Making room for art

About a year ago, I took a few drawing classes that made me very unhappy. The teachers offered little in the way of actual instruction. There were no learning objectives set out, no clear progression of skills outlined for us. We drew the model and the instructor made random comments and remarks that were intended to show how witty and artistic they were.

This is, I figured, why so many of the students had been taking the same class over and over. They seemed to believe that merely being a classroom with a popular teacher and being exposed to occasional critique would improve their drawing. They didn’t expect to be “taught” because this was “art.”

Everything I know about how adults learn told me this was wrong.

Painting, drawing, photography are all skills and they can be taught. Talent and inspiration don’t amount to anything if the artist doesn’t put in the time needed to acquire the skills which will give expression to their ideas. A great artist has to devote herself to learning those skills and honing those ideas, in addition to opening up her creative spirit.

For five years I had been dabbling with books, videos, a few lessons. My head swung this way and that. I had loads of ideas but couldn’t turn them into finished pieces. My heart’s desire was to create, yet I was failing to create anything but lists of projects that I wanted to do.

I knew I needed structure and a logical progression and steady drill-down on art fundamentals, but with room to explore and play. Art school was way too expensive, so I reviewed the possibilities for online classes.

Exactly one year ago today I found Virtual Art Academy.  It is a highly structured sequence of lessons that cover the fundamentals of painting over four years, but it offers options to create your own program.It gets great reviews from artists in online forums. It was also very reasonably priced.

I went and signed up … but it didn’t work. I couldn’t get my subscription accepted. Wildly frustrating. I wrote for help, and was told that the payment system was down.

I never went back. About six months after my brain surgery, I managed to put “sign up for Virtual Art Academy” on my to-do list. Then I just kept shoving it over to the next week, the next month.

Until tonight. I was reading a book about creating space in your life for what matters.

[W]hen you make the time and the space for what you long to do, everything else shifts to accommodate it. In my experience it never works the other way around. If you wait until there’s time to do what you want, you’ll be waiting until your eighty-fifth birthday.

I may not live to be 85.

I put art away when Tom had a stroke. He is more independent now, though, and I’m determined to forge ahead.

I signed up at Virtual Art Academy and paid for the first year. First lesson tomorrow.

My life can’t wait any longer.

Today’s penny is a 2015, the year that I found Virtual Art Academy.


4 thoughts on “Making room for art”

  1. What a great idea. Can’t wait to hear about the Art Academy. I am coming to love on-line learning myself . So much incredible material available. How lucky we are to live in the digital age. It is revolutionizing our educational systems. I wish I could imagine the future of learning….

  2. Good for you! For many years I found the time to do Girl Scouts and loved it. Then it was time to let someone younger lead my troop and now I have a void that I am still trying to decide how to fill. I will find something…there is a list in my mind – just not fully realized yet, but coming. 😀

    1. Super excited for you!! I’m very happy that Tom is getting stronger every day. Great news all around!

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