I really enjoyed the opportunity I had to get to learn a new skill. After much thought and consideration, I finally decided to learn how to watercolor paint. I have always enjoyed art ever since I was a little girl. I have learned how to use many different kinds of mediums and have worked a little with watercolor but not to a great extent. I first gathered all of the materials. This included watercolor paints, watercolor paper and paint brushes. I then looked online for different techniques and examples of watercolor paintings. I looked at a few different sites and just read through the material. I then practiced some of the techniques. After I got comfortable with the techniques I just dove right into painting a picture. I tried to select those that would be fairly simple for me to paint.
I chose to paint things that would, for the most part, use bright colors. It was interesting to see how I would naturally put my own style into the painting. I would look at examples online and try to recreate some of the pieces and they would never look like the ones online. Although a lot of this has to do with my skill level however, I still chose different brushstrokes and different techniques.
Throughout the whole process I felt like a lot of my learning involved practice and exploration. I grew more and more comfortable painting and exploring different color usage and style as time went on. I really enjoyed all of the time I spent working on this assignment. This experience also reminded me just how much I love art. I usually get caught up with schoolwork and other aspects of life and I never take the time to really do different activities that I truly love. This assignment makes me want to set aside some time to work on art.
Through this assignment I was able to pinpoint my specific learning style and the ways that I learn. In the first part of my learning process I did have a more knowledgeable other to help teach me. In my case it was not specifically one person. It was the number of contributors to the websites I worked with. This was the source of the majority of my knowledge however. The computer was in essence my cultural tool.
I started as somewhat of a novice to the idea of watercolor. I tried to use retrieval to draw on some of the things I had learned about watercolor in the past but this resulted in no success. After using the website sources I did learn a lot. I discovered how important autonomy is to me when I learn. I know a number of people who are very talented artists. I could have gone to them for help but I enjoy it more when I get to learn on my own. I feel like this autonomy adds to my initiative. I like to try new things and to learn to go about tasks in different ways. Although I did follow some modeling by getting familiar with different artists’ work, I feel that I tried to go learn much on my own. I think I like the idea of discovery learning. I thought that much of my learning occurred in the process of actually painting pictures. There is only so much that a person can learn through reading or seeing. A person needs to really gain firsthand experience to gain a true knowledge of a concept or idea.
I found that this autonomy also prevented me from wanting to research too much. I had a high desire for industry which made me want to dive right into making paintings. As I began the process of actually creating paintings I saw the need for problem solving while trying to create artwork. There were often times when I would put too much of one color or would have too much water. I needed to think right then and then what I should do to try to save the painting from being ruined. Artists really have to think on their feet.
Throughout the process I experienced some positive reinforcement. As I painted, some of my roommates or friends would see some of my paintings. As they would comment on them and say that they liked my paintings it was the social persuasion I needed to increase my self-efficacy. This meant that my interval schedule was most like that of a fixed-ratio. It would take me some time to complete a piece but after I completed it I would share it with some and get a response.
I felt like my self-efficacy and the source of my self-efficacy shifted through my experience. I felt like my mastery experiences allowed me to feel more confident in my work and ultimately to take more risks in my artwork and feel like I was capable of painting watercolor. I felt that my locus of causality shifted in the process from the extrinsic motivation that I needed to complete an assignment to make a certain grade, to a source of intrinsic motivation. I truly rediscovered my love for art and for the freedom that it allows. I think that the majority of my painting was done in massed practice. This was not done necessarily out a need to be completed by a deadline. I initially began the task and then as I mentioned before, realized how much I enjoyed it. I would work on painting for hours at a time. I did not work on a painting for like a half hour a day until it was completed. Once I began a piece it was hard for me to stop before it was completed.
I now have made it my goal to try to incorporate art, particularly watercolor painting, into my daily routine. Now that I also have a deeper understanding of how I learn best I can continue to learn new skills in watercolor. I think that this continued practice of this art will increase my ability to create even better pieces. I look forward to the opportunity to get to continue this learning process and discovery even after the class ends.
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