I heard this advice on a podcast recently and thought about it in context to art, I had some thoughts that I thought I would share in this post. When we are learning something new it is important to gain skills and advice from those are more experienced but there are limits…
Finished Project or Learning?
I remember one lady in my art class who enthusiastically wanted to show me the work from a previous watercolour course she had attended. I soon realised that the course was a ‘step by step/follow the artist’ type course where the students were told what paint colour to use and where to put the paint.
I don’t just mean they were just advised, the students were given a copy of the artists painting and a ‘painting by numbers’ style grid, resulting in a class full of fifteen almost identical paintings.
Of course it depends what you want, if you simply want to create a finished copy of a painting this is the type of workshop/course you want and there is nothing wrong with that. However if you want to develop your own creative voice and learn skills, this might not be the right of course for you.
Is it the Gospel?
We are all looking for ‘experts’ to tell us how to do things, but is it at the expense of your own ideas and decisions? I remember I did a watercolour course several years ago where the tutor insisted that we all have an exact shade of blue for the course. I understand that colour is important and that there were probably reasons why this blue was a good one, however there were several options and in my opinion the choice didn’t have to be that narrow.
There is always a case for listening to tutors/teachers but some won’t resonate with your own ideas. This is why, looking back on my own art education I felt it was very valuable that I had many teachers. The more ‘voices’ the better so you can filter through all the teachings and advice and make your own way.
Lack of Knowledge or Confidence?
Sometimes we need to know things and we have to learn from others but there does come a point when we have to start putting our lessons into practice. This doesn’t mean we stop learning but all the gathering of more and more information/skills and not being them into practice is sometimes an indication that we lack confidence in our own abilities.
So take all the teachings on board and learn as much as you can but never forget that you can make your own choices and decisions when it comes to your own art.
Share your thoughts below on this topic…