Friday Inspiration: Help from Mentors

JMH STILL LIFE with FALLING ORANGES, oil, 30x30, 72.jpg
Who do you turn to for advice when extra experience and knowledge would be helpful?  Do you have a mentor to offer guidance?
{Tomatoes by Danni Dawson}

Last night I was busy answering some interview questions for this week's Daily Paintworks Artist Spotlight Interview (click here to read the interview) when a question asking about my greatest influences got me thinking in parallel how finding a good mentor is so important to achieving goals.

So today I thought it would be nice to highlight the two people who have added so much to my life as an artist.

One of my most rewarding and long time mentoring relationships I have ever had began over fifteen years ago when I was in Architecture school.  Joe Hutchinson was my art history professor, and then became my M.Arch thesis committee chair.  His support during graduate school was important, though the amazing thing is that he still provides assistance now that I have entered a career as an artist.  This is because after he retired from being a college professor, he moved to Santa Fe, NM and now dedicates his time and energy to developing his own art career.

{Still Life with Red Chair by Joe Hutchinson}

We regularly talk art theory and practice and it is so wonderful having someone who knows art history and theory as well as he does to bounce ideas and thoughts off of.

{Still Life with Falling Oranges by Joe Hutchinson}

In the interview I also mentioned how the artist, Danni Dawson, has been a major influence to my art career.    Her influence can be directly seen by observing her own still-life paintings, her ability to capture simple objects in a realistic and refined manner is something I strive to do with my own work.  
She has also been the most instrumental instructor in teaching me how to handle oil paint and how to approach the construction of a painting.   Through lessons with her, I have learned how to complete color studies and also how to gesturally begin a painting.  
{ Peaches on Coke Box by Danni Dawson}
When I took my first class with Danni, she told me to paint 100 color studies.  I am not sure if I made it to 100, but the majority of my daily paintings completed in 2007 and 2008 began as color studies where I would begin with the complementary color of the predominant local color found in the object I was painting.  She can be a hard task master, bluntly stating what is wrong with a painting or composition, however I believe some of her most critical comments were the ones I learned the most from.  Some lessons are just better learned when they are proceeded by a big mistake....

{Maria by Danni Dawson}

I hope sharing these experiences inspires you to seek out a mentor and value their contributions to your life.
Have a wonderful evening,