Time on the Brush Required to Become an Artist

Becky Easton shows her painting, Glorioso Escaramuza Charra (Proud or Glorious Mexican horsewoman), in her SaddleBrooke studio. Escaramuza charra is the only female equestrian event in the Mexican Charreria (rodeo). Escaramuza means “skirmish” and consists of a team riding in choreographed, synchronized maneuvers to music. The women ride sidesaddle and wear traditional Mexican attire. The routine is practiced in a lienzo, or a circular arena. (Photo by LaVerne Kyriss)

LaVerne Kyriss

For Becky and Bob Easton, moving to SaddleBrooke might be the shortest move of anyone in their neighborhood. Native Tucsonans, they previously owned a home and property right near Miraval. “We had 100 trees on it, and it was just getting to be too much work,” Easton explained. “We got an offer on our home and found the perfect location in SaddleBrooke for our retirement lifestyle.”

Both Eastons spent their careers in local law enforcement. When Becky retired in 2006, she decided she wanted to explore art as a hobby. “I was always drawn to art but had not explored it. I began by taking some classes and found a wonderful small group in which I could practice and learn,” she said.

Becky works in oils and said she thinks it’s best for her to stick with one medium. She noted that she prefers to work in the mornings and often will paint four or five days a week, noting that she prefers to work on one piece at a time. “Sometimes I have to set a piece aside to see what it needs, but often I can figure it out by changing my perspective—stepping back three feet and then 30 feet—I see what I need to do,” she said.

“I’m really excited to get involved in the SaddleBrooke arts scene. It’s time to broaden our social groups, now that the pandemic is waning, and get engaged in our new community. Exhibiting at the spring guild art show was a great chance to meet people and show my work,” she said. “And I look forward to getting involved in guild events, classes, and activities, including helping to spearhead the 2023 Art Show.”

When asked about her recommendations for SaddleBrooke neighbors who might want to explore art as a pastime, Easton recommends several steps. “The first thing is to take a drawing class. Drawing skills are so important. Next, decide which medium you want to explore. I recommend beginners pick one to start. Third, examine art done by others. Find one whose style you admire and learn about this approach.”

“Find good teachers. Good artists don’t always make good teachers,” she noted. “Find someone who can explain and demonstrate what they are doing so you can follow along and try it. It’s sometimes difficult for people to tell you what they are doing and why they are doing it,” she added.

Easton recommends trying a combination of in-person and online or video courses. “You get so much from the in-person experience, but with a video, you can go back and repeat it or watch it over and over until you master that technique,” she said. “Finally, it’s all about time on the brush. Practice is what makes you a good artist. Every good artist has a closet full of bad paintings,” she laughed. “That’s how they learn what they did wrong.”