Many use the term “getting out there” to reference dating, but I’m using it in regards to looking at art and talking to artists. A few weeks ago, I did just that.
My friend Kelly and I attented the March “Bromo After 5” at the Bromo Seltzer Clock Tower, where I’ve volunteered a couple of times. My decision to attend was set in stone when I noticed there would be an encaustics artist’s studio open that night. Elizabeth Sullivan would have an open studio on the 12th floor.
Kelly and I were waiting on the old sorta manual elevator to come back down. The chains were working away as they clinked inside the shaft. Kelly and I were a little antsy, okay, I was a little antsy, so we just chose to take the stairs. Which isn’t a bad thing at all because there is artwork in the stairwell, but, usually it’s easier to see coming down instead of in between panting on the way up. (Really it’s not that bad if you go slow and visit other studios on the way to the top!)
We wound our way past the Light Up Lounge where live music by Harmonic Blue was filling studio 302. Then we passed Stewart White, a wonderful plein air painter; Vincent Tobin, a writer/historian, Patricia Peerzada’s fashion pre-show for that week’s Light City Baltimore; Marianna Mills; the vibrant watercolor work of Martha Dougherty; works by J. David Ehlers; Rachel Elise; and then finally to Elizabeth’s studio.
Elizabeth was engaged in conversation so Kel and I perused the art hanging on the wall. Not only did Elizabeth create with encaustics but also in oil and she made monoprints with the gelli plate. (one of my other favorite methods of creating)
When Elizabeth was done with her conversation, I approached her and picked her brain on the wax process. She was warm in conversation and generous with information. I didn’t want to hold her up since the studio tours were going on, so we headed out. I waved goodbye and heard Elizabeth invite me to come back on a Saturday when the studio tours were open so we could chat some more.
Reader, I took her up on that offer.
I visited Elizabeth’s studio a couple weekends later. She was in the middle of figuring out color on one of her oil pieces. I brought some of my own work to show her where I was in my process and how to best frame my work. She was kind and again, generous with information that would help me move forward. She presented a practice wax board where we tested out some of the pastels she uses on wax and how different the results were depending on the brand. Invaluable information for that process. Not to mention a beautiful discovery.
I mentioned that I could see my new office from her studio window. She again invited me to come to the studio during the week, when there were no tours. What a nice person. I haven’t yet visited, but I definitely plan to.
The fact that I stepped out when I could very easily have stayed home, means more to me than just “doing something.” It means that I’m conquering fear of not having a voice, beating down the negativity of “it won’t matter.” I’m allowing myself to grow and experience the world around me. I don’t have to go far to do that. None of us do. You just have to step out your front door with open eyes and a welcoming heart.
That day I “got out there”, I found a mentor. See you soon Elizabeth!