Saturday, July 26, 2008

Well, here I am. In a few weeks I'll turn 59, but I sure don't feel like it. And because of life's twists and turns I'm able to spend every day making art. My studio is stocked with pastelbord and canvases, colored pencils, acrylics, and mediums. I just got this great iMac, I have a printer that will print up to 13x19, a new scanner, and my Wacom tablet just arrived. What's missing here is guidance. I need and want help! I've taken classes here and there and I've gotten new ideas and information at each one. But I want serious instruction. I want to learn how to wield a mean paintbrush. I want critiques of my work. I want someone to push me farther than I have the courage to go alone. 
Every time I get an art magazine I look at the ads for schools in Italy, France, New Mexico, and other far away places. The closest one to me is in Philadelphia, which is a long drive for me, but doable. But...besides all the things I do have, I don't have a lot of money. And this is not how I envisioned my life. So I am envious of the women who I  hear about and sometimes know, who do have the financial ability to go to these places, especially the trips to Europe. But then again, I crave the serious art education, not a vacation. If I scrimp and save for awhile I should be able to afford a program that lasts a month, unfortunately not a year or longer. 
So what I'm getting at is.......have any of you gone to one of these programs? Was it worth it? Did you learn a lot, or just have fun? What programs can you recommend?


Susan Carlin said...

I'm going to share my ideas about how one gets better at painting, but as strongly as I feel about it for me, others will have just as strong an opinion about some other way, so take it for what it's worth to you and nothing more: One gets better at painting by painting. Painting every day. Not any one painting for more than 2-4 hours. Lots of paintings, NOT days on any one painting. Lots of subjects, various lighting, various viewpoints... trying lots of surfaces and lots of methods of applications. Every day. At least five paintings a week.
Spending more money will not get you what this method gets you- Experience. Practice. Better. You will improve with every painting. Go to a workshop now and then, read articles and books, but what moves you forward is painting. Small paintings. 11x14 and smaller. 8x10, 6x8, 5x7, it doesn't matter. Photograph your paintings as a record for yourself, post them on your blog, and paint a new one. You lose the "preciousness" of each one this way, and what becomes important is what you learned. Paint a painting... Next! Paint another painting... Next! Repeat.
In a year you will be lightyears ahead of where you are now. I cross my heart and swear to you it's true. You asked!

Lexy. said...

I'm going to second Susan on this one. I love what she says!!

I've never been to art school, and some people won't like me saying so, but I'm of the opinion that you have to find your own way there, and by practising and experimenting, you'll find your own style, and you won't even notice how much you're learning along the way, because you'll be having so much fun! And it's so true that you will lose the 'preciousness' of each one. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't be proud of them, but it will certainly make you stress less!

And your studio sounds perfect. Just go nuts!