Once, in a painting class, I had a teacher try to explain to me how I needed more contrast in my picture. I didn't really understand (I was 13 or 14 at the time). He reached over and dipped a fine brush into a dark color that I had been avoiding and diluting, and added a couple of dark colored branches in the very front. And boom! the landscape went from flat to deep!
Now a days, I would be all over this guy for painting on my picture, but he really effectively made his point. (And I was copying the picture he had put in front of the class. Really, we were working on learning the medium, not creating great art.)
I really miss that. It's been so long since I was in true art classes, and there is nothing that can make a vital point like a teacher who really understands my questions. I am looking at other ways to get into class mode. I have burned through the available drawing and jewelry classes at the community college. I may take one on color theory, or a digital design class in order to learn better how to use photoshop et al. I have found craft and arts centers that offer classes in technique that are extremely valuable. But these only serve to remind me that I want more.
Instruction in art. A mentor who is aware of my work and the combined resources offered by a university or community. More and more I am convinced that my next step is to enter into a Masters Program. But these are all in other cities and will require relocating. And I have a family to work with on this. Never mind paying for college for them really comes before pursuing a third degree for me.
So, for now, I have my books, (you didn't know the librarian in me would have been collecting the best I can find?)
and all the resources of the web, as well as TED talks, classes in iTunes U and whatever the universities have posted. All of this is good, but it is all over the place and very hard to coordinate. Especially since it's very difficult to maintain attention with all the distractions on the web.
And none of it has that sure, confident hand, reaching out and showing me that tiny, essential thing that I'm missing.