Beginner's mind


 One of the things I really come to appreciate in America is education. I feel that as long as you are willing and ready to learn, there are always resources available for you. When I was in college, I have classmates who are 10 or even 20 years older than me and the instructors. They were excited to learn new things. They weren't working toward a degree like I was, but almost all of them are more engaged in the class than I did. This culture of always learning really effects me. After I graduated from college and received my degree, I continue to learn anything that will push me to become a better artist. Recently I am learning about business as an artist. The instructor reminds me throughout the lessons to have a beginner's mind. I might've heard the information elsewhere, but I should listen again anyways. I can still discover something new. 

 To become a better artist, you should always try to have a beginners mind. It is very easy as we gain more experience in our craft, we are also building a stronger ego. While it is good to have more confidence in your art, it should not hinder us from learning with others. I can always remember this one time I took Joseph Zbukvic's workshop. He told us sometimes he actually discovers new things from our painting. Imagine that, a master watercolor artist like him can learn something new from his students

 There are times I have people told me "I been painting for 30 years, I don't need to learn that basic stuff". And yet, I spotted numerous fundamental issue in their paintings. However, it is hard for me to tell them that they need to unlearn what they think they know and go back to the basic. I don't want to discredit their previous effort and their experience. But I know for a fact that if they can overcome the hurdle and have a beginners mind, their painting will improve immensely. If you been following me for a while, you know how much I like to emphasize the importance of fundamental. I don't like to give some fancy painting and color mixing technique. I also don't do much material guide. Because I can say over 80% of the time the students are struggling with fundamental issues rather than technique and materials. 

 I want to encourage you as I am reminding myself every day, to have a beginner's mind. Practice pencil sketching, perspective, proportion, and line works. Even masters have sketchbooks and constantly doing studies in them. That's what makes their painting believable and alive. Instead of a painting that lacks the understanding of the subject with just empty patterns.