I'm here at Westercon 67 in Salt Lake City, which is running concurrently with and right across the street from FantasyCon. Westercon is a small, literary-focused show. FantasyCon has 30,000 attendees, and is a media show focusing on the art of the fantasy genre.
So now you have the background.
Yesterday I found the time to wander across to the Salt Palace, where, after a bit of carefully contained squeezing, I got to talk to Donato Giancola about his process for a good 20 minutes. Then I got to talk to Steve Argyle for close to 45 minutes about the same sorts of things.
Both men can paint circles around my work. They understand composition, light & shadow, and color at levels I only vaguely know to be attainable, and they create things I can just stare at for hours. And I'm not in the least bit intimidated by them, because I know there is a common ground upon which we all stand -- we have a passion for making things, and we want to keep making them, and making them better.
And that's what I wrap myself in when I step up to talk to these guys. They love making art. I love making art. If they've got the time, we can totally have a conversation. If it goes over my head, I can just say so, and because they can see that I'm genuinely passionate about these things, there's a good chance they'll explain things a bit.