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Education while being a self taught artist


Stock photo Duomo di Firenze (Florence, Italy)

I think the hardest part about being a self taught artist is knowing what you don't know you don't know. (yes I know a double negative 😬😂)


The thing I find when I am looking into something new, is that I find so much more information that I never knew about.


I have taken workshops and painted with other painters and always find i walk away learning so much and have things I want to find out more about or practice. It's surprising how reinvigorating it can be to just sit and paint with another creative.


It's hard to find an atelier willing to take you on a part time basis for long term, especially if you don't live in a place that has many around or even open studios you can just drop in on.


Cue Florence Italy. The first time I went to Italy it was a disaster (also the second time I ended up getting locked down here) but because of those disasters I ended up meeting quite a few people I wouldn't have normally.


Florence is a city of artists and I find it very accommodating for people like me. Anything I could think of artist wise I can find it here.


The first time I came it was disaster after disaster and one night after the bank machine took my last card. (long story but the other two had ended up being cancelled) there we were with €50 to last two people for a week. Me, in my ever optimistic way said F it let's just go to this buffet meet and greet thing anyways. It was cheap food and good company. It was a Saturday night and beyond calling my bank there really was nothing more I could do.


The meet and greet ended up being in one of the universities here. One of the guys I was talking to was taking language classes there and told me about the flexible schedules they had for both language and art. Me, in my ever curious nature did end up looking into it.


It's crazy to think that was almost 5 years ago. I put it on the back burner with all the other things I want to do. Believe me that pile just keeps getting bigger and bigger.


This year in January I was planning my vacations. I had talked to my friends before booking my time off back in November and it was time to start planning. April was supposed to be a trip with friends to Iceland. Well as so many times before it came down to me being the only one going.


I was upset rightfully so. Nothing worse than just wanting to spend some quality time with people you enjoy and making the time to do so on their schedules, only to be left being the only one who still wants to do it.


I would still like to go to Iceland one day but coming from a cold place and going to an even colder place in April, alone, didn't really hit that mark for me this time.


After that I basically told everyone I wasn't making an effort any more to see people who couldn't be bothered to put in at least some effort of their own. I was racking my brain of what I was going to do with this trip. And I thought screw it I'll do something I enjoy, in a place i love.


After talking to the university they couldn't fit me in on the dates I had available but set me up with a smaller school who could. I explained to them I wanted a critique of my work, then instruction on the areas I need help and sent them a few of my pieces for an idea of where I am. They were able to put something together for me. If I had planned this time off specifically for this I could have aligned it to get in the full three weeks but I could only get one week in.


So the point of this blog (if you made it this far) being a self taught artist does not mean you can't get education it just means you have to be creative sometimes with getting the help when you need it. I think the biggest thing I've learned over the years is just asking. You never know until you ask. I'm sure some of the artists I've reached out to thought I was a crazy lady at first but I would have missed so many opportunities if I didn't ask. The worst anyone could ever say is no. You lose nothing by just asking.


My goals from this week isn't to walk out being Michelangelo, it is to get direction on which way I need to go. I've been doing this long enough to know that it takes time and practice. I am greatful these artists were willing to work with me and my schedule. If all goes well who knows I may be back. Really though at the end of the day if I learn nothing (which I doubt) I lose nothing. I still get to paint in one of my favorite cities in the world. I get to catch up with old friends I haven't seen in way too long and eat some of my favourite food (not to mention the Tuscan wine 🤌). I would have spent the same money on Iceland and let's be realistic I probably would have spent way more on that trip then this one.


So I'll leave it at this, I'll try to journal my experiences this week but for now I am going to drink my coffee and draw the kettle in the kitchen in my apartment at this ungodly hour. Damn body/mind waking me up at 4am on holidays wtf. But if you don't follow me already head on over to insta later today if you want to see the result of this mornings drawing.


Oh and FYI my anxiety is going crazy should have seen me yesterday when I had to fly 😂 but I refuse to let it stop me from doing the things I love. Love my morning routine for helping me get through it.


Jackie ❤️



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