I feel like looking back and wishing about the “would’ve’s” and “could’ve’s” can become a dangerous or self-deprecating thing. The what if’s could drive you to think about not being good enough or ___ enough. So, let’s make sure to stay positive and motivated about achieving more and simplifying goals into attainable things.
30 Days of Blogging Day 4
Looking back at my artistic journey (see 2nd day blog post here) and where I’ve come from, I can say that I’ve had a lot of encouragement and an ease of finding classes and information. However, there are definitely bumps and lessons that I’ve had along the way. I’m not sure if I’d advise myself of these things 5 years ago, a decade ago, or just tell anyone who’s learning about art or themselves these things. All I know is that they have become important messages for me.
I think that finding your artistic path and finding your individual method comes from learning the techniques of others and modifying them through your own interpretation
When I was taking classes in different levels of schooling, and even when I take classes now, I feel like it’s almost unavoidable to not learn some techniques favored by the person teaching you the skill. Whether I learn from a book with written instruction, a video watching someone’s skill, or from a teacher or professor in a visual class setting, I think it’s virtually impossible for me to not see HOW they are doing what they’re doing.
The HOW, for me, is the method, but also the passion behind the artwork. I’ve also been very fortunate to be taught by passionate people.
Passion is contagious.
Lesson One: Figure out what you love vs what you like or just enjoy
I find that the passion of others is contagious, but I feel like that passion can not only be contagious but confusing. If I’m with someone who absolutely loves something that I don’t necessarily enjoy doing, but I can do it or I’m good at it or it just doesn’t bring me joy, the joy of the other person can mask my lack of enthusiasm. For my journey and exploring art, I want to make sure that if there is something I haven’t tried, I try it. Whether it sounds amazing or confusing or just weird to me, I want to try it. I want to see what’s out there, because even if I don’t incorporate something like Kumihimo braiding into my everyday life, I may learn something from the process, the history or even the method in which it was taught to me. However, always keeping in mind that I want to remember what I love doing and have a passion for doing, vs. what I like doing and am good at doing but doesn’t drive me. There’s a big difference for me in doing art as a present or to fill a need for myself or someone else and making something that I want to share with whoever it can help or bring joy. Lesson being: learn what drives you and how to share that passion.
Lesson Two: Pay attention to color theory
I feel like learning about color theory when I was younger wasn’t actually called color theory, it was just about learning colors, making color wheels and exploring with mixing colors. For as long as I can remember, I knew the primary colors and the secondary colors and from there tertiary colors. But once I had the opportunity to take a class on it and focus on specifically getting to the basics of what draws the eye, what causes meaning, and what color schemes work for different messages – I feel like this is what people call a-ha moments. I had the opportunity to take a basics class long after I’d taken advanced courses and worked my way through different levels of visual arts. This basics class looked at color theory as well as other ideas of composition and conveying messages through artwork. I feel like reorienting myself in my artwork by looking at what I’ve created, and revisiting a good foundation on composition, method and color theory was so critical in helping me simplify what can so easily become complicated in artwork and help me know when I’m done with a piece of artwork.
Lesson Three: Don’t be afraid
Everything aside, the most important thing that I can’t stress enough is even though I just talked about figuring out what I love and learning lessons earlier, the most important thing is don’t be afraid to try new things, make mistakes, and learn from them. Even if a class isn’t something I consider in my wheelhouse, try it, learn from the process, the method or the instructor and most importantly don’t be afraid to grow from the process. Seek out new opportunities even if they seem scary or new and give them a try. If at the end of the day I can choose between the phrase “well at least I gave it my best try” or “well at least I can keep doing what I’m doing now” I want pick the first. I want to always do my best and not be afraid to learn or think that I know too much or enough. I never want to be too good to learn more, because that’s when I know I’ve failed; I’ve just become lazy in art. Art for me is an exploration, a journey and an adventure. I can’t learn if I don’t try.