Over the past two weeks, I have begun to sink into the rhythm of in-depth and have begun to really enjoy the relaxing process of painting. As usual, I have met with my mentor, Grace, twice since the last post. Both these meetings were efficient in terms of project progress, as well as mentorship process. Diving straight into how my painting has improved, I can definitely see how far I’ve come since the beginning of this project. As I recently finished my second painting, I now have physical evidence of my growth over the past eight weeks. Although my second painting was relatively easy as there is not much fine details and textures for me to worry about, it was still a great jump from my first painting.
I spent the last two weeks refining my painting and adding in smaller details such as logs floating on the water and clouds floating in the sky. I also polished up a lot of the water reflections as I realised I had painted them too structured and perfect, something I have been seeing myself do quite often. I have begun noticing myself painting everything very structured and perfect. Grace has encouraged me to explore and step out of my comfort zone by painting a bit more care free. Especially with something like landscape, not everything is going to be in a perfect pattern. Trees aren’t going to be evenly spaced out and clouds won’t float in a pattern. Grace has been teaching me to step away from my want to make everything perfect and to just enjoy the process of the painting instead. This also goes for brush strokes that are left on the canvas. At the time they are made, I always want to paint over them and get rid of it, but Grace has encouraged me to try and leave them for at least one painting as I will never know if I actually like them until I see the final product. From finishing my second painting, I can definitely see why she asked me to leave them on the canvas! They not only make the painting feel more natural, but is also blends in with the randomness of landscape and nature. They also add a bit of texture here and there.
On to the questions of this blog post:
What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far? Why?
Probably the most difficult mentoring challenge Grace and I have had so far is our difference in opinions, which I mentioned above. While the difference in opinions make for really interesting conversation topics and debates, they sometime slow down my progress. They usually occur when experimenting with new painting strategies and deciding whether or not I like them. They also occur in other aspects of painting like mixing colors. In the end though, when the opinions are centered on painting, Grace is usually right. This does not come as a surprise for me as she has much more experience than I do. I think that our difference in opinions actually help me learn and understand concepts better as the conversations that follow are always very insightful. Overall, I believe this is a challenge that comes with any mentorship.
What is working well? Why?
Our communication has definitely been one of the strongest aspects of our mentorship, especially the fact that we can communicate in two languages (English and Mandarin). Also the fact that Grace was my mentor last year, we know a lot of each other’s favorite conversation topics. This makes it extremely easy to start conversations and to keep them going smoothly, without seeming forced and uncomfortable. Grace is also very good at telling me when she doesn’t understand something I am saying, and vice versa. From the relationship we had built prior, we are both relatively comfortable communicating with each other and effective in getting points across.
What could be working better? How can you make sure this happens?
Something small in our mentorship that could be working better is the planning of what each painting will be. As stated in my last blog post, I seem to spend a lot of valuable mentorship time deciding on what to paint. While the subject of all the paintings are extremely important, I feel as though I could do a portion of it at home. Overall, I think Grace and I could briefly discuss over the phone about what I am going to be painting, or even just some subjects I could possibly paint. I also am going to make sure I become more efficient at planning by researching at home some possibilities and looking through nature/landscape books for inspiration. These strategies will help me make the most of my time with my mentor.
Thanks for reading! Here is a look at my finished second painting: