Monthly Archives: June 2011

“I’ve always wanted to paint….. “

I often hear this in the first class of a new beginners session and I can only feel happy for these folks who have finally come to fulfill this goal. They come hoping that they have ” talent” and are afraid  to find out that they don’t. They are somewhat fragile – but hopeful. As a long time teacher of new artists it falls to me to introduce them to some of the realities of beginning. There are many myths and misunderstandings  about artmaking that are rampant in our culture and many are quite destructive – as supports to both the individual artist and to the whole idea of art.  And there are many practicing artists who will disagree with what I have to say, just as there are many who will agree. That – to me – is a big part of the attraction of art. There is room for most everyone.

My first word of advice to any newcomer is this:  find a good teacher who can teach you basic fundamentals. Things like how to actually use your medium of choice, how to use the tools of painting, colour theory, colour mixing and composition. You are a beginner – you’re not supposed to know this stuff yet. These things take time to learn – just like anything worth doing well. These are far more important to your progress as an authentic artist in your own right than having someone show you how to copy what they do – or what someone else does.  More important and more satisfying. Which – at least for me is the point of making art. You want to be satisfied with your own journey – because thats where the real juice is – in the discovery of your own artistic voice. And next time I write here I will write about the Myth of Talent – a big part of the crux of the matter.