My routine got a little rocked in the past few weeks after two big birthday celebrations, teaching, and getting ready for an upcoming portrait painting workshop. Paintings in the studio are moving along, and I completed a commission that will be on it’s way to it’s home in Texas soon.
I thought I would share with you some of the things that have been inspiring me lately.
I have been teaching my 8 week long, beginning drawing course at the Art Department in downtown Salem for a little over a year, and have learned a lot along the way. The course has grown and evolved each time I teach it. I try to make it better all the time and I learn a little from every student.
Why I teach
When I completed my cast drawing at the end of my first year in the Atelier, I stood there staring in awe at it hanging on the wall. I remember thinking, “Two years ago, if I were able to see this drawing, I would have never believed I drew it!” I realized that not many artists know that they too can learn to draw and make beautiful art.
I wanted to teach because I wanted to show people that they are capable of learning how to draw from life, and to do it well if they are willing to learn the fundamentals and put in a lot of consistent daily practice. Just like with anything else.
Teaching challenges me to articulate and organize my process of drawing. I also have to be creative in the way I go about it, for the level that the students are at. Most of them have never heard of the atelier or the fact that this type of art training still exists, so a lot of my job is educating them on history and why and how learning to draw this way can benefit them.
Learning to draw is hard work! Teaching them to learn to love the journey is equally as important as teaching technical skills. It is so rewarding when I see the light bulbs go on in the eyes of my students. Teaching drawing in turn makes me a better draftsman, since I am forced to analyze the process from many different angles.
I am currently reading Artemisia by Alexandra Lapierre. It is a novel about the 17th century baroque painter, Artemisia Gentileschi. It had been on my book shelf for some time and I finally picked it up and dove in.
Artemisia was the daughter and apprentice of artist, Orazio Gentileschi in Rome in the 1600’s. She was raped by her father’s colleague at the age of 17, and after a grueling trial she persevered and grew up to become a well respected and famous artist and one of the first great female painters in History.
I enjoy reading about the lives of other artists. Especially when I’m feeling doubtful, overwhelmed or unsure about my career. It is reassuring to walk in the shoes of a great artist from the past through the pages of a good book, who persevered through unbelievable hardships and still made some of the worlds most cherished works of art. It gives me some perspective and helps me realize that I am truly lucky to be living in the time that I am, and that I am capable of a lot more than I realize.
One series I have been completely in love with is Outlander. It is based off the novels by Diana Gabaldon.
It is a story about the Second World War- era nurse, who accidentally travels through time to 18th century Scotland where she ends up making a new life.
A Netflix series I am enjoying is Medici, Masters of Florence. It is another historical masterpiece about the all powerful Medici family of Italian bankers set in 15th century Florence. The Medici family were major sponsors of art and architecture in early and high Renaissance. They were patrons to Leonardo, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Raphael, and even Galileo.
Florence is one of my Favorite cities, and having toured some of the Medici palaces while traveling there, watching a show that takes place there is thrilling to me.
I admit I have not been keeping up with new releases and I can’t remember the last time I went to the movie theater. But one movie I watched lately that is a few years old is called the 100 Foot Journey.
Sometimes a movie like this hits me straight to the core. The love and passion of the art of cooking is beautifully communicated in this film. It will forever be on my movie therapy list for whenever I want to be inspired to continue pursuing what I love.
Some tunes that I can’t listen to enough lately are:
1. Taj Mahal, Catfish Blues
2. Waylon Jennings, Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way
3. Iron & Wine, Call it Dreaming
4. Joseph, Rest
5. Trevor Hall, Green Mountain State
6. Nick Mulvey, In Your Hands
7. Sona Jobareteh, Jarabi
The Tim Ferris show. I am really learning a lot about business on this podcast. It is really interesting to hear the stories of how some of today’s most successful entrepreneurs made their way.
I finally bought a quality printer last month to add to my office. No more trips to the library or Fedex just to print a few hand outs… praise be. For a long time I have kept folders on my computer with images and paintings that inspire me. While scrolling on the internet, I sometimes feel like a child in a candy shop. There is too much good stuff! Some of it reminds me of what I what to aspire to be, places I want to visit, and subjects/stories I want to paint. It is easy to forget what I have saved and sometimes I don’t look at it until a year later. I decided to print out my top favorites and create a mood board with them so I see it every day. It is a good motivator and reminder of the direction I want to go in.
If you have any recommendations of books tv shows, movies, music or podcasts, please share, I would love to hear from you! I like the idea of continuing this kind of post quarterly, or once a month to share what I find most inspiring as I create paintings.
Have a beautiful week,