Thoughts for new artists (like me).

I have always loved to draw but it wasn’t until I retired that I really began investing time in art. As a predominantly self-taught artist over the past decade or two, I read many books and look at online resources. I wish I had kept a journal to track the things I’ve learned, when I learned them, and a list of ALL the resources I’ve used. Lucky for you I began such a source after I built this webpage. For those of you who are beginning your artistic endeavors, I recommend that you journal your pathway to learning. Enjoy this page of mine full of valuable links.

When the Student Is Ready, the Teacher Will Appear

When I began learning, I attended classes taught by a local artist, “Mary Beth Downs of Duluth, MN. Her approach utilized a set lesson plan. She insisted that everyone needs the basics, whatever your skill level. I was not ready for many of the subjects she covered, so they went in one ear and out the other. But her lessons effectively planted seeds for the future. She provided handouts that I was able to refer back to once I was ready for that topic. As I continue to learn, practice, fail, succeed, and process information, I form specific questions that need answering. When attending these beginning classes with Mary Beth I could ask her, but afterward I went for information using books, internet, YouTubes, workshops, fellow painters, etc., and my own trial and error to discover what I am lacking. Everyone starts somewhere!!

As you know, everyone learns in their own way; some people are more visual, others are verbal, physical, logical…   There is also this ‘sides of the brain’ (left brain logical, right brain creative) aspect to consider. What I found out about myself is I am a physical and logical artist – I need to make sense of what I am doing and then do it!

When I approach painting and drawing I do it from a “why did that happen”, or “how do I do that” perspective.  So it follows that when I teach I want students to understand the most basic fundamentals first so they can understand how to control the flow of watercolor paint (logic/left side of the brain) before they can create the art they envision (right side of the brain). Take sewing for example. I believe you need to learn how to handle the needle & thread and properties of the fabric and then the ins and outs of the sewing machine before you can become a seamstress. So, my philosophy is you need to first learn the properties of water, the brush, paper, and paint, then learn to be an artist.

Last edited: Review Jan 2023, 10 Jul 18, review. 6 Aug 16, D’s edits