If you’ve been painting for a while and would like to learn some more tips and tricks on practical elements, or just to get to know the artists in your community – I recommend going to an “artist’s talk”. These are often run by a gallery around the time of a new exhibition and are free to attend.
The benefits of this are:
- you’re surrounded by examples of this artist’s work, to refer to
- local artists will attend out of interest
- other beginners will attend and ask questions
- you have the opportunity to ask that burning question
- other people notice you as someone interested in art
- the artist speaking will give snippets of information about the professional artworld and mention names of people/art groups/exhibition spaces which you can research
At a recent artist’s talk by landscape artist Libby Scott which I attended, I could see in action that the format of “an artist’s talk” is a great learning space. On this occasion, it allowed someone obviously new to sketchbooks to ask some detailed questions about how to begin – what materials used in which order – but also some professional artists enjoyed seeing the sketchbooks and exchanging some more technical questions. This is a valuable learning curve, no matter where you feel you are on the art landscape yourself.
Alternatively, if the artist is no longer living, there will be an introductory talk on their work – again, free – which gives an opportunity to learn a great deal of information in the one sitting. It’s like a free University lecture – with no essay to write – but probably a great deal of encouragement to research more. See examples on this blog of lectures
on Rembrandt by Art Historian Andrew Graham-Dixon,
a curator’s talk by Alice Strang on her new exhibition (which involved primary research and therefore personal stories of putting the show together),
and Exhibition Lecture by invited Lecturer Anna Massey on the opening day of a new exhibition at National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.