Why So Much Study?

Plein Air Convention

The joy of learning and growing with others at the Plein Air Convention

Still Life

A still life done at the atelier in Florence.

As I think about the path of the artist, and study the lives of artists, one thing that stands out is the desire to learn and grow. To continue to push the art to the next level. Because not doing so would so so very boring. A life spent making the same art with the same skills and never growing would be very dull indeed.

Color Study

A color study with Kevin MacPherson at the Plein Air Convention.

Creating art is like doing anything that is hard. You do not sit down at a piano and expect to know how to play without having ever studied piano. You would not wake up one day and decide to run a marathon and not train. 

So it is that I go off to study. I want more tools in my metaphoric tool chest of art skills. I want to practice and train. It keeps the art alive and the soul fed. 

Master Copy

A master copy. When your literally jumping into someone else’s process to learn.

It also occurs to me that all this study requires processing. I spent two weeks this March in Florence studying at an atelier, then had just a few weeks back home before heading off to Santa Fe for the Plein Air Convention, where we heard some of the best painters in the world sharing what they know.

Work in progress

Coming home to apply what I’ve learned. It makes me go a bit slower and more thoughtfully. This one is still a work in progress.

It’s a lot of information. And I’m still processing. But I’m also settling in. Settling into my own artistic process and seeing how what I’ve learned can be applied to my own work. The voice of so many ideas from so many people settling in to my own voice. 

It strikes me again how much art is a metaphor for life. We each wake up every day wanting to do our best. To grow and learn, we read books and listen to podcasts looking for guidance, seeking clues as to how to do it all better. Then we have to hit a point of acceptance, realizing all we can do is keep trying and that’s enough. We are OK right where we are, in this very moment. 

All is well, and all will be well.

Does this ring true for you? I always love hearing your own tales of life and art! Let’s continue the conversation on Facebook and Instagram!


Own voice

A painting done after all the study. Thinking about what I’ve learned in my own voice.

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