Studio Notes // 002: The Art of Possibility

…Platon & Doodling like Picasso

Every few weeks, I share my top art inspirations that I’ve read, experimented with or listened to. Here’s this weeks edition of things I enjoyed when I should have been at the easel, with the hope they might inspire your own work too…

I’ve enjoyed listening to:

Audiobook: The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Zander and Benjamin Zander​​​​​​​

After enjoying the TED talk by Benjamin Zander, I came across an audiobook created with his wife Rosamund, it’s amazing! One of the key points I learned from the audiobook, was how to re-frame negative experiences during the creative process. Rather than over analyzing the things you did ‘wrong’, just say out loud ‘How Fascinating’

“I completely ruined a portrait I’d spent 100 hrs on…. how fascinating!” 

It’s surprisingly freeing!

I’ve enjoyed watching:

DocumentaryAbstract: The Art of Design: Platon

An insight into the working process of portrait photographer Platon. Really interesting to see how Platon’s experiences growing up, shaped his future portrait aesthetic. Look out for the urban sketches from his architect father, they’re really nice.

This is part of a series called ‘Abstract: The Art of Design‘ on Netflix, looking at the thinking behind different creative disciplines.

(Pro tip: If you have Netflix, the Olafur Ellison episode is worth watching. I remember experiencing the weather project at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall, London in 2003. It was absolutely mind-blowing. People were lying on the floor sunbathing looking up at virtual ‘sun’ created using mirrors and mono-frequency light)

Art finds:

Youtube : Video: How Old Paintings are Professionally Restored 

This is a fascinating insight into the work of a conservator and is a clear illustration of both the positive and damaging effects of varnish to a painting aesthetic. You might have to hold your breath when the knife is taking the canvas from the stretcher bar!

Online Art Shows:


The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has just released an updated image of the ‘Most detailed ever photograph‘ of The Night Watch by Rembrandt as part of a recent conservation project on the painting.

The detail you can go into really is incredible. Check out these close-ups!

Materials I’ve been experimenting with:

Want to test your doodling speed drawing?

I’ve gone digital this week with this Google doodle A.i. engine.

You’ve got 20 seconds to create a masterpiece to see if the algorithm detects it. It’s amazing how quickly some of the symbols are recognized.

Here’s a Picasso 5 minute painting to get you inspired!

Youtube: Watch Picasso Make a Masterpiece

A short film documenting Picasso from the Rocay Academy of Arts creating a painting live on camera

On my Easel this week:

This week I’ve been drawing out a Vermeer study as part of a tutorial looking at building up a painting in layers.

Have a creative week!


This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Barbara

    Thank you for sharing all of this information and the links to the videos Etc. Will, this should keep me busy for the next while!

    1. Will Kemp

      Really hope you enjoy them Barbara.

  2. Lulu

    thank you for sharing! this is is a great idea to share and read about what other artists find intersting and inspirational during their regular routines. I can’t wait to check out that documentary tonight!

    1. Will Kemp

      My pleasure Lulu, hope you enjoyed it.

  3. Beth

    Love your email and all the videos and information. Thank you so much,
    Beth Little

  4. Honey

    Thank you for this post, Will. I’m really looking forward to the “The Art of Possibility”, especially. I’ve actually just had a colossal painting failure after spending days and days on it. So, this is a very timely recommendation. I know I’ll appreciate the other resources as well.

    Do you know of a good resource addressing the issue of motivation (other than “Art and Fear” by Bayles and Orland)? My art friends who are not dependent on art making for their income have been talking about this.

    Thanks for all your help and support.

    Colorado, USA

    1. Diane Elliott

      Thank you Will for all of this material , I wish I was already retired (hopefully soon) as I do so want to spend more time on painting and drawing.

      1. Will Kemp

        Good one Diane, really hope you find the lessons and video inspiration helpful.

  5. Gordon Shaw

    Love it, Will. Your notes have inspired to pick up my brush again.


    1. Will Kemp

      That’s fantastic to hear Gordon, so pleased you’re feeling inspired

  6. Shirley Fargo

    Dear Mr. Kemp,
    I keep coming back to your site. Your delightful enthusiasm, and your wonderful British accent keep me wanting more. I loved the Paton video and the aspect of art that has nothing to do with paint, canvas, brushes but the philosophical and relational. It has been my greatest joy learning from the many quality resource you provide on your website. I will be participating in some of your lesson soon. I am new to painting and am using acrylics. Improving my craft is my goal right now and learning the many techniques required to create a quality painting. I live is Orange County, California and am thrilled to have found your website. Thank you!

    1. Will Kemp

      That’s so kind of you to say so Shirley, glad you enjoyed the documentary, and hope you find the lessons helpful.

  7. Claire

    Am very new to painting having never painted anything till march this year whilst visiting my sister in NZ who got me started and with an unexpected extra 5 weeks there due to lockdown had time to look and learn.
    These news letters are fabulous and I keep an eye out for the next one.they are so varied .having been not allowed out for 100plus days Painting has been very therapeutic. I think I am an addict. Thankyou

    1. Will Kemp

      Good one Claire, so pleased you’re paintings are still going well.

  8. Catherine

    Thank you so much for encouraging and teaching us all. I live in the middle of nowhere, which is very beautiful, but there are no art classes, especially now! I feel I know less than one per cent of what I’d like to know, and everything I do know is learnt from your website and videos! Now people are asking me to do various sorts of art for them! It’s very exciting and fun but I’m relying on you (no pressure!)

    1. Will Kemp

      So pleased you’ve been enjoying the lessons and tutorials Catherine.

  9. Karen

    The Rembrandt hyper-resolution photo is crazy! Wow. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Diana White

    That Netflix Episode on Platon was so good!
    Thank you so much for sharing that.
    My watercolor teacher is constantly saying design, design, design!

    1. Will Kemp

      Really pleased you enjoyed it Diana.

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