I can point to the exact moment when my path to becoming an artist began. The setting was a business seminar. At the time, I was a banker. Every single person in the room received a full set of colored, scented markers. After using bank-issued black ball point pens for 15 years, colored pens seemed almost shocking. I remember clearly thinking “We get to use color!” while experiencing a mix of bewilderment and excitement.
That tiny, almost imperceptible earthquake ultimately led me to study what makes people creative and soon I began experimenting with watercolors. When we moved to Lake Lure, I took my first workshop. There is a saying “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” The teacher in this class was a master at starting a painting with chaos and turning it into something beautiful. My most important lesson in that first class was that you need to let a painting become what it wants to be.
Watercolor does not respond well to force and control. The more I am able to let go as I paint, which can be downright uncomfortable, the more I am likely to be satisfied with the outcome. I’ve also learned to give myself as much paper as I want-no scarcity for this artist! This frees me to see each start as just “paint and paper”, not an emerging masterpiece. Many of the paintings I show are the second or third attempt at the same subject. I am a big believer in the value of practice.
Trees inspire me. When you look at the word “inspire”, it literally means to “breathe in”. So the majestic trees that provide our clean, oxygen rich air are my inspiration. Sometimes, I stop my car and take pictures of a particularly interesting specimen. Many such trees have made their way into my paintings.
For now, painting is a hobby. The rest of the time, I’m either working with my leadership development company Carnes & Associates, Inc. or water skiing.