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May 6, 2021
I’ve been in a mentorship group for artists for the last six months called “Levelling UP”. It’s been an interesting journey. The greatest thing that has come out of this online group is the new relationships I have formed with other artists. Sometimes, I wish to learn more about solid painting technique, colour and composition, other times I’m happy with the outlet of critiques, art series development and theory around selling your art. I believe all the conversation going on in the groups I’m in is setting the groundwork for something magical and attributing to my growth as an artist.
I was hoping that much of this education would be similar to an apprenticeship of sorts to jump to the next level. The old masters took apprentices to teach them the craft of painting. Rembrandt, for example, had a workshop of several apprentices which belonged to a guild. They would have been more like a tradesman or craftsman, but those days are gone and to truly find someone who is willing to do this type of apprenticeship, I dont believe exists any longer.
Wikipedia defines a guild, also spelled gild, as “an association of craftsmen or merchants formed for mutual aid and protection and for the furtherance of their professional interests. Guilds flourished in Europe between the 11th and 16th centuries and formed an important part of the economic and social fabric in that era.”
When you travel many parts of Holland, you can see the influence of guilds and how artists or trades people worked on various art projects, churches and in private homes. Rembrandt created way too many paintings to be able to complete them all himself. He had his craft people do most of the work. Then, right at the very end of the painting, he would sweep in and put the last finishing touches using his “Alla Prima” strokes and sign it.
Progress along the road ends up looking different to each individual. It’s a mind game and can work for or against you. One day you think you are advancing at a speedy rate, the next day, the creative block stops you dead in your tracks. Eventually you find something new that works, like a new group of artist friends that can make all the difference to your next stroke or motivation. Every professional was once an amateur and ongoing professionalism is based on an apprentice attitude with a theory and practice to benchmark progress.
If there is one thing I have learned this past year, it is when the time is right, things become presented to you; never before you need it and not too late. In terms of creative aspirations, more is attainable with an open and inquisitive mindset.
“Direction is more important than speed. We are so busy looking at our speedometers that we forget the milestones.” Unknown Author
Anyways, about the Painting:
Path Unknown was taken from a walk photo from my friend, Evelyn Kleis. I believe it was from the Cypress Hills (Alberta side). This painting was pivotal in my application of painting trees and was influenced by master artist, David Langevin. I had just come home from his workshop inn Winnipeg and was truly inspired with a more subtle approach to applying colour glazes.
An orignal painting is a great gift idea for Mother’s Day.