I recently told a couple artist friends of mine I wanted to try my hand at some three-dimensional artwork, namely, clay sculpture, and they gave me some sound advice:
Don’t be a dabbler.
I certainly agree with their point. Every painting and drawing an artist does should teach them and increase their skill and confidence. So, any distraction is a missed opportunity to become that much better. And, in an ideal world, that much more successful.
But it has always been my experience that trying and understanding new forms of art can only benefit whatever medium, genre and style you prefer. Painting in unforgiving watercolor makes me more confident in oil, abstract expressionism brings out emotion and betters the composition in representational works, etc, etc…
So call me a dabbler.
Ultimately, I’m not trying to be the best at one form or another. Art to me is about discovery, and sometimes that means trying different things and learning from my mistakes.
I started with a particular favorite of mine, Sargent’s scandalous portrait best known as “Madame X”.
So I went back and decided to try and salvage/fix the cursed subject. Lots of research and trial and error later…
The Madame was (almost) her former self.
Then it was just a dowel and some shellac away from being ready for the fired piece.
All to make a very elaborate business-card holder.