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The 2013 – 2014 is the 14th year of the CARFAC Sask. Mentorship program. The program pairs artists with a variety of expertise with artists who are looking for art related guidance of all kinds. Each pairing is as unique in it’s focus as the the artists involved. Some are wanting to explore new media and methods, some are wanting to learn how to explore going deeper with their work exploring topics of interest through their art and ways to open discussion through their work. Still others are looking for help on the business side of art.

I had applied before but without success. I think I was making it harder than it needed to be. This time I had more clarity about the shift I was wanting to make in my art. When I heard that Iris Hauser, of Saskatchewan would be at the last CARFAC AGM speaking about her experience as a mentor, I drove up to Saskatoon to hear what she had to say. I have loved Iris’ large realistic figurative paintings and how she used the figure as a symbol in her work to discuss topics like dream, depression and identity. I first saw her work at the Art Gallery of Regina, possibly then called the Rosemont Art Gallery. When Iris spoke at the AGM I remembered her advice that  the mentorship program was artist centered and that those who applied as prepaired grouping often had a better chance of being accepted. So I decided to approach Iris and ask if she would consider being my mentor. She even advised me during my application process helping to review it with helpful suggestions.  I have been told she is really great to work with and will direct but in an encouraging way. Our pairing has an added bonus: artist Romie Froese, of Saskatoon is also being mentored by Iris. It sounds like I will have opportunity to learn from Romie as well, who has been formally trained at one of Canada’s oldest art schools in the maritimes. Romie also uses the human figure in her work!

Recently all of this years mentors and mentees met in Saskatoon, SK to discuss the program and introduce ourselves via a 5 min PowerPoint presentation. Mentors and artists are divided into northern and southern groupings. This was a great chance to hear from other artists in the province. I found another mentor Lee Brady who works in glass vessels and 2 dimensional glass wall hangings was also of interest to me as he often includes copper elements in his work too. I loved seeing how he used the inter play of light through his work as another subject. I saw that there were common themes of interest in the group, perceptional sensitivity of artists, dreams, use of repeated patterns and the use of light as a medium. We will be having artists retreat mid way through our term that runs Sept. 2013 – June 2014 and a final all artist meeting at the end of the program. I am looking forward to these. It was also an added surprise to see that an artist friend with whom I had previously worked on a project with was also a mentor this year, Jeffrey Taylor. Jeffrey is a potter from Duval, Sask.

Two pairings this year have the mentor coming from a different zone than trainee. Being I have established a teaching schedule for Grumbacher in Saskatoon, I am hoping to coordinate my times of one to one mentorship with Iris then. Part of our commitment to the program is to meet and work together for 7 hours per month. I am hoping to learn how to work with oil paints. I have primarily worked with acrylics, water soluble oils, watercolours and pencil in my portrait career of 18 years.

Northern and southern artists also have group meetings 2 – 3 times during the term. Because my mentor is from the north and I am from the south I may float between the two groups to determine where I may best achieve the goals I have for my mentorship.  During these meetings a project may be worked on or topical theme discussed. Groups may apply as mentor trainee pairs for funding toward a project or a grouping of artists may apply together. However the amount is divided among all applying. This amount could be funds to help travel to an exhibit for example or for materials etc. It will be interesting to see what ideas come forth.

My next goal is to prepare my letter of intent with Iris’ help. Much of that can be done by phone and email. I am to state my personal and professional goals for the mentorship and lay out my plan for the year. I will also need to work up a budget. Each trainee is able to apply for up to $300 in materials, equipment, books or magazines they may need to achieve their goals. There is also an intake survey and  some reporting that needs to be done  a couple times during the year by both by Iris and myself. I am quite excited about this opportunity for professional growth and I thank CARFAC Sask and Iris for giving me this opportunity.

The artist / mentor pairings for the 2013 / 2014 season are:

Bonnie A. Conly (mentee) of Grasswood, SK; sculpture / Alison Norlen (mentor) of Saskatoon, SK;

Charlotte Hauk (mentee) of Regina, SK; ceramics / Jeffrey Taylor (mentor) of Duval, SK; potter

Miriam Korner (mentee) of Air Ronge, SK; printmaker / Rigmor Clark (mentor) of Shell Lake, SK; plein air painter & printmaker

Romie Froese (mentee) of Saskatoon, SK; sculpture & figurative painting /Iris Hauser (mentor) of Saskatoon, SK; figurative painter

Nikki Jacquin (mentee) of Regina, SK; portrait painter / Iris Hauser (mentor) of Saskatoon, SK; figurative painter

Sandra Ledingham (mentee) of saskatoon, SK; mixed media sculpture / Lee Brady (mentor) of Saskatoon, SK; glass sculptures

Terri Fidelak (mentee) of Regina, SK; installation art / Tamara Rusnak (mentor) of Saskatoon, SK

Traci Foster (mentee) of Regina, SK; performance artist/ Gerri Ann Siwek (mentor) of Regina, SK