August 27, 2015

Artist Appreciation Month

"Quarry Moon" by Peter Sculthorpe

Recently I was invited to take part in Artist Appreciation Month by Patience Brewster. If you’re not already familiar with Patience Brewster, she is the sole designer of the Christmas ornaments her company produces. I happily agreed to participate as I rarely write at length here. When I think about the artists that have influenced me the most, I can list many names including Andrew Wyeth, Gustav Klimt, Sargent Singer, William Blake and Gennine Zlatkis.

"Moonscape" by Peter Sculthorpe

There is one artist, however, that has greatly impacted my career as a painter. Peter Sculthorpe is a marvelous landscape artist from Chester County, Pennsylvania. His paintings truly capture the heart and soul of the Pennsylvania countryside. Sculthorpe's depiction of the trees in winter are breathtakingly haunting and his summer scenes are rich in gem like color. They celebrate the natural beauty of my region, so they are also filled with nostalgia.

It was at the very beginning of my art career that I approached Peter with a request for an apprenticeship. Looking back this was such a time of chaos and doubt, I had just deferred a graduate program in literature at Villanova University that I would never go back to. On top of it all I had just gotten married. I was pretty brazen to contact Peter out of the blue, but needed some direction from an older and accomplished artist. Having nothing to lose I emailed him.

 Unfortunately he wasn't taking on any apprentices at the time, but told me that he believed in me and that I had the talent to succeed. I can tell you I have opened that email many times, during the long nights or slow days when everything seemed impossible. It really provided me with the confidence I needed to continue doing my art.

"Last Snow on Buck Run" by Peter Sculthorpe

I often reflect on what I will say, years from now, to a new artist. What advice I would give knowing how much weight those words carry. Right now I would say, you have to be resilient and not remember all the "no thank you" or "we regret to inform you" or hear them rather as "not right now". Also the internal critic shouldn't be the only voice you listen to. Going out into nature or wherever you draw your inspiration from, it is vital to your art and well being. Keep creating, even if the feeling isn't there because your hands have to stay in practice.

I single out Peter Sculthorpe, but that is not to diminish any of the other artists that have touched my life. It is amazing, for instance the vibrancy of William Blake. His work sparks such a creative force in others it is absolutely contagious. My appreciation for every artist is great, the world would certainly be a less interesting place without all of them.

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