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, 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. For those of you who are beginning your artistic endeavors, I recommend that you journal your pathway to learning.

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. Many of the subjects she covered I was not ready for so they went in one ear and out the other but she 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 classes with Mary Beth I could ask her, but afterward for information I still use books, internet, YouTubes, workshops, fellow painters, etc., and my own trial and error to discover what I am lacking.

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 10 Jul 18, review. 6 Aug 16, D’s edits