My first three weeks at the Mount Gretna School of Art have vastly altered my perspective on both my artwork and the world around me. Learning from established artists such as Elise Schweitzer, Barbara Grossman, and Nancy Barnes to name a few has allowed me to intimately understand the various processes employed in drawing and painting. There is no one right way to do things, and that is a difficult lesson to learn.
For most of my artistic career, I prioritized the product over the process. Paradoxically, this led to worse end-products as the process is what actually makes a piece successful. In drawing class at Mount Gretna, we have been doing exercises that connect our hands to our brains. Basically, we are learning how to see again. To most, these exercises would look like meaningless scribbles, but to us they act as maps for the environment we are depicting. Creating these maps has forced me to stop focusing on the idea of a final drawing but to actively engage with what I am seeing.
Being around so many other motivated artists also contributes to this desire to understand rather than to produce. All of the students here at Mount Gretna are here to learn and to grow, which encourages me even more to improve myself and focus less on what other people want from me. When initially accepted into the program, I had fears that the other students would be better than me or would judge me by my skill level. Once I arrived, I was delighted to find that everyone was here to learn about what they love and better themselves. The connections we have made are strong because they are genuine; we all want to support and uplift each other in order to be the best artists possible.
The incredible teachers coupled with the equally incredible students come together to create the ideal environment for growth. I surprise myself everyday at what I am able to do when I stop thinking about the end product and start thinking about what I am seeing. Art is a constant journey and I have learned to accept that there really is no destination