A student in my workshop at the Reston Community Center recently emailed me with some thoughts about her art.
"I am really enjoying the painting class. Every night after the class I have a hard time going to sleep because I keep thinking about my painting and how I can improve. I'm really discouraged with this one but I feel that it was my choice in what to paint that has gotten me down. I should have chosen something I am more passionate about. I don't really care about painting flowers. I'd rather paint people but I was too afraid to try. :) ... What a fun class! I wish it was endless......otherwise I prioritize other things and don't get a chance to paint. :) "
Here's my inspirational reply: TA-DA!
I'm so glad you're enjoying the class. I'd suggest that, to keep yourself going, you find other ways to ensure that you keep painting. I know how other pressing things can prevent you from doing art because "it isn't important." So you have to invent ways to protect your art time. For instance, if you can't find a class, find someone that you like to paint with and set up painting sessions and get them to agree that they also won't let anything stop them. For instance, I go out plein air painting regularly with another artist. I know local artists who have a regular "date" on Fridays to have an "art day". Join art organizations like the League of Reston Artists. You'll meet other people interested in painting and can develop art buddies. There's also classes taught by the Loudoun Academy of the Arts and NOVA campus (I think) and I think the Fairfax Schools have programs.
Oh, and don't get discouraged because it isn't all falling together easily. We live in a wonderful age where you can get lots of instruction through books and magazines and tapes. You might want to subscribe to The Artists Magazine -- which has interesting articles about techniques -- and check out the art "how to" books at B&N or the Library.
And on the subject of Competence, please go to the following link and download the e-book "The Way to Happiness" and read especially Chapter 17: Competence. Use it as your guide.