Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Do you need to be young to learn to paint?

Etchrlab published an interview with me, including this question:

Most artists think that if they don't start from a young age, then they won't be able to make a future in art. Yet, you committed to learning other areas first. Was that an easy decision to make?

No, it was a difficult decision, because I felt that I was too old to learn to paint. I had drawn a lot as a child, and was pretty good at it, but I was over 20 and didn't know much of anything about painting.

I was especially worried, as were my parents, when I dropped out of art school after two semesters. Since then I've come to realize that learning to paint isn't that difficult. It's thinking that's hard, and I learned to think at UC Berkeley.
Read the rest: Interview with James Gurney
Related post: Norman Mingo, Elder Mad Man


Robb said...

Whoa. Learned to think(!!!) Would love to hear more about your Berkeley days and how to get my brain thinking better too. Also, I live @ Telegraph and 58th! Wish you were still at Berkeley so we could head up to the hills and paint together :)

Timothy Bollenbaugh said...


“...but I found out that experts are accessible to answering questions and bringing me into their worlds of knowledge.”

“I like being responsible for getting a basic fact across to a community of other curious people, who share what they discover with me.”

If only I could express how much discovery has been because of your efforts and blog. Complex subjects have been clearly introduced, simplified where possible and elaborated upon; resources have been provided, and the community’s comments furthered this with more insights as well as “in other words...”. For me it has been multi- and inter-disciplinary, which is why I attempted to be an illustrator (a lifelong preoccupation and practice). I have to draw upon quite a few other things to draw any one thing. Many of my greatest issues seemingly unrelated to art have been addressed by this means. Your blog has been a real access point.

slice4e said...

Well said!

Luca said...

Thanks a lot for sharing this interview, it's been nice to read it for me , since i come from a similar (at least in some aspects) experience.
I studied enviromental sciences at university (and studying science teaches "how to think and analyze a problem", so i understand what you mean about your studies) and in the meanwhile i self taught drawing. Now i divide myself between teaching science at school and doing some small illustration job.
Am i too old for that? Maybe i am, but i'm not trying to become an athlete, after all. Did i take the right decisions? I'm afraid i did not. Would i have been happier pursuing an illustration career and givin up with the university? God knows.

I would have liked to have an art teacher like you when i was a kid, since i've been not very lucky, the only formal art education i've had , in middle school, managed to convince me i was totally unable to draw and erased from me all the pleasure of drawing. But perhaps "this is called gouache, now go and paint a landscape" is not the best teaching method for a kid that never used a brush in his life...

But if life gives you lemons, make a lemonade: so i made my lemonade and i'm glad i discovered your teachings as an adult, at least. :)