As a follow up to my last post... I am posting the five paintings that I produced on the weekend ... aside from the demo... which has been displayed. Despite the VERY cold -22C temperatures, I managed to make decent sketches around Bark Lake, Salerno Lake and Irondale... all fairly nearby. On most occasions... I shared time with my long time friend and mentor, 86 years young... Poul Thrane from Belleville, Ontario.
I first met Poul and his wife Audrey at an outdoor show at Ameliasburg in Prince Edward County in the mid 1970s. Poul had immigrated to Canada after a stint with the British Army in India. While stationed in Great Britain ... he met Audrey and they moved to Toronto seeking a new life. It was while living there that Poul began honing his painting skills as a landscape artist at evening classes at the Ontario College of Art. His day job as a tram operator for the Toronto Transit Commission held little challenge for him... so they moved to Actinolite, north of Belleville and he began teaching evening classes at Loyalist College.
This fateful encounter converted me from a hobbyist to a serious student of painting. It was Poul alone who took "Me" to the outdoors to paint in Algonquin Park... and forever changed the direction of my journey. "I" am... and will remain an outdoor... yes "plein air" painter too... because of his encouragement and his sharing. Many other artists owe "Him" this same debt as well. "He" is... our own (Canadian) Richard Schmid... if you get my drift! Talented beyond others... but generous with his time and knowledge beyond comparison!
I learned a great deal about painting on location with Poul, but I learned a great deal more about living a disciplined and committed life as an artist through observing him relentlessly pursue excellence and continual growth. This was achieved... I would come to learn only through unsupervised personal study... regular painting practice and contact with many other fine artists. The pure imitation of his "stylism" was not the intent of either the "student"... or the "mentor during the many years we shared painting together."
In my next post, which will be entitled Sharing Your Light... I will attempt of share what "I" learned about the process of mentoring... and finding mentor ship. Both afford valuable growth experiences and opportunities... but as in all parts of life... can be harmful if used to the extreme by either party involved. Making art should be always an individual pursuit... driven by the passion, skills and the initiative of the artist. Even conducting a simple demo for a group can provide gain for both the presenter... and the group being presented to.
This post is motivated by a comments/questions offered by my Scottish blogging friend Caroline Simmill... check out her wonderful simmill-arts.blogspot.com . You' ll be glad that you did!In my last post, I alluded to the fact that I rarely look for acceptance or praise to direct my thinking or my work. That may be true on one level... but on another... making art is in fact an attempt by the artist to "express" an inner "idea" or feeling... so that others viewing the work can be caused to at least respond in some way... or on the higher level to want to purchase a work. "I" make art for my Self at first... but I really always hope and intend... that they will find their way into the hands of others to appreciate and enjoy.
I will close this post with the words on a plaque in our studio which is a mantra/ credo of sorts for "Me":
"The artist is nothing without the gift. But the gift is nothing without the work."
-Emile Zola, French Author
Zola knew what he was talking about... both as creative writer and a confrere of many of the French Impressionist movement. Our "work"as artists... is painting. The simple act of painting more than anything... creates artistic growth and development beyond work shopping... reading "how to" books by gurus and lessons. All of these admittedly do improve any one's painting, but there are lessons that can only be learned alone... brush in hand... in the studio and in the outdoors.
Do your own work... in your own way... with passion... and regularity... and "You" will... without fail... grow artistically towards your own unique style.... OVER TIME!
As Nike's logo puts it: "Just do it!"
Good painting to all !