Go Beyond What You Did Before

I’m never satisfied with the initial image. I always have to push further. I can get away with just pouring paint, and having people say, “Oh, that’s so beautiful,” but for the work to mean anything, I have to struggle. It’s a wonderful struggle. For me, making art is always going beyond what I did before. When I create a painting I feel good about, everything I do after it has to be as good or better. If it’s not, I shred it. I don’t want my name on something I’m not proud of. Painting, I tell my students, is like working on a conveyor belt. You reach a problem, you try to solve it, and if you can’t, you just let the painting go along on the conveyor belt. You learn from that experience and the next time a painting comes along, you may know what to do. If you work constantly, as I do, the conveyor belt moves faster, the paintings become easier and the struggle isn’t as pronounced.

What’s important to me right now is reaching out—not being the best artist or getting into the best shows. I grew up poor in a lower-class neighborhood. I would have been the world’s best shoplifter if I hadn’t had a wonderful high school teacher who told me I could be an artist. I’m going into schools now and teaching 18-year-olds how to pour paint. I want to tell them what a proud thing it is to be an artist. My high school teacher, Anthony Eterovich, turned my life around.

Catherine Anderson is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, Watercolor West and the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Society. Visit her Web site at www.catherineanderson.net.

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