One of our most popular watercolor instructors is back this year! From August 5-11, 2018, join us for a workshop with artist Mel Stabin! In advance of his workshop, Mel took a moment to share a bit more about his background and approach to art.
Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
MS: I’ve always enjoyed drawing from an early age. I attended fine art and advertising classes at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Edgar Whitney was my teacher at Pratt. He was my mentor and friend and he introduced me to watercolor painting. When I graduated from Pratt, I became an art director for various advertising agencies in New York City in the days before computers when you had to know how to draw. After 30 years creating major campaigns for clients, I retired from advertising as a creative director and began conducting watercolor workshops throughout the country and abroad.
Q: Do you work on multiple pieces concurrently or focus on exclusively one at a time? If the former, how do you balance that? If the later, how do you decide which one to start next?
MS: I focus and complete one watercolor painting at a time. Whatever grabs my attention at the moment, I respond to. People, people in landscapes, pure landscapes, and portraits are all of interest to me.
Q: How do you comie up with ideas to begin something new?
MS: The choice of subjects to paint is endless. Watercolor is the most free of all the mediums to paint so if I (like everyone) get in a rut, sometimes I will just throw paint around (often on wet paper) and let nature take its course. I respond to what the “out of control” watercolor is doing and then I create something out of it.
Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
MS: Studying the Great Masters… Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, Gaugan, Sargent… and going to museums, galleries, and exhibitions.
Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
MS: I take risks every time I begin a watercolor painting. It’s all about challenging yourself each time you pick up a paint brush. As I tell my students in my workshops, taking risks is essential in watercolor painting. Don’t be concerned about failing. We learn more from failure than success. Failure teaches us what not to do. Success can make one complacent. Continue to acquire knowledge and never be discouraged.