On Being “Self-Taught”

Spring Springing in the Corner of Our Yard
Spring Springing in the Corner of Our Yard – Acrylic on Mixed Media Paper, 5/6/21

 


On this idea of being self-taught in my art adventures, I don’t think that’s really a thing, at least not for me.

Disclaimer: I am an absolute newbie. Although I’ve made many different types of things all through my life, I just started learning to draw within the last year and to paint within the last few months. And yes, I have decided to call myself an artist even at this early stage. To me, it has nothing to do with whether someone else proclaims me to be such or judges my pieces to be such but only to do with my feeling, finally, that I am truly an artistic person and art is my purpose. I think about art first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and my mind churns on artistic concerns even while I’m sleeping.

I’m not in art school. I paint or draw or create something artistic every day.

I am learning constantly, through every project I undertake, big and tiny; through every kind of media I try. I learn from my mistakes. I learn from my successes.

I am a self-directed learner, which is to say that I follow a free-form curriculum according to my daily interests, my short-term artistic pursuits and my long-term ideas of what I’d like to be when I grow up artistically (which is very undecided at this point).

But to say I am self-taught would be:

  • a slap in the face to all the generous video creators whose lessons and hacks and follow-alongs I’ve made use of.
  • an insult to the authors of all the art books I’ve read and am reading (I am always reading one or two at any given time).
  • a lack of gratefulness to and acknowledgement of all the stunningly talented and skillful artists who share their works online, making it possible for me to visit the art gallery of the world at a moment’s notice.
  • really rude to ignore the lessons I’ve paid for and have completed/am completing.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget the podcasts that bring art history to life and the ones that give me the pep talks and spankings and inspiration I need to keep going.

No, I’m not literally enrolled in any art school. But I am absolutely being taught, not by myself, but by

the whole world.