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Kim Vawter

Note 7 Not just 'Artistic Inspiration'

March 18, 2008 at 4:01 AM

When I was studying painting in college i recalled that as a Freshman art students, we were such Artistic Divas. We painted when we felt the 'artistic inspiration.' We were soon cut down to size by a crusty old art Professor (who, as i write this was the same age as I am now.) He told all of us that to study art you needed to practice painting every day and for us that meant 3 and 4 hour "lab" time every day. He told us that we had to practice painting if we were sick or if we were well. We needed to paint if we were happy or sad. Mood had nothing to do with it. Inspired or not we had to paint daily to be disciplined to be a good artist.
I sat upstairs on that hard bench with my drawing board and had to draw endless landscapes and still life pictures. i could only use what i saw outside the window or what I saw inside the studio. There were no flights of fancy or made up fantasy landscapes allow. Those were the rules.
i was permitted to use only charcoal to show tones and shades. Two years later i was given 4 colors, yellow ochre, black, white and burnt umber. Of those 4 colors I was to mix any color and shade that I needed to complete my composition. Once again we had to paint from nature. Our professor did not hand out compliments like candy. He scowled and grunted and allowed a a quick nod of his head and then he turned on his heel and walked away chewing on an unlit cigar. I wanted to shoot darts out of my eyeballs at him. He hardly ever told anyone that they were doing anything right.
I remember everything about him. He drove a 1950 Kaiser. He wore the same uniform white shirt and grey slacks everyday. He had a pencil thin grey mustache that never appeared to grow. He was very grey. I really hated his guts. His name was Vincent Campanella. He was the best teacher ever because he taught me to get over myself and to practice everyday.
I did, however get my degree. I painted and learned to focus on the task at hand. Now that I am learning this new art form I do practice everyday.
Today I have a cold, head ache, and would like to roll up in a blanket until spring. I couldn't connect two measures together. My bow went this way and my fingers landed on the wrong string. I walked away and got some coffee. I put a corned beef brisket into the oven and took another shot at it.
Better. I dropped the bow and danced my fingers on the strings first. Then I bowed the rhythm. I just put the two together and I got it. I turned on my heels and grunted. "Sounds ok." (I don't hand out compliments like candy either.)

From P. Trouvé
Posted on March 18, 2008 at 11:26 AM
Oh! thanks you so much! this is so nice. You write so well, and this is soooooooooo true. thank you so much for sharing those though with us. It would be marvelous if all of us late sarter could one day meet.
Have a great practice and recover well!
From Donna Clegg
Posted on March 18, 2008 at 12:10 PM
Thanks for a great post. It is inspiring.
From Ian S
Posted on March 18, 2008 at 2:57 PM
Below is a quote taken from the Facebook group celebrating my fantastic violin teacher, Sally O'Reilly:
In response to an accusation that the O'Reilly approach was overly focused on left hand technique, she replied: "It doesn't matter how beautiful you sound...if you can't play in tune, NOBODY will want to listen to you...besides, what do you think all the Sevcik is for?
From Mary Skeet
Posted on March 18, 2008 at 3:35 PM
Thank you! I had a teacher who told me only to practice on days that I eat, but your story finally hammered that message home for me.

Now I'm going to go practice.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on March 18, 2008 at 5:08 PM
Nice post!

Mary, I love this comment of yours:
>I had a teacher who told me only to practice on days that I eat.

That's hilarious!

From Drew Lecher
Posted on March 18, 2008 at 6:45 PM
Beautiful and so very well written. Thanks.

(Some of my kids skip meals, so I tell them to practice everyday they breathe…)


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