08/12/2010 by Sarah Ritchie
“Today artists seldom hitch their wagon to a particular movement…there are no reigning isms, unless you count Professionalism – the watchful pursuit of an art career.” (Justin Paton, “How to Look at a Painting”, 2005).
Hmmm…the only “ism” I think I am following at the moment is “amateur-ism”, or perhaps “mediocre results-ism”. How nice “Professionalism” sounds, but I think that is at least another 68+ paintings away for me.
I have been looking at my paintings – including the one I am working on now – and have been feeling a bit dejected. To me they look quite “unprofessional” (I’m not fishing for sympathy or praise here, just stating how I see things). The canvases look like what a good high school art student would produce. Which raises an interesting point…the last time I did any serious artwork (that demanded results) was in high school. It’s as if I have simply picked up from where I left off 25 years ago. I wonder now, though, how can I climb up from there?
Thankfully, as the quote from Justin Paton says, modern artists are not bound by any “reigning ism”, which allows me the scope to explore and grow without the need to conform to the acceptable “norm” of the day (phew for me).
However, what happens when your artistic brain has no boundary or parameters and no guiding advice? I do suffer from having no advice, and so I am on the hunt for a local community/night school course that I could do to help my skill level along. Instructional books are great, but there is nothing like a teacher/mentor to look over your shoulder and lend a timely word or two. Someone who can answer the pressing question of the moment in context with the project at hand.
Anyone volunteering to be my artistic mentor? I will pay you with a lifetime of gratitude…! No? Oh well, community night school class, here I come!