For the past 26 years, I have been a mentor to high school students. Some of these relationships came about through established organizations such as the Grand Marais Art Colony and Kinship Mentor North. Parents who homeschool their kids have also asked me to provide art education that they did not feel confident teaching.
I’ve mentored young musicians, artists and photographers… international students, kids in foster care… kids from all different backgrounds.
It is a wonderful feeling when I see these kids go on to pursue art degrees, or success in music careers.
They say I inspired them to become artists. Little did they know that I was inspired by them the whole time.
You do not need to go to art school to be an inspiration. Just tell your story however you choose to tell it. Your passion will make you stand out. Once you achieve a level of confidence, you will be a leader. You will not need validation from others, because you will only need approval from one person. Yourself.
I think the majority of people lack confidence. Not in their skill, but in themselves. Your confidence will draw others to you. They will want what you have, or want to spend time with you.
When I was in my 20’s, I wanted to paint dark, disturbing images. They were usually self portraits in black and white, often with blood red dripping from them. I thought I was being deep. They carried titles of resentment like Umbrage and Imbroglio. Those morphed into oil pastels like Screaming In Your Sky and The Great Train Robbery Of My Soul when I was in my early 30’s.
When I was 36, my daughter was born. When I picked up the paintbrush again, the paintings came out in bright colors.
That is when I began to have success as an artist. When I say success, I mean personal satisfaction and sales.
Not all of my paintings are happy or colorful, but they are about more than just scaring my mother.
My paintings are moments. They’re like visual journal entries that tell my reality. My intention is twofold. I want to tell my story, and I want to do it in a way that is compelling enough to make others want to tell their story, too.
As I have said, my daughter’s birth marked a significant change in my art. But the simplest life events find their way onto my canvas. When my hat fell off into the river, and I went under the overpass to retrieve it. Driving along highway 61 at dusk.
Whatever my brain is processing, will eventually come out one way or another.