Master Advice From Painter Kathleen Kuchar

"Woven In Time" by Kathleen Kuchar; acrylic collage on wood.

"Woven In Time" by Kathleen Kuchar; acrylic collage on wood.

For as long as you can remember, people have been saying how talented you are and that you should be an artist. But where do you start and how do you know if you have what it takes?

Regardless of where you are in your career, there is always an opportunity to learn something new. As recognized leaders in our creative community, we’ve asked the artists in Kansas Masters to share what they’ve learned along the way, including what the word “master” means to them.

Hopefully, through their wisdom, you’ll feel a push in the right direction, or at least the inspiration you need to keep going and keep seeking.

Painter Kathleen Kuchar says:

Being a master to me means being able to create imaginative artwork that is well executed. It doesn’t look like anyone else’s art and it provokes the viewer to react. A master has worked a long time at coming to this point and has gotten over the need to be accepted. The master is always searching to discover more ways to stretch the boundaries of art. Personally, I find it necessary to go a little “crazy” from time to time and take the paintings into stages that are not necessarily “comfortable.”  By doing so, I force myself to look at things a little differently and to push the work into a new direction or perhaps, make the artwork tell me where it wants to go. I find myself in continuous conversation with my art. It is a tug-of-war at times, but for me this is what makes it all worthwhile. I would never be happy making art that didn’t stretch my own being.

Some advice: Keep working no matter if you feel like it or not. Don’t worry about being rejected or accepted.  Believe in yourself. Become adept in the techniques and skills in making your art as this gives you the freedom to express yourself. Connect with other artists by attending art openings. Sign up for the twice-weekly free newsletter on the website painterskey.com where you will find advice, inspiration, information, etc. Sign up for the free daily art magazine adnl@artdaily.org and you will be kept up-to-date on what is going on in the art world.  

Avoid negative people. You don’t need to hear that you can’t do something. You need positive feedback—helpful criticism.  

Some of the best places to get your first show: in a bank lobby or library gallery. The main thing is to have a body of work that might have a theme. This causes you to focus your attention on a certain thing and then expand by going deeper into the subject. Subject matter should not be the end product but should be the doorway to further exploration. By doing something over and over in a series, you are bound to develop a body of work that is more creative, imaginative, expressive than if you just did a superficial study of the subject. Get inside your own self and be a little crazy at times. You will be surprised at the results. The goal here is to find your own spirit within the work and only you can find that. It is by hard work, patience, and being trained in the techniques of art that you can let your spirit “fly.”

Come see Kuchar’s paintings in Kansas Masters, which runs September 2 through October 21 at the Sabatini Gallery.