I recently posted an article that launched a sometimes heated debate about whether "just anyone" can learn to draw. Last night I was reading one of Betty Edward's books, "Drawing on the Artist Within", and was reminded of her wonderful work (she's also the author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain), and of my own experience as a teacher. So far in my experience, drawing is a learned skill. The heart and inspiration and drive that can take that skill on into a profession is something else that only a few seem to possess. But all those wistful "I wish I could draw" statements really can be addressed with a good teacher and a student's willingness to learn.
Learning to see is one of the gifts art offers. Studies have shown that doing something creative after a period of linear learning supports better information retention and understanding. Those who have tried their hand at art without being shamed for their process or results become more aware of what it takes to create beautiful works.
I support the creative human spirit, regardless of the level to which the person may aspire. I love my students, and watch them grow in their skills with pleasure, though most of them don't have art as their main focus. Every person who wistfully says, “Oh, I can’t draw,” who then learns to draw beautifully is a gift to my heart.
The more people who are exposed to art in a positive environment, the more art and creativity will likely be embraced as a valuable aspect of life...a dedicated few go on to become artists...many others keep journals, collect art for their homes and offices, and find creative ways to problem solve and bring more beauty into their everyday lives.
Art and creativity are not an elite, non-inclusive aspect of human nature. Being an artist is one of many highly skilled professions, but there are also so many other levels and aspects to art that are invaluable to our lives as human beings.
Some of my most wonderful conversations with potential collectors involve what art means to them, and how they got their appreciation for art…so often, a good teacher either in school, in the family, or amongst friend’s relatives…was involved in introducing art in a good way.