|"The Oddball" 8" x 10" Acrylic on Gessobord|
Soooo, I am just dying to finally tell you the good news! I am being mentored by an absolutely amazing artist, one who is very well known (famous if you ask me!) and has been such an inspiration to me that she's literally changed my life already though she doesn't even know it! Her name is Suzanne Berry, and if by chance you don't follow up on the "who's who" of daily painting, she is one of the best, and is by far one of my absolute favorites! And you know what else? She actually not only agreed to mentor me but she also agreed to join with me and some absolutely mind-blowing artists to form a little close-knit peer mentoring and painting group. I honestly am still in shock that they all said yes. I mean seriously - how on earth is little ole me in a group with none other than Suzanne Berry, Crystal Cook, Kyra Wilson, and Alisa Steady!!! Seriously?! Pinch me because I swear I must be dreaming! I mean have you seen their work - oh my goodness, they are honestly some of my favorite painters of all time - no joke! If you haven't seen their beautifully crafted works, so rich in content, detail, talent and beauty that you can't help but stay for more, then go ahead and take a little moment to check them out. I'm not kidding - you'll be happy you did! If they're up to it I'd eventually love to interview each and every one of them and feature them on my blog, but until then, why don't you grab a warm and comforting tea or coffee (or considering the blistering 3 digit heat we've had around here perhaps it'd be better to grab a cool, refreshing lemonade!) and you can just follow the links above to their own blogs to check them out. They are masters of their craft and I am so honored that they would join along with me - more honored than words can express!
So it all came about one day when after years, and yes, literally YEARS of faithfully following Suzanne's blog, waiting for each new post like a little school girl would wait for a new Justin Bieber tweet, that I decided to make one fateful step which would change my life forever. I commented on her blog. Ha, yup, that was it. Just a simple comment is all it took, but for some reason she actually emailed me back. Perhaps this happens more often than I thought or perhaps she writes everyone back who comments on her work, but for me, to see an email from a woman who I look up to like this, well, suffice it to say I was stunned. Overjoyed and simply stunned! I called my husband immediately to tell him the news, and as soon as I finished ranting excitedly to him I phoned my mother to tell her as well. It was just wonderful beyond words. From that email we began speaking back and forth and one day after this had gone on for a time I plucked up the courage and asked her something I still can't believe came out of my mouth: Will you mentor me?
Wow. Like I said, I'm still in shock that she said yes! It's like something out of a fairytale for me. She is an overwhelmingly talented woman, and her art is so masterly crafted that at times I have a hard time telling what's a painting and what's a photograph. And the ones that are more painterly and expressive are so beautiful that they warm your heart when you see them. She's just such a fantastic painter, and I am so truly honored to have her as my art mentor. I don't know, haven't you ever had something that was just beyond belief for you? A role model that you've held in such high esteem that if you were to meet them in person you would totally go all gaga for them and just sit there all star-struck, not able to speak a single word? Well that's how I feel about her. Honestly, that's how I feel about all of the amazing women I am privileged to work alongside with right now and to become deeper friends with as well. It's just such a blessing for me to be a part of this! And you know, it all started with a simple comment on a blog for me. The group was Leslie Saeta's idea, though in all honesty I really had wanted to form something like this anyways, but her marketing challenge really gave me the kick in the bootie I needed. I didn't end up doing all of the challenges for that month, but I did what I could and so far it's been far beyond incredible. =)
The painting above was my response to me and Suzanne's first project together, where we each painted from one of her original photographs. To see her own amazingly gorgeous response, click here. I really loved being able to work on the same project together this last month, and I'm looking forward to doing it more and more! I just feel so incredibly blessed to be working alongside her in this capacity right now. If you are an aspiring artist, honestly, I would urge you to following your own dreams, no matter how grande. Do you have a mentor artist? An artist who can help guide you in your own journey, who's art is the type of art you dream of creating some day? If not, I would encourage you to ask someone to mentor you - granted you might need to have some type of relationship formed with them before you just go and ask a stranger to spend a good deal of time mentoring you.
In my own experience with mentoring relationships, it seems that the mentor learns just as much as the person they are mentoring does, if not more. A relationship like this is never one sided, and you need to understand the implications of this before you even pursue something like it in the first place. That said, these are the types of relationships that change your life and last a lifetime. There is just something so incredibly special about it - I fact, I honestly believe it's how God intended things to be. I mean, for generations beyond number, most businesses and craftsmen learned through apprenticeships. A young hopeful student would find someone who excelled in their craft, ask to learn from them and work for them, and then spend hours working together in a close-knit relationship where their work was critiqued and challenged vivaciously. And so far, at least in my own opinion, it's been so wonderfully customizable for Suzanne and me, which is especially useful considering what we are both going through at the moment, and this has helped keep us from feeling overwhelmed by it all. So yeah, if you don't have someone, perhaps today is the day you start searching and praying for someone who could come alongside you and either learn from you or teach you. You never know what could happen if you only just ask!
Good luck with this and I hope you are having a fantastic day! Oh, and don't forget: For this month's contest, all you have to do is to comment on any of my posts for this month to be entered to win your choice of any available painting I create this month. Well then, happy commenting and God bless! =)