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Beginner Lessons in Artistry

By Tuesday, July 23, 2019 (MDT) 20 Comments

In this post, I’m sharing my 2 day painting adventure last weekend, as well as thoughts on ‘Beginner Lessons in Artistry.’

The Origins

I have always fancied myself as a bit of a painter.

I was creating art before I could walk and my Mum still has my first painting on her bedroom wall.

In recent years I have been tinkering around by myself entertaining the idea further.

Then last summer,  I happened upon Jeanne Oliver somehow.

She fosters a creative network of tactile artists who teach both on-line and in her Colorado studio.

Timing is everything.

Shortly thereafter, Cherie Wilson was promoting her first class with Jeanne Oliver.

Her abstract approach to painting is RIGHT up my alley,  and I jumped at the opportunity to learn with her, taking both her on-line classes in succession.

Around my birthday this year, I discovered Cherie Wilson was coming to Colorado to teach a 2 day class LIVE at the Jeanne Oliver studio.

I have to admit I was hesitant, but Eric encouraged me to sign up for the adventure.

Stepping Outside The Box

Learning something new is uncomfortable.

I wasn’t sure about attending this class, partly due to the cost, and also I didn’t really believe in myself.

We have the power to tell ourselves all sorts of stories that are simply NOT true.

As well as being told we perhaps are not good enough.

So we get REALLY good at talking ourselves out of something we really want, without giving it a proper chance.

And if I’m honest, as a digital artist, I also felt a bit like an ‘imposter’ stepping into this new space.

Fear is a real show stopper to making the magic happen.

On Friday morning, Ella asked if I was excited.

All I could think was, ‘I’m going to a place I have never been, with people I have never met, doing something that I really don’t know how to do AND I have no idea where my next meal is coming from.’

And that was the whole point of this exercise.

  • To step outside my comfort zone.
  • Connect with other artists.
  • Learn how to paint.

Jeanne also went above and beyond in accommodating my food allergies and I was MORE than well fed – I think I would take another class with her just to enjoy the food 🙂

Brené Brown says:

I could not agree MORE to these 2 statements after my experience this weekend.

Changing Roles

When the Teacher becomes a Student.

I have spent a number of years inspiring students through my own classes and on-line education endeavors.

And so it was REALLY  interesting to be in your shoes for a while and have the opportunity to see the journey of learning through a student’s eyes.

  • Understand those small details that are often taken for granted and overlooked.
  • Have compassion for where you are at the beginning.
  • Be genuine and insightful in the encouragement of learning.

This part of the experience was neither expected nor intentional, but without a doubt will make me a better a teacher in my own classes.

Good Reminders

How this all relates to you and your digital artistry or scrapbooking.

Lessons I already knew, and share often with you, were reiterated.

1. Give Yourself Permission

  • Allow yourself to make mistakes.
  • Try something NEW, be it a new product, technique or approach.
  • Create without judgement or comparison.

Understand that art is always in the eye of the beholder.

‘What someone else thinks of your art is none of your business.is an interesting approach to not caring as much.

And if you don’t like your art, then embrace the challenge to making it better.

Everyone starts somewhere and your journey has no time limits or boundaries.

Every part of the process has to resonate and be unique to you.

2. Define Your Own Process

There is no right or wrong way to create art.

One of the biggest obstacles to establishing a painting practice for myself has been thinking that I might be doing it wrong.

For example:

  • You might like to plan your designs – I am one that doesn’t, neither in my digital or tactile work.
  • You might stick to the same color palettes or be a multi-spectrum artist.

Emulate other artists and experiment a LOT to discover what you like and don’t.

Do more of what you love and discard what does not serve you.

Knowing this information can take some time, but will ultimately help you establish a creative voice or style.

Let go of the expectations and ONLY do what naturally or joyfully works for you.

3. Do The Work

You have to show up and make the magic happen.

Talent can only take you SO far.

To elevate your artistry you have to prioritize.

Create space in your life to do this thing you LOVE and nurture it regularly.

Practice. Practice. PRACTICE.

Have patience and pace yourself.

Photo Credit: Cherie Wilson

4. Find Inspiration

Keep yourself motivated.

  • Make your goals visible as a constant reminder.
  • Connect with people who have the same interests, to keep you passionate.
  • Join a community to keep you accountable
  • Accept challenges to push you outside your boundaries.
  • Take classes to inject new ideas.
  • Keep your process fresh by adding a new product or technique once in a while.

Know that your art is always going to evolve.

5. Trust Yourself

Either you’ve got this, or the world won’t implode if you don’t.

It’s just art and photos people.

I also find it interesting how your life experience can help support you in your artistry.

If you enjoy other arts and crafts, consider how what you already know, can help you in this new pursuit.

I have been stunned at just how much of my digital artistry translates to this new medium.

I have also personally taken a recent interest in setting boundaries.

And of course this has EVERYTHING to do with creating an environment for creativity to begin.

It always helps to have someone believe in you, but please know you only need your own permission.

When you think you can, the path becomes wide open to making those dreams a reality

What’s Next?

Continue being a student.

Learn more.

Create often.

And take more classes, both in a studio setting and on-line.

The investment in terms of both time and money have been SO worth it to me.

There is definitely something very REAL about making the most of an experience when you have paid for it.

I love that this opportunity has enabled me to grow as a:

  • student
  • teacher
  • artist
  • person

ALL in just ONE weekend.

And isn’t being a better human what life is all about?

Keep the momentum going.

Run with the opportunity, maximize the potential and believe in the ‘Yes I Can.’

  • Trust in self
  • Ask for help.
  • Create space both physically and mentally to do the work.
  • Surround self with like-minded people.
  • Let the process be what it is.
  • Enjoy the journey.

So what’s your next move?

I might just be an abstract painter after all.

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Anna Aspnes

Author Anna Aspnes

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Join the discussion 20 Comments

  • Viv says:

    Congratulations Anna you are an artist I loved your pieces, especially your use of colour.

  • Beverly says:

    Wow, what a deep and meaningful experience you had! I’ve seen Jeanne’s website and classes several years ago. How wonderful you were able to participate and coming away, sharing so much inspiration with us all. I love the picture of you painting at your easel! Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on your amazing experience!

  • Marleen says:

    A great job Anna, I love abstract paintings and to see your progres!

  • Nancy Briechle says:

    Glad you did this. I’m looking forward to seeing the results in new Artsy Palates. I went to art school many years ago and one of the ways the professors worked was to critique your work ripping it apart until you just about cried and wanted to run out and give up. Then I would get the highest grade. I never gave up and I’m so glad I have also studied with some wonderful artists over the years who where much kinder and compassionate in their critiques. I look forward to critiques now as it is the way I learn. I have taken many of your classes and learned so much and continue to learn as I reference the classes over and over. This is a new medium for me and I really enjoy it. I find my other loves of watercolor painting and photography really mesh into this new medium. Thanks for all you do!

  • Dale Botha says:

    So enjoyed reading about your arty weekend in Jeanne’s studio! I would give anything to have that opportunity! You have always been an amazing artist, teacher, mother and human being Anna… never doubt that! Very happy you enjoyed being a student again …. kinda liberating on a number of levels! xx

  • Laura Holmes says:

    Well said and well shown, Anna! I loved following along on your journey! Love your paintings, too. It’s all about getting the butt into the chair (metaphorically speaking) isn’t it? Onward!

  • jdayminis says:

    Oh my goodness, I totally love your painting!! I’m so happy it reminds me of your digital art. You have such a strong artistic style that you have developed through years and will be an artist no matter what medium you choose.

    Hugs, Jean

  • HI Anna,
    You always bare your soul and get right to the heart of the matter, in all of your posts and your work. Your words are inspiring to me. I’ve been lax in allowing myself some much needed play time and I need to let go and just have some peaceful moments with my computer and on-line art. Congratulations on being able to catch a live and in person class that you obviously loved!

    • Anna Aspnes says:

      Hi Lynn – Yep. I’m known for keeping it real around here. I think it’s the only true way we can learn all this stuff by being completely transparent. So happy to inspire you and I highly encourage you to take some time to create something this weekend.

  • Kay Gregory-Clark says:

    Anna, you are so brave to post your art work from the class. Yes, I can see a similarity to your design artistry, especially your overlays and artsy transfers. Kudos to Eric for encouraging you, too.
    You are always an inspiration! Right now, my challenge is learning your digital techniques—especially brushes and masking; then using all of it to create interesting heritage pages for my scrapbook. I’m in the waning years of my life, and I’ve felt for a long time that my purpose is to record my family history for my son, granddaughters and future generations. I feel like this will be my legacy. I think by creating artsy pages, it will make the documentation and facts more interesting. They can look at the pages and not see a listing of data, but stories, helping them to better understand our history and how it shapes them. I have learned so much through my genealogical journey. Now my challenge is to convey that to others. Thank you, Anna, for helping make that happen. I’ve purchased many of your classes and products and will continue to do so.

    • Anna Aspnes says:

      Thanks Kay! It’s just art. In sharing I always hope to inspire others 🙂 I’m working on a series of brushes classes so I think these will be a BIG help to you.
      Love that you are telling your story. It’s never too late and your family will appreciate it. Our stories DO shape us for sure. Even from generation to generation.
      Enjoy the process sweet lady.

  • Kay Gregory-Clark says:

    p.s. I meant to ask about the canvas bag as I have a nice stash of cut pieces of canvas, given to me years ago by a woman who traveled the country repairing and replacing the canvas covers on those huge old ledgers kept in offices of the county register of deeds, where I was deputy. What I have were the cut-off sections and she kindly gave them to me. I intended to make books with them, but never quite did it. Now my question is this: What was the purpose of yours? It looks, in the photo like it’s a simple bag, stitched around the 3 raw edges, left unfinished. I see feathers sticking out, and I love the ribbon touch. It looks to be just the size of my pieces.

    • Anna Aspnes says:

      The canvas was stitched to the folder and was something on our tables when we arrived. It created a pouch to contain the feathers and then inside there was note paper and some information sheets. It was a pretty way to deliver some of the class contents – Hope this helps!

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