I am Stephanie Benedict. I’m a landscape painter living in Northern California. I came to painting in the middle of my life, one night in an art supply store. I came to blogging some time later.
You often hear about people who knew from age 12 that they wanted to be a musician, or a poet, or a bridge designer. I wasn’t one of them. I was one of those people Malcolm Gladwell characterizes as late bloomers. I tried playing piano, acting, writing. For several years I wanted to write science fiction. (Part of me still does!) I’ve worked as a technical editor. After one of those life-scouring events that happens to everyone now and then, I found my own voice silenced. In time, I picked up a copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, hoping to get out of my writer’s block.
What happened next utterly surprised me. One evening, while on what Cameron calls an “artist date,” a time by yourself to just let yourself play, I went to an art supply store near my house. While wandering through that store, I found myself looking at racks of stretched canvas standing against the wall—small ones, big ones, square and long ones—all white, all empty. Suddenly, I started seeing paintings on them: cityscapes, mountains, views through windows. I realized I needed to pay attention to that vision, and decided that night to study painting. I’ve never looked back.
Before that night, the last art class I had taken was in I think 7th grade. So I had not studied drawing or composition or color theory. I knew a little about art history from having been a history major at UC Santa Cruz. (Actually a joint major: history/theatre arts, with honors.) If I’d gone on to write a thesis, it would have been on art, literature, and politics of fin de siècle Europe. But I had no practical training in how to paint.
So I embarked on a course of study to learn painting and drawing. I had a day job (still do), so I took evening classes where I could find them. I started out at community colleges around Sacramento, but quickly moved on to classes at a local private school, the School of Light and Color, where I learned to handle color in a manner similar what Monet probably did, mixing pure colors on the canvas.
Then I had to learn how to draw.
And so I went back and forth, drawing classes at American River College, painting at the School or Light and Color or with other private instructors. (I’ll probably have a post about the difference between them at some point.) I converted a bedroom of my house into a studio. And I kept on painting.
Eventually I had made a body of work good enough and large enough to establish my own website, sbenedictstudio.com.
So here we are: a blog about art, painting, the outdoors, life. I don’t expect to create any poetry here, but you never know. I invite you to join me on this journey, for as long as you want to accompany me. Welcome!