Editor’s Letter | Gaining Inspiration

This month’s artists offer memorable stories

By Kristin Hoerth

Brown’s Wash by Andy Taylor.

Brown’s Wash by Andy Taylor.

This story was featured in the January 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Every month here in the pages of Southwest Art, we bring you the stories of artists who create amazing artworks. And many times, these life stories themselves are pretty amazing, too. In virtually every issue, I find something that inspires me or sticks with me on a personal level. It might be a quote or a particular way of looking at the world that leaps off the page and into my memory bank. This month, each one of the three artists we’ve profiled left me feeling inspired.

First it was Andy Taylor’s approach to landscape painting that caught my attention. Equipped with nothing more than a sketchbook, Taylor walks and hikes through the mesas, canyons, and forests near his home on Colorado’s Western Slope. “Frequently, I find the best drawings on the way to where I think I am going,” says Taylor. “I suppose I want to show people … that with a little visual curiosity we can find beauty and interest all around us.” I have been thinking of that message lately, during this season of short days and dark mornings, when I’m lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a brief winter sunrise while driving to work.

Next came Cindy Wilbur’s inspiring story of overcoming multiple obstacles on the way to becoming an artist, including paralysis resulting from a ruptured blood vessel in her brain. During that time Wilbur’s family rallied around her, and as she puts it, “They made me strongly believe in the power of thought and not giving up, that nothing’s going to knock me down.” She recovered, earned her degree, and eventually became a full-time painter.

Finally, I was especially moved by Bill Baker’s generosity toward the indigenous communities around the world that he visits and paints. Baker has spent time in remote villages in Mexico, South America, and other off-the-beaten-path spots where traditional life is relatively untouched by modern society and technology. And when these communities need help, Baker is there to offer it: He’s donated food and blankets and had wells drilled for water, among other things. “Because I’m getting so much from the people I visit, I want to give back,” Baker says. “I don’t want to be intrusive, and I always want to go in giving.”

Now there’s a phrase—“go in giving”—that’s worth taking to heart, especially during this time of year, and not just as it relates to the art world. Whether you’re an artist or an art lover or both, it’s an inspiring message to remember.

This story was featured in the January 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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