Are you a practical painter?

elements of art how to be a better artist how to be a better painter technical skills Oct 18, 2023
Are you a practical painter?

Many of my art students are retired and come from highly detailed jobs like engineering, health care, or human resources. Many are/were business owners who are used to high levels of organization. I find they thrive with structure too in art, which may sound odd.

People don’t often associate art with structure.

And popular art teaching over the last century has focused more on feeling and kind of just doing your own thing, which may lead some people to think either they’ve got what it takes or they don't. 

The group that thinks either you’ve got it or you don't may say something like, “I can’t be an artist. I can’t even draw a stick figure.”  And they don’t try. That’s like saying, “I can’t be a golfer. I can’t even get this tiny ball in that tiny hole way over there.” The response in the second case is obvious isn't it? 

No you can’t do that unless you learn HOW, which involves learning golf terminology, equipment, theory, practicing and exercises that when put together make it easier to get the ball in the hole. 

The same is true of art. There are basic elements, a structure, skills, theories, things that are tried and true that can be learned. They are practical and when practiced and put together they result in thoughtful artistic creation.

And don’t get me wrong, feeling and intuition in painting have an important role in art but the perfect combination is a balance of learned art skills that lead to a more informed way of expressing feeling.