I recently made the decision to quit teaching. To people out there with a burning passion to teach, that’s probably a mortal sin. But I look at it this way….I’m not a teacher, I’m a student. I thought about this for a while now and the answer is clear. I want to be the student and I’m learning how to improve my skills continually.

Most of what I know about painting and drawing I’ve learned from inspecting the work of the greats. And when I say inspecting, I mean inspecting. I started this even as a kid in my small town library where there were limited resources on art instruction. But the masters were there….and that’s who I inspected. I thought they were the ones everyone learned from. After carefully observing the great works from old aromatic books, I’d go home and make futile attempts to replicate them. That’s where I began to really learn from the greatest teachers ever.

You see, I believe that in art, observation plus practice, practice…..and more practice, is how you learn. Now I agree there is a need for art teachers. One of the most valuable classes I ever took in art school was color theory. But eventually all the instruction on color mixing, drawing, and knowledge of medium must become second nature. You should “think” a color and it happens. No color recipes should be needed. You should “feel” that there is too much pigment on your brush without looking at it. And you should “know” from a lot of practice how to observe to get the desired effect.

So to all my students, I’m leaving you with my best advice to be a better artist….or rather a quiz. It’s a short one. You all know the answer. Here it is:

What are the two most essential things to remember to become a better artist?

Answer: ____________ and ______________.

That’s all I got! Now buy the t-shirt!

Dianna PorterComment