I live on a small island in North East Florida, and some days I feel like I am the youngest person on the island. As you might have guessed, there are quite the number of retirees that live here.
Over the years, I have noticed that when a person retires they begin to looking for new hobbies to keep them busy. Some like to keep themselves entertained or amused by stirring up conflict within their community, their organizations, or neighborhood association – while others prefer to take a more constructive approach and set their sights higher on learning or accomplishing something they have always wanted to do. Painting is usually one of the top “hobbies” among retired women.
Many people come in my studio and ask me who to take art lessons from on the island, or if I teach. I usually rattle of a few artists I know of, but always tell them “When you are looking for a good teacher, remember that good artists don’t always make good teachers and in turn, very good art teachers can be very poor painters (artists).” I guess the same goes for music teachers – and many other “crafts.”
My point being, don’t judge a book buy its cover. A good teacher can teach you the basics that you can expand upon later on. You don’t have to paint like they do. The more people you take from the better you will become at developing your own style down the road. The more artists you learn from the better so you can pick and choose the characteristics and tools you find essential.
So as I mentioned, every once in a while I have people do ask me if I teach (adults.) I politely decline: I am shy, and I have poor social/people skills, I also find it very difficult to articulate the things I do (not just art, cooking/recipes, everything ) – in part due to the fact that (A) I don’t follow any rules or codes, and I feel a beginning artist needs to know the rules in order to break them – and I don’t have the time to teach ART 101 to everyone. And most are too lazy or impatient to take their time and learn properly, pay their dues, and work their way up – and I have very little tolerance for that. They think everything they create is important and needs to hang on the refrigerator. They don’t realize there is a learning curve, and somethings should remain in the closet or be painted over. (B) I also don’t really feel qualified, or confident in my teaching abilities. I barely got out of college and I don’t even want to tell you how long that took. And aside from color theory everything I practice in my work today is self taught and experimental. I rarely draw anymore (and I fear I might have forgotten,) I don’t concern myself with things like the golden ratio, or perspective anymore – that is just not in my genre.
I am not one of those people that thinks you are born an artist. Most artists would like you to think they are in this elite club – but I will let you in on a secret, there is no such club. The fact of the matter is: The more you paint the better you get. Like any craft, hard work, passion, and patience can all pay off if the “gift” does not initially appear to be there. But you know, like anything else in life, some people are just not going to be good at everything. Mozart was not born a genius. He practiced on average 15 hours a day 7 days a week. Tiger Woods is 33 years old. He’s been perfecting his golf skills for over 30 years.