I should know everything there is to know about painting. After all, I’ve been doing it all my life. Mom taught me the basics – she was taught by the watercolor “greats” of the 60s and 70s – John Pike, Ed Whitney, and Howard Watson. I’ve enjoyed a great career – school, commercial art, paintings for galleries, and teaching. I certainly know a lot.
The problem is, I can’t say that I know everything. Because after all, how do I know what I don’t know?
Quest for Knowledge
That’s why I’m an avid information seeker. YouTube videos are my go-to info source. Master artists’ podcasts and video demos keep me company while I paint in my studio. While most of their tips aren’t brand new concepts to me, they sometimes deliver well-timed reminders. The more you hear something, the more it gets ingrained.
And every once in a while, I do learn something brand new. For example, I recently binged on a series of videos by artist Mark Carder, where he introduces his “color checking” tool. This was new. I’d never seen anything like it before. What a great idea. I tried checking my color by placing a dab of my paint on a white card and held it up next to the color in the landscape I was painting. It works well. I’d recommend getting Mark’s official color checker to newer artists to help train their eye. For me, the lesson proved I already had a good eye for matching color, something I didn’t realize I was good at. Thus, an invaluable exercise.
The quest for seeking knowledge should never stop, no matter how masterful your work becomes. I believe that you can move your artist journey forward by years with a well-timed workshop critique or video tip. Quest. Seek out new ideas. Go to workshops, binge on videos, read artist books, find a mentor, talk with other artists. In the end, you’ll realize things you never knew you didn’t know.
— Mary Hubley