School’s Out!

Being a life-long learner, I seem to naturally move with the rhythms of the school year. My excitement peaks each year in September as I make plans for new studies, and then as May comes around, I look forward to wrapping up certain lessons and taking a short summer vacation before school begins again in the fall.

Yet, nothing really changes all that much when it comes to my art studio. It’s more about attitude and energy than activity, it that makes any sense. I’ll still be coming to the studio each morning, still doing a “daily practice”, and I’ll still be keeping up with other art activities, too — oil painting, working with my oil pastels, playing with my watercolor.

I’ll be doing it all, though, with a different, more casual approach. I think of it as “summer school”. It’s a chance for me to relax, have even more fun learning than ever, and “brush up” on a few things before I buckle down to more serious study when school begins again in September.

Last summer I worked my way through one of Barrington Barber’s many art instruction books. This summer, I’ll be doing the same. Although I’ve chosen a different book, the material it contains is much the same as in the previous book I read, and overall it’s going to be fun. I’m going to take the same “fast and furious” approach I did last summer, draw my way through a sketchbook of quick exercises, and just learn what I can without pushing myself too hard.

Last year’s book was , Learn to Draw: 10-Week Course for Aspiring ArtistsThis summer’s book is The Fundamentals of Drawing: A Complete Course: A Complete Professional Course for Artists.

Both books are available at Amazon.

As always, I’m excited to feel a new “summer” energy. Later today I’ll pick up my sketchbook, sit outside and scribble lines on a page — a way of loosening up and preparing for this new drawing course.

Soon, the weather will be heating up, the days will be steaming hot, so my drawing time will be the early mornings. Just as I did last year, I’ll sit outside on the porch with our rescue cat, Flower Child, and we’ll enjoy that quiet time. I’ll sketch the flowers, following the exercises in Barber’s book, and most likely I’ll learn something over the summer.

Later — in July — there’s an HFAA member show coming up. I’ll have paintings framed and ready, so that’s something more to look forward to. Maybe I’ll even do “World Watercolor Month”.

Whatever I do, it will be with a casual, playful attitude. “Playing school” is always fun for me, but I guess playing “summer school” is even more so.




  1. I guess art is a full time learning process, all year round and lasting more than it take to obtain an phd…no I am no philosophea doctor :), I don’t take many lessons anymore but still I guess we keep learning while producing, and I don’t think it compare to a job too, I won’t retired or try to stop 😀 (except for some breaks that do happen….hopefully not too long)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to always have an open mind or what I call a “learning attitude”. Approaching my art as if I were a student in a class room always helps me generate a sense of excitement and enthusiasm. It’s just part of how my brain is wired, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

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