Hello, Painters & See-ers!
We are all Students on a path.
You are, and so am I--and this is a wonderful, powerful thing! Before we go into anything technical, let's get into the right frame of mind in our painting dojo. The Open & Learning Mind...
Here at CA, there's SO much good work going on along with SO many talented, professional artists. There's a double-edged sword, though. As well as inspiration based on the Best, I see the flip-side: Learners skipping steps to jump at "style" and "product", and artists (of all levels) ignoring freedom of both thought and process in pursuit of a certain (perceived, yet vaporous) Orthodoxy. Now, aiming high is good--and so is adhering to professional standards. But let's not forget to drop our Egos, explore the unknown, and embrace the Unconventional. This is where our Student Mind comes in---and we forsake it at our own peril.
I'm going to paraphrase a few things from this book: "Zen Guitar", by Philip Toshio Sudo (http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Guitar-Phi.../dp/068483877X). I've found that if you substitute your concept of choice for the word "guitar", you have a very useful guide to many things.
First, a sensei is not, as is frequently mis-translated, a teacher. A sensei is "one who has gone before". I have "gone before" on the path of Paint I'm showing, but that makes me no less of a student of Art.
In our Painting Dojo, here, we will all wear the White Belt of a Beginner. I am dead serious when I say to do this: when working here, place in front of you--or wear--a white object to act as a concrete reminder of your Open Beginner's Mind.
Why does a Karate student wear a gi and belt? Why does a priest wear vestments? A cop a uniform, or a chef a hat? Our attire and/or surroundings put us in mind of our purpose, and you should think enough of your endeavor to do the same.
A white belt reminds us that we, as learners, have fresh eyes and clean Potential--we explore, we unearth, we struggle. As we struggle, we get dirty as we gain experience. As we gain experience, our whiteness (noob-ness) grays and darkens into experience...and after a Period...we end up with a black(ened) belt!
But--it isn't over. Guess what happens next? Yup, you know it--we go back to the white belt again! We become the student again, and the whole process starts over.
So: First assignment: Go make yourself a white belt or a white object to remind you of your Open Student's Mind. Keep it visible. (And, yeah, you can dirty it up, but mentally!)