"Give Me that Sense of Wonder"

Tom Hlas Through the Clouds

“Through the Clouds”
ŠTom Hlas 2018. All rights reserved.
Mixed Media on Wood Panel, 12” x 12”

I find curious people interesting.

You know who they are. 

They’re the ones that aren’t bored with life. They ask what if, they’re filled with wonder, they listen, they’re willing to be wrong and ready to take a chance to do something new. They’re simply fun to be around and they challenge me to step up to the plate rather than fall short of myself.

And here’s the good news: It’s not too late to recall and reinstate the curiosity we naturally had as children if we’ve lost it along the way.

I find that news encouraging — all is not lost.


“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.
Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up.”

― Stephen Hawking (1942-2018)

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“Dream Big"

Wings of Thought 400

“Wings of Thought”
ŠTom Hlas 2018. All rights reserved.
Mixed Media on Paper, 7-1/2” x 6”

If you had a magic wand to wave and with it could get anything and everything you wanted out of life, what would you want?

I was asked that very question a few days ago and I have to admit I was stymied.

At first I thought answers would come easily and quickly: everyone knows what they want, right?

But if you let the question simmer and wash over your mind or even sit on your shoulders with the weight of the world, how would you answer it?

What do you want, really want, out of relationships, finances, material possessions, emotions, responsibilities, pleasure, health or security?

Have you voiced any of those desires to anyone? 

Who knows, if you say it, you may actually get it!

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"Shattering Limiting Expectations"

Tom Hlas South of Town 36x32

“South of Town”
ŠTom Hlas 2017. All rights reserved.
Mixed Media on Canvas, 36” x 32”

I often think about creativity, about being creative, about leading a creative life.

What does it mean to be creative and embrace a creative life?

It doesn’t necessarily mean being a musician, artist, dancer, woodworker, poet, actor, interior designer, photographer, hair stylist or fashion designer.

Rather, I think it has something to do with being curious in whatever line of work you pursue. 

Being curious, asking questions, mulling over options and not being satisfied with the status quo are ways to expand one’s mind frame, of looking beyond the limiting confines of others' expectations and accomplishing what you need to accomplish with a breath of fresh air.

That’s the kind of life I want to lead. And in your heart of hearts, I think that’s the kind of life you want to lead: being the creative office worker, the creative parent, the creative laborer, the creative teacher, the creative food server, the creative spouse, the creative friend.

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“Is That the Real Me?"

Tom Hlas Of the Many 400

“Of the Many”
ŠTom Hlas 2017. All rights reserved.
Mixed Media on Wood Panel, 6” x 6”

Who am I?

Everything you do, say or feel is a reflection of who you are.

But don’t get caught up thinking any particular moment encompasses or limits you as a whole, total, finite being.

It’s just a mirror reflection of a passage in time.

So it is with making art (or whatever work you do.)

Your art doesn’t define you: it’s merely a representation of who you are at one moment.

And there’s freedom in that.

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"How to Live : A Thought"

tom hlas edges artist connecticut

 ŠTom Hlas 2014. All rights reserved.
Mixed Media on Canvas, 36” x 18”

Do your best, your very best, today. 

That’s all you or anyone can expect. 

Don’t accept mediocrity. Don’t make excuses.

Your best today is not the same as your best was yesterday. And it won’t be the same as your best tomorrow.

Strive, don’t settle and you’ll close each day knowing it was a day worth spent.

"Creativity: An Inside Look"

Abstract painting by Tom Hlas, Connecticut artist.

ŠTom Hlas 2014. All rights reserved.
Mixed Media on Canvas, 56” x 46”

What is creativity?

Is it something some people have while others don’t, something innate or learned?

Is it the attribute or expression of being able to take mundane materials, languages, or ideas and turn them into something spectacular or at least innovative? 

Or is it simply a way of looking at something afresh, in a way others may not immediately see an object, situation or relationship?

Are creative people “creative” because they have recognized their own creativity or have they been deemed so by others?

While we may or may not be the next Michelangelo, Marie Curie, Jane Austen or Steve Jobs, I suggest creativity is the birthright of all individuals.

In what ways are you creative?

“I Like It But"

Abstract landscape painting by Tom Hlas, mixed media artist in Norfolk, CT.

“Beyond the Hills” 
ŠTom Hlas 2014. All rights reserved.
Mixed Media on Paper, 5” x 7”

Over and over again, I, along with multitudes of other artists, have heard the comment, “I like your work but I just don’t have any more room in my house.”

What if (if one truly liked a painting or other work of art) that potential art buyer stepped out of her or his usual way of thinking and thought, “I like that and I’ll make a place for it in my home.”

It’s not too difficult to remove an existing painting or photograph that hangs on your wall, store it safely in a closet, cupboard or the attic and replace it with the new piece you admire. Not only do you get to enjoy new art for a while, but you’ll have the renewed joy of rotating back to the originally hung artwork when the mood strikes. A person might even try to acquire new art in sizes similar to artwork they already have so the pieces can be replaced without moving the nail or hanging hook.

Alternatively, if you have a painting or photograph hanging in your home, why not hang another work above it, below it or next to it? Hanging artwork vertically, one above another, can help open your living space visually by giving the impression of increased height in a room because the verticalness draws your eye upward; similarly, art hanging in horizontal groupings can have the effect of making a room seem longer or wider.

"Behold the Beauty or Not"

Small collage painting by Tom Hlas, Connecticut mixed media artist.

“Patterns for Living: Simplicity” 
ŠTom Hlas 2015. All rights reserved.
Mixed Media on Paper, 7” x 5”

For several years I’ve reflected on, or at least noticed, how the beauty of the objects I own affects me. 

I admit, I do like beautiful objects around me; which is not to say the items need to be expensive or valuable nor do I need to be surrounded by a lot of possessions. 

But the question arises, “Why do I like some objects more than others?” 

I’ve come to realize time and time again when I see or touch some objects, I feel a sense of joy whereas with other objects I don’t. It could because of its color, texture, finish, shape or even a pleasant memory of who gave it to me.

Similarly, I’ve been thinking about clutter, or more precisely, the act of decluttering.

Perhaps it’s time to take inventory and discard or pass along to others those possessions that no longer kindle a sense of joy within me.

“A Simple Gift"

Mixed media collage painting by Tom Hlas, abstract artist in Connecticut.

“Patterns for Living: Encouragement” 
ŠTom Hlas 2015. All rights reserved.
Mixed Media on Paper, 7” x 5”

It seems there’s so much hate in the world today. Has it always been the case? Or are we more aware of it because of the ubiquitous news and social media that permeate our lives?

What if each day, every woman, man and child offered a big smile and cheerful greeting to someone they didn’t know?

It may be a simplistic idea but perhaps it may be the candle that lights the darkness, a way to tell the recipient, “I don’t know you or what you’re dealing with but we’re in this world together.“

Could that glimmer of shared joy be contagious? Could it be the Achilles' heel in the armor of divisiveness?

“The Key to Joy"

Small assemblage painting by Connecticut mixed media artist, Tom Hlas.

“Patterns for Living: Confidence”
ŠTom Hlas 2015. All rights reserved. 
Mixed Media on Paper, 7” x 5”

How do you find balance in your life? 

How do you let life’s positive moments outshine the negative emotions that infiltrate your days and nights when you hear of tragedy, pain and violence happening around the world or in your own inner circle of friends and family?

It may not be easy to do but it’s critical for continued mental health for one to tip the scales toward goodness and kindness and inspire others to find happiness and peace amid the daunting threat of suffering.

The path to daily joy and well-being is the not same for everyone. But it’s inside everyone. Give it some thought; search and find your key. And help others do the same in their own way.

Š Tom Hlas 2004-2018