Inspiration from other artists

This summer has be jam pack full of inspiration for me as an artist. With that said, I wanted to share my feelings on how other artists work can help build a visual vocabulary.

My talk with David Bates is still lingering in my brain. The biggest thing that I took away from the conversation was that the history of other artists and their inspiration could help me find my own groove and style in art. I’m still trying to establish this one-of-a-kind “Matt Kaplinksy” style, but by looking at artists that inspire me, and researching who inspired those artists, is leading me to the right path.

When I look at those who inspire me, David Bates, John Alexander, Matisse, Picasso, and so many more, I learn which brush strokes are right for me to use in my work. Every new piece of art I see is expanding my visual vocabulary. I examine how an artists chooses color and how they can create a cohesive look among all of their pieces. Each element of another artists work can be decomposed into pieces of a puzzle I can try to fit together they way that they did. I can take what they do and apply them to my own art, in my own way.

To see a painting in a museum is very different than seeing a beautiful print of a piece. I can not express the importance of going to museums to see paintings. When I went to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art to see the exhibit “Matisse in his Time”, I realized the importance of having other creatives around you to inspire and challenge your work. Matisse and Picasso are one of the greatest examples of this. Although both men were supremely different in their artistic style and personality, they had a power play to challenge and push each other. It has been said that their relationship was similar to one of those of rivaling siblings.

A quote from Matisse can sum up their relationship pretty well

“We must talk to each other as much as we can. When one of us dies, there will be some things the other will never be able to talk of with anyone else.”

Henri Matisse to Pablo Picasso

To know that two of the greats had such a strong connection, truly shows how ALL artists need inspiration to help push their own ideas further.

I am always trying to further myself to become a better artist. Surrounding myself with other artists, exploring the history of art and attending exhibits is just part of the evolution of who I am.


mpThe Dream of 1940 by Matisse; and right, Femme aux Cheveux Jaunes, by Picasso


David Bates – August 27th 2016 – Talley Dunn Gallery

On August 27th, Talley Dunn Gallery hosted a reception for Dallas’ beloved painter David Bates and his new exhibit Paintings and Sculptures. As his self proclaimed “super-fan” I was overwhelmed by the possibility of meeting one of my favorite artists who has inspired and influenced my own work throughout the years.  I showed up early, just in time to view his new work before the rush of other artists, admirers and collectors would be heading into the gallery.

The show was phenomenal, as expected. There was a range of different subjects in his work, from marigolds to a shipwreck in the middle of the ocean. His paintings mirrored his sculptures and sometimes were replicated in a different medium. Sculptures available to view in the gallery seemed to be represented in the paintings, while some of the sculptures may have gotten their original form from his paintings. I admired the cohesiveness of the David Bates style throughout all of his work, a skill I hope to achieve in my own work one day.  I was blown away by the way that David was able to capture light in his paintings. It was if the light from the gallery was shining through into his work. Every stroke in his paintings seemed to have a purpose and was no more or less than absolutely necessary.

I finished my first walk through of the gallery and had to indulge in the whole experience a second time. One time is simply not enough for his biggest fan. As I was walking back to the front of the gallery, I couldn’t believe my eyes. David Bates was walking into the building, right towards me. I jumped at the opportunity and started a conversation with one of my artistic heroes. He was more than cordial, genuine, and compassionate. We talked about the importance of looking at the history of other artists that inspire us and expanding a visual vocabulary. He gave me advice about how to evolve as an artist and about how he developed his paintings with more “funk” in his earlier years to his recognizable work today. When asked about his signature style and how he came to achieve it, he simply stated that he “can’t do it any other way”. What a great way to do it, David Bates.

After a short fifteen minutes,  David was whisked away by the gallery manager to attend to his reception and other guests. I, on the other hand, stood on the gallery floor trying to catch up with my own mind, moving a million miles a minute to try and comprehend meeting such an influential artistic figure. I was on super-fan cloud 9.

After all the excitement, I still had to take a second look around the gallery. This time around the gallery was no less fascinating than the first. Again, I was captured by his use of color and light in his paintings. I was able to mingle with other artists and collectors as we all applauded the art. It was a great reception to say the least. Thank you to Talley Dunn Gallery for hosting such a great event!!



David Bates & I – August 27, 2016


You can view some of the work from the show in the link below:

Tate Dunn Gallery

Frank Stella

I had the opportunity to see an absolute favorite artist of mine this past weekend, Frank Stella. His work “A Retrospective” is currently exhibited at the Fort Worth Modern from April 17th – September 18th, 2016. It is definitely worth a trip if you haven’t already seen it!

Ft Worth Stella exhibit photo edited

NEST Modern – Austin, Texas

One of my favorite galleries/design stores that I have been a part of for decades is NEST Modern based out of Austin, Texas. They started out as a tiny booth at a consignment store and have since moved to a fantastic gallery space while also opening another gallery in San Antonio, Texas. From home furnishings to art work, this company is committed to helping you create a harmonious and creative space.

I have a plethora of my paintings for sale at both the Austin and San Antonio locations, here are a few pieces that I just recently dropped off this past weekend.

Be sure and check them out if you’re ever in the Austin or San Antonio area!

2603 South Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78704

San Antonio
340 East Basse Rd.
San Antonio, Texas 78209

How does it all Start ?


So I have this painting that is unfinished and unsatisfactory.  So I want to make a ‘do-over’, right?  Sometimes I get asked how do I start.  So within my limited video skill set I tried to make a GIF file at the beginning.  I will try to actually upload some 30 second videos to YouTuber when I can, but try this one out for now…. if your computer does not show anything but white space below this text you can still click in the void and see it:



Artist (painter), and… inventory manager, marketing dept., accountant, ad agency, and …???

When an artist is a full-time sole-source of income artist, sometimes that artist might occasionally fail at a task or two- like keeping up with his own blog!  Not only do I have to design and produce the art, but I have to go to some lengths (as is my responsibility) to keep up with where I put the art, how people know its there, if and when and how much I got paid for it, and where I have articles or images of my work in advertising that I need to be aware of.  It’s a 110 hour a week job.  One of the most difficult things is finding out when to hire an assistant, and how to find that assistant to help manage the business end of being an artist.  AND how to pay that person.  I have researched several other artists of some degree of success, and they all have varying circumstances.  Some have a hired assistant, some have “interns”, some have a partner (wife, husband, or cohabitator of some sort) that voluntarily handle some aspects of making the artist successful.


Keeping up with social media these days can take hours out of each day it seems, as there are so many outlets and there are new ones every couple of weeks.  This adds to the already heavy not-art burden of an artist.Bridge Oasis_web