“If I can do it, you can do it.”
That’s always been my motto. From the beginning my goal has been to show my friends and followers that they can do anything they set their mind to and I’ll be there to help them along the way. If I can do it, you can do it.
The other part of that equation is the equal belief that if YOU can do it, I can do it. If you can be brave enough to try a new medium, or create a unique technique, or practice copying the greats then I can be brave, too, and I can share that bravery with whoever else needs to see it. Learning from each other is what being a part of a community is about; it’s what being an artist is about.
A writer friend of mine said that the best way to become a better writer is to become a better reader and I think the same thing could be said of artists. If we limit ourselves to only what we know, what we’re comfortable with and the experiences we’ve already had or the mediums we already know how to use, then we are limiting our art, too. It’s only by learning from other artists that we learn how to better create and communicate through our own work.
How to Learn from Other Artists
So… where does all that learning come from? It comes from art, of course!
Take a Class
The fastest way to learn a new art skill is to learn directly from another artist! Not only does this support artists in your community but it gives you hands-on experience and the opportunity to ask questions if you’re confused, stuck, or struggling. I have found that taking (and teaching!) classes about skills I’m already familiar with is just as beneficial as learning a new skill; sometimes I’ll discover a tip or technique that I never would have thought of if I wasn’t surrounded by two dozen other people doing the exact same thing.
Join a Group
Sometimes we aren’t looking for new skills but, rather, new perspectives. The best way to get ideas about which direction to take a piece or how to sell it is from a community of artists in your niche. That’s one of the reasons that I created My Creative Connection; I wanted somewhere that furniture artists could go to learn, ask, and share everything they’ve ever wanted to know about furniture painting. Our members have 500 other people they can reach out to whenever they need help! Not only that, but I go live with tutorials, guest experts, and other artists to try to answer every question someone might have.
Do a Deep-Dive
I truly believe that art finds us when we are ready to create it; after we’ve lived enough to need an outlet in our lives. For some of us this need comes young and, for others, it arrives when we are older but it is never, ever “too late.” One of the most inspiring endeavors a creative can undertake is doing a deep-dive into the careers of famous artists to see how their experiences are reflected in their works. Learning how another person translates their point of view into art is a powerful experience and one that should not be overlooked. Now we have more opportunities to learn like this than ever! We can visit online museums, listen to podcasts, read biographies, hire coaches, and watch documentaries.
Make (Creative) Friends
The best practice I’ve incorporated into my daily routine is simply connecting with other creatives. There is something contagious about watching other artists do their thing! I love being inspired by their bravery, commitment, and courage to show up every day and put their vision out in the world!
If sweat is the sign of a good workout then discomfort is the sign of artistic growth! Nothing interesting happens inside your comfort zone, my friends, so you have to push yourself. Try new things. Promote your work. Raise your rates. Open a store. Do that Big Scary Thing that you know, deep down, is what you’ve been waiting for.