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"Living in the here and now is not being taught, just like emotion, and passion and love are often pushed to the side because they cannot be quantified."

by Richard Alan Nichols (

Let’s redefine success.

Technique can be taught. But can emotion, passion, and love be taught? The process of being an artist is not necessarily as easy as “Am I there yet?” I don’t know of anyone who is “there” yet. The phrase “Are we there yet?” is time driven, and we normally assume that time is linear. Have creativity and passion ever been linear? These ambiguous concepts give a false sense of security that creates complacency.

We’re supposed to be storytellers and pass these stories on. What stories are you passing on? Ones that emphasize the destination, or the journey? My little sister used to say, “Are we there yet?” and we wouldn’t even be out of the driveway. And when we get to our destination, isn’t there another journey after that, and another one after that, and in the overall picture, does it really end?

Art inspiration -
Richard Alan Nichols, “Long and Winding Road,” 12 x 28 in.

Society has taught us that reaching specific pragmatic goals is success. But is that really true? Success is choice. Success depends on the choices you make, and you decide what success means to you. I ask myself, Does this make me happy, is this something I want to enjoy, and where is my art spirit? “There” is a finality, “now” is not.

This is about where you are in yourself, and creativity comes in many different modalities, such as cooking, painting, writing, dance, and just being. Anywhere the human spirit can thrive is a state of creation. We look so deep into external goals that don’t necessarily satisfy intrinsic values. We will never be “there,” because it is a false connotative synonym to the success cultivated by a society that focuses on materialism rather than the spirit of the self.

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“Heritage: Taos Pueblo”

“There” is being taught like it is a tangible object, and in reality “there” can be anywhere, nowhere, and everywhere all at once. We get lost in this concept of “are we there yet,” and we forget to live. Living in the here and now is not being taught, just like emotion, and passion and love are often pushed to the side because they cannot be quantified.

During an art demo, what’s more exciting — the artist painting, or the final product? It’s about the experience, not the destination. Michelangelo said at 87 years old, “I am still learning.” Was he “there” yet, and would he ever consider himself “there”? Finality creates an anticlimactic experience, a hollow shell, and a yearning for more.

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“Ancestral Visions”

I paint the squeal, not the pig. I paint the emotion, not just the senses. I paint from the heart, not the hand. This is the mindset we should be in. Simply meaning, point A and point B are just points, but the journey in between them is as expansive as the universe. Do you want to express your connection to the greater, in which can simply be our fellow human beings? Isn’t that what we are all searching for? We walk this journey together; let’s not focus on where we’re going, but let’s focus on the now. Let’s focus on the moment of inspiration, because the present is a gift. Let’s not waste it.

Art inspiration -

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