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Expanding Artistic Horizons

Updated on June 2, 2015

You don't need a reason...

...but it probably helps to have one. Regardless of your background, training (or lack thereof), history, socioeconomic circumstances, etc., ad nauseam, there is no thing in the world that need stop you from investigating a new artistic outlet. If you have the urge, it's a good bet there's an Artist inside you, just waiting to bust out. I don't care if you're the president of some multi-billion dollar corporation, or a truck stop waitress. If you feel that tickle in your gut, don't ignore it. Do something. Anything. Make your way to a class on whatever it is you're itching to do. Or get on YouTube and find some tutorials. Go to the library. Visit an art gallery. Go to a concert in the park. Join a poetry group. Just do something to scratch that itch and watch what comes next. I guarantee, doing something is better than doing nothing. More often than not, you'll be bombarded with ideas, connections, opportunities; sometimes, more than you'd ever have imagined. It only takes a little courage and that first baby step.

Just a nose

Sophie's nose. Day one.
Sophie's nose. Day one. | Source

That first step...

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to know how to draw. I'd always been fascinated by pencil art. The detail and three dimensional feel of some I'd seen were simply mind-boggling. I couldn't imagine how anyone could create such magnificent images with just a pencil. I spent years listening to myself say, "I don't know how to draw." Or, "I can't." Or, "I wish...". Until, finally one day, I got fed up with the way those words made me feel. I had a bit of a temper tantrum first. Then...I got online and began perusing the zillions of video tutorials on the topic. When I say zillions, I'm pretty sure I'm not exaggerating. Much. After a few hours I found one young lady whose teaching style struck a nerve. I feel certain her target audience was youngsters. Didn't care. I wanted to learn and I wanted someone who wasn't going to speed draw their way through the tutorial. Step by step, with a little encouragement and a lot of "tiny tips" was more my speed. I wanted someone who would cover different techiniques as well as basic fundamentals like what tools to use, where to find them, how much one might expect to spend, and how to care for said tools. Valerie seemed to cover all that. And then some.

So, with pencil in hand, and paper at the ready, I began my lessons. I drew horse eyes, dog noses, fingers, paws, hooves, ears, and circles. Lots and lots of circles. You'd be amazed how hard it is to draw a circle. By that I mean, an actual circle. Not some semblance of a circle. Not an oval. Not flat-on-one-side shapes. A circle. I swear, I must've drawn five hundred circles that fist day. And on day two, I realized that what she'd said was true: you gotta know how to draw circles if you're going to draw most animals. Since animals were my main focus, circles had to be mastered. Lots and lots and LOTS of circles. The trick, I told myself, is to take those baby steps and trust the process.

Isn't that pretty much what Life is anyway?

Lots and lots of circles

LOTS of circles...
LOTS of circles... | Source

Twenty-four hour days...

I suppose, in the end, we never really get it done. There are so many sensational things to do and see and experience in one lifetime. The question is: are you thirsty? Are you willing to take a chance on yourSELF? Is it important enough to make time for it? Does it matter enough?

People like to tell me how they "don't have time". I always tell them, "we ALL have the same number of hours in a day." There is an old saying about meditation: "If you don't have time to meditate for twenty minutes, then meditate for an hour." The point being, you must make time for the things that matter most. The majority of people who tell me they don't have time to paint or write or play the piano are the very same people who sit on their couches and watch 'Game of Thrones' marathons. If you've got time for TV, you've got time for Art. It's always a matter of choice. I don't care if you've got a gang of kids, a demanding spouse, a herd of horses, and/or a tyrant for a boss. The only person who gets to live in your skin is you. Your hunger to create is more innate than you may understand. Trust me when I tell you, it matters. I once heard someone say that "art is another form of prayer". That struck me so hard, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. In the end, you will never regret the time you spent pursuing your passions. And if art is among them, then what the hell are you waiting for? Stop making excuses to be less than you are. Stop whining about what you "can't" or "don't know". Get off your butt and do something. Because if you don't, the only one who shall pay for those choices is you.

How would you have your tombstone read?

Feather doodle

Note to self: always draw on clean paper. You just never know when it might turn into a masterpiece!
Note to self: always draw on clean paper. You just never know when it might turn into a masterpiece! | Source

That terrific tutor

In case you're curious, here is the link to my favorite tutor. She has hundreds of videos, most of which are under thirty minutes. If art is your itch, she's a great place to start.

Art ala Carte

Her name is Valerie. She's adorable.

Have fun!

How to draw a circle

Trust your SELF

Regardless of how "good" you may think you are (or NOT) at any given craft, the truth is, everyone starts somewhere. Do you suppose Monet thought his first painting was a masterpiece? How about Michelangelo? Knowing what I know, about myself and many other artists, it's likely that the majority have little (if any) confidence when first starting out. Many art teachers speak of the lack of confidence and esteem their students display, even if they're really, really good. It's the nature of the (artistic) Beast, I think. Musicians who are stellar at their craft are also the most humble when speaking of their talent (most of 'em, anyway). The deal is: you're usually your own worst critic. It's a good idea to ditch that nasty habit. It may sound silly to say, but do your best to be objective. Once you've finished a piece (art, music, poem, etc.), take a step back and use your God Eyes to look at it. You might be pleasantly surprised at just how good you are.

Buffalo skull

Four months later....things are looking better all the time.
Four months later....things are looking better all the time. | Source

© 2015 Camille Olivia Strate

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