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Thread: How did you start?

  1. #1
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    How did you start?

    Hello all, this being my first post I guess I will start with an introduction. I am 22, married, with two kids, 5 and 2. My 5 year old is my life right now. He was diagnosed with bipolar and high functioning autism fairly recently, so he doesn't leave me much time.

    I just want to know how everyone got started. I've always had a strong desire to create 'art' in whatever form it should take. I've never taken a single art class, not even in middle or high school, so I feel very intimidated.

    When did art take hold of you? Were you a child prodigy who at 2 was painting Picasso replicas? Did you discover art late in life after all had settled and you had "time?" Did you realize early in life that you had a natural talent or did it take years of study before you felt like you were truly an "artist."

    See, I feel about art the way I feel about singing, or a lot of other topics for that matter, and I'm trying to decide if it is a healthy way of viewing it or if it is hampering my dedication to better myself. I believe that people are born with talent and if you aren't then it's best that you not try. You may be able to teach cold, methodical techniques and create a "skilled" artist, but it isn't the same. If you can't sing, you can't sing, and if you can't draw, you just can't draw.

    So, in the end I feel desperate and hopeless. I want to do, but I feel that because it doesn't come "naturally" I will never be able to.

    Has anyone else ever struggled with this?

    I'd appreciate anyones input and know that these are just questions. I'm not trying to insinuate that someone who spends years learning instead of instantly being makes them any less an artist.

    Thanks.
    Joanna

  2. #2
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    To me, there's the, "I"m doing art to try and make a living", then there's the "I'm doing art because it makes me happy". Some people are lucky and can have it both ways.

    I've never made money off of anything I've ever done to date (never really tried to be honest). I think every child has drawn a picture or two and I did a fair share of it when I was younger. It wasn't until junior high and I saw a picture a friend of mine did on his book cover (He was into comic books and had drawn a picture of a knight battling a giant on his history book during one of the classes). I'm not sure what it was about that particular picture, but I thought it was so cool... All I could think about after seeing it was how great it would be to be able to draw out an idea like he had. I guess it was seeing that someone my age could draw out an idea so well that got me excited and I just had to try it for myself.

    My point is, I started to draw because it made me feel good and that's what I do today. Some people sing because they like to, not because they plan to make living from it (just look at how popular karaoke is in some places). If you feel like expressing yourself, then do it. Even if you never show anyone what you've made, you'll have the satisfaction of having tried.
    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

  3. #3
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    Hi JoannaP, Welcome!

    One of the things that motivates us is positive feedback. That's what hooked me. Every school class has an artist -- the one who got all the kudos for their work. It wasn't me all the time. In fact, I was most often in the shadow of others.

    Thing was that while they went off to do other things, it left me the reigning artist because I was the only one left with a crayon in my hand. There was always somebody better though, just around the corner.

    But I dug doing art. As I got into high school my mind exploded with the new colors all over and art became the thing that brought me the most pleasure I could have during class hours.

    Later, I went through the army drawing and painting for pleasure, generally unskilled crap, but it kept me sane as I could be, which wasn't very in a pretty insane environment. And finally I got out of the army with no more answers about life than when I went in.

    But now that people weren't telling me what to do anymore, I had to do something. So I took the lowest jobs I could find and went to junior college (now called community college) to become a dentist because a friend was going to be a dentist. Turns out the only classes I didn't drop that first semester were art classes.

    In Junior college, I heard there were dedicated art schools, and that there were many kinds of art professions. (clueless me.) And since it was the only thing that seemed to work for me, I gave it a shot. I had been reluctant to do art for a living because I figured it would take the fun out of it. But I went for it anyway fully aware that the chances of making it as an artist were slim. But what did I care? I could fail as a dental student or as an art student. I had to decide which.

    So one thing led to another and I actually got work as an artist. Then I did freelance. Then I worked in house. And back and forth. But somehow I was lucky enough to keep working for a career's worth of time.

    But, I must say, there was never a time when I had it easy. Meaning I had to bust my hump all the way. I was decidedly NOT a natural artist. But I did it because it's all I knew how to do.

    The moral of the story is nobody can answer this question for you because nobody is in your shoes. But even in the unlikely event that you suck as an artist, it doesn't matter. Life is day to day for some of us. And the cost of trying this program out will not break the bank. It's worth the roll of the dice because the payoffs can be vast on many levels.

    Oh, and forgive me for saying this, but you opened it up. Please, please remember that you have another child than the one who is taking all your energy. Give that kid a mom too. Don't penalize him or her because he is not so needy. Give them both their due.

    I know because I was that other child. I really wish my folks had been more enlightened. I might have aspired to more earlier on had I thought I was worth it. I didn't learn of that possibility till much much later in life.

    Parenting is a much higher art form than painting, I must tell you. And your kids are going to look at themselves through your eyes, not necessarily through your portraits of them.

    Be that as it may, give yourself YOUR due first, so that you can give to others from a healthy place. Find your joy and a way to keep yourself balanced. Sing, paint, dance, garden. . . whatever. And love it all.

    God bless.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

  4. #4
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    Thank you

    I appreciate your replies.

    I do own ArtRage and I really enjoy it. It is simplistic and thats part of the beauty of it to me. I have tried Painter but it is so overwhelming the most I've done is auto-paint or cloning.

    And that is another question. Is cloning cheating or is it a good way to learn? I find it easier to look at something and draw/paint it than trying to pull something out of my head. I envy those that can translate their thoughts, ideas, and feelings through art.

    When I try I never feel like I have accomplished anything. I'm guessing that none of you have seen the movie Ratatouille, but there is a quote in there that really inspires me. The chef tells the rat "food always comes to those who love to cook" and I really want to believe thats true.

    And D Akey, I do give my daughter, 2, a lot of attention. She doesn't get as much as David I suppose but what she gets is probably better quality. I'm not saying that is right or the way it should be, but nothing in my life right now is the way it "should" be. Fortunately I have my husband to keep me sane and help out.

    And, on the topic of sanity, is it just me or do a lot of creative people have some issues? Many of the greatest actors, writers, and painters are bipolar. If only being bipolar made you creative.

    Joanna

  5. #5
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    WOW D.... *pinking a tear away*

    Welcome Joanna

    i began at a very young age with drawing cause creativity is in my blood. my grandfather was a jewel/noble(gold, silver etc.)-smith and (as every one would say bout his own) he was the best. i continued drawing 'till now actually. ive never been very good but i managed all the same. I also took artclasses in middle school but it... well.. sucked big time! i hated having to do assignments, i wanted to make wat i wanted (i did pass it though). last year i tried entering an art-school but i got rejected (mostly my own fault).

    Anyway with art i think it doesnt matter how good you are. For instance mostly people who are good at making their work look like something in reality, are considered good cause it resembles something everyone sees the same way (no offense im the same way).
    if u look at children, they make things the way they see them. if they think a cat is/should be blue they make it blue. if they think a flower is bigger than a house they make it that way etc. etc.

    In the end it all comes down to how u see/interpret certain things also how complicated or simple things are. thats why i think everybody is good if they make art their way. so dont let a "lack" of talent stop you from doing what u want, if you have fun doing it your the best one around. srry if im sounding cliché.

    by the way could u explain the bipolar thing i can't really follow

    and im srry but i dont know if cloning would be cheating ive only got the free edition but thinkin bout buying it.

    good luck with the kids!!
    See yourself as a fallen angel...

  6. #6
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    Art runs in my adopted family's blood. I grew up with my oldest brother being an incredible guitarist, my next brother playing guitar and doing amazing wood working (he built a guitar for my younger brother out of strips of different wood,) my sister sang, played piano, and could create from any medium. Recently she picked up a camera and started taking great photos like she had been doing it her whole life. My younger brother could hear a song and immediately be able to play it on the piano. My mom could draw like a master (which she gave up when my sister came along at 36,) not to mention free form cross stitch and making clothes. I did nothing. I was smart, that was my "talent." I taught myself to play piano when I was 4 but it takes a lot of hard work for me to get somewhere. I love it but I play for a few weeks and then get frustrated and quit. I always felt like the black sheep. Maybe that has something to do with it.

    As for being bipolar, after my son, and eventually I, were diagnosed bipolar I did a lot of study and found that a lot of famous people have been diagnosed as or assumed to be. Stephen Fry actually did a great documentary on his journey with bipolar. It was really sobering.

    Joanna

  7. #7
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    Hi Joanna,
    I hope you'll really try to pursue what seems to be a strong desire on your part to create images. The greatest gift you can give to your children is to take good care of their mother. The second is to take good care of your marriage.

    You're very young to have so much on your plate but, that's where you are. Try to carve out an hour a day that is purely Joanna time ... good advice for any age or circumstance really.

    Here's a web site that you may find interesting and bolster your confidence:

    http://www.how-to-draw-and-paint.com/index.html

    And don't be afraid to share with us ... we never bite.

    Bob

  8. #8
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    Thank you so much. Just the front page was enough to make me want to cry. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I was going to ask if anyone had any good websites for beginners or art classes. Thank you again, I am definitely encouraged.

  9. #9
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    That's so wonderful to hear. You have a wonderful toolbox in the form of ArtRage and I so hope that you'll explore both it and your potential for art. I have a good feeling about you.

  10. #10
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    Joanna,

    You probably have the wonderful gift of being a good mother first and foremost. You are probably a multi-colored sheep, since I don't believe in black sheep. It is a priceless gift and quality to care for and encourage children. Famous people are not usually so great at family relations I have noticed. So nurture and care for that family as if it were a great art form. Then when you need some time to relax you can always do some playing with paint or digital paint.

    There are many kinds of art. I think it all starts with observance. Giving a child a chance to play with art is important too. Part of the responsibility as a parent is to make sure your kids get the positive feedback they need. Empower them to create and learn and express freely and don't hinder them with the confines of our tastes or biases. Expose them to art so they can have an understanding of it.. sure. You can do it right along with them. I really started doing art when I was in my late forties, so you have time. I went to design school and found out I was pretty clueless about a lot of things. All my life I was told I had art ability. In fact I heard what a shame it was to waste my talent and not do something with it. In the meantime I raised four daughters who are wonderful people and theyalways knew they are loved. That is pretty successful in my opinion.
    Turns out I am not a great art talent, but I still have a gift for the appreciation of it, and for appreciating art. There are so many gifts to pass along to your children that have far greater and lasting value than art. I think parenting is an art form. It takes every creative resource you have within you to love in creative ways. I am betting you will tap into a great gift for parenting. With all that being said... grab a brush in your free time and splash some color on paper or computer and enjoy. Out of your enjoyment and love will come art. There is beauty in the simplest flower and house doodle of a child. Approach it like a child would... with unabashed freedom and the joy to paint outside the lines.
    Looking forward to seeing your freedom and play with art. There are some famous artists that watched children in awe for their natural expression with color and forms. I know Kandinsky and Klee did for sure. Their work is quite childlike, but, none the less, we look at it with delight. I am sure they had to work a bit at what came so easily to a child. And amazingly, like good parenting, the more you practice it, the better you will get at it. I always loved playing tennis when I was young until now and I played tennis with each of my daughters, none of us became famous tennis players, but we had a lot of fun. They all played in high school too.
    They still enjoy playing... that is what is important. They won some they lost some, but I am betting one day they will surely enjoying playing tennis with their kids and think of the fun we had... together.

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