I have been a practicing artist for over 30 years. I have worked in many materials, scales, and styles of producing art, as well as different avenues for showing and sharing the work. I have taken classes that take me outside my usual competencies and found fresh perspectives for my art work. And I have taught classes in skills I have acquired by working constantly and gained a fresh out look by keeping my eyes open to the student’s new take on what I think I “know”. I believe in sharing my experience but also I believe that each artist knows what they need for themselves. I am happy to be included in the exploration we all take part in as we refine our goals and aspirations. Learning to engage the excitement of new challenges is easier with encouragement and peers.
As artists we know what we need. Sometimes we can get stuck on thinking we don’t know how to do something or we are afraid to act on a desire or a dream. I believe the way past that is to engage our curiosity, trust the creative process, take some small concrete actions that supports our larger dreams, and accept encouragement from our selves and trusted others. I have stood many times on the edge between wanting and doing. And the message I have for others in that place is, there is joy in taking the 1st steps, and there is also fear. Try and attach to the joy, and let yourself see what happens. Do beginners work and really pay attention to what you love in the process you are undertaking. That will keep you moving farther and longer in the action of committing to your creative urges. Practicing in your medium will deepen and hone your skills. You will find what you already have and acquire a language for expressing it.
So, my philosophy of mentoring is to engage these keystones: Trust the artist, and the creative urges we all have. Share the excitement of new challenges. Commit to the encouragement and praise we all need for the brave action of taking risks. Be honest about what you see working or not working and together look for why and where things fall short. Share knowledge of skills with an ear and eye open to the possibility of stretching them further with a fresh perspective. Stay open to new ideas.
Here are some of the experiences I draw on to share: I have shown as part of long sustained peer groups in the many college, university, and community art galleries available in the metro area. In my 20’s with the Women’s Art Alliance a group that found our peers at WARM associate member meetings. We did 4 group shows and a conference On Women Artists held at MCAD. And in my 30’s+ I showed with The Urban Doll Makers, a group of 7 figure makers who did at least 7 shows together in settings from Phipps Center For The Arts to coffee houses. I have taken my work “ on the road “ and spent 18 years doing regional and national Art Festivals and Fairs. I have placed my work in consignment Art Galleries and boutique shops, regionally and nationally. I have taken and successfully completed art commissions on many scales. I currently sell my art work in studio sales, through a network of art consultants, and through a couple of art galleries. I began working in frame shops in my 20s so I have a fair knowledge of framing techniques and costs. I have packaged some of the skills I’ve honed by constantly working for art fair deadlines into workshops on: Surface Design For Fabrics, and Mixed Media Figure Making: Dolls. I also I use Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way as an art experiential sampler class, we read, and write, and make art with a wide variety of techniques to move into a sustainable creative practice. It helps me stay true to my creative practice to teach.