You want to be an artist, it is a wonderful goal, very satisfying and yet very illusive. To be an artist requires self-awareness and understanding of what excites and motivates you to be a creative soul. “Artist”, requires creative inputs beyond the simple mastering of paint, pencil and brush because to truly express yourself, which is the goal of an artist you must go beyond the foundation of great skills and begin to find the voice or language you need to use to tell your story. It is not enough to paint like someone else, mimic their style, you need to stake out your own position and follow your own path. But this doesn’t mean that the art that has come before you is not there for the taking in terms of composition, technique and color chords. All quality art is to be looked at, studied and understood, even if at first glance it doesn’t make you want to paint in a similar style. Look to those artist that you don’t like, that challenge you and try to stay in their heads and expand your own view of what is art. Sometimes we are drawn to a style of art because it is what we feel we can do and can sell and then without further exploration we believe this direction to be the only satisfying way to paint. How sad, if that were the case then most of the great art we look at so fondly today would have never come about. Monet would have painted in the accepted style of the French Salon, and Van Gogh would have been a Dutch cobbler and scribbler.
Jumpstart for the day:
Find a biography with illustrations of an artist that is unfamiliar to you and read it. Get to know the artist, their era, their motivations, and work routine. I guarantee you that if you begin to study artists your own work will flower. Move past your comfort zone.
Lesson Follow up:
Look at several illustrations in the book and make sketches of these works and try to get a feel for the decisions they were making and why.