This Blogger spotlight is on Ann Hamilton of Women of God Art Retreat. She found Alabama Bloggers this past weekend, and I found her story fascinating. She is a 70 year old lady who is an artist and entrepreneur. She is not afraid to try new things and embrace the benefits that technology and blogging offer. This is an interview that she did for another site about what she does and what she blogs about:
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
Presently I'm developing the "Women of God" Art Retreat in my 1890's Victorian Home. This idea came to me earlier this year and my first artist-guests arrived in May. While they were here I conducted workshops in acrylics, watercolors, mixed media, and pastels. I also started several new paintings which I have since finished. While they were here they suggested several changes I might make in my retreat as well as my web site. I took their advice and revamped my web site and retreat ideas. Then, I started a blog (http://artistretreat.blogspot.com) about my life as an artist-my life at the new retreat. These things, taking care of Isabella, my dog, and Sassie, my cat, my flower garden, the house and painting keep me busy. And I have several regular students as well as other artists who love to come and paint with me in my large studio. I have three sons who live in other states and
towns, and we talk- daily or several times a week via phone. Other than all of this, I like to eat out, watch good movies, cook, read and write.
What is your message?
I want to share what I have learned during the 70 years of my lifetime. These "sharings" have become a form of story-telling to those who visit me. Everyone has their own stories to tell, especially about the past. Tell the truths about these stories in ways that will help others. Use your experiences in this manner as well. The past "can" be changed through our
perception of it. Both the good and the bad can be made new. It is all about attitude. It is in this that we have the ability to empower ourselves to live in a positive manner.
Facts about biographies are seldom read and usually dull and boring. I have no need to express those facts about myself to others. It is enough to say that I am an artist, a mother, grandmother, and friend. It is through these identities that my life speaks.
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
I am most inspired by music, poetic words, art-especially that that I love, and God as I know Him. It is the mystery of how I create art that motivates me to study, teach and paint. I think this comes from God, and it the most exciting aspect of my life.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
My first career was that of being a reporter and editor of a small newspaper. That was in the days of the old "Underwood" typewriter. Since that time it has fascinated me to keep up with the advancement of information technology. I have kept myself up-to-speed in the use of the
computer, Internet, and ability to build my own web site. Keeping this site updated, blogging, research, employing graphics and design with the use of software keeps my brain "technically" aware. These elements make up a good deal of my creative processes.
What is art?
The purest of art is the creation of something new. I believe when this process takes place it brings us closer to the creator and the processes of creation. An individual can be "artful" in many forms. However, to me this is different than the act of creation.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
I look at my ideas as being neither good or bad. They are just ideas. Some of them I act upon. I suppose one could say that sometimes this is good and sometimes this is bad. I have a blessings theory that I try to live by. If the path-which could be called an idea, is the right path the blessings will follow it. If the path is the wrong path, there will be no blessings.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
I don't think there are any ideas that I would like to have created. Yet, I would like to have experienced what it feels like to create something great and to know that you have done so.
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
I think I "felt" myself as being an artist as a very young child. The spirit was there when I was barely able to climb onto my mother's lap and beg her to draw for me. The spirit was there when as a young child I saw and experienced nature and beauty. The spirit was there when I sometimes plunged into despair. The spirit was there when as a young woman I wondered what it would be like to be an artist. The spirit was there when I began the formal study of art at the age of 44. It was sometimes afterwards that I began to feel and then to act as an artist, and to know that I was and am an artist.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
Many of the great artists do exhibit these traits, as do great leaders. I think it is because one has to be deeply passionate about art, about life and what living is about, including the good and bad of it.
How should a work of art be evaluated?
It is sad that "learned" people have come up with rules by which to judge art. Most of these, however, never create art. Each piece of art should be judged on its own merits. Innocence eyes do this the best. Based on this I would say that the best judges of art would do well to see through the eyes of the viewers of art. It would be good if they could describe how the art
that is being judged affects them. Perhaps that would be the key-for several judges to compare these thoughts and to come up with a better solution to the rules.
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