The Artists at the Gibson - Find Your Inner Artist
by Gary Wilson
There are organizations and groups in the South Simcoe area that are poised to support and nurture the artist within. I discovered such a group when I attended a watercolour workshop sponsored by The Artists at the Gibson.
The Gibson Centre is an amazing venue and the Holmstrom Hall certainly accommodated the many enthusiastic artists and me. With only a box of acrylics (I know), a paint brush and a burning desire to learn how to paint, I was welcomed and soon became part of the flow, making paper towel clouds in very wet Cerulean Blue. My artist within was sparked to life. I needed more.
The Artists at the Gibson has open studio sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday of each week. Tuesday's open studio has the added benefit of having the Gibson Centre's Artist in Residence, Greg Hindle, on hand to share his thirty-five years of teaching and painting experience by providing one-on-one guidance to artists of all experience levels, in all painting media. That tutelage was exactly what I needed, so I joined their Tuesday open studio group, and haven't looked back.
The open studio sessions were a continuation in format of the workshop, with tables or easels to paint on, artists to watch and learn from, providing a very supportive environment for my artistic growth.
The Artist in Residence mentoring was key to getting me started and headed in the right direction. I had zero formal artistic training so everything that Greg Hindle shared with me was new and exciting! I soon had my notebook's pages filling fast with not only Greg's words, but with words from the other artists who took time to answer my questions and give advice. That was the greatest feeling; to be accepted by all those talented, accomplished artists! There was hope for me yet!
The Artists at the Gibson has been a group of talented, accomplished artists since May 2008. The original group of eighteen has grown to approximately sixty. They continue to attract local artists by providing a special environment of support and encouragement where "artist" can be spoken at any level without judgement. Even so, the "binder" that holds the group together is the friendships that blossom. It was so much easier letting my artist within come without when I was amongst friends.
My notebook now has three years of words and illustrations from many open studio sessions and workshops. (I finally did a watercolour workshop with watercolours!) I can honestly say that everything that I learned about painting, I learned from or was inspired to research by my fellow artists, members of The Artists at the Gibson. It turns out that being an artist isn't really what you do, it is who you are. I was an artist all along!
In response to the "New Normal", I have been using technology to keep The Artists at the Gibson connected. I have been sending a weekly email with news that I get from artists so that all may keep up to date. As the artists send to me their finished or in progress art, I have been posting the pictures on our blog for all to enjoy. Our once a week Zoom chat allows face time and an opportunity to show any works in progress or completed.
We are now on simmer, awaiting the moment that we can pour back into the Gibson Centre!
To see a sampling of the creativity of the The Artists at the Gibson, visit the blog at: www.artistsatthegibson.blogspot.com/
Visit The Artists at the Gibson's page on the Gibson Centre's web site to keep current on workshops, social gatherings and gallery shows: www.gibsoncentre.com/about/artists-at-the-gibson