Learning Art: Like Learning Life

A fellow artist recently asked me how I decide to start a new artistic medium. Really, I simply see something intriguing then explore it. (Anyone can do this.) I am an amateur artist who thrives at trying different mediums and improving every day. The beautiful imperfection of art – the imperfections often make the art […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

A fellow artist recently asked me how I decide to start a new artistic medium. Really, I simply see something intriguing then explore it. (Anyone can do this.) I am an amateur artist who thrives at trying different mediums and improving every day. The beautiful imperfection of art – the imperfections often make the art – are akin to the beautiful imperfections of life. The things that give it spark, and character, and make it memorable.

A cheeky Cardinal watercolor from a while back.

If it’s fun and interesting, I immerse myself in it. Full force, for several months. I get all the supplies to do it 100%, watch dozens of hours of tutorials, study brilliant peoples’ art in the space. I try once, twice, a dozen, a hundred times. If it’s interesting enough to get into it at all, I get into it 110% for a while. Not everything is as mesmerizing or rewarding as something else, so I listen to my intuition, and also gauge if it’s fun and interesting and worth exploring. Often at first, I think, “well, clearly I have no talent at this,” but that is a red herring. “Talent,” it turns out, is often easily coaxed out of hiding with hard work and practice.

Hummingbirds I recently drew and painted.

While I used to think certain skills (like art) had to be innate or born, or genetic, I definitely think most people who want to be an artist can be an artist. Or writer. Or entrepreneur. Or anything else that we sometimes imagine people are “born to do.” Will everyone who wants to be an artist or writer or entrepreneur be in a gallery, or published, or on Shark Tank? Maybe not, but I would suggest it also doesn’t matter. Learning new skills – even taking on new personas – is a fun and rewarding pursuit in and of itself.

So personally, as far as art goes, through constant trying and experimenting, I often end up being fairly decent at a lot of mediums that all play off each other. And so, I like to think about art like business, or life in general. If you understand one thing better, now you probably understand many things better.

The process of experimenting and trying new things can be the best part of the journey.

For example, in art, if you understand color (theory) better, you are now better at art. If you can draw better, or take risks and aren’t worried about ruining a piece, you are now better at art. Learning about shadows? Better at art. Learning about a new medium? Learning composition? Better. Trying something frustrating you can’t figure out? Definitely better. Mixing mediums? No idea what you’re doing? Better at art and probably a lot more things. Like life. Experimenting, taking risks, having failures, trying again – have you heard this one before? Better. At. Life. (And art.)

Patience, practice, and appreciation of everything surrounding you are things all humans – not only artists – can improve and grow from, and they also make you better at art. And everyone can get better over time in all the above areas.

The pursuit of excellence is always a positive thing. Try, try, try again is a solid mantra and value. Experimentation and taking risks is what creates innovation. Not worrying about “ruining” something already created in order to create something even better is peak entrepreneurism. And also a great way to be an artist.

So to me all these things, while many might be about art, are also about life. An artist strives to create new things and be better every day.

And improving daily – especially at being a good human – is the best art form.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    The Yiddish word that gives us seven essential ingredients for a meaningful life

    by Zack Bodner
    Kathrin Ziegler/ Getty Images
    Purpose//

    How I Found Healing and Finding Purpose Through Art

    by Nicole Jacobes
    Community//

    Alison Lindland On How We Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work

    by Karen Mangia
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.