Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Low Down On Higher Education

I have always felt that my time at college studying art was a relatively big waste of time and money. It was a fun experience but not very educational. I think my time and money would have been much better served if I had traveled and just learned from the world. That’s why it baffles me why I keep thinking about going back to school. I think it must be a desire to have a re-do in life. Maybe I would learn more now that I’m older and wiser, maybe I would pick a better major that might lead to more success, maybe it is just the prestige of getting a graduate degree. Realistically, I don’t have the time or money and no idea what I would go back to school for. The things that interest me (art, literature, writing and design) would not lead to very well paying jobs yet again and I would probably start over with student loans which took me 10 years to pay off the first time.

I spent 5 years in college. I went to a community college for two years, a small instate university for 2 years and an out of state large university for 1 year. Like all college educations the first couple years were mostly core classes, aka junk you will never use and still have to pay full price for. I have not used algebra since I left that class as a freshman and would not be able to solve an algebra problem to save my life. I do not think I learned any more in college English than I did in high school English, my writing is sub-par as you can see. There was also science, history and PE. I did take a speaking class and I think that taught more skills that I use on almost a daily bases than any of my other classes. Posture, pronunciation, voice projection, body language, hand position, eye contact, etc. I am very shy and put off taking the class until the very last semester of the last year of school but it gave me so much confidence that I still use today.  I remember a PE teacher lecturing on the proper ways to bath ones self. If you don’t know how to take a shower by the time your in college you’ve got pretty big problems.

Once I got to my major’s classes it didn’t get any better.

I had several Art History classes which could have been very interesting but the teacher was totally boring, the classes were right after lunch, in a dark warm room on the top floor of the art building and I fell asleep everyday. I was actually amazed how much I must have absorbed in my slumber state when I went to Europe and saw all the great works of history though.

There was a Life Drawing class that amounted to drawing naked people every day. About the only thing I learned was how ugly the desperate people were who would stand naked in front of a crowd for two hours to earn a minimal amount of money.

There was the Graphic Design class that used some software I wasn’t familiar with and the instructor told me to leave and not come back until I had learned to use the programs on my own. I just did all my projects on my computer at home and turned them in. Needless to say I didn’t learn much.

There was the Paper Making class that although I did learn a lot about making paper and very much enjoyed the process I also had to endure the instructors rants and raves about women’s inequality, her health problems and how her husband made her wear make up.

Then there was my biggest disappointment in my art college education, my senior year Art Critique class. The class at the end of my art education that should have helped tweaking and put together everything that I learned. Should have helped me prepare a professional looking portfolio to use for job searches or graduate school. The class that should have helped me to fine tune my style and put together a body of work. What really happened was the instructor gave no helpful criticism or instruction. I was told my art looked like “hotel art” and was at best worthy of the Days Inn. I should never work in watercolor, they are only for old ladies and my oils were stagnate and uncreative. That was it, no portfolio was made no direction was given, no helpful tips. Another class mate that I know for a fact did not put any thought into his work and on a regular bases would bring to class a piece of old card board that he drove his car over and had tire marks and oil drips or an “exposed” piece of photo paper that was completely black. He got rave reviews from the instructor on his depth and creativity and the emotion that was evoked from his work. Bull Poop!

Three Horses In A Dream - Watercolor (One of my college works)

There were many other classes, photography, sculpture, painting, wood working and some I can’t even remember. I’m sure I learned something from each one but they were all so dull I can’t say what and really don’t even remember them. I do still own a cutting board that I made in shop class.

I did graduate with honors. Thank you very much.

I was so turned off by the time I graduated though I put away my brushes and did not paint for years. I worked as a graphic artist for my family’s screen printing business but I had already been doing that since high school. I burned out on that eventually and now I do the bookkeeping and help manage the business. I started painting again after many years just for my own enjoyment but didn’t need a very expensive college education for that.

I did have some great “life experiences” while in college, made some good friends and had lots of fun.

What I do wish I had learned and should be taught in school is how balance a check book, manage money, create a resume and a portfolio and better computer skills. I wish I had been taught how to use the graphic design programs that I didn’t already know how to use. I wish my painting classes had taught different techniques, care for tools and brushes, framing, presentation, lighting, photographing your work, market your work, how to get a job and earn a living as an artist, how to get into galleries and shows, how to sign your work, how to preserve you work and how to copy right your work. NONE of these things were taught.

Maybe that is why I keep thinking of going back to school. I feel like I still have so much to learn.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mother Earth

Since my last post about how expensive it is to enter art shows I have decided to not enter anymore, at least for a while. I am going to concentrate on showing my art around town at local stores and restaurants. For the most part I think it will be seen more by a wider array of people than if it was in a gallery any way.

Mother Earth - Oil on Canvas - 24" x 24"
My painting Mother Earth is currently hanging at Crystal Connection 1018 N Monroe Street Tallahassee, FL. Crystal Connection is a cool locally owned store that sells incense, jewelry, spiritual books and gifts, crystals, hippy clothes, local art and much more. For more info you can visit their website

My painting is an original oil on canvas 24” x 24” unframed. It is framed though with a black 2” wood frame. The price is $345.

If you’re in the area stop by, check her out and get yourself some incense or cool jewelry.