Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.
This year has taken a toll on my art practice. I’ve had periods of productivity and inspiration followed by major spells of doubt and confusion.
So what does an artist do during those times when it becomes difficult to create?
Art is the path I’ve chosen, it’s not my hobby, I want it to be a full-time profession. I believe that to get where I want to go, I need to create often, consistently.
Too many years passed when I waited around for inspiration to strike before I created a thing and I have since learned, it’s more likely to arrive when we’re actively involved in the creative process.
When everything I try to paint is going wrong and my thoughts become cloudy and I feel a tightness in my chest, I allow myself to step away (or lay on the floor as it were) and take a break. But not a long break.
I push myself to continue painting, even if 90% of it is rubbish that will eventually get painted over or thrown away. I have to keep going. I want to keep going.
Even so, it can be really hard to stay motivated when things aren’t going well or when there isn’t a clear direction.
The back-to-school season gave me an idea.
Do you ever wish you could go back to school?
I may not be able to actually return to school but what if I made my own curriculum?
There is a wealth of free and low-cost information and short classes available online, why not use it to create an independent study for myself?
So last weekend, I started putting together a loose structure. I’ve based my curriculum on a series of YouTube videos by a painter who talks about his own work and also the work of artists throughout history. I’m also planning to incorporate a couple of online art classes by artists whose work I admire.
My “homework” will include researching the artists discussed in the videos. I’ll be taking notes, making my own observations and creating my own art by incorporating elements or techniques used by these artists.
There are more than enough videos to keep me studying one a week for more than a year so I won’t soon run out of things to study!
It’s a flexible plan and there’s no one to hold me accountable except for myself but I think if I take it at a relaxed pace and keep it fun, it could be a useful project.
Have you ever taken on a self-guided study like this? If you have, I’d love to know how it went and if you have any tips!
I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Feel free to ask me questions, maybe it will keep me in check!