I Love to Learn

Just about weeks ago, my husband and I got up freakishly early, loaded the car with our bags and two sleepy little kids and headed the western half of the state. While we were headed that way to visit family, what originally got the ball rolling on this particular trip was a small art mentorship. Even though it was a very fast trip with very little time spent on art specifically, it was a great reminder of why I always love learning new things and expanding my horizions.

I am not sure how much I have talked about MAP (Montana Artreprenuership Program)on this blog. In a nutshell, it teaches artists business skills since we are, as a group, not notorious for having any. I enrolled last year and as I am getting closer and closer to my certification date I am tying up all the loose ends on my homework. One of the requirements was that I spend five hours shadowing a working artist and learning something specific to my medium. Since I paint very thickly, abstractly and in very little detail, I felt compelled to try something totally different. When told what I was looking for in a mentor, Jennette (my MAP coach) had a name in mind immediately: Asha Murthy MacDonald. This is the point in reading where you need to take a brief intermission, open a new tab and check out her work. But do come back.

What you see on Asha’s website only scratches the surface. Like any art, you really need to see it in real life to get the full effect. Her paintings are so incredibly smooth and luminous. In real life, the glow really is amazing and creates this depth that seems to go on forever. Overall, it is just totally different from my work and that is exactly what I was shooting for.

So I got to spend a wonderful afternoon at her house learning an entirely new way to paint. I paint mostly on canvas, she uses panels. Her scenes tend towards realistic, mine not so much. But most noteworthy is the sheer amount of paint used. The amount of paint she squeezed out for multiple layers on a large painting is the same I would use for tiny details on a mini painting. My habit of scooping or squeezing out a ton of paint and than using it all was extremely hard to break. I also had a hard time remembering to constantly dampen the panel, something I don’t really do. All of it was challenging to my current mindset and working habits.

All this is not to say I am planning to abandon what I have been doing to be a super glazer. I love impasto waaaaay too much for that to ever happen. But ever since learning all these wonderful new techniques, my brain has been firing constantly as I think of new things I could do and new pieces I could work up. And that is why I have told you all this story of my weekend away. Because I love reminding people how much fun learning is and why you should continue to pursue it. No one knows everything, and there are tons of people out there willing to share. You just have to find them.

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