as individual as you are

Members: LOG IN

Millie Gift Smith Art Blog

The Road I have Taken to be an Artist

by MILLIEGIFTSMITH , March 13, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: All Posts

Some people say in order to be an artist, you must go to art school, college or have talent. But I say-- you dont need to go to college to become an artist. I was never fortunate to go to college. However, I had the desire to be an artist since I was a child. I remember the Christmas that I received some paints and paper for a gift. To me it was the best gift of them all. My sister and I made paper dolls and designed their clothes. I manage to take every art class in school. In High School, my art teacher told me I had talent. I spent hours drawing Disney figures, and I wanted to go to California and work for Disney. But I did'nt persue that. It was a few years later that I married and had a family. Still I was reading art books and drawing. Later on, as my children grewup,I had time to paint at night, as my husband was a muscian and I was alone at night, so I started using pastel, I did a lot of pastel and finally decided I wanted to study oil. I started an oil painting class, taught by a noted teacher in our town. I spent about a year working in the class and then I started to paint on my own. I worked during the day , but at night, I would paint in the wee hours. I worked hard to be able to learn to use oils. Later, I left my job and started to teach in my home studio. After several years of teaching oil, the fumes began to affect my lungs and so I deided to take a watercolor class at a school nearby. I had a great teacher and he would ask us to paint 4 or 5 paintings and bring them back to class to be critiqued. I usually was the only student that would paint the assignment. So by practicing and painting, I got to love watercolor. I worked hard at it. I took a lot of workshops by talented teachers, studied many art books, experimented with all types of media. I painted evry day, and started to enter shows. I got a lot of rejections but that did'nt stop me. Finally I got in the Michigan Watercolor Society for 5 years. I think that by teaching others, I learned a lot also. I joined our art club in town and was Vice President and then President, Also on the board of directors. I was asked to demonstrate at the meetings. Then I began to work in acrylics. I really liked them and to this day, I do more in acrylics than any medium. I started to frame my own work, and entered mall shows every year. I am still doing a lot of painting whenever I can.--- So, I feel that you don't need college, which is good, but I found that hard work, desire to learn, and with a little talent--I could be an artist. I am a fast painter and have done a lot of work. Some are good and others are just fair. I am a self-taught artist. So this is the road I have traveled over the years. I keep on trying for that special painting that I know I can do--but it is elusive. I really enjoy just the process of painting--more than the results. I call my painting--"A love affair". It can make you happy everyday--to wake up and able to paint, makes me happy. So, if you have the desire , and work hard-YOU CAN BE AN ARTIST.




  Michael Savageau ( homepage )

03/13/2008 * 12:28:16

It's nice to hear from another self taught artist. I am on a similar path it seems. Once I got past thinking how I would compare to others that had gone to school for art it freed me to create and truly enjoy it. I think we self-taught artists have a slight advantage in that we don't have preconcieved notions about what makes good art. It's all coming from our spirit. Don't get me wronjg I have a great respect for teachers but sometimes what is taught can put a damper on creativity.
It's nice to know we are not alone.

What Do You Think? Leave a comment!

Code Check

Verification — Please type in the code you see in the image above. This helps us defeat automated programs that try to post "comment spam" (unwanted advertisements).