|"Two Champions" by John Fawcett, DVM|
Understandably, during vet school and later as a solo practitioner, there was little time for painting. A common theme with vets who seek the creative side while practicing, time is the limiting commodity. Prior to hiring associates, John tried to find time to paint in the evenings. "It was a release, more of a relaxation to help relieve stress from the practice."
As his practice grew, John was able to carve increasing amounts of time out of his schedule to pursue his artistic passion. With his wife, John visited a western art show in Arizona. "I was completely enthralled with the genre of western art, which I didn't know a whole lot about at the time," John says. "I pursued that theme and it grew to the point where I got in an invitational show and I got in a gallery. I painted more and more because I got excited about it. I became very passionate about it and it was taking up as much of my free time as I could spare while I was still practicing. It became such that I thought that I really couldn't get any better as an artist unless I put more time into it. So I had to decide if this was going to be just a hobby or more of a vocation for me."
|"The Looking Glass" by John Fawcett, DVM|
John explains beautifully how he made his:
So John sold his practice and became a full time painter.
Is this sort of decision easy? Of course not. "To tell you the truth, I had real guilt feelings after I sold my practice because I thought that I wasn't really working. I enjoyed painting so much, it still felt like a hobby to me. It felt like I was just goofing off all the time, even though I was putting in as many hours as I was practicing."
Sometimes, all it takes is the sage observation of an objective spouse to set things right. "My wife kept telling me: this is your profession, get over it."
|"Recent Visitors" by John Fawcett, DVM|
As it turns out, a DVM degree is quite helpful when it comes to art. "I've said having a veterinary background is really the longest anatomy lesson an artist could ever have," says John. "Most of my paintings deal with figurative work whether it be humans or animals. I think the veterinary profession has helped me immensely as far as that goes. Horses are such complex animals. Even when I know what I know about their anatomy, they are really a difficult animal to paint and get everything right."
|"Born to the Land" by John Fawcett, DVM|
In addition to his studio in Pennsylvania, John and his wife also have a ranch in Colorado. It's here, out west, where John gathers a lot of his inspiration. He's met local cowboys in the ranching community and has visited various historic ranches. John has also been introduced to Native Americans who have invited him into their tribes. He develops relationships with these people and their horses, and a story soon develops that is then re-created on canvas.
|"To the Gate" by John Fawcett, DVM|
If you cruise through John's collections of paintings, you'll notice predominantly equine watercolors and oils. Although many are in the western theme, there are other working horses exemplified--draft horses and racing horses, for example. In fact, John had the opportunity to paint the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro.
|"The Unbeaten Barbaro" by John Fawcett|
|"Barbaro" by John Fawcett|
As John's artistic talents continue to evolve and improve, some of his works feature greater detail and the capacity to tell a story increases exponentially as a result. "Painting is the same as anything," he says to me. "You're a writer. So it's the same thing that you go through." Idea, research, draft, end product. It's more than a little comforting to realize that the creative process is similar no matter what the format or end product.
Stay tuned for the next blog, Monday, May 4.