The pursuit of art is happily one of those activities in which you never stop learning. Even if I were to paint the same picture over and over again, I am confident I would continue to learn about the paint, my technique and my preferences. In fact, this would probably be a great exercise, though one I am unlikely to tackle anytime soon. Painting new things is just too much fun.
Though I know I am learning more and more about painting and drawing every time I work on a piece, I firmly believe that learning from others is important, even after years of practice. Learning in person is a great way to go. I certainly know my high school teacher, in particular, did wonders for pushing me to achieve a much higher standard of art than before I was under her tutelage. Once we are out of school age, however, finding the time or the money to take a regular class can be difficult. Luckily we live in the future, and the internet is an amazing tool. Between YouTube, Google and Pinterest, there is nothing that cannot be found!
Over the past several months I have referenced many artists’ online lessons. Sometimes I search for something specific, for example: how to draw realistic trees. I read and watched several different methods used by various artists to find the balance I was looking for between detail and impression as I drew the tree from my first blog post, “An Artistic Undertaking”. Other times, I look for much broader lessons, such different styles of watercolor painting and what can be achieved with wet on wet and wet on dry techniques. As I tend to lean more in the direction of high detail, I narrowed my searches to realistic watercolor painting, as how achieve a high level of detail when painting with watercolor.
Though I will always deviate somewhat from the ideas and techniques I learn from these videos, watching other artists give detailed accounts on how to achieve certain results is a priceless learning tool. It is different than having a teacher, but being able to watch at your own pace and re-watch certain sections makes this type of lesson equally valuable. I highly recommend Steve Mitchell’s at https://www.youtube.com/user/mindofwatercolor and Anna Mason at https://www.youtube.com/user/AnnaMasonArt to anyone interested in improving their control over watercolors.
Even when I am not really looking for any type of specific tutelage, I find watching other artists paint and draw exceptionally enjoyable. YouTube has a wealth of time laps art that can keep me mesmerized for hours (of course watching several, since they are usually under 10 minutes each). Even though time laps videos only show a fraction of the artist’s time spent on a piece, I believe even seeing how others approach their artwork at speed is enough to teach me something.
And then, of course, sometimes I just want something “feel good.” In the art world there is a one stop shop for this: BOB ROSS. Old Bob Ross episodes are full of artistic skills and joy. Yup, there are the evenings where I have no wish to paint myself, but I can always rely on getting a good smile from a childhood favorite program full of happy little trees and no mistakes.
Art is about creating works of our own, but it is also about appreciating how others go through the creative process. There is no end to learning, and exposure to other artists is a great source of knowledge and inspiration.