(transferred from original post - May 2010)
“Self Taught” ...two little words that are frowned upon in some circles and praised in others. Sometimes and in certain situations I found myself a little embarrassed by my lack of a formal art education, and until recently, I did my best to evade the subject. But to be an effective representational painter knowledge is nothing short of a “requirement”. In fact, representational painting continues to be as much a science today as it ever was - if not more. The modern eye is more discerning than even a hundred years ago, but we have something that the past masters did not – hundreds of years of representational master works and the ability to study their techniques, materials, triumphs and errors.
At an early age I focused my efforts on learning from the past masters. Recently while flipping through some childhood drawings I came across a Da Vinci study that I dated at the age of 11. Drawing and studying from books was followed by a string of mentors that took special interests in my talents, then junior college courses and sporadic private lessons and workshops. Ok, so I'm not exactly self-taught, but I had a young hunger for knowledge without the bankroll or inclination to pursue an art school degree, so I had to be creative and decisive in my approach to acquiring a classical education with my limited options. I continue to spend about 10-15 hours a week studying anything and everything related to art and painting…seeking out information with the goal of coming as close to mastering my craft as possible in my lifetime.
Although I do believe that a formal art education (depending on the school and instructors) will arm potential representation artists with an invaluable set of tools, skill sets and networking opportunities, I also believe that all of the information and opportunities can be had in other ways. Depending on your dedication and research choices, seeking out a personal education can be a slower/less condensed process, but there isn't anything that you can’t learn from studying artwork, books, articles, websites or learning from peers, mentors, workshops and last but not least - practice, practice, PRACTICE.
I am personally in great debt to all of the artists and teachers out there who have taken the time to put their pens to paper, to explain their processes, give honest informative critiques, and yes – even “blog”. For a self-taught artist (for lack of a better term) I have been very fortunate in my career, my experiences with artists and teachers, and in turn, I hope that I can help any painters that are looking for answers to their questions.
I welcome all artists that have a something beneficial to add to this blog regarding materials, resources and techniques, to comment or email me so that we can benefit from each other’s knowledge. I hope that you enjoy this blog and I'd love to hear from you. Thanks!!!