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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Art Lessons from a Flute

'Across the Desert'          8x8         Pastel        ©Karen Margulis sold

Inspiration can happen in the strangest way.  Like how I ended up with a native American flute and how it has inspired my newest idea.  Last Saturday I was in the middle of cleaning house after being away for two weeks.  My friend Marsha Savage called and asked if I wanted to go to the National Craft Council show.  I really needed to clean but I wanted to visit with Marsha so I went.

At the show I saw an artist who made Native American flutes. He was playing one and I was captivated. I love listening to native American flute when I paint Southwest landscapes but I never considered learning to play a flute.  I really couldn't afford these beautiful flutes but I was haunted by them.

I decided to buy one on Ebay. I found one that I could afford and was willing to take my chances. I just wanted to try it.  It came on Wednesday...nothing like almost instant gratification!  And I am thrilled with it.  It sounds pretty good even if I don't know what I am doing.....yet.

That is the key and the lesson.  I don't know how to play it but it came with a book and a CD.  I am on lesson #3 so far and making progress.  And I know that if I really truly want to learn to be proficient and not just dabble.....I will need to have a plan to practice EVERY DAY.  If I practice my scales once a week I will make very slow progress. If I practice for 15 to 30 minutes every day I will become a better player in a short amount of time.

The book that came with the flute is actually what has inspired me even more than the flute itself. The author John Vames has organized the lessons into small do-able chunks.  He stresses the importance of practice and of having a plan to learn.  This applies to learning how to paint or learning a new medium as well.


Here are some or Mr. Vames tips:

  • Plan to practice every day.
  • At the end of each session you should be able to do something you couldn't do before.
  • Get organized and have all your supplies ready and together.
I think that artists can follow this same advice. I am inspired to promote this idea and help new pastelists so stay tuned to see what will develop from this afternoon at the craft show!


Sea Dean - Paint a Masterpiece said...

I'm all ears - or should that be all eyes? I've made a few attempts at pastels with no luck. Trouble is I've never read anything on how to do it and I was probably using all the wrong tools. Now I have pastel paper, brand new Sennelier sof pastels from Paris (cost a fortune) and I'm all ready to go. I'm also a big fan of your work, so I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with for lessons.

Anonymous said...

Awesome advice!

Anonymous said...

I like those spur-of-the-moment getaways, especially if it was a choice between that and cleaning! Good point for regular practice.