It's a good thing when you start out on a new journey to have someone up ahead who has already walked some of the paths that you're on and offer guidance, support, encouragement and advice. I am feeling very blessed in this area right now.
A couple of months ago I stepped out and took a chance at an internship with an artist I admire. I had been following Mati's blog for a month or so, not really realizing that she was in the SF area until she posted one day that she was looking for an intern. I was feeling bold and confident that day, so I quickly responded with an email letting her know that I would love to do it. She wrote back and said that we should meet over coffee, and then I retreated a little. I thought to myself, "Who do I think I am? I'm probably not at all what she's looking for." But I decided that if she wanted to meet me, I should go. And so I did. And I wasn't really nervous... I just decided to be myself, and if it was meant to be, it would be. We met for coffee and instantly she felt like a friend. We talked and got to know each other a bit, then walked over to her apartment and studio. She said she'd love to have me come as a trial for a month, so we could see if we were a good fit, and then gave me a hug as I made my way back to the BART station to go home. I left feeling so excited and inspired.
So for the last month, I've been going to San Francisco on Mondays to hang out (I mean work) with Mati Rose McDonough. We work together on getting her etsy orders ready for shipping, chat about life and the creative journey, and work on various other projects. She is very generous and super encouraging. I was a little intimidated one day when we were in her studio painting. I had done some painting at home, but here I was with someone who had so much more experience and learning under her belt. Someone with actual success selling her art. But she was so supportive and gave me a few nudges to just go for it. It was really fun. My painting is still there, and I'll work on it more another time. She's on a trip for the month of June, so I'll miss my adventurous Mondays for the next few weeks, but we decided we're a good team, so I'll start again in July. I'm amazed that she finds it so helpful to have me around. I feel like we're playing. I enjoy the time away doing something out of my norm, and am learning so much. We eat good too... great little spots all throughout the mission district in SF.
My other mentor is someone I've never met (in fact, she doesn't know of me at all). Kelly Rae Roberts. She's a good friend of Mati's, and I actually found out about Mati through Kelly's book and then blog. I bought Taking Flight: Ispiration + Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings last fall when I first began this journey into art and painting. I'd seen it a few times in Barnes and Noble and was drawn to the artwork, and then decided to buy it. This book is a treasure. Kelly shares the story of her journey (a "late bloomer" in the artistic life, like me), gives inspiration and techniques with easy to follow directions. She writes with vulnerability, like she's sharing the details of her adventures down the artful roads with a close friend. I've been so encouraged by reading each chapter. She's down to earth and inspires confidence.
They're teaching together at a retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains next February. I'm so so so hoping to go!