How would you feel if you embarked on something you've never done before?  

Say you're a non-artist who has never you think you could actually finish a painting?

JB, the non-artist, has been a regular on this blog. If you haven't followed his journey just keep scrolling, jump to other posts and watch his art adventure unfold.

Update: He finished his painting weeks ago. 

Forgive me for not vlogging right away, but L.I.F.E.

(Life Interrupts Frequent Endeavors - yeah, I just made that up, but you know what I mean.)

Let's keep moving the video below!

I'm thinking of other topics to vlog on. Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments below or email me at: micbstudio (at) gmail (dot) com

Till next time!



handy dandy tool that will help you paint details & smudge less!

Sofonisba Anguissola Self-Portrait (1555)

Sofonisba Anguissola Self-Portrait (1555)

Don't let smudges and a shaky hand deter you from completing your amazing painting project.

Instead...paint with a stick!

Yeah, people have been using it for years.

This stick which helps support the painting hand from wobbling is called a Mahlstick. 

(It also helps not smudging the painting with your hand.)

Check out Sofonisba Anguissola's self-portrait & stick!

She's using it to focus on the little details that will make her painting sing.




it's time to say no to a shaky hand and smudges!

click on the video below to see an absolute beginner,

jb (the non-artist) use the mahlstick for the very first time.



Wanna buy one? 

Here are direct links to U.S. art stores who carry them!

Jerry's Artarama - Mahlstick

Dick Blick - Mahlstick


If you liked this vlog post, share the art love with others/






Short on time? Do a 10 minute drawing.

Well, the last two weeks, JB the non-artist, had no time to paint.

Blame it on his day job.

I get it. It happens to me as well. 

What to do if you just don't have time?

Click on the video below to find out what JB did to squeeze in some art. It only took 10 minutes!

Here's the link for figure and gesture drawing:

Let me know if you tried this tool. Leave some comment love below or write to me at micbstudio (at) gmail (dot) com

Much love + creativity,


Can a non-artist get over his horrible painting?

Playing with paint and brushes is a lot of fun!

But believe me I have heard people want to throw away, burn, slash their paintings because of this phase all art-making people go through.

It's when you think your painting is worse than all the chaos in the world put together.

It's not a fun place and you think your painting will never amount to anything.



Get ready as you follow JB, the non-artist's journey.

It's a tale of a man who was too busy to paint last week. Last night, he vowed to spend 30 minutes at the easel. Because so much time had passed, he felt uneasy but he journeyed on!

Click on the video below to see what happens. Cry with him, rejoice with him!



1. You don't need much time to make progress.

2. You don't need a whole bunch of oil paints to start painting.

3. You don't need a whole bunch of brushes to start painting

4. You can correct with oil paints.

5. You can start a session shaky and then end up satisfied and energized.


No need to be intimidated by oil painting!

Send JB advice, encouragement or virtual high-fives.

Comment below or write to him at - he'll read every note.

And if you're not on the email list already, don't forget....


Art is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Kids know this.


Sadly, as adults we start over-thinking and then it becomes this crazy bundle of "Oh mah gwash, I don't know what to do!!"

Especially, if we think we lack time and the mental capacity.

My promise to the self-proclaimed non-artist JB (Joachim, my husband and good sport) who wants try painting is:

"You will not be overwhelmed with oil painting."


In the last two video episodes, JB tackled the questions:

  • "What should I paint?" 
  • "Which reference photo should I pick for painting?"


NOW Click on the video below to find out how i help take the stress away so jb, the non-artist, starts painting.


JB already thinks he's limited. He doesn't know anything about oil painting and he only has about 30 minutes a week to paint.

Will he succumb to Ann Alisis Paralysis or to Ogre Overwhelm?


Check out what he does in his first painting session..Click below!


Follow JB's journey.

He is as curious as I am to find out if he can actually produce something he likes.


"The lesson is that we can still make something even if our time and our abilities are limited." 


Por exemplo, this week I had a bad case of hip flexor tendonitis and I couldn't really do much of anything.

My one intention was: Make video #3 using only my iPhone, have fun doing it and then publish on Wednesday.


It made me think out of the box and I had to let go of pre-conceived notions that would stop me from getting to my goal.

Well, it might not be perfect, but I made it!


Now it's your turn...what do you want to get done? What are things you need to let go of to get it done?


Let me know in the comments below. Also, leave a high-five for JB if you feel led :)


You don't need to set up a complicated still life or spend money to hire a model who looks like Brad Pitt to start painting.

All you need is a reference photo. And where could those be? Probably on your phone or computer. 


But the challenge is: which one is the best for painting?




STILL FEEL YOUR PHOTOS SUCK OR YOU just want other photos for references?

Check out Moshe Mikanovsky's 3 favorite Reference Image Libraries, where you can get photo ideas for painting (and BONUS: that will not infringe on someone else's copyright!) 



Now I'd love to hear from you! 

Your answer to the next two questions will tell you a lot about your preferences in composition.


Do you like photos that are closeups of the things/people you love? 

Or do you want more things going on in your photos (more context to tell the whole story?) 


how a non-artist figures out what to paint in less than 2 minutes

"What should I paint?"

That's a big question utter beginners (and even advanced painters) ask themselves. It's time to stop the paralysis and get going.

See how this self-proclaimed non-artist deals with it in less than 2 minutes and takes the first step to becoming an oil painter.

Darn, the picture looks like I'm scolding my poor husband. He's getting inspired, I promise. 

Don't believe me?

Click on the video below!

Now, I'd love to hear from you.

There's an easy challenge in the video. 

Let me know in the comments below what your answer is to the first question.


Art anxiety. Everyone who creates has it. 

What is it? It's that feeling inside that could prevent you from creating something really nice. You might just think you're nervous before entering an art class or standing in front of a canvas, but if you look and listen closely, there's probably a voice that's telling you something discouraging.


What could this voice be telling you?

  • "What am I doing here? I don't belong here."
  • "You're not good enough."
  • "It's not going to come out right."
  • "I don't know what to do and I'm going to look stupid."
  • "I've forgotten everything that I learned."
  • "The others are doing so much better than I am."
  • "I'll never be able to do that."
  • ________________<- insert your own voice of self-doubt.


Luisa and I at the World Cup in Brazil! We meant business.

Luisa and I at the World Cup in Brazil! We meant business.

5 battlecries to subdue art anxiety! (Ok, they are a mouthful, so let's say "reminders".)

1. "This is not the emergency room. No one is dying! I'm making art for heaven's sake!"

2. "All I need to do is show up. 100%. Imperfections and all!"

3. "I want to make art and have fun doing it. Joykiller begone!"

4. "I'll try my best with the time and tools that I have. I'm here to learn."

5. "I'm just gonna put something down. Let's see where it takes me."



Check out these paintings:

"Tone: I am flawed. I am fallen. I am Adam." by Mic Boekelmann

"Tone: I am flawed. I am fallen. I am Adam." by Mic Boekelmann

I had art anxiety the day before I finished "Tone." My voice told me: "I don't like it. I don't know how I'm going to get myself to like it. I will not be able to finish it."

The next day, I received a statement from real live Tone and it made me go in front of my canvas and "I'm just going to start putting something down." And that evening it was finished.

People who are have been creating for a good amount of time know that art anxiety comes up, but they know how to deal with it in a constructive manner.









"The Dancer" by Mic Boekelmann

"The Dancer" by Mic Boekelmann



The next one is "The Dancer." Did I have art anxiety painting it? Yes! 
It was at the very beginning when I started to put down a few marks. My voice? "Oh my goodness, will I pull this off?" 

If I lingered on the self-doubt, the voice would've grown, amped itself up and taken over my joy. Maybe I would've start focusing on other people, comparing myself. Or do other things that would distract me from just "doing it."

By the way, I found out last week that The Dancer got into the Phillips Mill Juried Exhibit!! Here's the info if you want to see it live:

Conclusion: Art anxiety happens. It's normal. Everyone who creates has it. You're not alone. It never goes away, but you learn how to deal with it better.

Go and create!!! are pics from the last two opening receptions (I probably had art anxiety with all of these paintings!):

Artworks reception
PDS reception I
PDS reception II


Are you a beginner and do you need help drawing and painting what you see? Write me an email and let's see what we can work out! Would love to hear from you. Click here.



When you go to an art exhibit, it's easy to go from one work to another and check things off, saying: "Oh I like that." or "Oh that sucks."

Next time you go to an exhibit, consider learning these 3 things from other artists.


Art takes vision, work and the knowledge that it is an ongoing journey.


1. Vision - It does not have to be grand, it might just be an idea you get while taking a shower. In the end, the finished product might not look like your initial vision, but you need this spark to get you going.

2. Work - Art will not appear out of nowhere. An initial mark needs to be made, then tweaked until you get to a point where you say: "I'm content. I can leave it as it is."

3. Journey - Even if a piece is finished, the artist continues on a creative journey. Each finished work gives the artist information on how to proceed with the next project. It is an ongoing learning experience which makes the ups and downs of creating so meaningful and worthwhile.


Karen Stolper and I have created an exhibit "YOU are HERE". It will be shown at the Anne Reid '72 Art Gallery at Princeton Day School. (Opening reception: September 18, 4-6pm) Show runs from Sept 15 - Oct 8. 

I made a short video of our work: 

I hope you come out and see the show!

The Dreamers Project - an exhibit higHlighting the people OF trenton

Sometimes you start with a vision. A spark. You work and execute until it becomes a reality, but you don't really know where it will lead you.

That is part of art making.




I started off with a vision to tell the stories of ten people of Trenton through portraits. My friend Delonte told his stories of Trenton through photographs. Both of us wanted to shine a positive light on the capital of New Jersey.

And this is where our collaborative work has gotten us: The Dreamers Project.

It is showing at the Community Gallery at Artworks in Trenton. 
September 8 - October 3 (opening reception September 12, 2015 - 6-8pm)


I've made a video of the works that will be shown. Let me know what it sparks in you!


Keep making art that comes from your heart!



Munich Art Adventure {8}

What's one of the most important rules while you're creating something beautiful?

I had to take a lot of steps back for this painting "Karen".

I had to take a lot of steps back for this painting "Karen".

It's a rule that is easily forgotten, but that can save you from making tons of mistakes.


Here's the rule: Take a step back. a few steps away from the easel. 

Ideally this is how it would go down:

1. You make a mark.

2. You step back.

3. Blatant inaccuracies are recognized in an instant.

4. You make another mark and tweak and correct.

5. You step back again.

6. Rinse and repeat.


Don't get caught up in the doing, doing, doing.

You can easily get caught up in the doing, doing, doing. You're so close to the work. You want to be. You're on a roll. You're in the zone. 

But one of the biggest mistakes when you're working like this is NOT to take a step back and look at your creation from a distance.

Stepping back is an easy tool to give you PERSPECTIVE. And I'm not talking about one point, two point or three point perspective. I'm talking about seeing the big picture. And gaining clarity. Quick.


Life gives you tons of situations where you're reminded to take a step back.

For example, today we visited my mother-in-law in the hospital, yesterday I had an MRI done (Good news: nothing deadly, but they did discover a curved nerve that produces spasms on the left side of my face), this week other people in my life have had to take a step back and gain perspective in different ways.


Get your priorities back.

When I'm painting and step back away from my easel, I start seeing the things that truly need to be worked on. Things that need more time.

I also see things that were time wasters. Things I fixated on, but that didn't really matter in the grand intention of my painting. I can let those go and not sweat it.

So next time when you're creating, don't forget to step back. Please make it a habit. 

Not only will you get further faster, you'll let go of the things that gave you unnecessary grief.


Perspective is worth 80 IQ points.
— Alan Kay

Munich Art Adventure {7}


My challenge for this summer in Munich was to come up with 3 portraits. Here's the video showing the journey of each one.

Check out the beginning marks of chaos and see how it gets sculpted into something that describes the essence of the person. I've embraced imperfect marks and imperfect situations as part of the journey. That's life. 

It's how I deal with it. That's what counts. Ask yourself: How will I make it work despite the challenges?



  • I painted it whenever I had small chunks of time to seize.
  • I painted it when I had a migraine.
  • I painted it late at night when it wasn't so hot.
  • I painted it when I thought it was going nowhere.
  • I painted it with a thousand tweaks to the mouth, the nose, the eyes.
  • I painted it after the kids had their breakfast.

The thing is: Find a way to make things work.

I have so much chaos in my life, it’s become normal. You become used to it. You have to just relax, calm down, take a deep breath and try to see how you can make things work rather than complain about how they’re wrong.
— Tom Welling




This is the word I will take with me when I go back to the Princeton.

If I simplify things, I get to do the things I want to do quicker and with less overwhelm.

What do you actually need to make art? 

In my time here in Munich, I've reduced my drawing practice to hanging a piece of paper on my bedroom wall and using an HB pencil, a kneaded eraser and a stomp.

No fancy shmancy easel, expensive paper or special set of pencils.


Sometimes the focus of the art practice becomes this complicated operation...I need this to start...I need that tool...I need this ideal setting...etc. Well,  no...just...

Go ahead and KISS.






There's another place in my bedroom for painting portraits. It's right here:


The window easel will do, thank you very much.

What else am I using for the painting part?

Burnt Umber, Titanium White, 4 brushes, fast drying medium, terpenoid for cleaning and paper towels. Later, I might want to add more color, but for now that's what I'm working with. 

I'm like any other person who can get paralyzed just by thinking about the process and the many factors I attach to it. Paralysis sucks. I don't learn anything from it. Engagement is better. Even if it produces mistakes.

I can learn from mistakes.


In order to enter a state of engagement, I take simple steps. This could look like this:

Keep. It. Simple. Sweetheart:

1. Buy canvas for fall workshop.

2. Get out paper and pencil.

3. Look for space where you can draw.

4. If you need some alone time, tell people you will be drawing/painting for 30 minutes and that you need uninterrupted time for that.

5. Ask for help!


Ask yourself:

What specifically do I need to do to move on? Figure it out and take that one step.

Keep your steps simple this week and say goodbye to overwhelm & paralysis!


Example: This was my first bite-sized video I did for a client, so she could figure out how to start a drawing in simple steps. (It's got typos in it, but it did its job. She got going with her drawing and we were both engaging!)

It's a 2 minute video, so if it's going too fast for you, just put your cursor on the pause button to stop and read instructions.

Simplicity makes me happy.
— Alicia Keys


The reason I wanted to go to the Lenbachhaus was because of: Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)

Der Blaue Reiter was the name of a group of artists in Munich (1911-1914) who practiced expressionism. Artists included Wassily Kandinsky, Alexei von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, Franz Marc, August Macke and Gabriele Münter.

Honestly, all I wanted was to go into a room and be surrounded by Franz Marc's colorful and beautiful horses. I had seen a postcard years ago and his images don't seem to leave my mind. Art can do that to you.


When you enter the museum, you're greeted by this impressive vortex sculpture by Olafur Eliasson (Wirbelwerk).

Franz Marc's Blaues Pferd I

Franz Marc's Blaues Pferd I

My family and I went straight to the top floor to go to the Blaue Reiter collection and to our surprise didn't see as many horses as we had hoped for.

Instead we saw the evolution of a group's work, which was interesting in itself. 

One artist's work would have a different look over time and my kids would tell me which art speaks to them.  Max (16) would like a certain work of Kandinsky at one period and tell me which Kandinsky he hates and which he loves or he finds "sick" (that's "good" in teen speak!)

Checking out museums with kids is fun because they just tell it how they see it. Luisa (10) won't hide her love or adoration when she enters a room. You can tell right away if something has touched her heart and it shows. 



Liebe (Love) by Alexei Jawlensky

Liebe (Love) by Alexei Jawlensky





Max thought this one by Alexei Jawlensky was "sick" (excellent, good, awesome, whatever positive thing you want to call it).

One thing I like to see in a painting is an artist's passion. It can transcend time and jump from the canvas into your heart.

This quote below by Franz Marc explains his affinity to animals.

“People with their lack of piety, especially men, never touched my true feelings….But animals with their virginal sense of life awakened all that was good in me.”* Franz Marc

He painted his passion. And that's my takeaway from Lenbachhaus:

Do the world a favor, fill your canvas with things that move you. 

1.  An artist's passion for a subject matter can infect the viewer. Look at me! Although I have nothing to do with horses, I wanted to be in a room full of Marc's horses. Passion is contagious and uplifting!

2. Art can awaken something beautiful in us and can inspire our own creative desire.

Enjoy this sampler of the Lenbachhaus!

My wife and I, Hermann Tiebert

My wife and I, Hermann Tiebert

Portrait of Gabriele Münter, Wassily Kandinsky

Portrait of Gabriele Münter, Wassily Kandinsky

Country Boy from Tegernsee, August Macke

Country Boy from Tegernsee, August Macke

The Hunchback, Alexei von Jawlensky

The Hunchback, Alexei von Jawlensky

Rupprecht Geiger

Rupprecht Geiger

Rupprecht Geiger

Rupprecht Geiger

Rupprecht Geiger

Rupprecht Geiger

Bertolt Brecht by Rudolf Schlichter

Bertolt Brecht by Rudolf Schlichter

The Suicide, Helmut Kolle

The Suicide, Helmut Kolle

Portrait with Apples, August Macke

Portrait with Apples, August Macke

Portrait of the Painter Emilie Charmy, Pierre Paul Girieud

Portrait of the Painter Emilie Charmy, Pierre Paul Girieud

Portrait of the dancer Alexander Sacharoff, Alexei Jawlensky

Portrait of the dancer Alexander Sacharoff, Alexei Jawlensky

Self-portrait as a group portrait, Alfred Hawel

Self-portrait as a group portrait, Alfred Hawel

Kandinsky and Erma Bossi at the table, Gabriele Münter

Kandinsky and Erma Bossi at the table, Gabriele Münter

City of R, Paul Klee

City of R, Paul Klee

Jawlensky and Werefkin, Gabriele Münter

Jawlensky and Werefkin, Gabriele Münter

Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge