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Thursday, August 13, 2015

August Is Artist Appreciation Month - Come And Join Us!

I was recently made aware that August is Artist Appreciation Month. The idea is basically to discuss/share about an artist who inspired you in your creative journey. It can be someone famous, someone local, a friend or a family member.

Have you heard of it? No? Me either.

After doing a little research, I found that the idea had been around for a few years but had not really taken off. Still, the idea has merit and felt like something worthwhile, so I've written my story below.

Before we get to my journey, I'd like to ask you to share yours. You can tell your story in the comments below OR if you share your story on your blog, please leave a link in the comments for folks to follow.

I think in this sharing we'll find we have things in common we would never have guessed and I also think there will be quite a few surprises. I hope you'll join me in sharing your story!

Here's mine:

When I looked back at my own journey, I realized my catalyst to undertake an artistic life began with a visit to a craft fair when I was either 15 or 16 years old. Mind you, my sole reason for attending the event was because my mother told me I could drive if I went and since that was uppermost on mind in those days, you can bet I went! I liked crafts as well as the next female, but I mainly went because I was able to drive. (The priorities of a teenager!)

After arriving at the event, I quickly became bored and wandered off by myself rather than trailing around behind my mother. (Teenage angst showing.) In my wanderings, I came across an artist painting a macaw parrot with watercolors. The parrot was mostly finished as I recall, but what held me spellbound was watching her use green paint to "carve" a leaf out of a white background.

The artist was quite skilled at creating form and shape in one wash. (I learned this much later.) As I watched, she added lights and darks, lifted a bit of paint and suddenly, it looked like I could have reached over and picked that leaf up. It seemed so effortless!

I was instantly, completely captivated, a willing hostage to the magic she was creating.

After watching for several minutes, she engaged me in conversation and explained a little about what she was doing. I have no idea what paints she was using, what her palette looked like, how many pigments were on the palette, the type of brushes she used, the type of paper she was using or whether she had two buckets of water or just one.

All I knew was that I had been witness to something incredible and I wanted to create magic too!

She told me about some classes on the other side of town from me, but I was never able to locate them. I searched for again after I moved to that area, but I had no luck in finding her. I'm sad to say I had no clue what her name was nor did I ever locate her.

I wish I could.

When I walked out of that craft fair, I knew with unshakeable conviction that one day I'd be able to paint with watercolors. I can still see that leaf coming to life before my eyes when I look back at that memory over 30 years later!

The artist engaged me with her humor and willingness to share. She encouraged me to pursue my interest by telling me about the classes. But maybe best of all, she made it seem possible that I too could one day create art.

There were no discussions about how hard watercolor is to learn or how long it takes or anything negative. She didn't put up any obstacles nor did she set herself on a pedestal to be admired by the little people. Instead, she showed me her joy in a simple pleasure.

It took another decade and a few more cataclysmic events before I became serious about the pursuit of my art. I'd always dabbled in crafts, but I believe the idea that I could actually making a living with art, be an artist (gasp!), was planted that day.

If I could sit down and talk with her today, I would thank her for sharing her joy, for demonstrating the simple pleasure of painting without apology for how good or how bad the work was. I would thank her for encouragement to take classes and for planting the seeds that have brought me to where I am today.

There's plenty of negativity out on the web these days. The political arena is heating up with all kinds all balderdash, so how about joining me in sharing your story about an artist or artists that inspired you on your creative journey? If you do, please leave a link in the comments as I would love to read your inspiration. ~ Laure


  1. I hope that your inspirational artist might read your blog and contact you!!! How wonderful would that be!!!

    I do want to mention that your watercolor class was the very first online class I ever took. Absolutely loved your gentle teaching style and your art was very inspirational to me! Really loved your class!

    Ellen D

    1. Thank you, Ellen! I'm not sure the artist would even recognize me in the post, but it would be awesome if she did. I doubt if I was the only person she inspired. She just seemed like that type of person, to reach out to anyone who showed interest.

  2. I have been inspired by Dyan Reaveley. I live fairly close to her studio in Harrogate, UK, & a few years ago found myself at an open day there. I don't really know why I went to a workshop there as I had no pretensions to being artistic, but it only took one class & I was hooked. Dyan gave me the confidence to have a go & be happy with what I produced, to know that it is for my benefit & no-one else's. She taught me that there are no rules in art journaling, that you don't have to be an artist to do it & that you CAN'T get it wrong. Brilliant.
    Gill K

    1. I could not agree with her more, Gill! Art journaling is what we want it be and for me, in its best form, it's a portal back to a memory that will not come my way again. So glad you took that class and thank you for sharing!


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