Sunday, September 2, 2018

Throwing Away Opportunity

Who would not have wanted to study with a master like Edgar Degas?
Self-portrait, 1895.  Collection Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In the public domain.

I know of aspiring artists who only take workshops with true masters.  But they don’t follow up.  Yes, they do the painting required in the workshop, but they don’t paint again until the next workshop with another master.  I consider this an opportunity thrown away.

The opportunity is this:  To take what is taught and practice it, thereby improving your craft.  Or, if what is taught doesn’t help you, to understand why through the trial of practice.  The trial will clarify the authority of your personal process for making art.  (After this, no one will be able to tell you that you don’t have a valid reason for making art the way you do.)

Study with a master artist is expensive.  Besides the cost of the workshop, it often involves travel, hotels, meals out and time away from family and work.  But what the master gives you in return is a very valuable thing.  However, it does have a certain shelf life.  No matter how many notes you scribble down, no matter how many photos you take of the demonstrations, the knowledge will go stale quickly unless it is used soon.

Painting is a physical process.  You can’t just think about it and become a better painter.  You actually have to move paint around with a brush.  After that workshop with a master, make sure you take time to paint and try out what you’ve been taught.

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