One of the hardest things about relocating to Maine was leaving my painting students back in Rochester. We have formed deep friendships, and I want them to continue painting.
That has, actually, happened. They regularly send me photos of their work to critique. This makes me feel as if I’m still somehow connected to their process. It is also how I learned that two of my students—Nina Koski and Victoria Brzustowicz—are painting together regularly.
“Through the years I have had running buddies, riding buddies, and drinking buddies, but painting has always been a solitary pursuit for me,” Victoria told me. “Your classes were the first time I had painted with others, and I enjoyed it on so many levels.”
She and Nina both stressed that making a date to paint with someone else gives them the impetus they need to actually get outside to work. Plein air painting, after all, requires the additional steps of assembling your kit and moving it to your location. “With so many other things demanding my attention, it can be truly challenging to carve out time for painting, especially plein air painting,” said Nina.
“Painting with a partner offers camaraderie, and the incentive to get my materials together and squeeze that paint-date into an already busy week,” Victoria said.
Both of them stressed the importance of having a trusted peer to offer constructive criticism. “Having a companion to paint with also means that you have someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to give you feedback on your work, and someone to give feedback to,” said Nina.
“I can count on Nina for a valued second opinion and objective point of view,” said Victoria. “Nina and I are very different painters, and I love seeing how she structures her paintings and the subject matter she chooses. I love taking a break from my work and seeing how her vision is materializing on the panel. I then go back to my work with a fresh eye.”
“It’s important to develop a critical eye, both for one’s own and for others’ work, and to be able to verbalize one’s thoughts and reactions to it,” Nina told me. “It is also wonderfully interesting to see how we each approach the same subject matter in different ways.”
Victoria told me she enjoys reading on this blog about the different people I paint with, and that it’s inspiring her to enlarge her circle of painting pals. “Each painter’s point of view is different, even when we are standing in the same spot, and I find that exciting, inspiring, and so much fun.”
Which were exactly the words Nina used as well: “It’s just more fun!”
Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in August 2015. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.