Monday, May 2, 2011

The Road to Distraction

It’s been said “if you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there”. I like Toby Keith’s version from his Somewhere Else lyrics…. “If you don’t know where you’re going you might end up somewhere else.”

Getting somewhere without delay is the ultimate goal for some. But for an artist, “distractions” can be the ticket to create something new.

I filled in today for my office manager and while taking orders couldn’t help chatting. It was a thrill to hear what you’re doing. One beginning artist was excited to take a workshop with master artist Kevin Macpherson. I suggested he become a sponge, have fun and never compare his work with anyone. Another artist told me in her Scott Christensen workshop two years ago Scott showed the class one of his first paintings. Impressive! We all start somewhere…it’s the side trips that determine where we ultimately arrive.

Then between calls I read the article about Clyde Aspevig in American Artist’s special publication Plein Air painting. It was a perfect summation of my idea of an artist’s journey. Clyde coined the term “land snorkeling”. It means taking time to immerse yourself in nature and explore the beauty and wonder of the world around you.

Aspevig suggests, “Land snorkelers wander through nature with no intention of hiking to a destination. The distractions of the modern world so often pull us away from nature”. But if we could allow nature to be the distraction we might reconnect with our world. We could then “create art to change a person’s normal perceptions of something and get them to look at things in a different way to have more content and relevance to other things in life.” Excellent artist’s job description, Clyde. I invite artists to explore …my discovery while being distracted today.

Cathy Dietrich

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

About Face

Last August I waited in queue at the Scottsdale Artist’s School to register for Aaron Westerberg’s portrait and figure painting workshop Feb 28-Mar 4th. I got in. Hooray! But when the time arrived my recent rotator cuff surgery derailed me. Bummer!

But much like a painting gone awry, a new solution appeared. The school suggested I donate my spot to a scholarship student. Much to my surprise I saved face and became an instant benefactor. Then for another plus…Aaron learned I could not attend as a student and invited Emily and I to visit his class.

Aaron introduced us and let fly with rave reviews of our products and art competition. Then a student snapped a photo of the three of us posing with the panels we brought for the class. It gets better. Aaron signed and gave us his new book The Art of Aaron Westerberg available at

But the best was still to come. The students seemed excited to meet us and one said “It is so important to me that I meet the people who supply my products to put a face with a company name.” We feel the same way. Let’s face it. Meeting you, our customers, face to face inspires us to produce the painting supports and contest venues so you can put your best face forward. It is our delight to meet you and view your stunning artwork!

Aaron Westerberg will select and write critiques for twelve finalist paintings in our June contest at

Cathy Dietrich Artist/Owner