We caught up with Linda Baker in July, 2015.
What have you been doing since filming here at Creative Catalyst?
Since filming, much has happened in my life. I have found myself teaching not only around the country, but also International. The opportunity has presented itself to travel to China twice in the last year as well as Turkey, and am currently teaching in France. Along with the teaching, I have done a lot of jurying, mentoring, and demonstrations.
Afteroon Breeze by Linda Baker
Do you remember any highlights about your visit to Creative Catalyst to film your video(s)?
Two things actually stood out to me when I filmed at Creative Catalyst the first being the hospitality in the form of endless M & M’s and frequent kitty visits!!!
Did creating a video change your career path in any way?
Filming totally changed my life in that my teaching invitations stepped up as people watched the videos. Also, the U-Tube segments increased my visibility not only as an artist but as a teacher.
Double Shadows II by Linda Baker
What did other artists or students say about your video?
Most have been very kind about my videos but personally I have hardly had the courage to watch them all the way through. I suspect the best part is the out takes at the end!!!
Hangin' Around by Linda Baker
Tell us how your art has changed / evolved in the last few years?
With the unexpected loss of my husband, I am very grateful for my art world and the teaching opportunities that have come my way. The International involvement is something I hadn’t even imagined but it has been great to see how other cultures approach and value art.
His Keys by Linda Baker
What subjects, styles, materials are catching your interest these days?
I continue to be enthralled with repetitive subjects and fascinated with design and composition.
In the Alley by Linda Baker
What inspires you to keep creating?
I have no choice but to create. It is inside of me and just comes out not only in the form of making art, but designing and decorating homes as well. I love it all.
Have you had some obstacles to overcome to continue art?
Again I mention the loss of my husband as it paralyzed me in many ways and I had a hard time tapping into my creativity. For quite a while, my work was sporadic and on the dark side. The plus side of this event was that it helped me to tap into my deeper feeling and really paint what I felt whether it was pretty or accepted. When we go through things, we develop a depth of character that only comes from pain. I believe it has made me a better teacher and helped me to be able to help students find their own voice and vision.
How did you overcome them?
Time is the great healer as we have heard always and obstacles in life temper us in a way that shows in our art work. I mentor a lot of students these days and my experience helps me to encourage them to continue and strive.
Are you continuing to teach art?
I have had the great opportunity to teach more workshops than my schedule even allows!! Teaching in both Turkey and China with interpreters and auditoriums full of students has been amazing. When I started this art path, I had no idea my art would bloom as it has.
What are some of the most common questions your students have?
They all want to know how to find their own voice and have the courage to dare to be different. Most artists are comfortable painting a safe, pretty painting but at the same time want to express themselves in a more personal way. I am thrilled to be known as an instructor that can assist them in finding their own vision.
Problems they have?
Expressing what they really feel is a very hard concept for most artists. They want to enter competitions but lack the self confidence to reach outside their comfort zone.
Do you use your videos (or others) in your teaching?
I do not. I usually have them available for sale, but always do my demos in person and teach as if it were the first time for me and them.
New books, videos, shows, galleries, awards?
I have been honored to be included in the Splash books along with ‘Masters in Watercolor’ which is a book both in Russian and English. My awards have been consistent in the American Watercolor Society as well as the National Watercolor Society. I was fortunate to be accepted in the Shenzhen International which launched my International exposure and lead to being a juror for the IWS exhibit in Turkey. My most recent award is the Adirondacks exhibit in New York.
Have you learned anything new about art marketing?
Art marketing can almost take on a life of it’s own these days. With websites, you tube, and Facebook, it is nearly impossible to keep up. The other side is that it is easier than ever to get exposure and keep the world informed.
Has the internet changed what you are creating or how you are marketing?
The internet has not changed what I paint, but it has changed the way I market. An acceptance notice is just one click away from announcing it to the world!!
Do you have any advice to someone who wants to learn to paint?
I think the most valuable thing I would say to someone wanting to become an artist, is that developing your skill level is only a small part of becoming an artist. Finding your inner self, seeking out a vision, and finding your niche is actually more significant. When I traveled to China and saw all the amazing work from around the world, I realized for the first time that I didn’t need to paint a better painting but a different painting. After years of working at my skill, I finally understood that an artist is a creator in their soul and only becomes complete as they are willing to put themselves into their artwork.
How do you know when to quit (a painting)?
I tell my students to stop when they no longer know what to do. Past this point, you will noodle it to death and it will soon look overworked. They are done when they reach the end of their knowledge. At this point, I suggest they either be satisfied in their result and accept it, or, increase their knowledge through practice, learning, or experimenting. As we increase our knowledge, we go further with our work. Many instructors suggest students take their work further but it is hard to teach them how.
Where do you see your art taking you in the next 5 to 10 years?
I have contracts to teach and jury for years to come but as much as I have enjoyed it, I find that I may want to slow down and spend more time at home. I would really enjoy some serious studio time to find out how far I could take my painting. Whichever way my art takes me, I continue to be total immersed in art and the act of creating.
Hopes and dreams?
My hopes and dreams have changed through the years as I have accomplished the items on my bucket list. Today, my hopes and dreams lean toward writing a book and pursuing museum exhibitions. I think each artist owes it to themselves to explore how far they can go with their art and share the gift we have been given.
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