How To Become A Really Good Artist, Part 1
AN ART JOURNEY OF MY OWN
Where I Began As An Artist
It was not until my late 40s when I began to realize that I have always been artistic. Looking back, I always had music playing, (Boz Scaggs being my ultimate favorite as a teenager), I always had long quiet moments of drawing or coloring on my bedroom hardwood floor (coloring books & crayons, black velvety posters and paint-by-number sets abounding), and I was always taking some form of a dance class. Why should it surprise me that I would marry a jazz pianist and have four children who are all really good artists in one form or another?
As an adult my home has always been filled with some kind of art happening. Just this evening while I am writing this blog post, I am also crocheting while I think, and my husband is playing the piano. Creativity is definitely a thread that runs through the tapestry of our lives. But I don’t think this is only true of our family. I truly believe that each one of us, made in the image of the Master Creator, God Himself, have creativity abounding within us, making each one of us capable of becoming really good artists!
If someone were to ask me what kind of art I did when I first desired to become an artist - I would have to say I began by just doodling. I would doodle with a black Micron pen, which I already had because I used them for my Bible studies. I could write in my Bible with a Micron and it would not bleed through my pages, so it was already on hand and easy to begin doodling with. I still use Microns today. Once my doodling was complete, I would then add watercolor that the kids used for school. I wasn’t necessarily good at it, but I enjoyed it.
I doodled small things, like little daisies, leaves and pumpkins. I would frame my letters with colorful doodles when I wrote to a family member or make rows of doodles on watercolor paper that I could then photo, copy and paste into my blog using picmonkey.com.
When I began to write Bible studies of my own, I would use these doodles to make some illustrations for the studies - and even made them into short books that I could share with friends and family in the form of a pdf download.
I loved Beatrix Potter’s art and was very inspired by her, as well as Susan Branch, an artist who is greatly inspired by Beatrix Potter’s work as well. Susan’s blog was my go to for that push I needed when my artistic resources seemed to be running a bit dry. I admired her lovely art that adorned her books which I have collected over the years. I still receive her email and read her blog on a monthly basis.
A Real Artistic Journey Began
One day in my internet searching, I came across Jean Oliver’s website. She seemed to be just starting out, getting other artistic Christian women together to teach their particular artistic passions on her website. It was so cool because there were different topics dealing with the world of art within this one location and I spent hours listening to many of the teachers and learning amazing skills from each one of them.
My most favorite course was with Jean herself, who taught me how to make a portrait in Charcoal, Stabilo, and White Gesso. I was hooked on these mediums and I loved the black and white! However, creating a piece of art of a woman from the 1700s whom I had never known, did not do much for me inspirationally. I wanted to create a portrait of someone I knew and loved. Someone whose story was a part of my story - whose journey somehow affected my journey. That’s when I realized that I had to create a portrait of my Lord Jesus. I loved Him and was incredibly passionate about this piece of art. I found out quickly that passion is a huge factor in becoming a really good artist.
The first portrait I created of Jesus was achieved with many tears and a depth of love that I cannot even write out in words here. It was very emotional for me. Although it is not a great portrait, it hangs framed on my bedroom wall today and I love it very much.
My second attempt at a portrait of my Beloved Savior (Seen at the beginning of this post) was not any easier to create, but it did turn out much better and it became a gift to some dear Christian friends whom I know cherish it in their own home now.
Practice Makes Art
Looking back on these two portraits of Jesus, I can say that practicing daily by creating simple doodles and using a brush to add watercolor helped to prepare me for the bigger tasks required for the portraits. I did not know it at the time, but looking back now, I can see that the doodling was helping to form within me better drawing skills and the simple addition of watercolor with a brush helped to familiarize me with the brush, water and color.
Doodling is perfect practice because it does not require clear intention - it’s just doodling whatever inspires you. But the act of doodling is forming better skills that can be used for other forms of art when that season comes.
This is just Part 1 of my journey in becoming a really good artist. I think we both realize that becoming a really good artist, takes daily practice over the course of a lifetime. I hope this post has helped and encouraged you in some small way and most of all that it will inspire you to pick up a pen and paper and maybe even some watercolor and a brush and get doodling.
You might even consider opening a Pinterest account (if you have not already) and start by creating a board that is just doodles. Be sure to pin only doodles that inspire you and give you ideas of what kind of doodling you may personally enjoy - I would suggest setting a time limit for pinning (say 15 minutes), as you could get so wrapped in the act of pinning that you never get around to the actual practicing! lol
Another way to practice and make art is to check out my Practice Methods. I have 8 so far and I will continue to add to them as I think of ways to practice making art.
In addition to my Practice Methods, I am in the process of putting together three workshops that will be released in early 2019. If you are interested in these workshops, please let me know by clicking the button below. When I receive your information, I will add you to my waiting list for the workshop(s) you are interested in.