Gerry HogAboam

By LevellingUp

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” —Pablo Picasso

When you sign up to be mentored by an LU Master Artist, you also benefit from the collective experience of other artists in your small group. Take, for example, this week’s well of wisdom: #LUartist GERRY HOGABOAM!

Ontario-based impressionist and abstract painter, @gerryhogaboam is an accomplished artist in both watercolour and acrylic. A retired educator, Gerry built an entire second career out of painting. She’s honest, insightful, hilarious, and whip-smart… so grab your coffe and settle in for her stories! 

Artwork by Gerry Hogoboam

“Look at me, the first time I stood up in front of a class of students, I was so nervous I had to hang on to the desk, I was shaking so much. Twenty years on, it was easy peasy in a way. It’s the same the first time you bake a pie or make a pie crust. THAT’S scary! It doesn’t do what Julia Child says it’s going to do! But you roll the thing out and it’s not gourmet-magazine perfect, but you get it in the pan and put the filling in and people say, ‘This is really good!’ And you think, phew!”

“It’s the same with art.”

“My advice for artists is: don’t get discouraged. And you have to remember that it’s a continuum. Just as it is if you’re learning to ride a bike or anything else. If you’re just past the starting gate on this continuum, don’t compare yourself to people like John Singer Sergeant who are at the end of the road and flying beyond. Once upon a time, they were where you are.”

“When I look back at the work that I did ten years ago, five years ago, I go, ‘Oooooh.’ But then I say to myself, ‘But that’s who I was then. And that was an achievement.'” 

Artwork by Gerry Hogoboam
Artwork by Gerry Hogoboam

“I came from a very creative family. When I was growing up, my mother would paint rooms colours that no other parent would ever paint their house. And I’d think, oh my God, kids are coming here and they’re going to see that we have dark green walls or something. My father was a chemist and engineer. He’d bring us all these interesting things to play with for Christmas; we never got normal presents.”

“One Christmas early on, my parents bought me this wonderful little box set of oil paints. I knew nothing about how to use them, but I just charged ahead anyway. I would paint scenes from Christmas cards or magazines and that. But I’m like that; I’m not afraid of failure because I think failure is just part of life.” 

Artwork by Gerry Hogoboam

“I don’t have 20 years to become famous. And if I don’t become famous in the time I have, it doesn’t matter. What really matters for me is: Am I loving my journey? And I mean, like, all parts of it. It’s that joy and that challenge that inspire me to put on those grungy old clothes in the morning and after breakfast say, ‘Okay, put the tablet away and get in there.'” 

“This group with Master Bob Burridge is good because it’s challenging. It’s not just the little course at the library where you paint a picture and they say, “That’s pretty,” and then you leave. And where do you go with it from there? The focus really is to move us forward, you know? To emerge to become a butterfly so that you can become a professional. And I may always be a cocoon, but anyway.”

“I just like to create. I like to see what I can do, and I also like a challenge. There’s that drive inside me: ‘Okay, this is a bad year but maybe you can do a whole lot better.'”

“And this is why I signed up at this ripe old age for LevellingUp. I thought, well, you know what, 20 years from now I’m not going to be here. But that doesn’t matter, you know?”
“I’m here now.”

Gerry, THANK YOU for sharing your stories and thoughts with us. SO happy you’re a part of our growing community of artists!

FOLLOW @gerryhogaboam to witness her beautiful sense of design and get to know this incredible artist better!

Author: LevellingUp
Date: December 9, 2021

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