ASSEMBLY LINE ART CLASSES
Perhaps, you attended an assembly line art class. Everybody brought some snacks and some wine. It was a happy time! A party! The lesson was simple and everybody painted the same and everybody was happy taking home a picture that they didn’t think they could paint.
You might have realized, after that fun time, that the art class you attended was no more than a copying session-fun, but maybe for you a bit like eating Chinese take out and being hungry two hours later. What were you left with?
Then there was another class and the painting method was different. You submitted a photo of your house or your pet and when you went to the session, wine and cheese and a party again and you took home a picture of your pet or your house or whatever that you copied to a canvas. Now everyone has a painting of their pet or their house that they copied from a pre-determined template.
SO-WHAT’S WRONG WITH ASSEMBLY LINE ART?
Nothing is wrong with assembly line art as long as you want to do fast food art, have a good time, drink wine, and have snack. In essence, assembly line art (and many teaching enterprises are franchised just like Pizza Hut) assure fun-seekers that they are doing art. You can bring your own friends and your own wine. This makes you a lot more receptive to fun-and this experience is safer than a bar, especially for single women. And afterward, when students put their picture on their living room wall, they are verifying the mass production that has propelled this country for many decades. It is a market that will always do well with the next car, the next toaster oven and yes, your next “painting.”
We have been learning by rote through our educational system for the past 200 years. To this day, this is how the accumulation of “knowledge” and how our expertise in knowledge has been defined. This is the way, pretty much, students are still graded and this factor, showing the edification of one kind of learning, has kept us limited, individually, communally and as a nation. Perhaps this is why, as a nation, we’ve had a dismal showing in the world for students being able to think for themselves, research new and better techniques and skills and come up with better mousetraps, computers, manufacturing production methods, socio-economical remedies for global warming, better family relationships and promotion of creativity in art, music, dance and beyond.
DO AS I DO ART INSTRUCTION
Perhaps you see an ad or something online that touts a well-known artist that offers art lessons online or in workshops. The instructor shows students how to paint a picture very closely to the technique they use to create their own artwork. This is really useful, much more so than the assembly line, because here is an artist sharing their techniques with you and helping you repeat them. It’s a step up from assembly line in the sense that knowing the artist and how they work is a very rich experience. Copying what they do, however, blocks you, ultimately, from dipping down into your creative self, unless that artist-instructor of your choice, requires you to make that journey.
PERSONAL ART INSTRUCTION
Art is a personal communication with your creative inner self. It deals with a right brain phenomena, meaning that you have to learn that part of your brain to be truly creative. For some, accessing and staying with that part of the brain is easy, for others, it is difficult. We all pretty much live in the left brain, which defines, charts, plots our daily existence, and it does it very well.
SO WHAT IS THE RIGHT BRAIN?
The right brain is a very ephemeral area, a dream world, the subconscious and dedicated to exploration, research and very good at drilling down into your wonderful creative powers of imagination and visualization. But sometimes, it is hard to get there and stay there. That is why copying, duplicating with the instructor does is more comfortable, because it is still pretty much a defining process. And yes, good artworks can come from it-but not necessarily enrich the person you were meant to be—that is one who is fully engaging both hemispheres and making their logical, defining, charting self, shake hands with their dreaming, mysterious, visionary-the artistic self. We are all built to achieve the best that we can, I believe, through bringing these two cerebral entities together.
WELCOME TO YOUR CREATIVE SELF
A good quality art instruction class will open you up to yourself through learning art skills and techniques. You can see, in retrospect, that having to deal with your inner creative self is, at the onset, is not nearly as appealing as having wine and snacks and brushing out a pre-determined painting.
But, once you have mastered the basic painting, drawing skills, met your own creative self and have begun feeding on its richness, you will be guided to your own personal direction. Personal direction is a link between the skills you have learned and your deep, creative self. Drilling down into this self is not easy. All well and good, but how to draw the oak tree and how to bring your own feelings and memories into the brushstrokes and colors you are putting down requires much skill and creative self-communication.
ARE YOU READY TO CREATE?
Small art instruction classes engage students in their own personal journey. There are many art instructors affiliated with community colleges, senior centers, galleries and websites that offer this kind of quality, information-rich instruction.
My recommendation is, for engaging and challenging art instruction, find this kind of quality art instruction locally or on the Internet. Don’t waste another minute in the “fast food” nourishment of your own creative self unless you crave to have a good wine-time with pals in a safe place. And, if there is an artist or art instructor whose work you admire, enroll in their classes. Keep in mind, however, that you have a deep, embedded, rich and edifying resource within your own brain. Find that someone that understands that and enrich your life by being creative!