original painting by Brooke Harker. Available at Lu Martin Galleries in Laguna Beach, CA.
This painting is inspired by the photography of Steve Lammertyn, whose work I discovered on Instagram. In his photo, I loved how the sky and the buildings mirrored into the water and highlighted the blues of the boat. This delighted my attention and created a feeling of expansiveness in my heart. When I contacted Steve to let him know how much I adored his photo, he so kindly gave me permission to create this painting. He let me know that this neighborhood is known as Huidvettershoek (Skin oiler’s corner), in Ghent, Belgium.
As most of the paintings I create are from my travels, Reflections of Ghent is unique in that it sparked a desire to also paint places I would like to go. I find that many people want to own paintings of places they have been. Perhaps having a painting of a location of interest for future travel is a bigger version of a vision board, a reminder of what to put on a bucket list.
About the process: I worked on this painting on and off over a few years. When it finally neared completion, I called my mom to get her opinion on the sky as skies are her specialty. I shared how I felt insecure especially because she is so good at skies, and perhaps I couldn’t be as good as her. I hadn’t oiled painted a sky in years and feared I might destroy the painting if I attempted. She could have responded with technique ideas or color suggestions but instead she said, “I think we know what we have to do deep down and it usually works out.” To which I responded, “Okay momma, I will be brave.”
She again granted me permission to trust myself, as she has done throughout my life. I know that I was born to the perfect mother for me because I never really have liked following directions. She surrounded me with artistic experiences, supplies and opportunities, but most of all she encouraged me to believe in myself.
Some parents focus on getting their kids to produce a certain outcome when making art so that there is a standard by which to judge competency. That objective is more to serve the parent’s limited vision. We don’t know what is contained within each child, we don’t even totally know what is contained within ourselves.
Here is my advise to parents who ask me how to foster the artist in their child…help them learn to believe in themselves…give them materials and place to make a mess and if you can’t give them that then there is always a way to be an artist without supplies or a space. Find a way to ignite them where they are. Being an artist is in how you look at the world, not in what you produce. We all have vision even without eyesight…let them know that.
Check out the sky paintings by my mom, Nanci McCune at: http://www.nancimccune.com/