Friday, December 2, 2011

Bucket List

I've never felt the need for a "bucket list".  I mean it's such pressure, right?  What if you don't get it all done?? And doesn't the list change over the years??  And why make yet another list??  But I have to say, I just crossed one off the list... and I've never even made one!

For years I've been following several artists who's work I admire. Years ago it never occurred to me I would ever meet them, let alone take a workshop from any of them.  Yet I watched their websites and read the workshop adds in the back of magazines, dreaming that someday...never realizing I was mentally making a bucket list.

Since my mom's death four years ago I've honored her memory (she was very supportive of my art) by taking a workshop.  These are not just vacations or gifts I give myself or things I can cross off a list. This is serious stuff! They are a time to reflect, (often I am alone in a hotel) on my art and myself.  They are a time to meet and interact with other artists and share experience.  And it's a time of learning from artists who's work I greatly admire. They have all been growth experiences.

I've blogged each year about my experiences. (I will try to post those in the sidebar as archived posts for you to look at)  As luck would have it (a figure of speech, I don't believe in luck) my son moved with his job to Phoenix, Az. I wasted no time checking out online the famous Scottsdale Artists' School.  The kids were just minutes from the school and one of my favorite artists was going to be there in November!  It was the beginning of August and that workshop was full with a waiting list a few weeks later.  Without really thinking it through well, (like how I would get there and where the money would come from!) I put down my deposit and I was in. 

So I saved my pennies and planned my trip with great expectation hoping I wasn't building it up too much and be disappointed.  I reasoned that at least I would spend a week with the kids in the sun and warmth of the southwestern landscape that I love, so no matter what, it was worth the cost.  And I was right.  The time spent with the kids was awesome.  And Charles Reid did not disappoint!

Now if you don't know Charles Reid, google him!  He is one of the most talented living watercolor artists in this country.  (not just my opinion)  His style is loose.  Very loose.  But I am drawn to that because, while it seems that loose would be easier, quite the opposite is true.  So most of us struggle to be loose and still make something recognizable!
First day, first demo
What I experienced is an older (older than me-so that's relative!) artist who is self taught in watercolor.  What makes his techniques interesting is that he was an oil painter who uses watercolor the way you use oils. But what makes him remarkable to me as an artist was the way he modeled form and manipulated the medium!  At one point I told him if I tried to put those same colors in those same intensities on my paper to paint a face, it would look like a clown!  He just said, sometimes it does!  His never did....
Finished painting
For the rest of that morning I sat transfixed as he painted  a portrait in two hours.  It was inspiring.  It was daunting!  Each afternoon we struggled to implement what he taught.  One day "getting it" the next day "losing it!" And I found myself afraid that I didn't have what it takes to paint that well.  So the fear paralyzes you.  And if you are paralyzed you cant grow. That was just the first day.  It was a week long, people!!

I have many things that need to be done around here for the holidays-so let me finish this blog in the coming weeks.  I'm looking forward to sharing what I learned with everyone.  The challenge now is to keep painting that way so I don't lose what I've learned!   Check back next Friday for more workshop adventures!
Day two.

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