Intuitive Nightmare or Intuitive Fun?

Painting by the Seat of Your Pants.

I know plenty of artists simply love to do what is referred to as "intuitive painting." But that wasn't me. I had my first experience doing this about a year ago and I can truthfully say it was awful. And I cried even though i tried hard not to. 

 I did the painting above (bottom left)  with Ivy and Michelle based on a workshop Michelle had done with Jesse Reno. It was meant to be fun. Like a happy art party where you get paint all over your hands and clothes and you feel ecstatic and free as a result of the random application of marks, colors and patterns you were encouraged to use. I didn't realize it at the time but the "intuitive " part meant that in the end even if the thing was all crazy colors and what have you it was supposed to end up with some sort of compositional harmony and innate beauty.

I was a complete novice to this sort of art so when the timer went off my resulting piece was about 8 inches square on a 2x3 foot sheet of watercolor paper. (for emphasis please insert 3 emoji monkeys with hands over eyes, ears and mouth)  Michelle and Ivy filled their paper with all sorts of things and had "intuitive" fun. They were more experienced at selecting a cohesive color palette, arranging their elements in a balanced way....... (so on and so forth through the list of compositional elements)  and the result was they were filled with artistic joy and  they filled their 2x3 foot  piece of gorgeous watercolor paper with interesting art. 

The point of this failure Friday analysis is  to reconcile the conflict I impose upon myself when I forget to accept where I am at any given moment on my creative journey and wish I were somewhere else on the path. I will have far more courage if I surrender to my limitations and my strengths and not place a higher importance on either end. I am a student of art and an artist. Everything I create has that duality built into it. 

For the sake of comparison the painting above on the bottom right is one I did 2 days ago with Ivy following an intuitive mark making exercise from the class Drawn to Expression by Gillian Lee Smith. I was a bit anxious at the deliberately  vague instructions but I just did it anyway and it went way better than it had a year ago. I did not cry, I moaned very little and I even did the portrait over the top in  under 20 minutes when Ivy suggested we take it a step further. But the most Important success  was that I enjoyed myself. Very good! Growth accomplished and I could reflect back to that last intuitive experience and see how I had changed. :) big smiley face!

*** The top painting was another we did a year ago also inspired by Jesse Reno. At the time I was so unhappy with mine I rolled it up in a tight tube and stuck it under my bed where it has stayed for the entire year. I came upon this image of it while searching back in my phone and looked at it in wonder realizing it was just fine and that i could, if I wanted  take it our of hiding and enjoy completing it.

I have as much to learn about being human as I do about painting, drawing and art. It's all woven together and when I see it that way it is all more gratifying, challenging and exciting! 

Love, Robin


The Calling to Create

What Brings You to The Creative Process

I created this image very late  at night using the deepest and darkest charcoal I could find. I have a lot of emotions connected to my art and this image has a story to tell that I do not yet know how to put into words. 

This morning, before the sun even thought about peeking from behind the mountain I awoke and remembered that today is the day I begin a new course with Gillian Lee Smith titled Drawn To Expression. I adore Gillian. She was my first real art teacher. She was the teacher I decided to trust and allow into my secret world. I'd lived a long time with a terrible hunger to create that I had not allowed myself to satisfy because of fear. There were times I thought I might starve because of my fear and stubbornness. I was fortunate because that desire to create remained strong and was binding it's time for the right moment to come out and into the light.  

Fear is such a crazy thing. Insensible, irrational, incredibly powerful. Gillian was the one who called me to wake up and she helped me find my courage. I will be forever grateful to her for her gentleness and her desire to light the fire of creative passion within her students. I feel so fortunate. 

 AsI listened to Gillian introduce the class by reading a quote from Mary A. Granvo I started to feel that her words were speaking directly to my heart. Here is the Quote:

"I have found that by using very simple art materials we are able to tap into a soft and tender place that is begging for attention. This soft tender place is our connection with our true essence, our spirit and our soul's longings."

I wasn't really planning to write a blog post today but because I felt so moved so excited to begin this course I simply wanted to share. 

Love, Robin

Real Life Artist - The Learning Curve

Failure Friday - Learning From Failure

One of the things I like best about social media is the sharing that happens amongst the artist community. I gain a wealth of inspiration and knowledge from connecting and interacting. I love when I click the comment button on some intriguing work of art only to discover that there is a rich and energetic dialogue happening in real time with real people about art and life! I learn and grow from what others are studying or working on. I also get to hear about the amazing successes as well as the difficult challenges of the artists who are open to sharing their journeys. I feel encouraged in my own work with each story that is shared. Hearing about the struggles of an artist I admire helps me to be brave and to push myself out of my comfort zone. I tell myself that if they can do it I can too.

The last several months my creative focus has been painting on an ipad.  I have experienced success and a sense of deep satisfaction with some of the digital paintings I have created. I have loved the success and aknowledgement of my work and the growing sense of confidence that has developed as a result.

Starting from that position of strength and confidence it is time for a new challenge and to push myself beyond my comfort zone. So back to the drawing board I go using my traditional art materials, drawing large and using an easel.  This is a way for me to practice bravery and seek growth.  

I decided to share one of my recent, more challenging experiences. My goal is to maintain a positive perspective and evaluate my skills  to determine where I need to grow and how best to go about improving.  My intention is to be a problem solver rather than upset about my failures. I want to learn from them.  The reference image I used is on the left. 

I'm working on my easel and on large paper trying to stay loose. What that means is that I'm trying not to think too much but focus on getting the forms in and placing them accurately. I didn't do any measuring or comparing other than using my eye to gauge how the drawing matched up with the original and checking angles using my charcoal. I believed in general I was doing "ok". I told myself it was perhaps too wide at the cheek bones but that I could fix that later. A small voice was telling me the eyes were too far apart but I didn't listen. Being a relatively new artist I sometimes imagine I won't be able to repeat a feature and do better than the one I see in front of me. That right eye was shaped ok and I didn't want to move it. 

I can tell you now I should have stood back, looked carefully, measured and made corrections in placement of everything long before I started adding details.  Since I didn't do that things begin to go from ok to bad to worse quickly. The harder I worked the more confused I got because when I changed one eye the cheekbone looked off and vice versa.  I kept changing the shape of the face, moving the jawline up then down, wider then more narrow. I think I changed the mouth at least ten times. No matter what I did it just was "off". I was frustrated and discouraged and began using swear words... Time to take a break!

Instead of taking a break I decided to take a photo of the drawing and the original.  I loaded them both into my iPad and opened Procreate which is the painting app I use. Using layers I outlined the features on the original and  the features on my drawing. Then I overlaid the outline from my drawing over the original and guess what happened? The errors were revealed with ease. Very helpful information! The nose was too long, that right eye is too high and too far from the center line. Having the nose too long made everything below it wrong. In an effort to make it right I had over rendered the mouth and completely lost my way in terms of how to draw a mouth or the shape of the face. Lots of problems!

Once I saw what errors I had made I was able to try again. I stayed in the iPad and experimented. I still found it difficult to render the mouth properly and depicting how her head was tilted down slightly. All of the parts of the face are connected and each nuance of movement changes the relationship between structure and form so getting these things right were important. If I want to control the expressiveness of the face I need to be able to accurately recreate the form of the face in various positions and at various angles. 

 The lessons here are pretty obvious. Take my time, stand back OFTEN to check my work, render shapes not features. (My brain is tricky and will deceive me but I don't need that Information, it isn't helpful.)  I need to correct as you go and move on when things truthfully look to be in place not 'sort of in place'. Trust myself but don't trust myself!  Measure angles and relationships. Be careful and be loose about the drawing at the same time.  Its a lot to pull off but its worth it because in the end what I want is to do beautiful work! 

I've shared about the usefulness of the iPad as a learning tool many times as a teacher in Paint and Pixels  but I never tire of sharing how i use it as an essential tool for drawing.

 Below is a little video I did many months ago for Jeanne Oliver's Living Studio series. I basically talk through a charcoal drawing  where I find myself in a similar situation as the one I described above. I figure out the corrections and changes I want to make by taking a photograph and moving it into Procreate. In this case I go back to the easel and make the changes on paper. Its like magic and I LOVE using this tool! 

Ok back to the drawing board for more practice, practice practice!!

love, Robin

Winner of Let's Face It Giveaway!

I had almost 200 entries for one free seat in the  Let's Face It Class hosted by Kara Bullock! I so wish I could have given away more than just one spot! Thank you to all who entered. The heartfelt comments and enthusiasm for Let's Face it was inspiring to me as a teacher. I hope you all join decide to jump in at the early bird price.

The Winner is Carol Nickerson!!


** Carol please contact me so that I can give you the information about registration!


Time To Enter The Giveaway! Let's Face It With Robin Laws

There is still time to win a free seat in the class Let's Face It. Click this link to go to my blog post telling you all about how to enter your name. Someone has to win right?! :) I will draw a winner this Monday, October the 26th. That is only 3 days from now!  

I'm going to be teaching you all about drawing the profile and it isn't going to be as difficult as you think. Honestly if I can do it so can you! I'm going to demonstrate my process and provide you will detailed instructions for drawing an accurate profile.  I'll give you plenty of helpful tips along the way and I'm even going to provide you will a bonus lesson that will help you learn more quickly. I hope you will join me and all the other amazing teachers on this year long journey of learning to draw faces!

In The Company Of Birds

As an artist I have consistently been all about the birds. I've welcomed them into my art from the very start. In fact my near constant companion for the past 18 months is a bird. Lovely Duck is of course a bird even if less elegant than a dove nor as graceful as a swallow in flight. He's still my daemon, carrier of our red thread and dearer to me than any other bird could be. He accepts me unconditionally and he's always on my side.  

A much as I love my sweet companion I am about to enter a deeper exploration of birds in general, in art, in symbolism and in storytelling. I'm already under the enchantment of birds in my art and over the next several weeks it will turn into a full scale state of of bird madness!  Believe me when I say I intend to fully embrace and make the most of my insanity. I plan to create a lot of art and to explore the red thread connection that seems inextriably bound to my birds in art as a symbol and my life as a point of navigation.   

   Ivy's class Flight and Feather opens on Monday next week and I am very excited to have a community to go bird crazy with! If you want to take the class she has a waiting list and will have another one before the end of the year! I have a lovely Pigeon story to tell but I'll save that for when I create my next bird painting!


Let's Face It - Open For Registration!

Hello Friends,

The Let's Face It online workshop is OPEN FOR REGISTRATION! I hope you are as excited as I am about this new class on drawing and painting portraits.  The class will be hosted by Kara Bullock of Kara Bullock Art. I will be a guest teacher along with 15 other amazing artists! There will be an amazing amount of content so If you want to improve or learn for the first time how draw and paint faces with confidence go to Kara's registration page to find out the details and to sign up at the early bird price!

Don't forget about my GIVEAWAY Go find out how to win a free seat in the classroom. The winner will be announced on Monday October 26th.

I hope you will join me on the exciting journey of learning how to paint the wonderfully unique and complex form of the face! 

xoxo robin

I'm Teaching In Let's Face It! An Online Workshop

Hello My Friends!

There is still time to win a free seat in Let's Face It!

**Here is where you can read more about the class. 

To enter…just leave a comment here on my blog letting me know why you want to win a spot in Let’s Face It 2016 and subscribe to my blog.To increase the number of times I enter your name, you could do any or all of the following to spread the love. (Be sure to pop back and let me know in the comments all the ways you have shared so I can add your name again and again)

* Share about the class on your blog, twitter, pinterest, google, facebook page or other social network platform.

* Like my facebook page or invite friends to like it.

* Follow me on Instagram.

I will announce the winner on Monday October 26th!

I am so excited to announce that I am going to be a part of a brand new, awesome online course titled “Let’s Face It”!

LET’S FACE IT is a course created and hosted by Kara Bullock from Kara Bullock Art It is for anyone that wants to practice creating faces and portraits, but is especially designed for those of you that have felt scared or intimidated to do so at some point in your life.   I'm teaching alongside a fanastic group of artists and together, we want to share with you our strategies, tips, and techniques that we use in order to create our faces and portraits.  You will leave this course feeling confident enough in your skills to never feel intimidated again.

Since I will be teaching along side the amazing artists you see above you will have an opportunity to explore the many styles and techniques unique to each of them. Pretty cool I'd say! You can find out a lot more about Let's Face It here

I love to draw and paint faces so I'm excited to share my lesson. I will be teaching you how to create a face in profile which is not near as difficult as you may think! Plus I will include a mini bonus lesson that will help you speed up the process of learning how to draw a profile.

Registration is not open quite yet but on October 15th, you can register and If you sign up by December 1st, you will get a great discount on the price! 

Guess what else!?  I get to give away one free spot in this course to one of you!!

To enter…just leave a comment here on my blog letting me know why you want to win a spot in Let’s Face It 2016! To increase the number of times I enter your name, you could do any or all of the following to spread the love. (Be sure to pop back and let me know in the comments all the ways you have shared so I can add your name again and again)

* Subscribe to this blog.

* Share about the class on your blog, twitter, pinterest, google, facebook page or other social network platform.

* Like my facebook page or invite friends to like it.

* Follow me on Instagram.

I will announce the winner on Monday October 26th!

I look forward to seeing you in class! In the meantime here are some examples of profile faces I have created. 

xo robin

Student Work from Paint & Pixels Class!

This post represents the work of 27 different artists and we haven't even scratched the surface yet of what we have to share! Come and see the beautiful and imaginative art work that our students are creating in my and Ivy Newport's Paint & Pixels class! We are just 2 weeks in to this unique learning experience with an equally steep learning curve for the classically trained artists and those who are just beginning to explore themselves as artists. They are all truly pushing themselves past their comfort zone and reaping the rewards!  I respect and admire every single student who is posting their work, asking questions and offering help to one another. Come see what you/they have done! It is all quite wonderful!  All of the artist's names can be found within the post.


Look at the beautiful color work! The compositional balance, the unity of the elements, the imaginative themes and ideas! Beautiful and unique, each one reflecting the artist who's work it is. They are all working from the same lessons and yet interpreting them in their own individual ways. We am amazed and so impressed! Hard workers all and I really respect that quality as a teacher!!


Artists who's work is included here are: Marilou Cadiz-Marshall, Janet Reid, Cindy Travis, Tricia Dewey, Alexis Rotella, Sanna Friedner, Kathryn Delany, Colette Tradd, Monique van Bekkum, Christie Drahnak, Suzy Norris, Susanne Leusman, Angel Myerscough, Wanda Judd, Gillian Bowditch-Cooper, Ashley Haering, Cary Cutler Scholes, Roxi Gramlow Hardegree, Christa Thomas, Geraldine Deleuze, Erica C. Brothers, Robyn Jenkin, Michelle Gilmer, Courtney McPeak Mervine, Lynne O'Neil, Ida Glad, Roxi Gramlow Hardegree, Geri Centonze. For those whose work is not yet included in this particular post know that I just went crazy here and wanted to catch my breath before overwhelming everyone! You'll be coming up next! Thank you all! Keep up the great work! Art is effort, but the results are worth gold!!


So Much Excitement Around Here!!

I have so many things I want to blog about that I can't figure out what to blog about!😏 If you  are new to my  blog...👉honestly everyone is since I just started it👈..... you should know that if emoticons are available on my keyboard I will use them to express my full range of emotions. So please, try not to be overly annoyed at this child like behavior. 

  If you haven't signed up for this class yet be sure to consider doing so. It is rich with content, wisdom and great teaching.

 If you haven't signed up for this class yet be sure to consider doing so. It is rich with content, wisdom and great teaching.

First up is that I am having a major creative breakthrough in my art practice thanks to the uber talented and most excellent of teachers Annie Hammon . I signed up for her Worshop  Creating Soulful Art With a Story just days before our own class, Paint & Pixels launched.  I had time to watch a total of two videos; Annie's intro (which I found endearing)  was equally amusing and  informative but her one on composition just stopped me in my tracks. By the time I finished I had so many feelings at once I had to jump up out of my chair and run around the block before I could think straight.😱 

In Annie's video about composition she describes  her  process for developing a painting with a soulful story which is very much like my own process. She uses an intuitive and open approach as she begins each new piece of art which is similar to how I do everything in my life including art. Annie knows there will be a story because she sees things in story form and from my viewpoint all of life is a story so I naturally paint in stories. Another similarity is that neither of us begins with a preconceived story in our minds. We have storytelling and soulfullness in common but we  approach our artful discoveries in significantly different ways.  

The concepts Annie is teaching are the very same concepts I use in my own art but with one crucial difference. Annie creates a framework for her piece before she begins. I haven't used a framework of any kind ever. My paintings follow a meandering and sometimes convoluted path of trial and error until a piece begins to speak to me. Only when the painting is complete will I discover the hidden story within. Magic is eventually created to be sure but the process is also very very time consuming and fraught with doubts, frustrations and many blind corners.

I truly feel I discovered  compositional gold within Annie's video! I am aware I've had the same information in my head but it sometimes takes a new perspective to see what is right in front of us. When I heard her talk about her ideas my brain just went all calm and the crazy tangled threads in my head relaxed and melted into a beautifully familiar brilliant red thread that led me to a fresh way of seeing and doing things.


Annie uses a collaging technique rather like the storyboarding approach used by creative writers and film makers.  She has a magnificent store of collage elements that are kept in notebooks. Hundreds of elements are neatly organized so that she can relax and focus on her compositional choices while listening to her intuitive heart. She  select her main subject, a symbolic creature or element will  be chosen, a background that feels right and the additional decorative elements such as patterns or forms become naturally incorporated as the story blooms into a painterly reality!

Above you can see how I did a bit of backwards engineering practicing Annie's approach with a painting I had already completed using my convoluted meandering approach. I pulled all the original elements onto my Procreate canvas and arranged them to see how the elements would have looked had I tried bringing them together ahead of time. I'm really excited to try this storyboarding technique in my next painting.  I'm know my heart  will continue to connect to  my paintings revealing their stories bit by bit just as we have in the past.

 I love that we are all a community of artists who love to share our secrets and gifts with one another! Each and every artist has their our unique artistic magic that no one else can replicate and when we can share our processes to help one another grow the whole world benefits from the glow of beauty and happiness in our hearts. Thank you Annie Hammon for sharing your soulful storytelling!

xo robin bird


From Bird Tweets to Robin Laws Art

Bird Tweets 2007


A lot has changed in a decade.... and then again not so much😳. I used to be an active blogger.  I loved my first blog and I blogged almost every day for quite a long while. I enjoyed every aspect of blogging. The banter with other bloggers, the constant stream of inspiration and making amazing new friends like Relyn who still comes to visit all the way from Misourri and my friend Debi who convinced I could be a writer.

I had so much I wanted to say on my blog🙊😏!  I vacilated between being my entertaining self, my artistic self and my student-of-life self. I pretended I had a Cooking School and posted videos of my classes. I used my photography to express myself as an artist and frequently pondered the hard questions of life rhetorically and through conversations with fellow bloggers. 

I was Bird Tweets, Doctor Bird and Robin Bird depending on what I had to share on any given post. I loved my blog Birdtweets and  I still do though I haven't posted there for more than 3 years. I gave up my Typepad account and basically disappeared from the internet community until I began posting on Instagram in 2014. 

Things change, people evolve and time never stands still😐. Hard life lessons.

Robin Laws Art 2015


So here I am again with a new blog at Robin Laws Art. I'm still an artist though I use a different medium now.  I'm still making teaching videos but this time I'm a real teacher 😂☺️. Beginning next week I will have my debut as a teacher of digital artistry along side my friend  Ivy Newport!

See what I mean!? Things change over a decade, I'm older, more experienced in the world of art but I'm still an entertainer, an artist and a dreamer. I write more often, I've become an active member in an amazing art community and I think I will fall in love with blogging all over again once I get a new rhythm and audience. I'm afraid I need an audience to be a good blogger😬.

As of today I have two subscribers to my blog😐 and one of them is my husband😮. So if you enjoy my art on Instagram and Facebook or have a blog of your own that I can follow and participate in by all means sign up and subscribe at the bottom of any page!  I love to respond to comments and I'll do my best to create interesting and fresh content for your entertainment and edification and at times challenge you to take on the tough questions of life. 


Hello Friends! I'm Robin Laws and I am delighted to be a guest host on Ivy's blog today. I"m the co-teacher for the upcoming Paint and Pixels class. To celebrate this exciting class we are offering you have a chance to win this fantastic giveaway valued at over $150! What we are giving away: one Adonit JotTouch4 stylus, a 10x10 ready to hang canvas of one of my most popular digital paintings and a $10 App store gift card!

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on THIS post letting us know what interests you hope to learn in this course and post and add it to at least one of your social media sites listed below. 

**Each time you share it come back and tell us so you have another chance at the giveaway!

The winner will be on the last day of our sale next Monday, June 9th.

To win the giveaway you can…

* Facebook about the giveaway and the new course and link back to this post

* Pin this image to Pinterest

* Talk about the giveaway and the class on Instagram and use the hashtag #paintandpixels and @ivynewport and @rlaws2

* Blog about the the class

* Share this post on Twitter

Thank you so much for helping us spread the word!

***I've included a square version for you to use at the bottom of this blog post for sharing on Instagram


We'd like to introduce the incredible artist Sarah Jarrett. Sarah creates the most intriguing and beautiful art on her iPad. 

paint and pixels giveaway.jpg