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On Becoming an Artist

Becoming an artist

By Gabby Lodder

I have always asked myself “What exactly is an artist in the eyes of the viewing public?” The dictionary tells us an artist is “One who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria.” Or, “persons having superior skill or ability.” WOW – that’s a lot to live up to, especially the aesthetic criteria part. 
You always hear from people viewing your work that it’s “beautiful,” “great piece of work,” “absolutely love it,” etc. But often you hear that “It doesn’t go with my décor.” Oh my God—did you not just say that you loved it? You either love it or you don’t. Art is in the eye of the beholder. It needs to speak to that person. They need to visually see it on their walls.  
I am a self-taught artist that began with watercolor classes with Martha Sweeney and Paul Taylor. I went on to oil classes with Pat Tribastone, pastel workshops with Liz Haywood Sullivan and Christine Waara, sketching classes with Chris Kolupski, abstract art class with Brian O’Neill (which was thinking way out-of-the box for me, but I enjoyed thoroughly). Finally, with the urging of many of my fellow artists, I went on to enjoy pastels, which have become one of my favorite mediums. All of this helped me build confidence and hone my skills. 
My work has been shown and juried into numerous exhibitions and received Merit and Juror’s awards. But that is after many years and hours of practice, practice and more practice.  
Joining the Penfield Art Association and Rochester Art Club has given me incentive to try harder and produce the type of artwork that wins awards. My greatest achievement was being juried in as a Signature Member of the Rochester Art Club. I finally felt that I merited that “aesthetic criteria.” Just recently I was juried into the Adirondack National Pastel Exhibition with my pastel painting entitled Moose River. To be part of a group of accomplished national pastel artists is just the incentive to inspire me further in my future artwork. 
I joined the Main Street Artists in its inception five years ago and never regretted it. Having an area of your own to paint and get inspired, receive feedback from your fellow studio artists and to be able to display your finished work to the public is reward enough.



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