Do you remember me? My name is Darlene Kruse, and I was a participant in the workshop you did in Ashland, Oregon in September 2001. You encouraged me in my work, even traded me one of my originals for one you created in the workshop. You gave me an assignment -- to do 40 small pieces, then take my 10 favorites and turn them into full size works on watercolor paper. Seven years have passed, and I wanted to update you...and thank you.
As I worked on my 40 pieces, two areas where I lacked skills and knowledge became obvious: (1) I didn't have tools for generating work when it didn't come spontaneously and (2) I had no clue how to mix color. So I set about learning and acquiring the art tools I needed -- found teachers and workshops and eventually a mentor I worked with for almost 5 years (the first two years in black & white only -- the last three gradually adding in color).
It's been a fabulous journey, Jonathan, kicked into high gear by the workshop and your encouragement. A journey of learning and healing and discovery. I've developed techniques for generating work when it doesn't come intuitively and spontaneously. I've learned how to mix color and even have a couple of favorite palettes. And so much more -- how to express myself with texture and color. How to work with gallery directors. How to be professional in my presentations. And with so much old stuff healed and greater confidence in myself and my work.
For the past two years I have been regularly exhibiting my mixed media paintings between here and the Oregon coast, entering competitions, etc. My work is regularly juried into exhibitions at Umpqua Valley Arts Association in Roseburg; at the end of the year, I had 3 paintings juried into a regional competition at Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay; last month I had two paintings juried into the gallery shop at the Rogue Gallery in Medford. I have a one-woman show at Umpqua Valley in September 2008.
I set a goal of working full-time as a mixed media artist, stock & fine art photographer, and teacher of both by June 2008. I've spent the last 6 years getting out of debt, saving money to support myself while I build my business, buying equipment I need, developing the business and art skills I need. The day has arrived. On March 1, I jump off into life as a full-time photographer and artist.
The genesis for it all was your encouragement, Jonathan. Because of your encouragement, because you thought one of my collages was good enough to trade me for one of yours, I had to see myself differently and decide what to do with your belief in my work. And here I am. Thank you!! I hope that someday I can pass on to someone else what you have given to me. To some degree I am already -- several people who have heard what I'm doing, leaping, following my heart & my passion but with solid work to prepare for it have said it inspires them to take another look at their dreams and passions. That's a beautiful thing. Hopefully I can continue to pay it forward.
Thanks. Jonathan. I hope you're coming back to Oregon one of these days -- I'd love to take another workshop :-).
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