Episode 199: The Adventure Art Academy – Claire Giordano

Interview with environmental artist and educator Claire Giordano

Join environmental artist Claire Giordano in the field as she teaches plein air painting in stunning landscapes like alpine lakes, old growth forests, beneath sandstone cliffs, oceanside, and glaciers. While Claire loves sharing the fun and beauty of experiencing these places through her virtual course, The Adventure Art Academy, there’s an intention behind the class that is more than meets the eye.

As an artist, writer, and educator, Claire strives to creatively explore the interwoven patterns of people, place, and climate change. She sees creating art as a gateway to truly seeing and experiencing landscape – in particular, identifying the effects of climate change. Claire also sees it as a way to let go and experiment, which we don’t often get to experience in our daily lives. 

In this episode, Claire shares the motivations behind starting this class, her philosophy of infusing adventure into the day-to-day, and takes us with her into the backcountry.

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If you enjoy this episode, you might also enjoy this one featuring Anna Brones talking about creativity.

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A full transcript is available below the photos.

Featured in this episode: Claire Giordano

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Claire Giordano

Claire Giordano paintinga a glacier for the Adventure Art Academy

Claire at Easton Glacier

Photo by @wildcoastphoto Grace Giordano

Details of trees by Grace Giordano

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TRANSCRIPT

Note: This transcript was lightly edited and created using a transcription service. As such it may contain spelling errors.

Gale Straub – Narration:

I’m Gale Straub and you’re listening to She Explores.

Claire Giordano – In the Field:

The bugs are landing on my hat and I can see them out of the corner of my eye. And it is something else. You guys something else? Okay. We’re going to pause for bugs. Hang on intermission.

Gale Straub – Narration:

This is Claire Giordano, environmental artist, writer, and educator. She’s also the creator of a very unique virtual art class called “The Adventure Art Academy.”

Claire Giordano – In the Field:

We have a lot of stuff sketching already. So, you know, if the light, oh, here comes the first light. Oh my gosh, this is just bananas exciting. It’s actually happening. Yes. I didn’t know if we get Alpenglow this morning, we timed it perfectly. Most of our sketches done snapping some photos because you know, that’s what you’ve got to do. And this is the kind of light you’re having. So excited. I get to share this with you guys, the mosquitoes and all

Gale Straub – Narration:

Claire’s virtual art classes take her students with her into the field to paint the spectacular landscapes she has the privilege of accessing. E ach month it’s somewhere different. Like alpine lakes, old growth forests, beneath sandstone cliffs, oceanside, and glaciers.

Claire Giordano – In the Field:

Oh my gosh, this is where we get to paint today. So this is Mount baker or Kulshun as it was known to the indigenous people who lived here first and still, if you’re in this area today and it’s big and beautiful, and I will talk more about all the exposed glacial ice at the moment. And I wanted to give a little tour of the overall of acidity. So right Now we’re at the top of this.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Hear that wind whipping in the background? The videos are immersive like that. You’ll hear waves crashing, mosquitos buzzing. These places, like the art they inspire, can be unpredictable. Claire not only takes you on a fun adventure, she plants some seeds along the way that make you think differently about creativity and landscape. Which isn’t too surprising when you hear the motivations behind her work as an artist:

Claire Giordano:

I am an environmental artist writer and educator, and I strive to creatively explore the interwoven patterns of people place and climate change

Gale Straub – Narration:

Claire’s work as an artist and as a teacher is unified in one philosophy.

Claire Giordano:

I’ve kind of come to realize that it’s all kind of founded in the same little kernel of belief that stewardship and caring for our environment begins when we have an emotional connection to a place. And especially when we observe it or experience or feel it, and maybe even know love a place enough to be inspired to advocate on his behalf. And in many ways I’ve come to believe the art is kind of the perfect conduit for these kinds of connections because art forces us to slow down and to see and to observe. And I think kind of opens that door either just a tiny bit or wide open for those kinds of connections.

Gale Straub – Narration:

This shines through at Easton glacier.

Claire Giordano – In the Field:

Just incredible to be back here this morning. I had to walk up the bottom part of the glacier, where it was way less crevacced and it was honestly amazing and humbling to see how melted out the glacier is. I haven’t seen it like this since 2015, which was a really bad snow year. And this year it’s extra unusual because of the very, very top, right. Uh, let’s see, there we go right up there. You can see how there’s exposed rock and that is the first time ever. I’ve seen that. I be curious to ask some what the local guys and scientists had no memory. So the leaves…

Gale Straub – Narration:

It was this same Glacier that Claire cites as the indirect catalyst for The Adventure Art Academy:

Claire Giordano:

I think all of this is tied back to kind of singular experience 11 years ago when I was a participant in this incredible program called inspiring girls expeditions, it was founded by a glaciologist named Erin Pettit. And she started this program with the goal of trying to empower young women and the sciences through a truly interdisciplinary approach. So when I showed up at Mount baker for this program, there was a glaciologist on a mountain guide and I popped in this. And then we also had different people come and visit the team throughout the eight days we lived on a glacier or beside it, there was one day when it was pouring rain, of course, because it wouldn’t be a backpacking trip in the Northwest without pouring rain. We had a guest artist come and she brought watercolor. And you know, we’ve been learning that whole week about climate change.

Claire Giordano:

And we were standing at the base of the glacier at a terminal Maureen, which is where the glacier, as it grows down the mountain, it pushes a bunch of debris and rock and things down. And it leaves a pile of rebel behind. We were on one of those hadn’t quite sunk in yet, you know, the scale of what the climate change was doing to our environments and the fact that the way we could experience it and could see it in human time until I did a painting of that place. And all of a sudden, I just felt with such kind of weight and personal gravity that, oh my gosh, you know, this place, the glacier was here 20 years ago. And that was just kind of mind-boggling. And I look back and really realize that the painting was the catalyst for that. And that memory, I think in that kind of little kernel took root then, and kind of kept growing into, you know, my desire to do field artwork and then to apply to residencies and seek out those embedded experiences as an artist where I could see a place over time and see it for more than just a day.

Claire Giordano:

And then also kind of became that the bigger picture catalyst for wanting to teach and wanting to take people on a journey with me, where they could actually see the glaciers with me or see this beautiful landscape and just share what I had experienced to the best of my ability in the hopes that I could share those skills and open that door for other people, you know, whether they choose to use their artwork to observe the impacts of climate change. I don’t care. No. My hope is that force might take a class of washed little intro video where we’re painting and have a fun time and learn some. And then maybe if they choose get to reflect on kind of what are the bigger picture things. And also I’m on kind of a secret mission to redefine adventure that you don’t have to go do a big, risky thing where you can just go walk 10 feet from your car and have an amazing adventure through a painting.

Gale Straub – Narration:

You know, Claire shared her thoughts on redefining adventure to me directly, but I feel like this intro clip from our middle four class then paints a real time.

Claire Giordano – In the Field:

And we’re painting today in a beautiful place called the middle fork of the Snoqualmie river. So this is a river valley. That’s actually not too far from a major city, Seattle in Washington. And I love coming here because I’ve wanted to emphasize that, you know, adventure can mean many different things to many different people. You know, it can be sometimes going out on a long, exhausting backpacking trip for five or six days, or it could be a day trip where you hike somewhere and it, adventure can also be walking a hundred feet from your car, sitting down in a beautiful place with Moss and trees and making a painting there. We can find adventure everywhere. And that’s why I’m really excited about this class because we don’t have to go a super long way to be able to find a big, beautiful scene in place to paint.

Gale Straub:

And you can also have an amazing adventure, honestly, taking the course that you’ve put together, because having spent some time on the website, looking through the different courses, you really put a lot of thought and consideration into really creating like a three-dimensional experience. What was that process like for you in taking that idea that you had and making it a reality and honestly executing on it really well, because it’s easier said than done. Sometimes things that live in my brain never ended up the way that I want them to.

Claire Giordano:

Thank you. It has been an evolutionary process that is for sure. So, you know, things never go as planned. And I think that’s kind of one of the funniest things about this whole process is that in the beginning I was so worried about all the little pieces and trying to control things like I had back home when I was teaching in our live classes back home, because that was kind of the precursor to doing them outside, was doing some zoom classes, inspired by the pandemic and no travel and limited access to trails and outdoor recreation. But for those like I’m at home, which is just, you know, it’s easy now. Like whenever I do them, I’ll be, oh, okay. There’s no mosquitoes, there’s no rain. I have a flat surface to paint on and I go back outside and it’s like, Aw, dang it. You know, I have to deal with all of the things you have outside, plus trying to make a painting, plus trying to articulate that painting in a way that’s authentic to that experience while still conveying information. And it’s the most beautiful challenge I think I’ve ever had in my life.

Claire Giordano – In the Field:

We get to just kind of go from one part of the land, you know, part of our landscape and sketch to the other. So before I go. Onto my next sketch, I can actually come in right now with pen. And then of course got my pen, super Sandy. It’s like, you can’t win for losing on the beach of there. How to stand in your pack, stand on your papers. And in your paints, it just always finds a way to end up somewhere that you don’t want it. But, uh, in the pen, we’ll go into

Claire Giordano – In the Field:

Being a bit quicker here, not being as careful around my grass and then just kind of, you know, having vertical up and down brushstrokes to fill in that whole area pretty rapidly. I’m grabbing cobalt blue pretty much straight from my palate open. I just smeared it, but I can fix it with my finger, but kind of sliding it upward. I decided I want a bit more blue over there. And then I’m just gonna kind of in a couple areas, drop in a bit more shadows and then over in the left

Claire Giordano – In the Field:

Again. So I’m just kind of coming through here, looking for the biggest, you know, rock formations, things that I find compelling or interesting and like right there, that’s not exactly right. Like that big rock is a bit bigger than it should have been. And that’s a, okay. You know, like, no one’s gonna, there’s no art police, that’s going to come over and tell us, you didn’t put that in the right place. Like the only one who will know that as us. So I just try to remind myself of that and be able to gentle with myself when I feel like I might’ve made a mistake and just kind of roll with it and not get too attached to just like the perfection basically is the goal of this kind of page is so far from perfection. You know, we’re not here to meticulously detail every single little minutia of what we’re seeing. We’re instead getting to just explore this place and get to know it and using our tools of our art and observation to learn about the place.

Claire Giordano:

No, of course every landscape is different. You know, once I have my kind of framework, I start with this sketch and I talk about the context of where we are and I always try to integrate a land acknowledgement when I can for different locations. It also other interesting tidbits of what I find or what I find fascinating. I feel like my students get a very unfiltered version of me because I try to, should be, you know, be myself and I try to be this person. I feel like that’s one of the most beautiful parts of all of this is that I really learned. And there’s a lot of kind of power in that vulnerability. I’m just owning like, Hey, I don’t know really where we’re at and start this painting. So we’re going to make a sketch and then we’re going to figure out our colors and then we’ll start putting some papers down or some, some colors down on the paper and then just trusting that the painting will unfold.

Claire Giordano:

And I try to invite people into that uncertainty as well, because I think it’s so often, and I’m kind of trying to create a space that combats this, there’s this kind of image in social media and in advertisements and just like in the outdoor industry, especially, but also of course, many others that we’re just going to poop out. A masterpiece just does not happen. Like it just does not happen. And I’ve been really intentionally trying to share more on social media about that. But I feel like the classes are just the most to me, the most glorious, like illustration of that, where they get to see me struggle and see me get like by bugs, I’m like confused and lost in the painting. And there’s one I just recorded in the desert and it was this just incredible spot. I hiked, I think like five miles to get there down this Creek that was called pleasant Creek.

Claire Giordano:

And it was the most aptly named place. I bet in a long time, the cottonwoods were just starting to turn. There were these incredibly vibrant color of yellow, like looking at sunshine, distilled into these little wavering packets of color. And it was just gorgeous with this back lit trees and these Hills and these shadow domes of Navajo sandstone. And I got part way through the painting and I kind of got through the trees and, you know, had totally changed my whole order of painting because when you’re trying to paint back lit glowing trees, the trees happen first. Nothing else happens until after that, which is like the exact reverse of everything else. And often honestly, how the reverse of how watercolor is often taught. So I break a lot of conventions. So my students are like, well, that’ll work that I did not think of it work, but it did.

Claire Giordano:

And I just got lost in that painting. And I had just like in the recordings that I’m gonna turn this off, stand up, bring some feeling back to my legs and then come back to this and try to find a way through. And I did, and it’s still imperfect, but I think that’s, at least to me kind of part of the magic of that is that it was that imperfect space. And I think imperfection at art at least to me, is where I’ve made the most fun kind of discoveries about colors and patterns. And I want to encourage my students and create a space where they can have that discovery to

Gale Straub – Narration:

We’ll hear more from Claire after this.

MIDROLL BREAK:

Gale Straub – Narration:

We’re back after spending some time looking through the adventure art academy website and seeing how systematically Claire breaks down a scene all real time while she’s out there in a place. I was curious about her process as a teacher. It turns out that her most valuable tool comes from within.

Claire Giordano:

I’m trying to get the best way to articulate a process that feels very intuitive to me as a teacher. And I think maybe the most effective or the most, the tool I rely on the most is just being very vulnerable about my own process in a painting. And at first I found that really intimidating because working on painting and especially outdoors, it’s a conversation with place. If that makes sense, I’m in dialogue with what’s happening through my painting. So I’m making a bunch of conscious as well as subconscious decisions about what I’m seeing and then how to translate that and how to develop a visual language for mountain and Ridge. And the way the light will slowly fade across a snow field as the sun moves over the course of a painting. And when I teach a class, it’s an externalization of that internal dialogue. And that was really scary at first because it felt so personal to take a practice that had been just me and nature, and then inviting hundreds of people into that space with me. And I feel like because of that, I think, you know, and students will still ask me questions as comments and they can ask that kind of thing. But I just trust that that dialogue will cover the main things that they need to know. If that makes sense.

Gale Straub:

How, how did you push through that vulnerability? Was it the, the bigger purpose that you had and wanting to create this course and wanting to give people access to the type of adventure that you have access to

Claire Giordano:

Exactly. You know, I, to kind of go back to something I mentioned earlier, you know, I feel like art is this incredibly powerful tool for observation when I like I use it and I hope other peoples can too, like in some ways it can kind of help you learn about a place and if I choose to connect to it better. But I also feel like when art is used in this way, whether you’re sketching or painting or whatever it is, it’s a very different mentality than the capture conquer summit. You know, key words, we hear all the time across the industry and I want to observe something deeply and personally what’s happening around me and like what’s happening in that community with nature right in that conversation. But as a teacher, I realized I get to invite others into that conversation too. Like it doesn’t just have to be this reciprocal relationship between my own internal person and a place.

Claire Giordano:

I can expand that space and invite others into that. And it felt like such a natural continuation of my goal for my artwork as I wanted a painting to be that space so desperately. And sometimes there were, and sometimes they weren’t and you know, you never know if someone sees a painting and it feels like they’re there with you or, or learn something from it. But now I can kind of directly teach people skills. And I know some people are there just for their skills, but I’ve gotten such incredible feedback from people that they get to go out on an adventure with me and that they were emotionally impacted by painting edited, disappearing glacier. And those are the moments where I’m like, okay, you know, that that’s worth it. That’s worth it to have kind of faced that fear of taking this very personal thing and opening it up to other people

Gale Straub – Narration:

Claire’s reflection at the end of October’s course at the Easton Glacier is a great example of inviting the students to turn a mirror on the landscape and themselves.

Claire Giordano – In the Field:

Okay, well, here’s our finished painting. I had so much fun working on it rather than some texts, which I’ll read in a moment. And I also went into my sketches and kind of redefine them with a bit of ink, just so they weren’t quite so diffused because I speared those so much with my hands. Um, I encourage you to write whatever text feels good for you, reflection of the process or other information from the lesson whenever you were interested in that. Um, mine says Eastern glacier ice fall, August 10th, 2021, looking north Northeast from 65, 80 feet of the Rocky Ridge or the railroad grade, Maureen, the mountain is more melted out than I have ever seen it. The exposed ice of this painting is visible up the entire mountain, the white snow fields smaller than the swath device and is beautiful to see, but the other worldly beauty carries an undercurrent or sadness, almost grief.

Claire Giordano – In the Field:

I met this glacier 11 years ago and this melting before my eyes changing and all to human time. So I hope that little reflection might inspire you to also kind of think about how this landscape is changing and what you’re painting captures. It captures a moment in time and it captures a landscape that, you know, this landscape that may not be here, um, for it, it w it won’t be here in this way during the rest of our lifetimes. Um, the glaciers will likely retreat high off the mountains. This one’s already retreated so far since nineteen ninety four hundred and twenty meters of the valley, which is incredible. Um, and it’s just, it’s very humbling to sit in a place like this and you get to paint it and to recognize that, you know, I, and also all of you who paint with me, we are kind of witnesses and participants in, in this place and this changing world. And I, I hope that it might inspire you to do reflect on that and just to, to recognize, and not only the beauty and the video kind of do the reality of this place, but also what that beauty means in the bigger picture of, of our beautiful and changing world.

Gale Straub:

And, um, D do you have any advice to share for an artist who, who maybe has been doing, you know, similar to you has been doing zoom classes and is looking to start a more formal online class program, any advice for someone who’s starting off on that journey?

Claire Giordano:

One thing through kind of enlist out and right out, you know, why do you want to teach? What’s the goal here? And everyone here will have different goals. There’s no right or wrong answer, but just really become clear. I think on, you know, what the intention is there, because that really guided how I approached both live classes and then the growth into the adventure art academy and doing something really unique there that isn’t really being done by any other, any other instructor, as far as I can see. I think along with that reflection, something artist has to think about is, are you okay with people copying your style, um, and copying how you work? Because I’ve talked to a lot of artists who refuse to teach because they already contend with so much imitation and in some cases direct, you know, rip offs or stealing of their work.

Claire Giordano:

So, you know, and I’ve talked to someone there, like they asked me, like, you know, aren’t you worried they’re gonna lose money into your students? And I say, well, no, because, you know, it’s like, my goal is as an artist, I’ve kind of already moved beyond just like selling prints in some ways. And I still love doing that and I love getting to sell that. But for me personally, it’s like the way I want to interact with my artwork was not in the way that a lot of artists interact with it. So I believe that’s a very important question to address for, and then just start small. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with just doing an awesome series on, again, off again on zoom or with a partner organization to reach different audiences. And I, because I’ve utilized, like a lot of people would not have the time or motivation to like grow it into something of this scale.

Claire Giordano:

You know, it’s pretty much 75% of my job now is like dealing with all the content and management. And, and that’s the way I wanted it. You know, I’ve made this very intentional shift into this space because, you know, I wear all the different hats for this thing that keeps growing and growing and becoming this beautiful outgrowth of who I am and what I want art to be for people. And I want adventure to be, but you don’t have to do something that big, you know, if you wanna teach a simple class on sketching, that’s beautiful. That’ll be another point of entry for someone who wants resonates with your style or your work and wants to learn from you. Like how beautiful, no matter what the scale of that is then of course the other thing is just practicing and not being afraid to listen to yourself. Like, please, if you start teaching, watch your own classes, find a way to record them. But if you listen to yourself, you will learn so much. Like I have spent way more time than I ever thought with just me and my wife.

Claire Giordano:

But also, I know you asked earlier kind of how do I anticipate what students will, will want or need in a class. And a lot of that anticipation comes from listening to every minute of my classes and of course editing it and, you know, probably listening to the whole thing twice, all of a sudden done or more, and really realizing like, oh, you know what, actually right there, I could have, I could have done a better job of articulating that. And so there’s all circle back to something like 10 minutes later in, less than be like, hang on. I need to stop and explain why I did this because I didn’t do a good job earlier if I catch it in real time. But over time we just get better. And a big part of that has been that the confidence and just allowing myself to be reflective in that space, because I know a lot of us, it’s a really big mental block to listen to oneself speak.

Claire Giordano:

So don’t be afraid. I know you think you sound weird, you don’t, and then speak slowly. I literally have a sticky note on my computer. And then I try to write it like on, on my little bag with my camera to slow down, because I get really excited about things I nerd out on nature and get so stoked. And then I forget to slow down enough and I’ve had some wonderful students. I appreciate them so much where English was not their first language. And they were like, Hey, this class is hard. And these points like, can you try to make sure, or can you slow it down and post? And I, I did it for a couple of them actually, which was great. Uh, it was like an excited and distracted, like, you know, like any person, but I feel like, especially when I’m painting, you know, it’s a singularity of kind of vision and observation that, you know, when a dragon fly flies by, or when I was talking about painting shore bird, footprints, I was going to fill in a little footprints, right. Getting ready to paint them a little bird flies by, and you hear a peep. And I just, I’m so excited.

Claire Giordano – In the Field:

I’m looking for a place to paint and we found the cutest little footprints, uh, a little teeny tiny shorebird that just walked up there and we can just see you in the distance right up there. There you it’s Always so cute. I don’t know what kind of bird it is, but it’s so cute. It’s such a beautiful day. It’s finally sunny and I could not be happier. Oh, there you go.

Claire Giordano:

And then I see my students get excited alongside me and that’s just so fun. And there’s so many funny moments of teaching and like, you know, the learning curve of food, trying to figure out how the heck to even fill them outside. Not easy. I’m still learning.

Gale Straub:

Uh, yeah, it’s all sounds deeply personal, surprisingly vulnerable, and like a lot of fun based on everything I’m hearing from you, what advice would you have for someone who is hoping to connect a little more deeply with the landscape around them and is hoping to try some planner, painting or drawing? What are some of the first things that you might recommend for someone who’s just getting started?

Claire Giordano:

Yeah. I love this question because I feel like, you know, no matter where we are in our painting journey, if you’re shifting to creating outside an onsite is just a whole different ball game. So I think my first piece of advice is just to pair down your materials as much as possible. I find the outside. If I have all the fun things, all the brushes, all the colors, all the fancy pens, it’s just too overwhelming. And I’ll never start painting because I’ll sit there and asked about the color choices or which pen is the right pen. I 1 0 5 or oh eight. I want it smaller or larger nib on my, no, it’s just, those are not, at least for me personally, I’ve never been conducive decisions to actually creating. So I pair it down to just like my palette of colors, one pen, one pencil, and eraser, a cup for water and a little paper towel.

Claire Giordano:

And I love these reusable paper towels, those blue shop towels. You see, like in hardware stores, they work, they last forever. And then you have no waste, which is awesome. And I have a game I love to play whenever I’m hiking. And that is the how I mix that color game. So this is how I entertained myself. When I have miles to hike to get to my painting location, I’ll just start picking out colors I’m seeing and imagining mixing them in my mind. And that’s, I think maybe more than any other like trail entertainment has been the most helpful, because I think it gets my brain into this mode of seeing color and thinking ahead of how I could prepare for that. And the other thing I think that really helped me was this idea of stop naming and start seeing. So there was a really powerful exercise.

Claire Giordano:

I tried once in a, like one of my last in-person workshops, actually before the pandemic where I was teaching kind of the basics of outdoor painting. And I had everyone close their eyes and imagine kind of what they were told a mountain looked like, you know, the earliest memory they had of what a mountain would look like when someone told them what it was. And I had them sketch that and people held up their sketches and across the board, almost every single person through the same thing, it was a triangular mountain. Maybe it had a little tiny sub peak next to it, but usually just try a triangle. And it had kind of a little like, you know, jaggedy, snow skirt on that little triangle, maybe a couple of foothills at the bottom. And, you know, we looked around the room and I said, you know, this is what happens when we’re given names for things.

Claire Giordano:

And then we start expecting to see those things outside. So if I try to paint a mountain based on what I was told, it looked like I’m never going to be able to paint it because I’m painting that name of that thing, that kind of ideal form. I was given much less than what I’m actually seeing. So next I, and I drew a little diagram of Mount Rainier and was like Mount Rainier looks like a chunk of Play-Doh. Someone dropped on the floor and stepped off. Like, it’s not, you know, it’s not a pointy peak anymore. The same thing holds for evergreen trees and deciduous trees that are constantly taught to us from a super tiny age via the name. But it has a little poofy top and a little side-branch and maybe a little owl on the right. And we all have these visions of what these are.

Claire Giordano:

And I’ve realized from working with students over the last few years, that one of the hardest things about painting outside is letting go of those visions, because names can have a lot of power. They can be an incredible way to get to know a place and to be, to recognize the intimacy of a landscape, especially, you know, indigenous languages have way more opportunities for that kind of animacy recognition than the English language does, but the language can also have a very powerful downside and it can kind of be this obstacle and create these expectations for, for how we see and interact with the world. It gives kind of a filter if you might, to how we see something. So I kind of see it as my job and I encourage people who are just starting to paint to just go, just go see you and don’t label a tree or Ridge. Just be like, that’s a triangular bit that has some like white stuff behind it. You’re how could we describe it in the most simple forms possible,

Gale Straub – Narration:

This notion to stop naming and start seeing really applies to other aspects of our lives to our brains are always looking for shortcuts based on what we know, and they can hold us back, but an art class and the right teacher can open us up to seeing, I want to end this episode with one last piece of advice that Claire has for planning or painting that we can live out in our daily lives too.

Claire Giordano:

So there’s a phrase I repeat often to my students, especially in the lives, whom classes cause my students who were part of the adventure art academy, they get reminders of this all the time. But with students who I haven’t worked with before, I tell them kind of over and over, but I want them and I use this myself, but I want to approach a painting with a spirit of exploration rather than expectation. I love that phrase and I’m coming to love it even more. As I work through situations, myself, where I really I’m new to a landscape, and that was just, you know, my experience in the desert recently, I had the immense privilege of being an artist in residence at Capitol reef, national park in Utah. And I’m from Washington. I live in the Pacific Northwest. I am in a land of big trees and 20 colors are green to count and lots of clouds, winter.

Claire Giordano:

And then these incredibly jagged mountains that are within, you know, an hour to three hour drive from home, they plopped me in the desert and I’m like, I don’t have enough colors of orange, all of a sudden. And I had to every day just, yeah, I made the goal for myself to paint every day and do at least one painting outside. Even if it was just a 10 minute sketch. And I had to keep repeating to myself, you know, I’m exploring, I’m not expecting like how can I keep reminding myself of this fact that I’m just here to try. So if you’re new to painting outside, just go try and don’t worry about the output. And if someone sees you painting, they’re not going to sit there and be like, oh, you know what? That mountain is actually two centimeters to the left. Like no people are just amazed to see you creating. And I hope you are amazed at yourself.

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