I was a bit of a peeping-tom (is there a female version of that expression?) over the weekend. Saturday was spent spying on the creative community of Santa Barbara. Armed with a map and a brochure, Paul and I went on the Santa Barbara Studio Artists 2008 Studio Tour. We visited artists from Isla Vista to Montecito, and saw a lot of amazing art and fascinating studios. Some of the homes were pretty outstanding, too. There seemed to be a strong correlation between artistic skill and intriguing interior design.
We started with a visit to Ann Sanders's studio in Isla Vista. She's one of our favorite local artists, and we're the proud owners of a few of her pieces, including her Quail Ridge painting at right. Ann is a plein air artist (as were many of the other artists we visited) and most of each piece is created outdoors. However, she finishes her paintings in the studio and we wanted to see her work environment. Her studio is tucked behind her house in IV and she shares it with her oil-painter husband, Gerry Winant. Paul and I were intrigued by the idea of a shared studio--not sure that our creativity could survive in such close proximity.
We visited eight other artist studios, and found our way through neighborhoods we'd never seen before. We toured grand estates as well as artist studios/residences right next to Highway 101 in downtown Santa Barbara. The art and the studios were all different but there was a strong common thread. Creativity. It was inspiring. I tried to soak it all up to bring it back to my own "studio."
Nora sent along more artistic inspiration on Sunday. She and I both love Maira Kalman, an amazing artist and author. Her children's books (What Pete Ate A-Z, Swami on Rye, etc.) are appealing to all ages and her latest adult book, The Principles of Uncertainty, which first appeared as a blog on the NY Times website, is a unique combination of narrative and portfolio. The fact that she drew a lovely picture of Maggie on her blog has nothing to do with my admiration, but I was pretty excited to discover it. Click on the picture at left to see Maggie in the garden.
Nora's forwarded her favorite Maira quotes from an interview with Ms. Kalman on the blog, Inspiration Boards. If Nora was trying to inspire and encourage her mother, it worked. The message is universal, no matter what the artistic medium.
My secret for drawing is not a secret. It is sitting down and drawing. I do the best I can which means I try not to do it right but just to do it as I feel and as I see.
Getting it right is not a good goal.
The biggest secret is perseverance. Just not stopping no matter what.
I do everything I do because I love to do it, even when I worry or am confused or slightly in despair. Those feelings usually pass. And then the next day is there.
Always a good thing. The next day.
Tomorrow is my next day--a new chance to create and persevere.