I love September. I always have, and I’m sure I always will. Really, what’s not to love? Although it’s still warm and autumn won’t officially begin until later in the month, September marks a change of season for me. I eagerly await the first breath of chill morning air and watch for the leaves to begin changing colors.
Most of all, though, what I love about September is its unmistakable connection to school. Growing up, I enjoyed summers, but I always loved going back to school each year.
I love getting new books, learning new ideas, and discovering new ways of doing things. As a self-taught artist, I am truly in my element with the arrival of September, taking on the roles of both student and teacher.
For weeks I’ve been preparing. I’ve scoured countless art books on Amazon, browsed our library’s shelves through the online catalog, and I’ve picked out titles that I feel will help me at this stage of my artistic journey. I’ve given a lot of thought to what I want to focus on in the coming months. I’ve purchased a few new supplies, and I’ve organized my painting area. I’m excited to move forward in my studies.
What will I be learning?
I love oil painting, so much of my schoolwork will center around landscape painting. I’ll be practicing new brush strokes, and — hopefully — taking my skill to a higher level by learning more about light, color, mood, and atmosphere. I want to make my artwork more expressive, to find my own voice as an artist, and to continue developing my own style of painting.
Yet no matter how much I focus on painting, I can’t leave drawing behind. With all that I’ve learned over the summer, I’m excited by graphite drawing and the possibilities it holds. One of the books on my list is Classical Drawing Atelier by Juliette Aristides. It will be my new drawing guide, and I will be following along with the lessons and practice sessions she offers through the book. Much of my drawing focus this year will be on creating value, shading techniques, and using different forms of graphite: powdered, water-soluble, and colored graphite, for example. I want to work on creating different textures with my pencils, too.
In time, I hope to combine my love of drawing and my love of oil painting. Along with landscapes, I’ve like to try painting figures. I’ve always been fascinated by anatomy and the human form. It’s exciting to have so many places yet to explore in the world of art.
Speaking of landscapes, I have the Landscape Letters of both Asher Durand and Birge Harrison, and I’m ready to pore over the words and learn all that I can.
Extra-curricular activities are always an important part of education, and I certainly won’t be lacking here. As a member now of two art clubs, I’ll be taking part not only in regular meetings but also in workshops. I’ll have my work on display at two art shows this month, as well.
Another field trip I have planned is a day at Powell Gardens. My husband and I visit the garden often, usually with one or two grandkids and other family members with us. I’m planning to go solo though, taking my sketchbook and pencils and spending a leisurely day strolling through the gardens and capturing impressions. I also hope to return to the Albrecht-Kemper Museum in Saint Joseph during the fall.
And then there’s Inktober coming up next month. Yep. I’m going to do it, and if you’d like to sign up for the Inktober newsletter, click here:
But more about Inktober later. Inktober happens in October, and right now I’m celebrating September and all the new opportunities it brings for me.
How about you? What are you learning now in your art? What new media do you want to try? What new books are you reading?
Please share your experiences as we journey together along the wondrous road of art discovery.