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  1. anonymous person says:

    I’m an artist. I’ve been drawing, painting, sculpting, and doing other art for my entire life (I never enjoyed fingerprinting though.) I think it’s a terrible shame that so many people don’t pursue their creative side, not even as a hobby, because they lack confidence. I went to college for art, and pretty much all of the students were extremely harsh on their own work. They insulted their work before anyone else got a chance to speak. Throughout my school years, people have told me that they could never draw anything, that they couldn’t draw a straight line (that’s what rulers are for), or that they just “don’t have the talent for it”. You don’t really need talent to make good art. Great art might require a certain sense for composition, and perhaps no small amount of technical skills, but good art? You can do that.

    If you look at my early art, it looks about the same as any other kid’s. I’ve drawn stick people with giant fingers, I’ve drawn the classic crescent winged, triangle beaked birds. I’ve drawn people and had a rough time with hands, and noses, and ears. I still have a hard time with flowers and landscapes. I made a ceramic cat with noodle legs. Most of my best ceramics pieces exploded in the kiln (glue and patience is enough for most to become presentable again.) My point is, the people who are good at art (or anything really) were not really much better than anyone else when they started. The difference is, where others became frustrated and stopped (because they didn’t feel good enough), the artists just shrugged and thought, “looks like I have something to work on in my next drawing”. Those that are good at art have generally failed more than anyone else has tried. I have quite a few art pieces that I wouldn’t sell simply because they just aren’t quite polished enough to sell. I call those “learning experiences” because that’s what they were. I once made heavy use of a copier, and did the same coloring page about 30 times. Some color combos worked, others didn’t, but the point is, I didn’t worry when it didn’t turn out like I wanted, I just did it again with different colors. There’s a reason artists love erasers so much.

    if art is something you want to try out, get back into, or improve upon, here are my tips: make art, lots of it. You get better through practice. If you’ve been working on something for a while and get stuck, try leaving, do anything else for around ten minutes, and come back. Solutions seem to like showing up after you take a break. Remember which cup is paint water and which one is drink. Alternatively, don’t drink anything while painting. If some part of a drawing is tricky, make a few smaller pieces zooming in on the hard part. Try using a white crayon on colored paper (it really helps you think about highlights). When starting a new medium, go ambitious on your first project. It’ll be hard, but everything is hard when it’s new. If you start hard, you’ll be more willing to deal with difficulty because it is new, and your second project will feel unusually easy. If paper instructions aren’t working, the Internet is your friend, find a video. Lava soap. Best soap there is for stuff covered in oil paint. Keep a sketchbook of ideas, so when you bump into a lack of ideas, you’ll have some old ones to try that you might have forgotten otherwise. Don’t paint over your old paintings, please. PLEASE. Book recommendation: drawing on the right side of the brain. Play art games: place a couple of constraints on your project, for example: only use two colors, paint background to foreground, draw a still life but delete one object. In my experience, extreme frustration comes right before big improvements. You may need to step back for a while, but keep going. If you feel like a piece is done, it probably is. Don’t keep going if it feels done. Try painting the same subject in several different ways. Paint a variety of subjects. Try many media, as sculpting can help you draw, and cross training helps just as much in art as it does in exercise. Work in different sizes. Most people have some size that works well for them. I find I do well sort of small, but I also do well on murals. I can’t stand 18×24 inch paper. Once more, the Internet can be your friend. It’s pretty easy to find tips, new techniques, common mistakes and how to fix them. A little planning beforehand can save a lot of work later. Knowledge of math is not required, but can certainly help with planning, perspective, or certain bits of chemistry that come up in art (making your own glazes for ceramics, to name an example.) Always read safety labels on art materials (in general, try not to breathe the paint or glue fumes, don’t breathe sawdust, wash yourself off if you get any artistic goo all over you, don’t eat if there’s paint on your fingers.)

    Overall, I want to encourage people that they can, in fact, do art. It doesn’t take talent, it just takes practice. Also, you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it. If you like drawing or painting or sculpture or sewing, just do it. It doesn’t matter what you end up with, if you enjoy it, there’s no reason for you not to do it. Have fun, stay safe, and stop trash talking your lovely creations.

    1. anonymous person says:

      So sorry for the length of that, I guess I just have a lot to say on this topic.

  2. I LOVE this!! Your painting IS beautiful and so glad you saved it all these years if only to share with us in this blog post. I’m no artist, but often do very amateur painting sessions with my own girls, and love that you and your mom painted together (; And your eventual relaization that they’re both lovely (:

  3. Thanks, I needed to read this!
    And by the way, although your mothers picture is pretty, I truly prefer yours. I love the colors, but also the simplicity.
    It never would have occurred to me to stop seeing my own weakness. Thank you!

  4. Ricky Edrington says:

    And to think you were only 8years old! Beautiful!

    1. I thought the same thing. What a talented 8 year old!

      I encourage you, Cheri, to find your art again. The world needs to see beauty through the eyes of your talent.

    2. Wow! I had no idea you painted that picture when you were eight! You didn’t share that when you posted on Facebook. That is phenomenal!!!

      1. I didn’t remember how old I was when I painted it (… everything pre-marriage and pre-kids has kinda blurred together at this point). After all the FB comments, I asked my dad.