"Self Taught" isn't derogatory

around the web art struggles beginners

Deciding to paint somewhat late in life means I spend more time than I'd like second guessing myself. That nasty whiny voice comes up and wonders "what basics of design and composition am I clueless about because I didn't formally study art?" No one's ever actually said or even hinted anything remotely like that to me of course! My self doubt just seems to have a way of sneaking in.

Being "self-taught" may still have some negative connotations, but I think a lot of that is fading as more and more of us become self-taught via the internet. The current pandemic and spring shut downs in the U.S. certainly accelerated trends of online self-guided learning. From the comfort of my overstuffed, ratty arm chair and my laptop, I can learn about any topic I choose, in the order I choose, from whomever I choose.

Of course this raging river of information is never purely good or bad. It can be overwhelming to try to find the right information or the right fit in an online teacher. But nevertheless, we have quick and easy access to more information than at any time in history. And much of it is free.

I've been wonderfully lucky in my online watercolor learning experience to find digital teachers who were encouraging and promoted following the fun and pleasure of the act of painting rather than seeking a specific end result or frame-able painting. I've never encountered that stereotypical art school horror story of receiving a scathing criticism of my art--the communities I've participated in have always been positive and kind.

Some of the watercolor teachers, classes and resources I've used over the years and enjoyed include:

  • YouTuber Makoccino for beginner tutorials in bright, fun colors.
  • Painter Jean Lurssen for abstract landscape courses and inspiration.
  • Painter Jean Haines for her effortless watercolor style & books.
  • Angela Fehr and her heart-led philosophy, emphasis on fun in your process, and large course catalogue.

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