Tuesday, July 13, 2010

10 Advanced Techniques for Getting the BEST Art Education Ever!

Sketch of a study by Christopher Pearce Cranch, watercolor pencil, Jan Blencowe 2010

10 Advanced Techniques for Getting the BEST Art Education Ever

So you've joined a nearby museum. You're visiting once a month with notebook, sketchbook and camera in hand. You're taking time to really look at paintings, write about them, analyze them and copy them in the form of a sketch. You diligently read the information cards on the wall. But what else can you do if you're really serious about getting a top notch art education?

Hang on to your hats, here we go!

  1. Get acquainted with a broad overview of art history. There are plenty of great books but they tend to be really huge, more than even the most enthusiastic student may want to tackle. My suggestion, purchase A History of European Art on DVD taught by William Kloss (sign up for eBates and earn cash back on your purchase).
  2. After you finish the DVD set, take a docent led tour through the near by museum you are now a member of, take notes on any artist or art movement that will be particularly helpful to your own work.
  3. Purchase a book on the art movement that you selected. Buy through the museum gift shop (you'll probably save 10%, a usual member benefit) or if you're really watching your pennies look for a book used on the www.amazon.com marketplace.
  4. Also purchase a biography of one of the main artists in your chosen art movement.
  5. In your notebook write out why this particular artist/movement speaks to you and articulate qualities in these works you would like to incorporate into your own work.
  6. When your resources are used up or your interest begins to wane move on to another artist or movement. The important thing is to keep learning. Keep your interests fresh and enthusiasm high .In this way you will be weaving many sources of inspiration into your own work, making it a product of your unique interests and vision.
  7. Take advantage of gallery talks, films, lectures and any special exhibits offered at the museum as often as you can. Once you are a member you'll likely receive a newsletter and email updates from the museum.
  8. Visit the museum or a special exhibit with another artist with the express purpose of discussing the art. This can be a wonderful and stimulating way to explore works of art and to help you clarify your ideas and opinions about different styles and artists.
  9. Take a friend or family member to the museum who would like to learn more about art and you take the role of tour guide. There is no better way to sharpen your own understanding of a subject than to have to explain it to someone else.
  10. Finally, right a summary of the types of art that have influenced your own work, why they interest you and how you incorporate elements from them into your own work. This may be succinct or in-depth whatever you are comfortable with. This document now becomes something you can share with collectors, galleries, or use if you are ever interviewed, apply for a grant, or you can incorporate parts of it into your artist statement or publish it on your website or blog. You now have one more polished piece of written communication that will help others understand and connect with your work.
Live in the middle of nowhere with no museum in sight? Fear not, tips for you are just around the corner, stay tuned!


AutumnLeaves said...

Jan, I love how disciplined you are! Unfortunately for me, art museum trips are few and far between. The admission rates are rather expensive and then add to them parking fees (I think of the Art Museum in Chicago) and the day becomes one huge drain! I do try to visit galleries when I can but of course, they hold artists of lesser known fame. Still, I love your approach and it seems quite similar to how I would indeed approach this whole process. For now, I tend to use books and online sources for learning. I am hoping to get to an art museum soon! My husband has a week of vacation in August and I fully intend to get downtown then! I will indeed bring along a sketchbook (fabulous idea)! I thought most places didn't allow photos of paintings? Maybe with flash off...hmmm...

Hélène Glehen said...

Hello Jan,
It is always a pleasure to read your interesting posts.
They mean a lot for me who is working alone and is self-taught.
I admire your work and I have enjoyed your tutorials on You Tube.
Have a nice, busy, funny, creative day.

Hélène from France

Jan Blencowe said...

Autumn Leaves often museums allow non-flash photography of works in their permanent collection, but not of works on loan from somewhere else. Usually the photography policy is on their website or you can just ask the person at the admissions desk.

Jan Blencowe said...

Hi Helene, thanks so much for visiting the blog. I'm glad that you find the information helpful. Keep working on your art, believe it or not self-taught is often the best way to learn and to become unique!