This post is a long one, but one of my favorites. Maybe because it’s all about me
For the past seven years, I’ve been keeping a record of all the classes I took, and I’ve kept every single drawing. I’m going to do something different and post my schedule from the past 7 years. This post is NOT to show people what path to take, it’s just mine. Everyone’s journey is unique. That is what I love about the atelier program – you create your journey and your future. You are not part of a curriculum. This post IS meant to be used as an example to help you develop your own path.
This post shows my entire school schedule, but it doesn’t show the working and studying I did at home. I put in at least another 20 hours every week working on my own projects at home.
I don’t plan on leaving the atelier anytime soon. Even though I’ve gotten much more than I could ask for from a school, it would be stupid of me to leave this environment unless I absolutely have to. Being in an environment of like-minded, hard working artists pushes me to keep growing. I think it’s essential.
So here’s my schedule for the past 7 years… I’ve included sample work and an overview for every year.
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2003 was a slow start. High school obligations allowed me to take classes only on weekends. But that’s OK. I got the ball rolling in 2004. I’m glad I took the Intro to Tonal Drawing twice. Smart move. But the storyboarding and features classes were way too early. At this point I was still trying to become an animator. I thought that taking those classes would get me there faster. Wrong! In the storyboard class, I ended up struggling with basic drawing problems rather than focusing on the art of storyboarding.
This was a great academic year for me. Every semester had 2-3 core drawing classes along with 1 fun specialty class. In the fall I took gouache as a transition from drawing to painting. It’s great to start painting with gouache before oil because gouache trains you to tile. Place a stroke and leave it. Gouache dries so fast that you don’t have time to blend it. When transitioning to oil, I already had the habit of tiling my strokes rather than mushing the paint around. I made a lot of good decisions this year.
Not as many of the core classes this year, but most of the time was still spent drawing from life. Now it was just more specialized life drawing, like hands, feet, drapery, and animals. Continued doing the gouache painting and slowly moved into more oil painting and plein air. I worked on a lot of illustration projects at home this year. So, at this point I’m starting to create my own ideas, develop them, and take them to a finish.
This year I stopped illustrating and started focusing mainly on painting. I took a variety of painting classes and dedicated the Spring semester to long-pose drawing and painting. At this point I started accepting some commissions and staging photo shoots to work on longer paintings at home.
2007 was the year I started teaching. Teaching put a lot of pressure on me to improve my skills and to fully understand concepts. A teacher must know the information well enough to articulate it effortlessly. You can see me taking this very seriously in the Fall when I took all 3 core classes and signed up for 5 artist workshops to study some new teaching styles. These workshops are scattered throughout 2007 and 2008. This year I also partnered with an art agent, who began selling my work to galleries.
This year I focused a lot on studio painting to produce some work for my agent. Also, I made some friends with whom I started a lot of new business ventures. Most of these have failed by now, but the lessons learned are priceless. These businesses include a taco shop finder, nursing scrub label, event planning, nightclub guest-list system, and graphic design. I learned a lot about web/graphic design and branding this year while building these businesses. I will apply all these lessons to my fine art career in 2009.
As the economy plunged, businesses failed and painting sales stalled. I started looking ahead and planning ways of improving my fine art as a business. I started writing this blog to make a bigger impact in the art world and get my name out there. I’m going plein air painting weekly and I continue doing the studio paintings to build that mighty portfolio!
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If you’re still early in your art training I highly recommend keeping a log of your studies. Reviewing the past 7 years while writing this post helped me see the big picture. I realize how the little decisions can impact my future dramatically. Now I put a greater value to every semester and every choice I make about my career.