This feels like a beginning.
And beginnings are both exciting and scary at the same time. The process of creating a website, attempting to gain attention to my art is scary. I'm opening myself up to criticism, I'm showcasing my heart's work, I'm putting myself out there. I didn't go to school to learn about art. I went to school to learn about research processes, political systems, and data. I dedicated my life to research for the majority of my adult life. But between the years of schooling leading into research, and time spent working, I've been experimenting, practicing, and looking up technique tutorials. If I actually sit down and count the years, I've been painting for over 14 years. Even with validation and appreciation for my work, along with my own knowledge of my experience, I still worry that the lack of formality will earn me the criticism of being a 'pretender' or classify me squarely in the non-artist camp.
The thing about training, though, is that it doesn't exactly prepare you to do. You can learn things in theory, even practice something and submit it to be evaluated by a professional, but that doesn't equate to the process of working through a real life application of the concepts. I learned this in my move from academia to market research. Knowing the concepts does not mean that you are prepared or ready to make a living doing that concept. The way that I've learned how to do my 'day job' is through application of the ideas I learned. Application and failing, and trying again. It is all the process of doing that teaches. I've learned more in a year or so of marketing than I think I ever could have in school. This must hold truth for art, too.
I have painted most of my life, on and off. I remember the first time I worked with oil paint. I was about 14, sitting on my bed, using bright blue paint. I made a big mess, and I tried to clean the paint off of the brush to start with a different color, and was shocked that nothing would come off. I had no idea that oil paint is not water soluble, and had to get up, and make my way back to store to get turpentine. I had no idea what I was doing.
Now, I've got too many versions of paint thinner and mediums lying around, and countless versions of tubes of blue paint. I've got stacks of canvas in my dining room, ready to be knocked over by one of my cats at any time. My apartment walls are covered in my work, mainly due to my lack of a real studio. At least now I've got a few easels and shelves to paint on, instead of my bed. I've come a long way, teaching myself and learning through the works that I admire the entire time. I think I'm ready for this beginning, I'm ready for this portion of my journey in my passion to start. Let's go.