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  • Tonnie Wolfe

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I've always created, especially after learning to sew in my early teens. Claiming my identity as an artist came later in life, much later. But doing so opened so many doors. Because I never had the chance to explore art as a child or teen, I went through a time where I played with many different media. That was fun. I finally settled in to a visual vocabulary that includes both digital and fiber. Currently, digital art holds a greater interest as I explore the practice of creating intentionally from concept or story.


An art practice offers gifts. In particular, I value two. The first is the gift of insight. I use art as both expression and self-exploration. The second is learning. As an avid life-long learner, I love to learn new things. Digital art provides so many opportunities. The possibilities are endless. I want to share some of the resources I use to learn about both art, generally, and digital art, specifically.


Books have always been a great source of learning. There are so many art books available with many, many techniques. The public library is a great resource for research. If you own a tablet of some sort, your library may offer e-books. Both Overdrive and Kindle apps will allow books to be checked out and read. As e-books become more popular, libraries are expanding what is available.


For fiber artists, I’d like to recommend any book from D for Daisy (http://www.d4daisy.com/). This company’s books focus on innovative, mixed-media techniques with fiber. The company is in England, so it may be hard to find the books locally. I’ve ordered them directly from the company. The price is about the same as when I find and buy the books locally. The authors at D for Daisy taught me to think outside the box, to look for unique ways to use materials.


Creative Live (https://www.creativelive.com/) offers art classes online. Brooke Shaden, one of my favorite artists/instructors, teaches for Creative Live. Her classes are about digital art, but offer some great ideas for any artist. You can find Brooke on YouTube, as well. As an introduction, I suggest her videos on how to find inspiration (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwicQal3hgA) and use of color for storytelling (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8rhEuuE-KU).


For digital artists and photographers, I highly recommend anything Sebastian Michaels offers. Find his blog with links to his courses and magazine at Quill and Camera (https://www.quillandcamera.com/). I have taken most of Sebastian’s classes. The AWAKE course changed both my art practice and my art, itself, significantly. He is one of the most generous teachers I’ve studied with. He goes beyond the expected to make sure his students have every opportunity to succeed. For any artist, his “21 Days to Creative Freedom” provides a strong boost to a regular creative practice. Lynda.com (https://www.lynda.com/) offers a huge variety of classes for computer skills and business. I’ve joined through my local library. The site also offers a subscription. Using Lynda, I learned to use a variety of software including Photoshop and Painter.


No matter your stage in life or interests, learning supports health. These are just a few of the opportunities to continue to learn. Research the many opportunities for learning, both locally and online. It’s stimulating, fun, and keeps us young. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/media-spotlight/201210/can-lifelong-learning-help-we-age)


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