Monday, December 26, 2011

Mentoring for Plein Air Painters

As my loyal followers know, I offer mentoring workshops for outdoor painters here in Sedona as well as on Campobello Island.  (Visit and for details.)  "Mentoring" means different things to different people, so here's my take on it.

In some ways, mentoring is what you might look for when you don't know where to go next.  "Where to go" may mean where to go artistically, or where to go in a business sense.  One may satisify the soul, the other the stomach.

Plato & Aristotle - a famous mentor/mentee pair

Where to go in a business sense has a very concrete goal - to make more money.  Having been solely a working artist for over a decade, I feel I'm successful and that my experiences and insights can help you in a mentoring workshop.

Where to go artistically, however, is more difficult.  Imagine being the guru on the mountaintop, and everyone's climbing to you for advice.  It's easy to give everyone the same mysterious answer - "just keep painting," seems to be popular - but I like to give something more personal and useful.

Beginning painters don't need to climb the mountain in search of wisdom.  Just read the books, take the workshops, and practice the craft.  But those who have finally become fluent in their medium and are no longer beginning painters are in a different spot.  They need to learn the finer aspects of the craft and to receive guidance on satisfying the soul.

It is these painters who would make ideal students for the mentoring workshops.  They want to go somewhere, but they don't know where.  They want to become not just better painters but better artists.  An artist is someone who is using his craft to move along some path toward happiness and fulfillment, and my goal is to help you with that.

There's one more type of mentoring, and that's a retreat.  A retreat is a time for you to explore and to largely find your own way.  For retreats, I offer my services as a guide.  I'll show you the best places to paint and, if you want it, help with issues of craft.  But more importantly, the time is yours to explore the landscape - both the landscape outside you, and the one within.

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