View Full Version : how much training do you have?

01-07-2003, 04:59 AM
Wow...I am a posting nut tonight...lol.

There was a time when I thought about going back to school for art, but my now exgirlfriend was really against it so I went back for some computer training...which thus far has gotten me zilch as far as work for the past 2 years. So much for going into a practical field with plenty of opportunity for me...lol.

I managed to really put myself behind the 8 ball when it comes to life...I lived with undiagnosed clinical depression for several years as a teen. This lead to me eventually dropping out of high school (yeah, I know...it was stupid) because I couldn't get out of bed in the morning to save my life. Sadly, I still have a sleeping problem to date...which is why I am here on WC posting at 3:40am...lol. Anyway, the highest level of education I actually received was only rudimentary...I was an honor roll student as a freshman in high school and essentially a dropout the next year. I ran the battery of tests put before me by the school psychologist, after which he proclaimed, "Well, he's not missing school because he's stupid." Turned out that I actually have a pretty decent IQ...if I remember correctly it was something in the neighborhood of 168. I did eventually get a GED...I believe it was about a year after I should have completed hs. I have essentially bounced from job to job my entire adult life, but now I am really considering going back to college for a degree in Psychology of all things...lol. I figure I am interested enough in the human condition to do this...I love to observe and listen to people, and I figure it can also help me with my art.

Ok, that's it with the long winded statement I made now for the questions...lol.

What level of art education have you received?

Mine is pretty much obviously just a simple education up to the age of 15 in public school...watching Bob Ross (who my art teacher adored) didn't do much for me at all...sure he painted nice pictures...but they really didn't speak to me at all. Other than that...I taught myself with books, experimentation and one video...and the video wasn't on technique...it was simply a video on the Cubist movement, but I did find it very inspiring.

Has a lack of education blocked your professional development?

I ask this because for some reason I feel like I would not be taken seriously by a gallery since my education is NIL. I have had work on public display in the past...but that was in a coffee house...lol. On the plus side of that...I was clearly the dominant artist on display there...I think at the peak I had something in the neighborhood of 20 pieces hanging there and there was only enough space for 30 max.

Do you find that others don't take your work seriously if you are not educated in art?

I think I was lucky in this regard...no one has ever poo-pooed my work. As a matter of fact I got to see and hear people examining/talking about my stuff and never heard anything bad...lol. I was also a very lucky soul to have something sell on EBay at a decent price for someone with no name whatsoever. No, I am not an EBay artist...but during a financial crunch I did put one of my personal favorites up for auction...received a grand total of 1 bid...but at least it was for $550...not exactly something to sneeze at when you are dead broke...lol. I also had tons of pressure from other artists...not only to go back to school, but to go to school with them so they could watch me work to pick up on some of the things I do/did.

Overall, I think that my lack of education hasn't hurt me all that much...it intimidates me at times though.

01-08-2003, 11:45 AM
What level of art education have you received?

ZERO... unless you count high school. I had a great teacher though... Blanche Johnson... God rest her soul.

Has a lack of education blocked your professional development?

No, I made a comfortable living as a self-taught portrait photographer for 10 years without any formal training. Experimentation, reading, seminars, videos, and EXPERIENCE were my teachers. I was lucky enough to develop my own creative style of photography in a town where Olan Mills was still king.

Do you find that others don't take your work seriously if you are not educated in art.

I can only answer this question in reference to the photography business mentioned. The public didnít even know they wanted something different (Olan Mills was just fine with them) until I showed them something different. Marketing played as big a role in my success as did my talents. It amazed me how all of a sudden I was somehow a big time artist and the people lined up. Hanging a portrait of their precious baby in the local mall didnít hurt either!

By no means am I a super-talented artist... my artwork is like therapy for me. It relaxes me. It completes me. It is a part of me. Itís for me... if other people like it... GREAT... It makes me a better husband, father, and friend... Thatís where the importance of it lies to me.

Thanks for your thought provoking questions.

01-08-2003, 12:57 PM
What level of art education have you received?
Even if I follow some painting and drawing class and I had some art class during school, I've learn most of my art by myself, with trials and errors.

Has a lack of education blocked your professional development?
No. By learning alone, I think it gave me more freedom :)

Do you find that others don't take your work seriously if you are not educated in art?
Most of people I know aren't good in art. So they're impressed by what I do, even if it's not perfect lol

01-08-2003, 01:59 PM
This is a copy of the "Bio" I have used in my last two shows. (one solo, one group). It is essentially a "self-taught" bio. I believe the more serious collectors are more likely to take credentials into consideration, especially if the work is someone is experimental. Deibenkorn is one of my favorite painters, but would anyone take him seriously if they thought he had just been painting for 6 months when he did his "Ocean Park' series. :)


Mike Mallory was a seemingly ordinary person until he attended a watercolor workshop by Portland painter, Sue Jensen in April 1996. Mikeís attendance at the workshop was a bit of a fluke, but it changed his life. He loved what he did in the workshop, he loved playing with the paints and brushes and, as amaturistic as they were, he even loved the three paintings he produced at the workshop.

When the workshop was over, Mike wasnít. All he wanted to do was paint watercolor paintings. Fortunately, Marilyn, his wife convinced him to keep his day job and sometimes got him to do a few chores. He went on to take two continuing education classes in watercolor painting: one from Dode Eastman and one from Eunice Smith. He also took several workshops ranging from figure drawing and portraiture to Chinese watercolor techniques.

Mike is a founding member of the Port Gardner Bay Watercolor Society. The Society meets weekly to paint, critique and discuss technique. They also have several group shows each year in Snohomish County. The Society has demonstrated their painting in plein air exhibitions at Starbucks in Everett, Fresh Paint at the Everett Marina, the Bookworks in Marysville and the Lavender Farm in Arlington, Washington. He has been accepted and had paintings displayed in several juried art shows, including: the Edmonds Art Festival, Stanwood-Camano Island, Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival and Arts on the Terrace.

Mike believes that his paintings are a byproduct of a contemplative relationship with his world. ďWhen my painting is working for me, it is really a form of meditation. It is a timeless world of color, shape and texture. My connection with the world seems to freshen and come alive. I hope that some of this experience reflects in my work.Ē

Mike has taken his paints and paper to England, Canada and many parts of the United States, but his most common subjects are found in Snohomish County where he has lived for the past 22 years.

Ron van den Boogaard
01-09-2003, 06:50 AM
What level of art education have you received?

Formally? very little. In highshool I had a teacher that not so much granted me (and a few others) the opportunity to work. He gaves us our own keys to classroom, so we could do things after hours. And also when I got kicked out of whatever other class (which happened a lot), he let me hide in the storage room, where I could do etchings and whatever else.
Did two years of training on saturday afternoons art artschool in a coure building up to the admitting exams, but that ruined more than it did any good.

Unformally? A lot. Whenever I venture into new techniques, I buy the book (get on the web these days), buy the materials and work at it 'till I got it down. When I was an Illustrator, I would take on projects that I never done before, planned it so that it would allow for two or three failures "I'm very busy right now, you have to extend the deadline". So my clients paid for my education. I even managed to pull off three short animation movies that way.

Has a lack of education blocked your professional development?

I have been more blocked by my minute stint in artschool, maybe could have learned things quicker with a formal education, but that didn't happen, so no use crying over spilled milk. Besides I don't think they would have been able to teach me how to embed doghair in acrylic paint.

Do you find that others don't take your work seriously if you are not educated in art?

None whatsoever, you're as good as your latest work. Nobody ever asks me about it.

01-09-2003, 11:23 AM
This is all very interesting.

I have no formal training outside of a couple of good high school art teachers who were very encouraging and a couple of acrylic classes.

I don't think that effects me professionally. I really think the art speaks for itself. With the classes I took and all I learned in art school, I end up doing collage art which is something I never learned at all. I won a merit award at an art show recently which really encouraged me because I don't take myself serious sometimes because of my lack of education in that area.

Here is my case on being taken seriously. My daughter has a degree in studio art and we have a small gallery here in the midwest. People (ones that we know) come in and want to speak to her because they know she has the degree. She is a lovely watercolor artist and is our best selling artist, but we have both entered works in the same shows and I have won when she hasn't (which brought me to sad/happy tears) but people still seem to refuse to accept the fact that I am an artist. My family calls it her gallery even though we are a partnership and I have as much art hanging as she does. Sometimes it cuts deep, and it hurts her too, because she knows that I am an artist and she is my biggest fan. But because she has done it all her life and has a degree, they take her more serious. I had to put my creativity on hold for 25 years while I raised my kids, so now that I am taking off, they don't take me serious. bla bla bla . sorry so long, it's nice to get it off my chest! :D

01-09-2003, 10:39 PM
What level of art education have you received?

none except some pre-HS classes and what I have taught myself

Has a lack of education blocked your professional development?

I have but about 20 hours in a degree in Wildlife Biology....untreated stress/depression etc from my teens culminated in me being completely burned out before finishing. a classic case of a crack in the bottom pyramid causing problems near the top. finishing the bio degree is important because I want to do natural science illustration/wildlife art but mostly its important for my own peace of mind

Do you find that others don't take your work seriously if you are not educated in art?

I find _I_ dont take myself seriously more so than other people....like so many others my own worst critique. Self teaching is a slow process I am finding...constantly second guessing myself!

positive thinking: i discovered what I wanted to do about my sophomore year of college. broke down my jr/sr year of college but atleast I didnt make it all the way thru and into the workforce before figuring thinks out because then I wouldnt be able to afford to work towards my goal....i cant really afford to now but atleast i am still in student mode which keeps me flexible :D

Ron van den Boogaard
01-10-2003, 02:20 AM
I have to make one correction on a previous post

Has a lack of education blocked your professional development?

It does make my life more difficult applying for grants and subsidies, as most funds here require a degree or four years experience as an independent artist. My years as an illustrator don't seem to count. That is a bit of a hassle.

02-12-2003, 02:38 PM
What level of art education have you received?

I loved to draw as a child and in my late teens attended an art college. I may have beena rebel, but after giving it a good try, dropped out and worked as a designer and pattern cutter for ladies fashions. Still painting my own way...when ever I could.

Has a lack of education blocked your professional development?

I did take lots of other exams later, including a teaching certificate. I don't think you need a certificate to be creative! Observation, creativity and the love of rich oil paint can't be measured in examinations, they are a damper ( I would love to hear other opinions on this)

Do you find that others don't take your work seriously if you are not educated in art?

Who gives a shoot what others think...it is the clients that cough up cash for your work that matter. Many people will say 'Oh! that's not right', but who cares! The ones that matter are the ones that love your work and to prove it pay in hard cash.

Another point there is nothing wrong with having exhibitions in coffee bars or bars. I have had exhibitions in all sorts of places, including the home of a friend...so long as the work gets seen and admired you are getting a foot on the ladder and will get notice and eventually be able to afford the higher priced venues.


02-12-2003, 05:04 PM
What level of art education have you received?

I have a Master's Degree in Painting and Drawing. It has helped tremendously as far as people taking me seriously as an artist.

However I think anyone who works hard and long can achieve respect as an artist depending on who they want respect from, especially if they're already talented. My Dad has never respected my art because art is simply not in his realm of understanding. Recently I brought him to a show where my work was on display and he was amazed at the NUMBER of works I had hanging, but had no concept of the validity of the work. He could also respect the fact that several works sold, but that was as far as it went. So respect is where you find it. Some will, some won't, so what?

The main thing I value from my art education is not so much techniques I learned as gaining experience and understanding in the way artists see and think. It gave me great appreciation for the abstract element of art, which, in my opinion, improved me as an artist. I think anyone who feels a need for such training would benefit from getting a degree, but many good artists obviously don't need it.

02-17-2003, 05:26 PM
I started attending college last fall to study art. I am in my fifties. This is something I have always wanted to do and I am thrilled to be there. That being said, I have never stopped learning about art on my own. I love learning new things. I am taking all core classes except for one art class. It is in 2-D design. There were blank areas in my art education and now I feel like I am addressing those issues. I have the technical skills, but I lacked thinking like an artist. I felt more like an illustrator.


02-18-2003, 01:20 AM
I attended a very reputable art school that was not accredited at the time....I've worked in Bronze Casting Foundries....I'm a self taught potter, sculptor, metal smith and still picking up new skills....

I've thought about going back to school to get a 'degree' for the hell of it....but I get this feeling that is screaming at me saying "WHY"?

I'm successful now.....I don't need a degree. The only reason I think I would ever need one is to teach in a college when I retire. Then when I retire I will still be doing my art work instead of teaching someone else. (Hopefully) Plus I am able to teach now...have taught....in schools and workshops.

I am taken seriously as an artist....much more being self taught in my opinion. I think most people interested in art and artists.....really enjoy the tale of the piece....the thrill and spark in the artists eyes as they explain why they did something a certain way.

Do what you feel you need to do. You may need to take night classes though! lol

Good luck....:D

02-22-2003, 03:28 PM
My overall general opinion on a degree or studying is - do it if YOU want to. If you are only doing it for an external reason then it usually isn't satisfying and you carry away those negative feelings into the professional realm. If you do study don't believe it will be a magic career boost, but if you enjoy it I'm sure it will enhance and advance your artwork anyway. :) Just my 2cents.

What level of art education have you received?
I studied privately with another artist for a few years and took lots of short classes (either 8-12 weeks, or even just a one day 7 hour session!) around little art colleges.

Has a lack of education blocked your professional development?
To be honest: yes. In the beginning it was very difficult because everyone contantly asked where I studied. Since London is such an art-school mecca I wasn't taken seriously because I didn't go to art school. To overcome this I built my resume by joining local art groups and entering any and every group show or competition I could find. I approached small galleries for a solo show. With one under my belt alongside some good competitions and local group shows attitudes changed. I now think that it was because art-degree-less there was no indication that I was serious about an art career. A few shows and memberships shows more commitment and that you've worked to build a history. So later in my career: no.

Also, a key tip is to present your 'history' properly. I don't say I'm self taught or didn't go to art school. If asked where I studied I always say "privately, with a Greenwich artist for 3 years". If I can I add the fact that I did an undergrad and several grad degrees and this is why I didn't go back to full-time study for art. Most people find that interesting.
Do you find that others don't take your work seriously if you are not educated in art?
No. No one has ever judged my work itself based on my education in art. Not as far as I know.


02-22-2003, 05:09 PM
I know how you feel! I studied at the ***** Polytechnic department of Fine Art and Design...it had a wonderful reputaion.
It was not the way I wanted to paint...I had a wonderful teacher but you had to emulate him. Better I finish here! The only good thing is that 29 years later here I am still as keen as ever and beginning to sell well!

02-24-2003, 02:52 AM
I have some formal education as I studied with several well known artists throughout my life. What I learned was the art of making art. I have no degree. When I graduated from high school my father made a point of not letting me attend an art school. It was in the 60s and art schools had the reputation of being places of political unrest. Besides, my father, who had once pursued art as a career himself and had to relinquish it because of the war, refused to encourage me in any way to become an artist. One was not working if one was enjoying what they were doing.

After raising seven children, in my fifties, I applied to an art school to pick up where I had been dropped off so many years ago. I took my portfolio to Seattle Pacific University and talked with a counselor there. I told him I wanted to go back to school. He looked at my portfolio, handed it back to me and asked "why?" He told me I already knew what I needed to know to be an artist. Well, I didn't entirely agree with that but it was encouraging.
They offered me a full scholarship which I had to eventually refuse because I ended up having to return to work instead.
So much for my degree!

If you are able to read you can learn anything that you want to learn. Take workshops, work with other artists, take classes...get excited about learning and you'll succeed. Establish goals, learn how to market. If you really want to succeed as a practicing artist you will have to travel. Get a website. There is an incredible art market over the Internet these days. The most important thing is to produce. You aren't an artist if you don't contiually produce art work. And when you do you will just keep getting better.

True, some establishments look for degrees. You probably won't get a teaching job if you don't have one. And as mentioned, grants and galleries will look for degrees. But there are so many avenues around those methods that not having a degree isn't something to get discouraged over. Many successful people in all fields of work have by-passed the formal education route simply because they didn't let folks discourage them; but they just pressed on and jumped the hurdles they needed to along the way.

A little grandmother advice...

Don't think more highly of your work than you ought to because you will stop learning if you do.
Appreciate other artists work. Don't be so competitive that you aren't making friends.
A good attitude will help you communicate with others and will add to your success. Be cheerful and enjoy your work. Much of your work will sell not only because of its quality, but because of who you are!
Volunteer!! This is one of the best ways to meet people.
Allow yourself room to make mistakes.
Make obtainable goals both short term and long term goals. Balance your checkbook and pay your taxes.
Smile and stay healthy.

Hope this helps

02-25-2003, 12:35 AM
to the initial question posed in the thread, my response is simple-
"Never enough...."