Featured Explorer: Dabney Rebecca, Art Teacher
1 - Tell me about what type of creative you are?
My job is to teach art, but the truth is, art teaches me! It's a privilege to make art every day both in and outside the classroom. At my core, I love to draw and paint. Composing a unique surface, a new world of lines and colors and textures is gratifying and transcendent. Photography is my other great love. Everything about photography energizes me, from exploring new places and editing reality into art to being able to share with other artists around the world. It's a great time to be an artist!
2 - What inspires you to be creative?
Nature. Travel. Exploring. Chasing light. Challenging myself. Making a personal statement. Trying to make a difference. My parents. My students. The path less traveled. The small stuff. Connecting with others. Living life to the fullest. Beauty, finding it and creating it.
3 - What books are you currently reading that you would recommend?
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner. It's an hilarious and poignant personal quest to discover where people are happiest and what makes people happy where they live. Debauchery in the Netherlands, long winters with no sunlight in Iceland, obscene wealth in Qatar, meditating in an ashram in India...each place is unique, offering its own ways to be happy or not. I won't spoil the ending, but it certainly hits close to home in more ways than one!
4 - What is one tool you would recommend someone having to make them more creative?
A way to quickly document. Whether it’s a quote on the radio or a beautiful scene on the way to work or a funny moment with friends, it's important to take note of the special moments. When I travel, I always carry my sketchbook. Especially in locations where Wi-Fi is limited, a sketchbook is a wonderful tool for recording surroundings, experiences and impressions. Once a restaurant owner in Spain even gave me a free dinner in exchange for my pencil sketch. But in my regular, day-to-day busy life, I depend on my phone. It's like a modern-day sketchbook! Every day as I drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I see something new. I can stop and take a quick picture and still get to places on time...almost!
5 - What is your favorite creative project you have ever worked on?
One favorite that comes to mind is a collaboration with an artist friend a couple of years ago. She traveled from New York City to Boone for a week, and we held our own two-person, non-stop art camp! By day we hiked with our easels to spots around the Parkway for plein air painting. At night we found inspiration in unusual materials. Once we flipped to a random page in Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends and created a quick piece of art inspired by the poem. Another evening we painted on the same canvas. It was a round one I’d had for years that almost looked like a toilet seat cover! We put the canvas on a Lazy Susan and some jazz on the CD player and just silently painted and turned, painted and turned, for hours until our collaborative painting felt finished.