Letting Go: How to Become a Self-Taught Artist

by Karen Rosenfarb

If your goal is to express yourself creatively, look into your soul, make a commitment and take a leap. There’s nothing to stop you.

As a young child, I loved drawing horses and focused on the smallest details. Today my “inner child” has helped me to acknowledge that this is still my process, paying attention to a wrinkle in the face, a fold in clothing or the rhythm of a street scene. 

Painting of New York City taxi cabs.

Fifty years passed before I began art in earnest. Realizing that taking pencil or paint to paper was not a major commitment, I made a simple doodle on a notepad. “Not bad,” I thought. I looked at art as an adventure and experimented with different mediums, collages, multiple canvases, adding color, using a variety of art tools. I began applying paint to accessories and furniture, watched YouTube videos, read books, studied my favorite artists such as Klimt, Cassatt, Gauguin to Warhol. I took note of my “mistakes” and used them as applied knowledge as I moved steadily forward.

Painting of lovers in the style of Gustav Klimt.
First Painting (After Klimt)

Always wanting a painting of “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt, I tackled painting a mural on a wall in my house. I knew if it didn’t turn out well, I could just paint over it. That was 2011 and now, I capture the spirit of the moment and appreciate the freedom of the self-taught artist which is not to conform to any one style or set major goals like showing or selling.

Now, as the caregiver for my elderly Mom, my painting equates with active meditation. It soothes my mind and nurtures my soul. Art of any sort brings contentment and lets you unveil your creative curiosity. So dive in and enjoy.

Painting of Cuban woman with cigar.

There are no mistakes when your goal is simply the pleasure of exploration and learning.