How do you look?

I have learned that what I have not drawn I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle.

~ Frederick Franck

Even though I know this from experience, I continue to be surprised at how well art creation helps me really look and see the world. When flipping through old sketchbooks, the crudest scribbles will bring back the memory of what I was looking at, how I felt at the time, what the environment was like, etc. Those scribbles are far better memory joggers than the nicest photographs.

  • This week’s artist team is – Lisa & Loren Skyhorse – of Skyhorse Leather. Loren stopped by the store in search of a particular material and we ended up chatting about their work. I love seeing the results that can come from a career in a field – and their 45 years of experience really shows in the end pieces. Check out their website and facebook for even more!
  • William Harnett would have been 175 tomorrow!
  • Here’s a great description and examples of watercolor value ranges. Followed up by range demos of their hand-made paints. And a free template if you want to make your own for your paints.
  • I appreciated this cheapskate’s guide to caring for your brushes – partially because it echo’s something I tell everyone, brushes are a personal tool. You have to try a bunch to find out what works for you.
  • Apparently the making of the Barbie Movie set contributed to a world-wide shortage of pink paint.
  • This is a color changing cup from the 4th century.
  • Drawing can help you see the world differently.
  • Reading the above article sent me down the rabbit trail of Rembrandt sketches and other artworks.
  • Tonight is the second figure drawing session at the Seed Studio in the Smiley Building, room 106, from 6-8 (it will be recurring every 2nd and 4th Wednesday!) Live, nude model. Bring your preferred materials. $20 artist fee. No experience needed! For more information, contact:
  • Registration for the upcoming Open Studio Tour is open until August 11 (that’s Friday!). If you might be interested in sharing your studio, learn more and register here.
  • The county fair is this week. Drop off your art (or other crafts) today! Judging is tomorrow morning, and entries will be viewable once judging is over tomorrow (generally mid-morning) until Sunday at 2. So swing by to enter and also to see what all was dropped off! (Matthew will be there all week, so you can also just drop in to say hi!)
  • Here’s a list of map projects – further evidence that perspective matters.
  • 9 things to know about Rosa Bonheur.
  • Laurie dropped off a flyer for workshops at Blue Bird Dye Gardens – learn to use natural dyes on your fabrics (and buy the dyes).
  • Random fun fact: A day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus, as it takes 243 Earth days for Venus to complete one rotation on its axis but only 225 Earth days to orbit the Sun.
  • Here are 8 different substrates that you can use acrylic paint on.
  • The Pine River Library’s “Library of Things” grand opening will be next week on the 18th from 5-6. You can learn more and see some of the Things that will be available here.
  • They also have a recurring Open Art Studio on Thursdays from 10-2. Local artists of all ages and all mediums are invited to come work on their own project in a group setting at the library. 
  • The annual Durango Botanic Gardens online bulb sale is still going, until the 14th. 
  • Thursday night from 6-8 is the free Concert in the Plaza series at the Three Springs Plaza. This week featuring Kirk James. Invite your friends and family, bring your lawn chair or blanket.
  • Hear live music on Friday night’s at Fox Fire Farms! Music, food and wine. Free admission, seating on spacious lawn. Bring rain gear if there is a chance of rain. This week head out from 6-9 to hear You Knew Me When.
  • There’s a lot of live music around town. Check out to find who, when, and where.
  • Drop by Guild House Games on Monday from 6:30-9 for the free, weekly Chess Club.
  • If you’re a beginner/intermediate acoustic music player looking to play more – head to the General Palmer on Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 for the Slow Bluegrass Jam. This weekly jam is welcoming to all players, with a focus on slower tempo improvisation solos and chord changes. If you can play the I, IV and V chords in G, D and A then you know enough to play at this jam!
  • There are classes/workshops/projects available at the Dancing Spirit Community Arts CenterLet’s Letter Together, the Scrapbook NookCreate Art and Tea, Durango Sustainable Goods the 4 Corners Gem and Mineral Club, Seed Studio, and the Durango Arts Center. There are a lot more things happening that I don’t include – so if you’re ever looking for something to do, start at
  • It’s almost time for school to be starting – so these new goodies are for anyone who likes color in their notes and journals. Clickart came out with some new colors in their pen sets, we brought in some great new Stabilo highlighters in different sizes (the mini’s have quotes/images on them). The pastel GellyRoll pens are their new line-up, and the highlighter pencils are just phenomenal! Whatever sort of colors you’re looking for, we probably have them – swing by today to see what’s on hand.

Observing the world through the lens of an artist forces us to slow down and really look. I’ve heard it said that art is really the skill of seeing. We can only capture something when we truly see it (though there’s a lag between our hands’ ability to create and our eyes to see.) No matter if we’re aiming for a photographic rendition or an abstract representation – we have to see something’s details or essence in order to effectively communicate it. No matter what you’re looking at and how you’re representing it – looking with the eyes of an artist helps you see the world more fully. And that’s one of the things the world needs today – fully engaged people. The world needs your art!

Matthew & the Art Supply House crew