I don't know if you are like me, but watching the Olympics this past week has been an emotional roller coaster. You want so much for team USA to win every event and yet you know that isn't going to happen. You watch as one tiny mistake, one fraction of a second, one too many breaths or whatever causes the athlete or team to be defeated. You know that the athletes have have put in years of training, spent thousands of dollars, and missed family and childhood events to be where they are and their possibly one chance of glory.
You know this relates to art, right? I think about students in a workshop who say, "I want to paint like you." And while flattering, that isn't going to happen in three days or whatever. I have always drawn and painted. I read art books and now art articles and blogs constantly. I have spent thousands of dollars to attend workshops and classes, not including my college stints. I have tried different media and styles and substrates. I was fortunate enough to have a mentor at first in watercolor. I have been fortunate since to study with some other highly regarded painters. But it all boils down to...
Practice! Just like the athletes, you aren't going to improve or find your voice or style if you don't put time into it. If you can only paint one day per week but you DO paint every week, that's much better than little spurts here and there, a different artist's workshop every month, a different dvd, etc. Yes, you can learn something from every artist, sometimes more from the other people in the class, sometimes what NOT to do, but ultimately, you are the art producer. So once you get your feet wet so to speak and have the fundamentals, choose an artist to study whose style you really admire. Choose classes or workshops on your level, not those that allow everyone from the real beginner to the most advanced. Choose sessions with small numbers in the class, even if it costs a little more. You are kidding yourself if you think you will get attention in a class of 30 or more and some artists demand that many in their workshops.
So, set some goals for the rest of this year to paint more or to improve whatever you do. And if you get discouraged, just be thankful there isn't an Olympics for art. You have plenty of chances to create your masterpieces and you can only get better!
Go for the Gold!