Through Knowledge Comes Confidence

In the art world, one should paint what you are connected to. I live in California outside of Oakland but I have my family roots in Vermont. The light in California, especially where I live is sunny just outside the fog belt. Sunny days in the summer with purple and blue cast shadows. In Vermont, there is so much atmosphere as the moisture is thick and hanging in the summer. The sun is the light for plein air painters and it is very different in Vermont and California.

“Taylor Farm” by Hilary Lambert

I have been back in school at the Golden Gate Atelier, Oakland, CA. Finally honoring the craft of drawing and painting much like the 19th-century training. We have a controlled light source that falls like a waterfall on our models and casts. My latest ah-hah moment as I’ve been able to orchestrate value with color.

OMG do I love color. I’ve always used so much and never knew how to orchestrate the background with it. The subtle half-tones in the light coordinated collectively is the key.

I’ve done this art training for so many years that it’s considered a luxury but in reality, I felt I needed the training. After all, when I look at Sargent, Zorn, Gerome, and observe the drawing you wonder why, and what was missing in my prior training?

I write this in the early morning in the hope of a new day. The plants get watered, as the light and the birds wake up. Coffee and calling my east coast friends from California, I’m able to catch them at coffee as well.

“The Cast of Gerome”
by Hilary Lambert

This funny thing called art that I’ve dedicated my life to happened because as a child, I was surrounded by artists. I was influenced especially by artists in Vermont. It is there at the Landgrove Inn where I taught plein air workshops for the last 15 years.

There’s always the hope of being a great artist and I would question my pride if I ever get to that elusive place. One of my favorite paintings in the atelier system is just an exercise, but it took forever to complete. If I had not been forced to take it all the way to the end I would not have recognized how far I could have taken it. It was blind faith and forcing myself to focus. The ultimate test of pride would be to destroy it.

In this process of focusing, I know I have the tendency to lean towards ADD and distraction. When the going gets tough, I tend to jump to something else. Dunning Kruger effect might even play a role. The paper published by Dunning and Kruger is titled “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.” I’ve had to recognize specifically the importance of drawing in my painting process which thankfully was available at Gold Gate Atelier in Oakland, Ca.

“SF Bay” by Hilary Lambert

I have gone through much self-searching in my ardent quest for knowledge. Coming to the end of the semester, it is time to review my work. Yes, it’s good, but how does it compare to the heroes of the past? What is extremely crippling for me is the comparisons and competition. This is where ego and pride get in the way. I do feel that art should speak for itself. If it’s good it will resonate with someone. Don’t forget that the iPhone and androids allow us to store thousands of pictures but it is not a painting.

It’s time to jump off the cliff of my own work bathed in California light and Vermont light. Without light, it’s difficult to see. Art is about seeing. I never take that for granted. Knowing how far to go for finish in a painting is the goal. When you say what you wanted to say then your painting should be complete. This song, Moonlight in Vermont, creates a picture and for the moment of hearing and reading these lyrics, I am happy and whole. I want my art to do this for others.

“Moonlight In Vermont” a popular song about the U.S. state of Vermont, written by John Blackburn (lyrics) and Karl Suessdorf (music) and published in 1944.

Pennies in a stream
Falling leaves of a sycamore
Moonlight in Vermont

“Landgrove Cow”
by Hilary Lambert

Icey finger waves
Ski trails on a mountain side
Snowlight in Vermont

Telegraph cables, they sing down the highway
And travel each bend in the road
People who meet, in this romantic setting
Are so hypnotized by the lovely…

Evening summer breeze
Warbling of a meadowlark
Moonlight in Vermont

Telegraph cables, they sing down the highway
And travel each bend in the road

People who meet, in this romantic setting
Are so hypnotized by the lovely…

Evening summer breeze
Warbling of a meadowlark
Moonlight in Vermont

You and I and moonlight in Vermont

Upcoming OPA Events

OPA Fall 2019 Online Showcase OPA Fall 2019 Online Showcase
The Fall 2019 Online Showcase is from October 1 - December 15, 2019 and will be open to both Associate and Signature members. Learn More!
OPA 2019 Western Regional Exhibition OPA 2019 Western Regional Exhibition
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