Kristy Bishop: My Quest to Know God has Influenced My Passion for Art
Produced by Geri Jones, Creative Arts segment, July 23, 2013
“My goal as an artist is to serve mankind at the deepest level of my spiritual development through the expression of painting, writing and public speaking.”
My maternal grandmother, Izah Clark, was attuned to my artistic ability when I was a baby. While I was sitting on her lap, I would trace the intricate designs on her dress with my right index finger. She advised my mother to be sure to get art lessons for me at a young age. Since there were artists in my family, both heredity and environment played a natural part in fostering my interest in art. My cousins, Don and Ruth Clark were artists. They attended the Massachusetts College of Art (circa 1920.)
A Work in Progress Pastel on Sanded Paper 24 x 20 by Kristy Bishop (c) 1993
I am the third of four children born in the George and Kathleen Clark Bishop family. I was born in 1951. My mother saved some of my drawings from age 4 or 5 because they showed exceptional ability. Soon after my grandmother passed away in 1958, I received art lessons from a professional artist Bessie Higgins (1897-1995) in Presque Isle, Maine. Higgins studied at the Massachusetts College of Art and taught there until she moved to Presque Isle in 1928.
Drawing and painting have always given me great joy. The process gives me such elation that I do it on a regular basis. If I don’t create for awhile, I feel an urging in my spirit to get back to it. I give God the credit for both my talent and for the desire to study fine art; also, improve my work and share that knowledge with others. God has given us all the ability to create. Some can develop it faster than others.
My passion for sharing and teaching began when I was six years old. I would demonstrate how to draw Donald Duck on a blackboard in our farmhouse kitchen to a number of neighborhood children. My mother documented my progress with photographs.
Teaching is natural for me. I began teaching art privately as a profession in Saugerties, New York in 1977 after studying at the Art Students League. New adult student, Mary Rell wrote in an email to me on 7-16- 2013, “What fun!! I was thrilled to be a part of your talented group. I do not have anyone to compare you to but I can honestly say I found you to be wonderful and easy to learn from. That in itself is quite a skill. Some people have the knowledge but cannot convey the information to others well. My husband was so impressed that he wanted to frame my work…I am still shocked that I was able to accomplish the painting.” (This was her first art class.)
Theory of Everything acrylic on canvas 20 x 16 by Kristy Bishop (c) 2013
For me, teaching a variety of techniques is the easiest part of being an instructor. However, a real mentor needs to be capable of instilling confidence in the student. I am so passionate concerning my mission as a teacher that many my students set up their own studios at home and continue to practice between classes. Reportedly, my enthusiasm is contagious! My spiritual quest to know God and seek His Will has influenced my passion for art. I am so grateful for this. There is so much beauty that God has created in this world. It exists in every landscape and still life….even in abstraction. More over, beauty can be found in every individual as long as he or she is reacted to with forgiveness and love. I listen as well as look. I have devoted all these years to developing the gift that God has given me.
Friday Morning Art Class oil on canvas 8 x 10 by Kristy Bishop (c) 2012
“I love it!” Teaching art, at this studio has been one of my main purposes in life since 1977. More than 800 beginning students have participated in painting and drawing classes, ages 6 through 85. Many friends have been made over the years as a result of this mission in Saugerties, NY.