Monday, November 24, 2014

The Accidental Artist -Part 4 and then we move on...

As I was preparing to write this post, I received a very special gift from my friend and mentor Shane Garton.  He featured me on his website and told me he was proud of me!  This meant the world to me and I am deeply humbled by his words.

Day Dreams #1 by Shane Garton

If you have been reading my blog posts, you may see a trend developing in the way I "found" my art teachers!  Call it fate?  Call it what you want...whenever the time was right, another art teacher would magically appear in my life.  It was the same way when I met Shane Garton in 1999.  Prior to meeting him, friends kept telling me "you have to meet Shane".  Next thing I know, I wound up meeting him by accident at a coffee shop here in Kimberley.  We had an instant connection as we shared a love and passion for art!  The only problem was that Shane and his wife Edith were packing up and moving back to Tasmania where Shane was originally from.  If only we could have met sooner as we had so much to discuss and so little time!

Hanging out with Shane was very cool!  One day we were downtown having coffee on the patio of a coffee shop and all of a sudden he was struck by the fascinating shapes that were reflected in my sunglasses.  It was at that moment when it occurred to me that yes, artists truly do see things in a different way than everyone else!  It was great to be with someone else who could see things differently.  To quote Jack Shadbolt - "It is one thing to have roamed museums and to have received stimulation to the imagination from great forms of the past or present.  That is a permanent and understood phase of any artist's development.  It is another thing to receive clarification of ideas from a teacher or mentor."  This is what Shane did for me.  By the time I met Shane, I had already learned a great deal of art theory and art history but Shane helped me to really cement all that I had learned.

Homage to Kandinsky by Shane Garton
On our last evening together before he left, Shane and I went into my studio and he decided to teach me absolutely everything he knew about art...IN FOUR HOURS!  My head was spinning and as I look back I wish I had taken notes.  I learned so much from him and somehow everything he taught me in that short period of time sunk in!   He did tell me that someday the mountains will quit talking to me.  Through the years, there have indeed been those moments when I cannot hear the mountains and no doubt the day will come when it will be time for me to leave the mountains.  For this moment, the mountains are still talking and I will continue to listen!  Shane also told me that the way I was painting was not how I will always be painting.  As I study the painters that I truly admire and look at their early and late works I am mesmerized by how their work evolved and changed.  It is very exciting to imagine how my work will change.  What will I be painting when I am 50, 60 and 70 years old?  Will I still be painting landscapes?  What direction will I go?  I am eager to find out and maybe you will join me for the ride?

Day Dreams #3 by Shane Garton
As with my other mentors, Shane helped open the door to a whole new area of art that I had never experienced before.  His paintings were like nothing I had ever seen.  They were abstract and his work was very much guided by emotion and inspiration. Art really is an just "gotta take a line for a walk" as Shane always says!  He would simply begin with one line and let it take him to some amazing places!

One of Shane's favorite artists was Kandinsky.  I have studied Kandinsky and this lead me into other abstract painters. I was then able to understand the work of Jackson Pollack, Clyfford Still, Borduas, and Riopelle.  The world of art truly is a wonderful place and I hope I never quit learning!

My time spent with Shane was way too short before he moved to Tasmania.  I miss him terribly but we have been able to stay in touch through the wonders of the internet.  Please take the time to check out his website at I feel that I received the best art education possible...with not one, but four great mentors.  With all the advice, encouragement and knowledge I received in my early days, how can I possibly go wrong in my art career?  So blessed!  Thank you Shane. 

Shane, Mom & I, Kimberley, BC
September 1999