"Self-taught" has such a ring to it, don't you think?
Only I hid behind that label in twisted-up-identity for such a long time. If I don't get training, then I can't be expected to be good, was a fearful stance I took for years. Until I decided to make good and literally practice what I preach, well teach. I always fill with passion when educating students about the health of growth mindset and neuroplasticity but also chose to remain stagnant in my own artistic development out of fear of failure.
Finally, I decided to attend a school I had kept in my periphery since hearing about it in 2014: The Florence Academy of Art. And to seek out training in oil painting which is something I'd desired since childhood! Oh, to finally learn the secrets of the masters and create realistic portraits combined with my own personal expression!
Except that there really weren't any secrets. I must admit I was disappointed to realize the same, simple truth I share with my students: it comes down to practice. How much are you willing to persevere and try and try again? How much are you willing to pour yourself into your work and press up against learning when it feels like a wall? How much can you strengthen your will and perspective into focusing on the moments of mastery within the process (and the character-polishing and skill-building process itself)?
Learning feels terrible.
As an adult who has put herself through learning Italian, volleyball, scuba diving, and oil painting all within the last few years, I've become reacquainted with the learning process. And truly, learning feels terrible. It's the bits of mastery that keep you going. As teachers, it is our calling to help students understand and accept this process: it is our responsibility to support and guide them within it. Grit, perspective, goal-making, and engagement are all necessary to learn anything.
How have you found ways to help your students understand and work through the learning process? Do you have books, exercises, or video clips that assist you in scaffolding this work?
Being a lifelong learner means intentionally seeking out experiences that enforce growth and personal development.