Joanne Beaule Ruggles

Ask Yourself “What If?”

It is easy to get yourself into a semi-crazed state worrying about things that might occur in the future. This kind of worry happens frequently for artists, because so much of what we do is NOT completely under our control. No matter how accomplished your skill level becomes, be assured that some aspects of the creative… Read More

Define Your Goals

Take the time to identify what you would like to accomplish, and you will be halfway toward that goal. I know this because it has worked for me. Getting clarity on my target allows me to focus my efforts and not spin my wheels unnecessarily. My energy and time are not scattered –  but instead they… Read More

Joanne Beaule Ruggles

Your Art Deserves a Title

Yes, it does. Your art deserves a title, and your audience does too. I know that some artists do not agree with me and that is their prerogative. Their argument is that the art should stand alone, the visual image needs no verbal description, the mark wants no interpretation. Fine. But here are some benefits a… Read More

Careful is Easy, Reckless is Difficult

I know, I know…you think I have really lost it, don’t you? How could I possibly make such a statement? Because after almost 50 years of a career as a professional artist, I have found it to be true. If you wind yourself up tightly, use a small enough brush or a sharp enough pencil, keep… Read More

Making Art With the Most of You in It

I drew along with my life drawing students because I believed it was the way to best illustrate my teaching theory to them. It also kept me in touch with my work process. For example, if I started a sketch by determining which leg bore the primary weight of a specific pose, I was reminded to… Read More

Convert Failure into Fuel

Every artist WILL experience failure. It makes no difference how long you have worked at your craft. Yes, research has shown that 10,000 hours of practice will likely provide you with expertise in virtually any field. What that abundance of practice WILL NOT guarantee you – is the ability to avoid failure. Failure is simply inherent… Read More

Crude Tools, Skilled Hands

I have a zany artist friend always intent on sharpening her pencils. Every time she attended one of my figure workshops I had to prohibit her from using her electric pencil sharpener while we were drawing because the noise was distracting to everyone in the zone. We laughed about my restriction, as she dramatically and unsatisfactorily… Read More

Consult A Parallel Universe

During the decades that I was teaching University-level studio art classes, I often surprised my students by assigning them readings in texts outside our subject. For example, I favored American author Annie Dillard’s book The Writing Life as a guide for my painting classes, and German philosopher Eugen Herrigel ‘s classic Zen in the Art of… Read More

Starting is Difficult, But Starting is Important

Whether you are a writer, a painter, a choreographer, or any other creative…starting any work is difficult. My art students often told me they experienced their greatest fear when facing a blank sheet of paper, or an untouched canvas. At that moment the pristine surface was full of possibilities…so they worried about what way was the… Read More

Do You “Borrow” the Work of Others?

Have you ever walked in a museum and witnessed artists at their easels painting faithful copies of masterpiece artworks. That practice is part of the classic European tradition of learning art. The assumption is that if the work is a masterpiece, and you faithfully copy it, you will gain knowledge and skill in doing so. A… Read More