The oil painter Pamela C. Hoffmeister
This is what I have to say about my mother:
If you live by your inner voice as an artist — don’t attend an MFA program, don’t learn what everyone else is learning — you’ll create different things. It won’t sound the same. It might not look as pretty. There will be times when you struggle and fail and don’t know what you’re doing.
But your art will be YOU.
Your writing will be YOUR writing.
Your painting will be YOUR painting.
An artist has to bring something new to be important.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t work hard. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t value learning or education.
The opposite is true: You have to work even harder to create your own curriculum.
You choose to value your own instinct, and to honor the specific, unique path of the autodidact.
You choose which books to read.
You choose which galleries to attend.
You create and create and create in the isolation of your own mind and vision.
This is the most important lesson my mother taught me. She model daily creation and vision and work ethic for me. She always created in isolation, and she pushed me to be my own teacher. She took me to used bookstores and said “You pick the ten books you want to read this year for school. Take your time. Decide what you want to learn.”
And I carry her vision every single day. Without her, I wouldn’t be a writer. I wouldn’t be an author. I wouldn’t care about art and books.