One of my recent used book finds is an oil painting book by George Allen Durkee. Who is George Allen Durkee? I wasn’t familiar with him, so of course I did a search online and found a wealth of information, not only about the artist but about art, as well.
I will be following his blog posts, as well as reading his book, Expressive Oil Painting. Adding expression to my paintings is one of my focal points in my art studies now, so this book will be invaluable to me. I will be building many of my home school art lessons around Durkee’s writing and his demonstrations.
The book arrived yesterday afternoon, and I eagerly opened it and began reading the introduction. It’s titled A Short Chat, and that was exactly the feeling I had as I read the words. It felt much like sitting down with a teacher or advisor and chatting about my art studies.
During this friendly chat, Durkee sets forth four questions for artists to consider, and I will be sharing these questions, and sharing my answers as well.
Today’s question to consider is this: Where am I now as an artist?
I thought about that question at length last night — and ended up dreaming about drawing and painting all night long. I guess I’m definitely an artist in my dreams.
But back to real life. Where am I now as an artist?
My immediate reply would be “I’m on my way.” Yes, I am moving forward, learning new techniques, discovering new inspirations, and challenging myself in new ways. Yet acknowledging my forward progress doesn’t answer the question. Where am I?
Here’s my answer.
I’m no longer an absolute beginner. I know and understand the essential elements of art, even if I don’t always apply them as I should. I’ve studied composition. I’ve learned about color. I’ve tried my hand at various media, and I’ve found myself most at home with graphite drawing and oil painting. I know I love landscape painting. I also like figure drawing and portraiture.
At this point, I’m going to consider myself an intermediate student of art. I believe I’ve built a solid foundation of basic art knowledge, and I’ve practiced enough to become somewhat familiar with different styles and techniques.
My objectives as I continue my art studies?
- To continue developing good techniques in drawing and painting
- To add emotion and expression to my art
- To challenge myself as part of the arts community.
I see myself now as an artist standing at an open doorway. Beyond that portal lies a fascinating realm of art that I’m only now beginning to glimpse. Part of me wants to eagerly start running; another part of me still holds back and asks, “What am I doing here?”
Self-assessment, I believe, is one of the most valuable tools we have. Along with our brushes, paints, drawing pencils, and sketchpads, the ability to see where we are is every bit as important as knowing where we want to go. It’s good, too, to look back at where we’ve been, but most of all we need to understand where we are as artists now.
With that awareness, we can set a course for the future that is right for us — not being too hard on ourselves, yet not getting lax or lazy.
So that’s where I am now as an artist. I may not be able to draw an open door, but I’m definitely standing before one, and I’m ready to move ahead.
Where are you now as an artist?