Here is my final painting for the Masterclass, alongside the sketches i submitted as possibilities at the start of the week.
I am very inspired by the whole process… the faculty chose a thumbnail sketch that was quite a far cry from the types of painting I normally approach - which pushed me outside my comfort zone and into experimentation. Each night I would hit my stride at around midnight and the brush would start working its way around in unfamiliar patterns. This was perhaps the biggest lesson I learned at IMC 2010, and one that is difficult to put into words.
Mid way through the week I had a brief talk with Boris Vallejo which was a profound confirmation of much of my inner dialogue this year. He expressed how important it was to have fun with painting - especially when you are struggling - and not just to enjoy it as a means to an end, but to really consciously appreciate and enjoy the visceral act of what you are doing.
While I feel that the final image I created is not a portfolio piece, its value to me personally is inestimable. When Greg and Scott picked up my brushes and the three of us stabbed at the canvas simultaneously… when Jeremy Jarvis compared my painting to my digital reference and my fechin reference, noting that it was closer to the fechin with a sly smile… when Boris said he could see how the painting was changing me just by watching me paint. These are the moments I have been longing for for years - and were worth the trip tenfold.
Coming out of a long period of semi-isolation in a country without a booming painting scene, into a group of such inspired, spirited people, stirred up incredible shifts in me. Never before have I felt such a strong compulsion to move beyond what is possible, into ineffable territory. The faculty were both mentors and at the same time fellow illustrators - and I have not felt myself to be in such good company in all my life.
Above all else, I was reminded that great artists live full lives of joy, inspiration, and consideration of others. When Donato spoke about how a painting was rejected from an exhibition, only to be placed into a museum where school children got to walk past it and see it every day - when he placed the effect of his work over its recognition or sale value - I was reminded, in part, of why I do what I do.
To see a generation of painters so healthy, so inspired, so vitally alive - gives me great courage on my own path - and I aspire to be part of a generation that carries this great legacy forward. I can't recommend the masterclass 2011 enough - just don't take my spot!
*PS* - I am almost home from my trip. I will be updating a backlog of posts that I havn't gotten to do due to lack of internet. Please excuse them being a bit late! Thanks for sticking round :) a