Monday 22 September 2014

My Artistic Journey

  All the Greats sucked before they became great.

  The Greats, as in, those Grand Masters of Art you see in art history books... Those artists' art works you study about in art school. Those who've created such gorgeous masterpieces that you stare in awe at their awesomeness. Them.

  Them, and those still-living artists whom you look up to and admire and aspire to be like.

  They weren't always awesome. There once was a time when they sucked...

  Now, I don't consider myself a Great- not even close- but I'm aspiring to be one. This is my artistic journey, and I'd like to share it with you in the hopes that it'd inspire you...

  I began learning art in late 2008, early 2009. I was 14 years old, then. I still had school then, so I had to find a balance between school and Art...

  In 2011, I decided to pursue Art as a career. The workload I had with schoolwork, after-school remedial tuition, CCAs, and extra-curriculumn activities left me with no time for myself and Art. With my parents' blessings, I decided to pull out of school and became a self-taught home-schooled student. I dropped learning Science because it was sucking too much time out of my Art. I do, still, learn about speculative Science and read essays and articles that interest me., but I never took it as an examinable subject. I dropped A-maths and took E-math instead. I picked up double pure Humanities- namely, English Literature and World History. In doing so, I helped myself learn about things that interest me, and would be useful for my art. This choice also, in turn, helped to maximize the time I could spend on Art.

Apples that I drew during my early learning using student-grade coloured pencils...
  For the next two years, I spent almost all of my time dedicating myself to Art. I won't lie- being self-taught and home-schooled isn't for everyone. It took a lot of discipline on my part. I was responsible for my own learning. I was the one in full control of how I spent my time.

  My day could be started early in the morning or at high noon; they could end at 6pm, or at 3am if I decided to draw well into the night and the next early morn'- there were no fixed schedules.
  I could spend a whole day reading if I wanted to. At the point of writing this blog entry, I've read almost all the art books I could find in the public library. I've since moved on to reading newly published art books, and fiction novels or classic literature.
  I could "skip school" and not learn anything with regards to my O'levels education and instead draw or read for the entire day.
  Or... I could choose to do nothing all day. And don't think I've never made that choice before.

March 2011. Three apples.
  During this time, I learnt all I could about Art. I was a sponge. I absorbed all that I could. Looking back, I would tell myself that I could've pushed myself harder, but I'm still proud of what I've managed to accomplish.

  In 2012, I took my O'levels as a private candidate. The results came out and... I had failed my Art.

I failed my O'levels Art... Could you believe that?!?
[This is an image-heavy post. So if you'd like to see more of my old/new art works. Click to see more.]

  That was the day I lost faith in regular education. Because I was good- not great, but definitely better than what some students were putting out. And they were passing well. I later learnt that it was because Cambridge had certain requirements on how you were to present your work. (Art students will get what I mean by that.)

  I felt I was done with my education.

  Then my grandmother suffered a relapse in cancer. She knew this time she wouldn't pull through... Now, my grandmother never had a proper education. And so she valued education a lot. She made me promise that I'd finish my education- that I'd be a uni grad like my parents were. I agreed.
  ... She passed away that year.

  The next year, I retook my exams and passed. And I knew that was it; that I was done with the whole school thing... Don't get me wrong; I love learning. But not in the way that our education forces us to learn. I know I'll go back to school to finish my uni education, but for now, I have other plans... Bigger plans.

  After I took a job as an art teacher. It was here in my journey that I found out a different passion I had- teaching.

  So here I am, now... With bigger dreams of giving kids and adults the benefits and knowledge that I've found in Art. I want to inspire people with my Art. I want to help them be better humans through Art. I know how much Art is capable of changing people, for the better. That's what I'm striving for- to be the best version of myself possible.

  In the pursuit of that, I'm getting better at my Art every single day.

Swans in early 2010.
"Hazel Bird" done in 2013

Elephant; 2010
Zentangle Elephant; 2013

Scenery in pastels; 2010
Scenery in pastels: 2011

Butterfly in oil pastels; 2011

Butterflies; 2013
Below: Plein-air sketches

Flower; 2013
Below: Life Studies

March 2013
March 2013

Sketch of a bust early into my learning.
Sketch of a bust done in (probably) 2012. I could probably do much much better than this now.
Below: Recent works (2013-2014)

  There were many more scraps of sketches that I've did over the years. Many failed ideas... Many hit-and-misses. Countless struggles through the years.

  Most people only the finished product- how awesome artists are, and how easy they make drawing seem... What you often don't see is the amount of effort every artist puts into their craft. How many years they've had to use to train up to be what they are today. It's a never-ending journey of learning.  It's only been five years and I've come this far... So I'm very interested to see how much I'll progress in the future.

  So to all novice artists who've just started learning to draw or paint or sketch- don't give up.

  You might feel disheartened sometimes when other artist create such amazing and creative things, and you feel like you could never compare to them... But each artist has their own artistic path- we each walk our own journey. Don't compare yourself to other artists. Compare yourself to the you of yesterday. And if you've improved, even by a teeny-weeny little bit, it's progress and you're doing great.

  Some days, you might feel as though you're taking one step forward and two steps back.
  That's okay too. We all have those days.
  Know that you are not alone.

  Keep practicing. Keep learning. Never ever lose heart. For Art is a reward in itself, and if you're happy doing it, then keep at it. :)

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