I recently read a blog post by Seth Godin about mentorship. He wrote, “the primary driver of mentor benefit has nothing to do with the mentor herself, nothing beyond the feeling of obligation the student feels to the teacher. Whether or not the mentor does anything, this obligation delivers benefits.
“We can simulate this by living up to our heroes and those living by example, even if we never meet them, even if they’ve passed away, leaving us nothing but a legacy to honor and live up to.”
My drawing and painting skills have improved because I was lucky enough to find mentors. Some gave me advice, and others were (and are) just an inspiration. Most notably, I owe my art instructor, Patsy Taylor, a debt of gratitude for all of her guidance.
I even received encouragement and specific recommendations from some artists whose work I admire the most. I learned a tremendous amount by studying their art, and I am humbled that they took the time to point me in the right direction.
I am grateful for my mentors, but as Seth Godin notes, mentorship “works because the person with a mentor has a responsibility to stand up and actually get moving. The only way to repay your mentor is by showing the guts it takes to grow and to matter.”
In this post are a painting and a few sketches that I recently completed with my mentors in mind.
P.S. Have a Happy New Year, and all the best to you in 2014.