If you ask people you meet if they can paint or draw, you'd probably find that around 9 out of 10 will say that they can’t. Not that they haven’t learnt or have never practiced, but that they can’t - and more often than not it is said with some conviction. It seems that some believe you have to be ‘born' an artist to be able to paint a picture, but that's simply not the case.
Strangely, people expect to be able to draw and paint instantly, naturally, with no tuition and with no practice. If they can’t then they deem themselves failures. Those same people wouldn’t for a minute expect to be able to sit down at the piano and play Mozart without training and practice, so how and why have we arrived at this point with art?
It is especially sad as when you consider the fact that when asked, 7 out of 10 say they would like to paint.
Having been involved with the SAA, society for all artists, over the last 18 years there is at least one common source for this misconstrued belief. Believe it or not, in many cases it stems from an art teacher at school - the very people who are entrusted with teaching the subject! It often seemed that those who were naturally talented rose quickly, whilst others were left to try and 'work it out'. There was no formal training in composition, perspective, colour or any of the other building blocks that are required to construct a successful painting.
You'd hope that things would have improved nowadays, but we're not so sure. We've heard stories that as recently as a few years ago, an art teacher tore up one child’s art work in front of the whole class. What impact did that have? What will that child’s view of art be? What will their belief be about their artistic ability?
What is really frustrating is that it is simply not true. Everyone can learn to paint. All you need is a good teacher, some practice and the desire to learn. Obviously some will find it harder than others and some will be better than others. Just like cooking or driving or any other skill you learn. There is only one Jamie Oliver, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cook a nice meal and enjoy it with family and friends!
If you are someone who thinks ‘I can’t paint, I wasn’t born and artist’, then why don’t you challenge that idea, challenge yourself, and - if you like the idea of learning to paint - let the SAA bring out the artist in you!
For more information about joining the SAA please click here or call us to find out how to get started.
If you would like to give us your experience of learning to paint, positive or otherwise, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.