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What can artists do to avoid being overwhelmed by all they have to learn?
Noah Bradley suggested patience (Facebook comment). How does an artist become patient?
It would be useful if people could be as explicit as possible on how you solve these problems, what good thoughts do you have to criticize your bad thoughts and so on.
Noahs right Life is (hopefully) long! Dont worry too much about all the things you need to learn. Maybe think more about the stories you want to tell with your art.
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Yeah patience and acceptance are always playing a major role as I develop. I have to accept the reality of where I want to be and take a hard look at where I am. This is when patience comes in, to help me realize the huge strides I have already made so I do not get so discouraged when I notice the road getting longer and longer. Some days its about sitting down and just getting the work done overwhelmed or not and other days its better to take a short break. I am also a big fan of doing the things you dislike first so you are more free to enjoy the things you do like more. I also like to do the really thought provoking things when I am full of energy and clear headed and save more automatic stuff for later when I am a bit more burnt out. This way I can work quite a long period of time even if I only have 4 good hours of full focus that day. Hope it helps.
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Read this book: Art and Fear
It's good to have something which -you just do-, being an artist means opening your entire organism up to new stimuli, from your surroundings, your memories, yourself, the things you eat, and other people, not to mention technology. We create new connections, new "path-ways" in our brain, which our thoughts flow through, when we stop doing this, we begin repeating ourselves, and whilst art does have a great element of repetition, isn't it just as much about repeating things in an unexpected way?
It's easy to get overwhelmed (and then give up) when you are -the lone wolf- -the hermit-, so putting oneself in a group setting, or corresponding and collaborating with others, or even just reading a book which basically tells you what to do, and then following it rigorously, start to finish, is a good way to not get overwhelmed (and even if you do, to pick yourself back up, brush yourself off, and walk on through).
here's the book i'm reading at the moment, helping me back on my artistic / creative feet: http://www.amazon.com/Artists-Way-Sp.../dp/1585421464
It's a really good book, because it not only goes into detail about how and why we fall into all kinds of traps, but how to get out of them, and really just... make your own way, your own path, once you truly have rescued your own inner creative self from all of these somewhat common stumbling blocks.
Anyway, good luck on not getting overwhelmed, remember to breathe and take it easy; it's calmest right in the centre of the storm, you are the one harnessing it, re-arranging, motivating, inspiring and creating, and the storm, is the world, cheers
The lower you are on the learning curve -- that is, the more of a noob you are -- the faster you will go. Enjoy the wind in your hair.
I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
I mean, you get frustrated and all, but in the morning you wake up and you still want to be a good artist so you suck it up and keep going. Fast forward through a few thousand temper tantrums and there you are -- a patient artist.
Just perspective alone makes my brain shutdown.
Maybe you guys see progress, no matter how slow, and that helps with patience? Or you know how to organize your learning?
I have noticed that children draw less stuff in their art as they grow up. They're not shy to draw a whole scene with landscape and tons of elements. Normal adults who don't chose art as a career refuse to draw or do it frivolously in games. Yet they might play football on the weekends or whatever. Or play music.
Just completely forget about this notion of danger and accept you are a child of god who's essence is love, fan the flames of your own curiosity so that they burn the blockages of fear which have you walking in circles in a dark room, Don't try to go outside of your own comfort zone, just take it with you! Make yourself comfortable.
fucking go for it man! : D
Let the sun shine on your mind and accept possibilities, do NOT, i repeat NOT kill your own dreams, I FORBID IT!
go into more detail about what exactly you mean by getting overwhelmed, and then I can give you more specific advice. At the moment I'm just guessing you mean it all gets too much and you give up. You're the one who has to live your life, I'm not in your brain to tell you what triggers you into feeling "it's too much", be your own neuro-surgeon, identify these patterns and create new ones.
It can help to break things down into smaller tasks/goals. For example, "perspective" is a big subject and therefore "practice perspective" can seem a large and bewildering task. So just practice one-point perspective, then when you can do that without having to think much about it, go to two-point, and so on. Don't try the complicated stuff until you are comfortable with the basics. If you are overwhelmed, you are probably trying to get into more advanced concepts too quickly. Imagine a beginner piano player trying to play a complex Mozart piece, and of course they would be overwhelmed! You don't even want to look at the advanced stuff yet, it will be confusing without having mastered the more basic things first. Work on the stuff which is simple and manageable, and look at the more advanced concepts only when they feel more accessible.
Overwhelm can also come from too much perfectionism - the desire to get everything right and do everything perfectly. You need to be willing to make lots of mistakes doing the basic stuff, then build on that.
I will second the recommendation to read "Art & Fear" as well - it's not just about fear, but overwhelm and perfectionism and self-sabotage and all the other stuff involved in this area as well.
Ooooh! That kind of perspective, LOL.
I interpreted it as, mental perspective on whether one is making progress or not.
Well, to me it was helpful to watch others artists do their things and explain their thought processes. Relaxed, simple, repetitive, a great learning tool.
I think errm, scott robertson (gnomon dvds) and shawn barber/andrew jones/marko djurdjevic/el coro (massive black dvds) were what really made me feel like i could LEARN and "do this", years back. Now you can watch livestreams! And ask questions while it's all going on.
Also, like i said in the first reply talk to other artists.
When you talk to other artists and realize however high you get, however perfect things appear to you now, when you get THERE there will be new "mistakes" and things to consider. So don't worry, the journey will always continue, don't make a certain state or product your aim, enjoy the journey.
I did the one point, two point, three point. I was taught that in 7th grade. I don't get it. The world is not empty vacuum with flying quasi-cubes all paralel to each other. I guess the problem is all books start with this and I go "no no no not this drivel again" and shutdown. Why don't books start with reality, say a photo of a complex interior or an urban landscape and break it down into comprehensible steps?
I did read Art & Fear but I didn't retain much I guess. I know, I know... "Read again!"
you're right. The world isn't a vacuum and Alberti's perspective isn't the only way to go about.
Till just about 15th cent. ppl used a "middle-age" (free translation) perspective, a system where closer objects are pushed towards the lower edge of the frame and are bigger and farther objects go up and are smaller.
It's much more intuitive way to work and in the end you get the same result.
You may try doing collages, to help you get a hang of it.
Just some random thoughts...
One way to not become overwhelmed is to give yourself plenty of time to improve and realize that even the most amazing artists are continually learning and improving. At the same time you give yourself a mental break and don't expect yourself to know everything at once, keep working on your skills regardless of your moods and temporary feelings.
I am in the beginning of this process myself after neglecting doing art for years. This week for example, I am working on drapery folds. Doesn't sound very exciting, but I am learning so much from doing it and enjoying it immensely. It helps me to focus on little pieces of this beautiful world we live in and study those in depth. This way, I am not worried about completing a finished piece of ART, but simply doing the best I can with each practice piece. And I figure that as other subjects catch my attention, I will learn to draw and eventually paint those well by doing the best I can each time. I notice that when I follow this natural flow of giving my full attention to the act of observing and drawing, I don't need to think about improving or not improving, it really just happens by me gaining experience. Also, I am attracted to drawing more complex and challenging subjects as I learn more.
It also helps me to think about the fact that all we are doing is put color on a flat surface. There is no magic, no special skills required, simply marks on a paper or a computer sceen. If a person is capable of making a mark, he or she is equally capable of creating anything at all on a surface. The only considerations are what colors and values and edges to put where. That's it. Kinda like the most amazing literary masterpieces in English are made with only 26 symbols and some spaces in between.
One last random thought... don't think or criticize yourself while you are working. Give your full attention to what you are doing. If that is difficult, distract the verbal part of your mind with something interesting to listen to. In my limited experience it helps to have a critical EYE and make improvements as you see needed, and ignore any critical THOUGHTS that are unrelated to where to put marks on the paper.