Ancestors inspire paintings

Painter Debra Benditz hadn't painted for five months. "The more time went by the harder it was and the more disheartened and the worse I felt," she said about her dry spell. 

Not knowing what else to do, she was home, cleaning out a closet "praying for answers" when she opened a family photo album and saw her grandmother AEola (spelled like that!) and great grandmother Jennie staring back at her. 

Inspired by this personal history, the women's clothing and the shadows in the images, Benditz knew immediately what to do. "I went to the studio and I've been painting voraciously ever since," Benditz said. Her new series is called Cowgirls. 

We all have fallow times when it feels like nothing will come. What I appreciate about Benditz's story is how she surrendered to her situation and let inspiration find her.

How can you let inspiration find you even in unlikely places, even in fallow times?

When asked what she would do if she found herself again unable to paint, Benditz said she would

  • Reach out to friends
  • Explore the art of her favorite artists
  • Go out to breakfast with her sketchbook

Sometimes there’s nothing to do but wait. And in the waiting and going about the mundane tasks of living, we find the way through. Benditz recently signed with a new gallery with her Cowgirls series.

Debra Benditz and I first met when she attended my "Give an Good Presentation" workshop to help her prepare an artist talk. After the workshop, Benditz asked me to coach her as she launched into new work and proposals. When asked what she found most valuable about my coaching, she said, "Gigi would often ask thought-provoking questions that required me to delve deep. She made me think about: What did I want for my career? Sometimes the questions drove me crazy but always forced growth."


A Horse Of A Different Color, 2017, by Debra Benditz. Oil on canvas, 48 x 60". Copyright © 2017 Debra Benditz. Used by permission of the artist. 

 

 

  This photograph of Jennie (Genevieve) Pawson, Debra Benditz's great grandmother, was in an album in a closet in Benditz's home.

This photograph of Jennie (Genevieve) Pawson, Debra Benditz's great grandmother, was in an album in a closet in Benditz's home.


  How The West Was Won , 2017 by Debra Benditz. Oil on linen, 60 x 30". Copyright © 2017 Debra Benditz. Used by permission of the artist. 

How The West Was Won, 2017 by Debra Benditz. Oil on linen, 60 x 30". Copyright © 2017 Debra Benditz. Used by permission of the artist.