Did you know that I’ve been a teacher since 2002? I used to teach children who struggled with learning – a challenge that I loved. But after the birth of my son I couldn’t do that anymore so I switched to teaching ladies which I love doing even more. I love teaching you! That’s quite a few years of teaching and I’ve learnt a thing or two along the way about how people learn and how people ask questions.
BUT, how does this help me help you?
In my Facebook Group, Pastel for Beginners & Beyond I get asked a lot of questions, but often your questions are the wrong questions and it tells me a lot about where you are on your art journey and your frustration in not being able to find answers.
(This is why I like to get to the bottom of your question by asking other questions so I really know what your question is so I can help you better.)
I remember well how I felt in the early days of my art journey, struggling to find information to help me do better art with soft pastel and I can feel that frustration in your questions. I also know I lacked confidence in my art in epic proportions!
Just like my questions, your questions are about confidence and technique (and materials). And even when you are told your work is great or when you’ve been given the secret to pastelling fur or skin, you aren’t going to be able to believe it or do it straight away, it will naturally take time.
To translate knowledge to a skill simply takes time.
Confidence and skills are not magical powers they are built with consistent practice
So, as a Beginner artist I’d like to tell you what I wish someone had told me:
Slow down, enjoy the journey (your art journey) and treat every moment of frustration as a moment of curiosity, like a small puzzle to be solved.
Can you switch from frustration to curiosity?
And Remember these two things:
- Your whole painting is not rubbish, you’ve just been looking at it too long and you can’t see the wood for the trees – you are likely focusing on a very small part that you don’t like and probably nobody else will notice. Walk away, cover it up and leave it a few days. Then take another look.
- Nobody views art from 2 inches away (only artists do that!) stand back and look at your work, it really is the big picture that matters, the overall feeling, not the minute details.
Do your grandchildren play with Lego?
Did you know Lego is designed to fulfil 3 purposes:
- Enjoy making the lego and put it on the shelf to be admired
- Enjoy making the lego and play with it
- Enjoy making the lego, play then turn it into something else
As a hobby artist remember that your art is like Lego – it fulfils more than something on a shelf to be admired
- It is the process of doing the art
- How it makes you feel
- How it helps you forget about your worries
- How it brings you together with like-minded friends where you laugh and chat. (on Zoom or online – until we meet again)
These things are so much more important than anything – especially in these challenging times.
Remember that your art doesn’t have to be anything predefined by someone else:
- It can be for the joy of the journey
- The pleasure of losing yourself in the moment
- It can be striking
- Thought provoking / Bold
- Beautiful colours – a dance with colour
It doesn’t have to be ALL about the end result
I hope this blog has helped you think about your art in a different way. We are all on our own art journey and no matter where we are in that journey – we are constantly moving and changing (even professionals and art teachers) and if we can do it with curiosity rather than frustration it will help us relax and enjoy that journey all the more.
Sue is a Soft Pastel Artist and International Tutor from England UK
She's passionate about soft pastel art and teaching her students from around the globe.
"Art makes my heart sing and my soul smile"