An Essayby Russell Chatham
First and foremost, determine if wanting to be a painter is just a passing romantic or otherwise fanciful notion or whether in fact it is a genuinely primal calling you must follow to be whole. Then, know what you’re getting into. The number of people in America today who can understand and appreciate real painting is about the same as the number of wild condors in California. Motive is everything, so if you find yourself daydreaming of becoming lionized amid a shower of applause, prizes, awards, chic soirees, and fat checks, then painting will be a waste of time, as this will guarantee your station outside the gate, knocking to no avail for the duration, and there will be no spiritually dignified Life in Art. There are probably places you can still access serious formal training in drawing and painting, but I don’t know where they are. To be on the safe side while you’re looking, steer clear of the so-called art institutes, as well as the pointless, ineffectual art departments at colleges and universities. Instead, be proactive by drawing, painting, reading, and traveling. This will eventually result in a real education and a path of your own while at the same time being far less expensive than a fraudulent degree. It will, however, put all the heat on you to pay attention and study diligently. Keep in mind as well that to become proficient will require a minimum of ten thousand hours of actual painting.