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HE DIDN'T BELIEVE ME

 

by Jane Champagne

(Canadian Landscape Painter 1930-2008)

 

 

Guttorn Otto was teaching at the Southampton Art School, Ontario, in the early '80s. I hadn't

painted for 20-something years, despite years of training, and was in the depths of wondering

what to do with a suddenly empty nest when I wandered into the school, found I could try a half-day

class and did, with this amazing man. That was it -- I've scarcely stopped since, in fact, and

eventually realized my childhood dream of being a full-time professional artist.

Everyone called him "Tory." Tory didn't teach -- he showed -- and assumed that if you had

the desire and the intelligence you'd try it, and find your own way. He gave you a wonderful gift:

The freedom to choose -- how to paint your way, not necessarily his. This attitude coloured

my own approach to teaching: Rather than tell students what to do, show them various ways and

leave the choice to them. At, where else, the Southampton Art School.

Years later, I told Tory Otto how crucial he had been in re-launching my career, and,

modest man that he is, he didn't seem to believe me.

 

 

© Guttorn Otto