Today's Post is by Lori Woodward Simons, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Find out how you can be a guest author.
Be Thankful For The Skills You Already Possess
My friend and mentor, Nancy Guzik, has often encouraged me with this phrase: Be thankful for what you already can do. Sometimes we artists get so hung up on what we can't do that we become thankless self-loathers.
One of my favorite blogs by Clint Watson is called, “Living Recursively”. From a software programmer's point of view, he talks about how new information is built upon previous information. What this says to me is that I am continually building new skills that rest on the foundation of my existing skills. Over time that foundation grows larger – and therefore I have a greater knowledge and skill base to build on.
Another line that Nancy keeps in reserve, You owe me a quarter for every time you say, I can't.
I owe her a lot of money! Nancy is not suggesting that we ignore our artistic weaknesses – she doesn't want us to entertain the negative postulation that we can't conquer our difficulties. Yes, it takes time a ton of effort, but we most certainly can get to the next level – especially when we consistently strive to educate ourselves and seek out high quality mentors and educators - and - when we put what we've learned to use.
I understand that you might be thinking, how can I get a mentor like Nancy Guzik? Well... it's safe to say that Nancy is already overly booked for that position, but there are many artists out there from whom you can learn the very same academics that Nancy teaches. Never before in history have artists had access to educational books, videos and workshops like we do now. Long before I met Nancy, I depended on books and workshops for my education, and by the time I met her, I was ready to apply advanced artistic concepts. In other words, I had a pretty good foundation of skills and knowledge to build upon.
A Few Lines of Encouraging Advice
Here, I'll sum up this blog with a few lines of advice - most of which I've learned from my peers and mentors:
Acknowledge the skills you already have – keep them sharp and build on those skills. Be thankful for what you have already learned and conquered, and don't hesitate to take advantage of the broad range of educational tools available. When you read about new techniques or theories, try them out, and practice them until they become part of your artistic repertoire.