The Artist’s Road

One of the many wonderful benefits of being an artist married to another artist is the rich ongoing conversation about all things art. Having been artists for so many decades, we’ve gained a long-range perspective on the twists and turns of artist’s road. We have been discussing lately the interesting pendulum swings that take place in the development of our individual art and on a larger scale, in the trends of art around us.

Because we both received formal art training at a time when basic skills were de-emphasized and concept and imagination were worshiped, we did not receive the education in the craft of painting we hoped for. Even in those early days, we both were inclined toward working representationally and honoring beauty. Painting real life was considered out of fashion, unless it was used to make a social or cultural statement. We were told to pick up the skills on our own, and that’s what we slowly did. In hindsight, we can see that the training in learning how to think as artists – the focus on stretching our imaginations and working through ideas – that we received back then is still a vital tool.  But artists need an entire set of tools. Without them, our best and brightest ideas can remain unrealized.

This has led us to consider how we can best teach our own students now. Our commitment begins with teaching skills. Rather than inhibiting creativity (as some of our professors felt in the early ’70s), we think that having the skills empowers the imagination. With practice and presence, skills can become tools that can be employed with confidence and used to express the artist’s unique vision. Today, the pendulum of art is swinging back towards valuing beauty in representational art, and for that one must know the craft of painting.

As the student develops confidence, the search for one’s unique voice naturally begins. One of the hardest things to coach (because perhaps it is not really teachable) is how to find one’s style. Being present and putting in the time at the easel is paramount. But living life, being an observer of life and painting one’s distinctive life seems to be just as important. In an interview with Don Henley (of the Eagles) a very long time ago that has stuck with us, Henley was asked why it had been so long between albums. He answered, in effect, that one had to live life in order to have something to write about.

Our advice to aspiring artists is to look around your life at what you love and is important to you. Then paint your life!

Join us for some camaraderie on The Artist’s Road. You’ll find tips, interesting articles and interviews with artists. Members enjoy a discount in The Artist’s Road Store, where you’ll find the Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay and Impressionists of the Watercolor Books for young artists.

–John and Ann


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The Artist's Life Blog
John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

About John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

John Hulsey and his wife, Ann Trusty created the website, The Artist's Road - Painting the World's Beautiful Places.  The Artist's Road inspires with practical art tips and painting techniques for the traveling artist, video painting tutorials and demonstrations, workshop resources, artist profiles and interviews and remarkable painting locations.  The Artist's Road is an artist community for oil, watercolor and pastel artists.  Articles cover intriguing art travel experiences artists have had while painting the world's beautiful places. "I believe I must speak through my art, for the preservation of Nature and the natural landscape from which I take my inspiration and living." John Hulsey is an accomplished artist, author and teacher who has been working professionally for over thirty years. In addition to producing new work for exhibition and teaching workshops, Mr. Hulsey continues to write educational articles about painting for national art magazines, including Watercolor magazine and American Artist Magazine. He has been selected as a "Master Painter of the United States" by International Artist Magazine where his work was previously chosen to be included in the top ten of their international landscape painting competition. He was awarded residencies at Yosemite, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. "I strive in my art to celebrate the mysteries of Nature - the fleeting light on the landscape, the unimaginable diversity of creatures, the beauty of each leaf and flower." Ann Trusty  is an accomplished third generation artist whose work embodies the natural world and is created through direct observation and translation of her subjects into her paintings. She has found inspiration in the dancing light across the water of the Hudson River (where she had a studio for ten years), as well as the big sky and waving tall grasses of the open plains of the Midwest (her current home). Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, France and Turkey in both museum and gallery exhibitions, and has been reviewed favorably by the New York Times.