Art for the Love of It

Hi Friends,

I was having a conversation about art with my friend Joanie, an accomplished pianist, and she shared this important insight with me:

I know it’s hard not to get caught up in the mindset that ‘better art equals more sales,’ but seriously, there are so many wonderful artists that never make any money…it isn’t ABOUT the money. Art, and the arts in general, is about your love of and for your art, the fact that you put your heart and soul into something that you love.

Yikes! She’s right. Guilty as charged. I do tend to get caught up in the belief that sales = successful art. I create more of what people want and will buy instead of exploring different and more challenging concepts.

Based on this reminder from Joanie, I decided I needed a few days in the studio to explore without the pressure of creating anything successful or sellable. Just time to experiment and have fun.

I’ve been wanting to play around with thinned down paints — adding water to the paints to see what the effects will be. Here’s what I found.

These four paintings are all 18″ x 18″, and with each one I added more water to the paints. The colors blend together giving them a watercolor look. The thinned paints also create what are known as “open cells,” where one color breaks up to reveal other colors underneath.

Cassandra Tondro experimental art

The first painting has the most contrast and the brightest colors.

Cassandra Tondro experimental art

As I add more water to the paints the colors become more muted.

Cassandra Tondro experimental art

This piece reminds me of fairy dust! Very soft with an other-worldly look.

Cassandra Tondro experimental art

In the last painting the colors are very muted with little contrast.

I thought I would play around with a couple of these pieces, emphasizing some areas of the paintings and covering other parts. Here are the results:

Cassandra Tondro experimental art

Cassandra Tondro experimental art

Are these paintings perfect? No. Are they beautiful? Not really. But I had fun working on them and I learned some things in the process.

Not all ideas are good ideas! In fact most of them aren’t good ideas. Even the ideas with potential need to be refined before they become something worthy of being called “art.” It’s an ongoing process of trial-and-error.

Where’s your leading edge? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them with us in the comments section below.

May your days be filled with fun, play and unfettered joy.

With love and appreciation,



  1. Very nice…..try it myself….last time not inspiration. But someday will try.
    Greetings from Amsterdam.

  2. My leading edge is in doing what you are doing here: experimenting.. BTW: I resonate most with the 4th one of your watered down paintings – you are onto something here.

  3. wonderful! I love them. the last one, with the concentric squares reminds me of the fires, seen thru windows.

  4. I love the results! I think my favorite is the first one. I see hearts in it so it reminds me of love my second choice is the third one it looks like an Iris to me, one of my favorite flowers. I love your creativity!

  5. Cassandra: you inspire me! I am an artist and love the energy that your work projects. Like the muted colors too.

  6. My primary passion is quilting. I gave up a long time ago in trying to find my worth through selling quilts because as a Western society we do not value this as an art form and consequently we are not prepared to pay enough for a quilt, be it traditional or in the form of textile art. However, I have in the past, fallen into the trap of feeling better attached to pieces that win prizes. It is a very strong pull to resist. So my mindset now when exhibiting is one of sharing with others and using competition to help me keep my skill standards as high as satisfies me. It is so easy to cut corners because I do this sort of work while “playing”. It is all a balancing act I find.

    My husband and I share wall space at home as he is a painterly artist and I see myself as a textile artist. I have only ever sold one quilt for cost price to a pleading friend. Otherwise most of mine go to family members, charity or for us.

    I do love where you are going with, with your play. It’s great when it opens doors I feel. I’d be happy to hang your final photo in my place.

    Anne Hunt

    1. Interesting about falling into the trap of winning prizes, Anne! It’s the same sort of thing as selling work — external validation. In fact it’s hard for me not to invest too much in the comments here about who likes which of the paintngs. But if you notice, they’re all over the map. Some people like the first ones, some like the last one, some like the middle one. There’s no consensus on which is the best painting, so I may as well please myself and let others like it or not!

  7. I like the subtly and nuance that the water creates. I also like the dimensionality of the hard edges and masks.

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