Monthly Archives: September 2011

First time artists experience both fear and longing at the beginning.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso. We CAN still be artists as grown-ups. Our artistic potential remains with us, waiting to be activated.  Adults who’d like to learn how to draw or paint often feel a combination of fear and longing. For example, it’s not unusual for prospective students to wait at the door to my studio classroom before entering, until I reassure them that the workshop I’m giving is truly for the absolute and utter beginner!

As children we are comfortable drawing and painting. Drawing and painting were part of a natural language for us at that age.As adults we long for that open and natural artistic expression we remember from when they were young.  But fear is holding us back and keeps us from taking the first steps toward realizing our artistic dreams. You may recognize some of these feelings as your own:

  • As an adult I don’t want to make art that looks like children’s’ art. And that’s what it will look like.
  • I’m afraid of appearing ignorant, because as an adult I should know what I’m doing, and I don’t!
  • My brother was the artist, and somehow that means I’m not.
  • I have “no talent”.
  • I don’t want to be judged harshly. My artwork was criticized when I was young; and I can still feel how much it hurt.

Let’s address one of those elements first: To begin, forget about the talent search and replace it with research! Everyone, everyone who restarts as an adult has the talent fear, and focusing on it takes you nowhere but nowhere! Instead you need to find a plan for learning some basic skills.

Start with learning how to draw. It’s the foundation language of art, and makes learning how to paint much easier.Collect material about workshops, courses, books and videos in your area libraries, bookstores, and local adult education centers, material aimed at the true beginner. If the material you find is confusing, and you don’t understand explanations from the start, move on, because that means it’s not aimed at you Avoid intermediate level art instruction, which usually leaves inexperienced artists in above their heads.

Look for materials that present you with a sequence that starts at the very beginning of the learning experience and will take you to your goal of artistic expression in a logical manner. Begin with simple, accessible steps, and then add on gradually to gain the level of confidence that will sustain you. The “for the Absolute and Utter” books and courses I developed  and that you’ll hear about on this site follow that philosophy; it works, so of course, that’s the direction I’m going to suggest! However, it’s one way among many resources out there.

And…start to look, then look again, at the art you admire.  Get to the original source in galleries or museums, if possible.  As you begin to make art yourself, this “looking practice” will deepen your understanding of your work process and the great art of the world.

Enjoy your art!

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