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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Discordant Lilies and Matters of my Art (tm)

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 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.


Erika Nelson said...

I dare say that Tim will not be able to stump you because you have one rare thing going for you. You are FEARLESS. Often times, people who aspire to do well in art know they have the talent. But many fall off because they don't have the will. Well you have those 2 important things covered - you have the talent and the will the opportunities are there simply for you to pick up!

Loves ya!!

Sue Smith said...

Mentors are so valuable in our lives, and not everyone is lucky enough to find one let alone the (at least) two that you have. Thanks for sharing your story. And as for that challenge - you made it look easy. Poor Tim...he's probably thinking hard on how next to "challenge" you.

vickiandrandyrossart said...

I am grateful for each one of my mentors. I can count four...each with a different expertise. I have a couple of artist friends whose opinions I value, but not the same as my mentors.

I've studied very hard the past 3 years to get where I am today. I may have to goof up at Tim's some to stall 'graduation'.!