Thursday, July 29, 2010

in response to: Who are Your Favorite Mentors on

A few years ago, I took a workshop in Putney, Vt. where the group I was with had the opportunity to paint with the Putney Painters. Richard Schmid did a demo for us and visited each of us at our easels. It was a truly inspirational experience as are Richard's books and DVDs.

Of the few face-to-face workshops I have taken, I can honestly say that I have walked away with many more tools in my toolbox garnering something from every one. The funny part is that weeks, months, or years after taking a workshop something said or illustrated will pop up causing an "ah ha" moment.

Though I would love to take more classes and workshops, lack of time and funds often prevent such excursions. An alternative, my studio is filled with books and catalogs by and about artists whose work I admire. I love to read about the artists and study the images. Schmid, Handell, Dawson, Payne, Carlson, Christensen, Sargent, , and Aspevig are just a few.

While many of my inspirations/lessons are found in print, video, and on-line, I long for a mentor/mentee relationship—something I think is rare. Although I have had some great teachers, a mentorship is something that I have not found in my journey as an artist. I believe mentoring is much more than reviewing one's work and offering a critique, particularly for a fee. I feel a mentorship is an ongoing process where the mentor challenges the mentee to help him/her develop and grow as an artist offering honest—brutally if need be—feedback about the work, practices, technique and anything else that prevents that person from reaching his/her potential. Additionally, the mentor must encourage and reward. In turn, the mentee must be open to the criticism/praise and be willing to work.

I appreciate all that I have received from the many teachers I have had along the way and everything I have learned from fellow artists. Now, I have my students to thank for the things they teach me.

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