"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Never just one teacher



I learned this technique for this watercolor last year from Connie Seaborne, the daughter of Bert Seaborne, in a class at OKC City Arts Center. While it is a student watercolor copying her techniques, I learned much about myself, and how to be freer with my painting.

I, a student of New Mexico and pueblos, learned much from this woman...expressionistically, impressionistically and more. It reaffirmed my belief that everyone should "sit at the feet" of as many teachers as possible.

My primary watercolor teacher is the great Cletus Smith of Oklahoma City, a talented representational artist who I identify with because of my journalistic and photographic experience.

But you always need more than one teacher, I tell my students...always find out what fresh viewpoints all the others have. It applies to art as well.

It scares me that I've really started my art career late in life. It's taken me a long time to establish my own "voice" in writing. I no longer have that much time in painting. The only hope is to learn from as many different teachers as possible.

Which is also why I enjoy teaching...my students, present and the exceptional former ones, may not realize it, but they become my teachers...in spirit, in attitude, in fresh viewpoints, in words, in skill and talent, in inspiration.

That's what's brewing in my coffee pot.

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