Tuesday, June 21, 2011

'Practice Gratitude' in art, education and life. PART ONE The Intention.

“Practice Gratitude”
30“ x 45” Serigraph Edition on Thai Kozo  2010 ©Forest Stearns

Education is an honor to exercise, and this year I have achieved a huge personal goal of attaining my Masters of Fine Art in Illustration. The experience of these teachings was life changing and the outcome has been unfolding as a bouquet of enriching self lessons, both academic and empirical.

Some of my teachers have been amazing professors,  James Moore, Eugenia Mitsanas, Steven Kloepher, Kazu Sano, Carrie Anne Plank, Stephen Player, Mark Tennant, and William Maughan to mention a few in my academic tract.  Beyond the knowledge garnered by these teachers I have been greatly inspired in technique by my peer group of artists, fellow students, and friends.

Beyond the purely technical aspect these years, there have been teachers during this time that have shown me love directly or through lessons outside of the classroom. My amazing parents, and family have been crucial lights in these dedicated times. My partner has been my glue of sanity in both diplomatic and heartfelt agendas.  She has taught me the lessons of resilient mindset.

Finally, there are people in my life that I have looked to for inspiration and situational guidance. Great artists, thinkers and doers of the past and present.  His Holiness the Dalai Lama is one of these amazingly influential teachers. This man holds a place in this world so warm and inspirational. For him and all of my others teachers I am eternally grateful and I will honor them by practicing with my full attention everyday.

The original painting (R)  with the serigraph print (L). ©Forest Stearns

As a personal celebration of reaching this goal and giving appreciation to my teachers, I have executed a very special edition of art.  The original concept for this piece was drawn up and painted in a class I had with Kazu Sano, an amazing narrative illustration teacher. My goal was to illustrate a personal hero and bring out the emotions they evoke in me to a visual language that the viewer can interpret.  It is the only piece I did during my graduate school experience that I will always keep on display in my home as a reminder of the lessons I learned in those years.  Many viewers have inquired into the fate of this painting, so as a culmination of my study, I decided to translate my painted version into a serigraph limited edition.  I choice to reproduce this piece on wonderful Thai Kozo paper with a very intricate printing process to not only challenge my honed skills, but to also share this experience and connect with a larger audience.  It was a wonderful and provoking process to do an edition of this physical size on such elegant paper. I loved it!

One of the biggest lessons I gained from this 3 year intensive masters program was the crucial life importance of having a daily PRACTICE. On a daily basis I set aside a unique time for myself to explore my creative concepts and techniques without worry of failure or perfection. This exploration usually happens in my sketchbook, which is always close at hand to write down any idea that comes to my mind that is creatively influential. Practice to me is dialing-in the artistic experience so my mind owns it like a fluent language. The word itself became a mantra to me,  I would write it down daily in my sketchbook to remember the practice of practice.  I am greatly thankful for this daily exercise that my teachers have bestowed upon me.

The intention of this piece is to celebrate and share the warmth of my teachers and yours. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a living personification of the practice of gratitude. It is my hope that you see this concept illuminated in the warmth and gesture of the piece. I invite you to enjoy the experience of 'Practice Gratitude.'

 'PRACTICE GRATITUDE' title close up. ©Forest Stearns
Each piece hand embellished, signed and numbered by artist. Due to the nature of the silkscreen, each print is a unique piece of art in series according to the edition.

This limited edition serigraph print is $268.00 USD. +tx & s/h

In 'Part two' of this post I will explain the process of creating this piece.