Never stop learning!

People are often surprised to see me in a classroom situation as the student, rather than the teacher. When I taught at the New York Botanical Gardens I had the good fortune of taking a class for every class I taught. This was great because I taught a lot and NYBG had a lot of awesome classes I was able to take. When I walked into the room, many of my students were also taking the class and they looked shocked to see me sitting as a student in the class. Some would come sit next to me and try to ask me questions on how to do something during the class. I would never help them because I felt it was disrespectful to the artist/teacher and besides I was there to learn, not teach. Some students would sit as far away from me as possible. I felt like I had the plague! They told me that I intimidated them and that they didn’t want to me to see them mess up. They would exclaim, “What are you doing here? You don’t need to take a class, you already know what you are doing.” Interesting…… they never thought that I might screw up too!

Wild Turkey detail- ©2014 Mindy Lighthipe


I currently have been immersed in doing a commission for a client that is a 60 x 40 wild turkey in full strut. This is by far the most intricate and complicated painting I have done to date. There are so many feathers, colors, textures etc….. I am also taking an online class with Val Webb; Birds in Watercolor and Beyond. Luckily for me this class came at the most perfect time as I was struggling with loosing my pencil drawing as I was covering the paper with paint.

Wild Turkey in progress ©2014 Mindy LighthipeOne lesson in the class incorporates pen and ink with watercolor. I have never been a purist and find that whatever gets the job done is okay with me. Many areas in the turkey feathers have a black band in the pattern. Because the class introduced pen and ink into the lesson I was able to use it in this commission and make my life sooooooooo much easier. I would never have thought to do this and it was the perfect solution. The ink is waterproof so that when I layer watercolor and gouache over it, it doesn’t bleed and make a mess. Brilliant! I hope you enjoy the pics of how I am using it. Never stop learning. Taking a class is an awesome way to experiment, learn new techniques and hone your skills.

Have you learned anything new lately????