There are a few people in my life that I trust implicitly when it comes to matters of the art. Specifically, my art. Being my mentor is a title that I don't give easily...it has to be someone I trust, someone who wants to see me 'take it up a notch' with no ulterior motives. Cheerleaders are nice, and their opinions always welcome, and always feed the ego.
Mentors, on the other hand, are artists who I have studied with, whose work I admire, and whose skill at teaching primo. Some potential mentors do not have time, so I respect that...and some of them would make me smile if they did have time!
An ulterior motive would be someone who was insecure with their own art career, someone who had no professional skills as a teacher/artist, someone who wants to make money from you, someone not to be trusted. A good teacher always knows when to 'graduate' a student and helps them find their next level and can recommend who might get them there.
I can tell you that I am not ready to 'graduate' from any of my teachers. Pat Michael is a member of a Crit Group I was invited to join several years ago. She has mastered many types of art from glass bead making to pastel portraiture to abstract multi-media paintings. Fiber arts, acrylics, exploratory grounds with alcohol inks, are all in her repertoire. When she is too quiet during a Crit meeting, I always call her out. She is always reluctant to offer her opinions because she always sees something that will improve a painting.
I've been painting with Tim instead of going to the monthly Crit, so had missed seeing Pat. She invited me to lunch today and I grabbed a few of my recent paintings for a personal critique.
The painting I did yesterday with Tim was something he hoped would give me pause...and be a real challenge. I took some good quality silk flowers and an 18x18" canvas and got to work. By 4pm there was nothing left to do, so I called this one done.
Pat's comment was about the lighting on the flowers...that they all had same importance. Tim's studio has a great north light, and good overhead lights. SO, I essentially had 2 light sources...and painted just what I saw! Oops. She kept looking at it and finally said the painting was 'disturbing'. We talked about it and came to the notion that it was the discordant colors in the leaves and background. We then pondered whether this was a good thing or a bad thing...and concluded that it was a good thing if the painting aroused our interest.
I SURE don't want to be a pretty painter...I'd rather mine be the one that makes you look deeper. Here are a few more photos, then a slideshow.
sorry about the glare...I'm still learning how to photograph wet oils.