5 x 7 oils
When I was learning to draw and paint I thought I was the bees' knees. I knew it all. I was the next Rembrandt waiting to be discovered. I had 25 years of life behind me and many years of drawing and painting.
My work was crap for the most part.
I learned the hard way to hone my budding abilities, through repetition and slow transitioning from one skill to the next. Colour wasn't allowed intially, drawing was considered the backbone of art and had to be mastered before even considering a move into colour. While I protested at the time, I learned to understand why drawing was so important and why the theory behind each step vital before moving into a different area. Small exhibitions were held and work was carefully reviewed to see if it could pass scrutiny. There was a moment, and still is, where something is put forward, but you know it isn't your best. You know the piece I mean. You know the values aren't right, the drawing is off, the colour isn't correct, but you can't be bothered to fix it.
You wanted to jump right into painting without thinking about composition or an accurate drawing and it shows. You rushed the stages of painting, thinking ahead to the final result instead of enjoying the journey. And you pretend it doesn't matter, but you know it isn't good enough and you cringe when you see it next to other pieces that are more competent. Or you fit in with others of a similar skill level and never move further ahead. While training, an instructor will make the decision for you and pull a poor piece as well as make you redo it. You learn to develop a thick skin, at least on the surface, as some instructors weren't as kind as others. But what do you do when there is no instructor looking over your shoulder at your work?
Art is, of course, very subjective. You either like something or you don't on initial glance. Some pieces grow on you over time, others remain repulsive while the person next to you has a completely different perspective.
But the work I'm taking about is that which is technically lacking. It is fed on myths and inexperience. Training, whether formal or informal, can make or break an artist, depending on the choices that you make. Training through ineffective teachers who don't have the skills themselves, perpetuates poor technical skills and only serves to hold back a person. Buying every instructional book or dvd and taking every workshop that appears without a sound knowledge of why you are taking it holds you back too. Educational resources in the form of books and dvds are good, but vast libraries of information without technical practice often just confuses. People flit from one subject and one medium to another without knowing what they want to do and without enough guidance to push them into a corner to make a decision. All the workshops and books in the world are useless unless you are willing to put in the time to practice. Nothing comes easy unfortunately, nothing that you want to be proud of anyway. Finding your voice, your style and building on that will lead you to make wiser decisions about what you need and want to learn and how to perfect what you paint best.
We all know when our work doesn't make the grade. To compromise and let it out the door when it doesn't meet your own seal of approval harms you more than you know. Taking time to build a piece based on good technical skills and knowledge, knowing how and when to correct and knowing when to release a piece and when it hold it back are vital to the process of creating quality art.