Is Art Purposeful?


"Camden" 36" x 36" Acrylic on museum wrapped canvas
"Camden" 36" x 36" Acrylic on museum wrapped canvas


The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.~Pablo Picasso

Being an artist can be very difficult, especially if you are looking at it in a purposeful sort of way.  Just being alive is purposeful and certainly taking care of my son with Down’s, although humbling at times, is purposeful.  But, I have to ask myself is creating art “purposeful”?

 Here are some of the responses from my artist friends:

"I often think of how all of the arts have influenced me, taught me, enlightened and delighted me. I would suggest that if just one person is moved to tears, or made more aware of the human condition, or is able to see oneself or the world in a new way, then yes, making art is purposeful to humanity. I bought an abstract painting of water by a local artist, Peter Carolin, and had it hanging in my living room for several years. One day I was standing on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. I found myself looking at a patch of water and noticed the layers and elliptical patches of color intermingling to make a moving tapestry, reflections of the blue sky, white clouds, and the transparent patches that saw through to the yellow sand, and inexplicable patches of green water. I was amazed - it was like Peter's painting. Although I grew up by the water, I never saw it like this before. I understood at that moment that Peter's abstract painting had taught me - literally - how to see the world that was so familiar to me in a brand new way. "~Jim Carpenter

"I believe that art serves several purposes beneficial to humanity. First, it is a visceral form of communication. More important, I think, is that art can inspire, invigorate, even calm both viewers and creators. Artists are essential because we are exploring our universe and sharing our explorations in unique ways that can inspire each of us to (hopefully) positive action. There's also nothing wrong in simply adding more beauty to the world."~Patricia Vener

"Art has the power:

To give voice to a community

To transcend traditional communication processes

To express community issues and cultural values

To document history

To effect change

To open hearts and minds

To inspire, to motivate, to heal the spirit

To increase economic development

To create and maintain legacies"

Col Mitchell~ said the above so eloquently from a mission statement from Huntsville Art Society

"Art is an articulation of our interaction with nature and one another. Without art, the creative process, which involves both the act of creating and the process of participating (intellectually and emotionally) in the artist's vision, we would lose our humanity. At its deepest level, art is an expression of both our spirituality and our place in the universe."~Charles van Heck

 Joseph Campbell believed that the artist is a mystic with a craft that enables the truth to be brought to consciousness.

 Artists are the image-makers, the seers, the prophets, they create new vision and enlighten.  Artists can build-up the human spirit and in turn our culture.

 What is your answer? How is art purposeful for you?

*ART20K footage completed 15,078 square inches

*All art from Janet Vanderhoof’s Fine Art Gallery, maybe seen in Janet’s studio at Morgan Hill, CA.   You may purchase through contacting my email or phone (408) 460-7237.  Thank you!

Connecting To Infinite Possibilities

"Meditation"-Acrylic on canvas, 16" X 20"
"Meditation"-Acrylic on canvas, 16" X 20"


The calmer the water the clearer the reflection~ Anonymous


I’ve decided to take up meditation again.  For 13 years I would meditate regularly twice a day for twenty minutes. I even got my kids and husband to allow me to have this quiet time. It’s been 6 years since I have meditated regularly and have noticed that my health, stress and well being, have suffered because of it. 

Meditation lowers blood pressure, heart rate, lowers cholesterol levels, reduces stress hormones, and increases anti-ageing hormone DHEA, improves immune system and restful sleep. I didn’t realize that it helped with creativity as well.  Being and artist this becomes a great motivator. 

The wonderful reasons why meditation should be part of the artist’s life:


Calms the critic.

Gets you in touch with your authentic self, to express your uniqueness.

Helps you to get out of the repetitive loop of thinking that suppresses new ideas and inspiration.

Increases brain activity in the parts of the brain involved with ideas, insights and connections.

Increases your ability to focus on the big picture instead of trivia.

Helps you to be focused in the moment and enjoy the process as much as the result.

Increases insight moments of inspiration and answers to problems.

Eases fear and anxiety, less fear more risk taking and freer thinking.

Experience “Quantum Leaps” of imagination.

Be in a higher state of consciousness.

Helps you get in touch with the flow, where time stands still and effortless creating occurs.

Let’s you step in to the unknown.

Increases the ability to use your whole brain for problem solving.

Connects you to the field of infinite possibilities.


Do you meditate and if you do what have you discovered?


*ART20K footage completed 13,782 square inches

*Above painting~"Meditation", measures 16" x 20", acrylic on canvas, price $800

*All art from Janet Vanderhoof’s Fine Art Gallery, maybe seen in Janet’s studio at Morgan Hill, CA.   You may purchase through contacting my email or phone (408) 460-7237.  Thank you!


Feynman And I'm Doing It For The Fun Of It

No One's Home, 30" x 40" Acrylic on museum wrapped canvas
No One's Home, 30" x 40" Acrylic on museum wrapped canvas

"The Brain changes with every flicker of experience." ~Deepak Chopra


Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. The inspiration for my painting came from watching a video of Richard Feynman, one of the scientists belonging to the Manhattan Project, and the inventor of the atomic bomb. After the destruction in Hiroshima, Feynman had such a strong negative reaction that he found it very difficult to go back to work.  He felt what is the use everything will be destroyed anyway. 

Feeling stressed and doomed he realized that he was going to change his approach to life and work.  He was going to “do things for the fun of it", for no reason, no purpose at all.  As soon as he started playing and doing things for the fun of it, he said, "it was like a cork came out of the bottle and everything poured out."

Richard Feynman recounts: "I was in the cafeteria and some guy, fooling around, throws a plate in the air. As the plate went up in the air I saw it wobble, and I noticed the red medallion of Cornell on the plate going around. It was pretty obvious to me that the medallion went around faster than the wobbling. I had nothing to do, so I start figuring out the motion of the rotating plate. I discovered that when the angle is very slight, the medallion rotates twice as fast as the wobble rate—two to one. It came out of a complicated equation! I went on to work out equations for wobbles. Then I thought about how the electron orbits start to move in relativity. Then there's the Dirac equation in electrodynamics. And then quantum electrodynamics. And before I knew it… the whole business that I got the Nobel Prize for came from that piddling around with the wobbling plate." A replica of the Cornell plate is now part of an exhibit marking the centennial of the Nobel Prize.

 I was having difficulty going into the studio to paint. By listening to Feynman’s words it allowed me to go into the studio, just play and "do it for the fun of it".  I realized that one of the fastest ways to stifle creativity is to be stressed.  My attachment to the outcome was more overwhelming then the need to create.  By playing and letting go, it allowed me to explore and create in an uninhibited way. I love this approach and hope the cork will come out of the bottle for me as well, but I guess I can’t get attached to that either ;) 

*ART20K footage completed 13,462 square inches

*Above painting~ "No One's Home", 30" x 40", acrylic on museum wrapped canvas, price $3000

*All art from Janet Vanderhoof’s Fine Art Gallery, maybe seen in Janet’s studio at Morgan Hill, CA.   You may purchase through contacting my email or phone (408) 460-7237.  Thank you!


Art20K challenge Pro's and Con's


The Golden Years, 36" X 36", acrylic on museum wrapped canvas
The Golden Years, 36" X 36", acrylic on museum wrapped canvas

Ideas not coupled with action never become bigger than the brain cells they occupied~Arnold H. Glasgow


I am past the halfway point of my Art20K challenge for this year 2013.  Last year I had painted 52 paintings for 2012, which totaled over 15,000 square inches. My intention this year was to have the freedom to paint larger, but at the same time I added to my goal 5,000 more square inches.  I am at a pace right now to paint close to 25,000 square inches. In comparing both of the challenges this is what I have learned thus far.


Obvious, I have more time to paint much larger paintings.


Majority of customers can only afford smaller paintings, painting smaller offered more sales, but less dollars.


I have already sold twice as much in dollars this year, selling larger paintings.


Painting big allows me to be more creative and experiment.


Painting big is very freeing and inspires me to take risks.


Difficult to submit weekly posts and stay connected to fan base, due to the time factor painting larger paintings.


I'm painting for myself.


I realize I need to paint a variety of sizes to satisfy my customer’s needs, giving me a wider customer base.


I love painting large.


Large paintings create an impact in art shows.


 I've discovered a new dimension and style to my current work that couldn't have been discovered with smaller works.


Why do you prefer painting larger or smaller and why?


*ART20K footage completed 12,262 square inches

*Golden Years 36" x 36" Acrylic on museum wrapped canvas, price $3240

*All art from Janet Vanderhoof’s Fine Art Gallery, maybe seen in Janet’s studio at Morgan Hill, CA.   You may purchase through contacting my email or phone (408) 460-7237.  Thank you!


The Pitch


Photo of Blake and I with my Paint52 paintings
Photo of Blake and I with my Paint52 paintings

What is a Pitch?


Just like baseball, a great media pitch is an opportunity to catch the attention of the recipient. The best pitches come from an angle not necessarily expected, which forces the receiver to take notice. 

Luckily, I had Alyson B Stanfield’s wonderful book, “I’d Rather Be in the Studio”, a must have for every artist. Following her “how to”, I emailed it to my local newspaper and within 2 hours I not only got a response, but they also wanted to do a feature story on me. 

 Here is the pitch.


Dear Mr. Mark Derry,


An unexpected thing happened to me on my way to the door after Christmas dinner in 2011. Just like “Field of Dreams” I heard a voice, say I will paint 100 paintings in one year.

 I have been an artist for the last 20 years, inspired to follow my dreams as a painter after my son with Down syndrome was born.

 After much discernment I decided to challenge myself to paint a painting a week. I completed the challenge to paint 52 paintings on December 31, 2012 and now I have a challenge to paint 20,000 square inches for the year 2013.

“If you Paint They Will come”, has been my motto throughout this challenge. Great things have been happening as a result of this challenge one being an invitation to share 17 pieces of my work at Odeum Restaurant in Morgan Hill from May 30th to July 4th 2013, through the Art Around Town project of Valle de Sur Art Organization.

 I hope this may interest you,

 Janet Vanderhoof  

(408) 460-7237


The newspaper article ended up being on the front page and a two page article with colored photos.  Above photo by Morgan Hill Times, Chief Photographer Laura Schraft, article by Scott Forstner, staff writer.