Sharing everything, but chips

Art in a can?

So how are your New Year’s resolutions going? I hit a new low this year, I broke a resolution on January 2nd. Ah well, as anyone who has ever left me alone with a bag of chips knows, I have no willpower. The fact that I’ve had any success as a painter is only due to the fact that I love being in the studio and painting is one of my favourite activities. Second only to eating chips, of course….mmm, chips.

However, my year of art giving in 2012 is already going very well.  I am currently working on a painting for a local charity, I’ll write more about that when it’s complete. I’m working on the painting above for my studio building as well, just to brighten up a shared work area (well, it’s actually a washroom, but that doesn’t sound special enough.)

And now a new opportunity has come up, one I didn’t expect. Rachael Ashe is a mixed media artist I met when we were both interviewed for Chris Tyrell’s marketing book for artists, “Making It.” Last week, she asked me if I would consider mentoring her.

To be honest, I was taken aback by the request. I think of myself as an artist who is still learning and striving to improve all the time, and not successful enough to mentor someone. But after Rachael and I discussed what she was looking for in a mentor, which was basically art advice, we agreed to give it a three month trial and see how things were working out. I realized that Rachael was not looking for some expert who could answer all her questions, but someone whose work she liked who would take the time to consider her work and art. She told me that she got the idea from my blog that I was someone who would be willing to share my experiences. 

Unfortunately I have encountered artists who are very secretive about their work, their success and their contacts. But I once read that if you jealously guard your ideas, you don’t have the energy for new ones to appear. If you give your ideas away, more will arrive, which is something that applies to all aspects of life.

When I first got my studio in the Mergatroid Building, I was lucky enough to sublet from Cheryl Fortier, an artist who has become a good friend. Cheryl was a wonderful example for me of someone who treated painting as a profession, she worked regular hours and also taught art classes. Cheryl gave me great advice on all the business aspects of art, including how to set up for the Culture Crawl. Looking back, Cheryl was definitely a mentor, and with her current adventures in artist’s residencies she continues to inspire me.

So I guess it’s time for me to pass on my art knowledge, which hopefully is larger than I realize. But the good news for my blog readers is that I’ll pass on any lessons that Rachael finds helpful. And in an ironic twist, I was already keen to pick Rachael’s brain about social media, an area of expertise for her. So I’ll be able to share Rachael’s advice on social media as well. How expert is she? Well, when I went to look up her website she had already done a blog post on this mentorship idea, and tweeted about the post as well. Clearly it’ll take everything I have to keep up with Rachael!

So the year of giving is off to a great start! Now, where are those chips?