you, "you" as a human body literally couldn't exist. You are dependent on the world in the same way you depend on your lungs, your legs or your skeleton.

Look at everything in the world as just another part of you.

When you walk across the world instead try to see yourself as moving the world.

Every step you take brings something in the world closer to you.


You create the reality you want to see around you and your responsibility is to make a nurturing one. Come back to your heart and find the most precious vision and direction for where you want to go.

Your heart is where your creative potential comes from and when you express it through art you are unfolding your heart into the world.

You are a tree growing into itself. You are fulfilling your true purpose when you free your heart and live in joy with everything you do.

Being brave enough to be Authentic


by Johannes Madsen


We would all like to be true to ourselves but somehow it can be very challenging It is easy to hide behind conventional ways of doing things and stick to old patterns because they are comforting. Trying to play it safe can limit your expression of who you truly are. It's like when you are a teenager and you feel that others look at you in a judgmental way. In your mind you repeat that people are focusing and it might make you uncomfortable. As an artist it is a brave thing to put your artwork out there and it's only fair that makes you feel outside your comfort zone. What matters is that you don't let your discomfort hold you back.

We need to grow past it and be comfortable with who we truly are.

You might feel pressured to live up to others expectations or that it is a shame to be noticed or recognised for your work. We encourage you to be yourself as you are!


The artistic establishment might bring you to play it safe and follow along. Don't let any criticism lead you to hide who you are. Your art has a purpose even if you can't express it with words. You are supposed to express it through your art. You are meant to show others what they can't see. Your perspective is totally unique and you should honor yourself for who you are.

Good artists aren't just technically good, they bring something of themselves to the artwork. They reveal part of who they are through their work.


Being authentic brings a unique narrative to your work. Tell the stories you are meant to tell the world. It's natural to seek acceptance and recognition from your peers but don't let how others see you stop you doing what you are driven to do. In a culture where hiding ourselves to fit in is the norm being authentic is truly brave and honourable.

Keep shining with who you are.

Being an Artrepreneur


by Johannes Madsen

I have always had a dream of 'starting my own thing'. I wanted to create something I would love and that others would love too. I think many people share similar dreams, but, like me, lack a context to put that in. It is easy to have a dream, but it is something else to put it into reality and actually realise that dream. I have all sorts of ideas. I wanted to make and sell t-shirts, make community websites, do online games and many more ideas that I never realised. It took me a while to figure out that what I was doing was entrepreneuring.


An entrepreneur is someone who has a vision and puts actions behind it to realise that vision.

Little did I know that what I was attempting to do was actually called entrepreneurship and has its world of tools, literature and best practices when it comes to making a sustainable business.

Most entrepreneurs have a goal to grow a business and make money, but that wasn't really exactly what I always wanted. I just wanted to make enough to get by, doing what I love doing. The goal of my vision has always been to make myself and others happier through what I do, not to make a big company that makes lots and lots of money.

I think many artists share this with me. Somehow we would like to do what we love and share it with others, but we get strangely uncomfortable a soon as money is involved. Most artists would rather avoid it and certainly not have it effect their product or vision.

Traditionally in entrepreneurship the product and vision are primarily focused on money - although with a growing sense of social responsibility, the drivers of entrepreneurial vision have become about:

  • Sustainability
  • Enriching people's lives
  • Making an impact on the world
  • Empowering others to express themselves

Through rock star entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg entrepreneurship has become cool, and what's cool about it isn't all about making. Making an impact is what matters.

Many artists share this vision of making an impact and there is a lot artists can learn from the practice of entrepreneurship that would empower them to make a deeper impact with their artwork.

That is why I am writing this series of articles and why we are using the term 'Artrepreneur' to describe an artist who applies practices to grow their artwork.

The Artrepreneur

Artists live thinking that all they will have to do to realise their artistic vision is make the artwork. Good artists wonder why their work isn't being seen, featured or sold. The answer is that there is a lot more that has to be done besides making the artwork. Networking with galleries, setting up an online portfolio with your art, submitting your stuff to competitions and so on. All of this is Artrepreneuring!

An artrepreneur is someone who does things around their artwork to amplify the value of it. A painting only exists one place but upload it to your online portfolio and it will be viewed many places around the world. You are taking a static value and stretching it out farther and wider.

We are using the term 'artrepreneur' in order to state clearly that there are many more activities besides making good artwork that makes a good artist. We are going to apply terms entrepreneurship to the world of artists in order to set some guidelines for what you can do as an artist to farther your artwork and yourself as an artist.

Having an entrepreneurial mindset as an artist can be extremely powerful to realising your art in more innovative and creative ways.

The artwork is only the beginning!

Being good at your craft and producing great artwork isn't always enough to make a great artist. 'Making it' as an artist is much more than doing good artwork.

It is:

  • Promoting your art and distributing it in creative ways
  • Engaging with a community through your art
  • The process of how you make your artwork
  • The value exchange between your artwork and your audience
  • These are all artrepreneurial subjects

As an artist you might realise that these are  things you are already doing, but it might not be considered part of your art. You are already an Artrepreneur, and becoming aware of that will empower you to master the art of Artrepreneuring. When you take responsibility for making your art grow and nurture the soil around it, your art will flourish in incredible ways you couldn't imagine.

Getting your art out there and experienced by people in new ways will free your artwork from the darkness of your storage room. You can make much more with what you have by being innovative in what you do with your art.


Another thing we will attempt to do with the term artrepreneur is to remove the phobia artists have for money.

Money is simply another tool you can make things with and it is essential if you want to build a sustainable life as an artist.

I do understand the discomfort artists tend to feel about money but ignoring it won't make the reality that the world runs on money go away. Don't be naive and learn how you can use the money system to your advantage.

The idea of money messing with your vision might not be a productive one. Bring money into your vision and embrace it as an empowering tool you can use to realise your artistic vision in greater ways.

The point of this whole article is to say 'get out there and do it!' Art is not something that stands alone by itself, it is an interaction with an audience. You as the artist make that interaction happen and that takes work besides doing the art.

You have to get out there and talk with others, make connections and show your artwork to the world.

Practical examples

  1. Submitting your artwork to social networks
  2. Creating an online portfolio or blog about your artwork
  3. Making businesscards and networking with potential stakeholders

Creative Inspiration


by Johannes Madsen


When we look at the sun it is impossible for us to imagine the journey it has taken. We know the sun as life-giving and we desire to be in the sunshine.

Sometimes we forget that we are extensions of the light of the sun. That the sun is a base that shines through us and everything we do is perpetuating the light.

Our creations are crystallised sunlight that shone on for ages.

We owe it to ourselves and the universe to honor our creative abilities, to cherish our creations and to be proud of ourselves as we create.

Having a healthy attitude towards ourselves and supporting yourself as a creator will accelerate our process and free up creativity.

We are a mighty creators on this planet but we get in the way of ourselves. We lose faith and doubt our creativity and lose out on important creations because of it.

Creation wants to come out of you like the shine of the sun bursting out. Having a good creative process is about clearing the clouds and making way for that shine to emanate freely from inside you.


It starts with accepting where you are and not needing to be 'perfect'. That perfection is just in your mind and it is untraceable by anyone so you shouldn't strive for it. Instead strive to keep doing what you are doing even when you feel resistance telling you 'it's not good enough'.

You wouldn't tell anyone else to stop in the middle of their creation so why should you tell yourself?

Start today. Decide to not hold back your light and begin expressing your creative power!

You have incredible things to bring to this world and we can't wait to see it.