Re: About self education...
Most of what I have been reading here on this thread is very interesting indeed.
Of my own personal "art" resume (not in written form of course), when I was around 5 or possibly 6, I remember my mother was an "Artist" of sorts and probably would have been much better if it were not for raising a family. I was curious and she taught me the very basics of looking at some thing and rendering it to paper with a pencil. This totally fascinated me and agreeing with many here, it takes practice... many, many hours of practice... many years of practice.
Yes, Art Schools and college courses are great places to network but they only teach you what THEY know or what they think YOU should know by virtue of what their education has taught them. I would shake my head and would say "Nah, nah there's got to be more to it then that. What's beyond all of this?"
Sure... you can pickup bits and pieces from online courses and classes and from books too. But..., and this is the "Biggy", if you want to know the "feel" of the best consistency of oil or acrylic paint, how to apply it, how to understand the "feel" of the brush, or the "feel" of the pastel stroke you have to experience it first hand. And this my friends is something that can't be taught by a book or the internet and... not even by some art teachers or professors. Nope... the key here is practice, practice and more practice. Touch it, feel it, learn from this and I can almost guarantee you'll become a much better "artist" yourself and then... take it beyond that.
Just my 2 cents worth...
"I seem to do better work by accident than I actually do on purpose."