Sunday, August 30, 2015

On Being "Self-Taught"

"Cholla Fruit" 11" X 14" poured acrylic on paper
"Self-taught" generally refers to someone who does not hold a college level degree. Much of what I've done in life has been self-taught.  I became a paralegal in intellectual property before there were any college courses offered. I am a self-taught artist, as well.    

Being "self-taught" doesn't mean I learned everything in
isolation.  To become a paralegal I took hours of classes provided by my employer who had some really talented secretaries and could see the economic advantage of using them rather than hiring more lawyers.  I took law classes at Marquette University as well as math and engineering classes at a community college. To become an artist, I've taken numerous art classes at community colleges and workshops with teaching artists.  

"Prickly Pear II" 11" X 14" poured acrylic on paper
Something I've noticed is when I stop taking classes or attending seminars I start to lose my grasp on what's new and relevant.  This was especially true with law and it has equal truth in the art world. Exposure to outside thoughts, ideas, opinions, materials and techniques is vital to stay fresh as an artist.

Recently I decided to translate my poured watercolor skills to acrylics.  This was not without some humorous moments and the learning curve was pretty sharp.  I'm fairly pleased with the results so far and am presently working on a full sheet piece, now that I have the basics worked out.  An advantage to approaching things like this is I stay experimental and creative.  The disadvantage, if there is one, is that sometimes I reinvent the wheel.  My reinvented wheel will be way cooler, for sure.


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