Learning to become an artist looks different for each individual. Every student’s path is distinctive and can offer up guidance and encouragement for fellow students.
Evolve is proud to be the home of many working artists and students who generously share their experiences on how the program brought and is bringing them success. We hope you enjoy learning more about our students and instructors in these Evolve artist interviews!
Evolve student and artist, Sheila Jenkins, has only been a student for a year and a half and is already producing spectacular works of art. And now at the end of Block 4, she has completed roughly half of the program, including color, grayscale, and direct painting.
Sheila has worked for a promotional products company for 18 years, where she produces photoshop work for catalogs and websites. Outside of working on her Evolve homework, you may find her playing volleyball or enjoying some quality Wisconsin beer and cheese!
Within the Evolve program, Sheila is gaining foundational knowledge that will help her to advance and flourish both in traditional and digital art. Her careful attention to detail and beautiful control over the oil paint has produced stunning works of art.
Journey in Art
Have you always had interest in becoming an artist?
I've wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember, but I grew up in a poor family that didn't see much value in going to college and certainly not something as impractical as art school. So I gave up on that idea for a while.
I spent my 20s working at low paying jobs that I hated, until I was about 30 [and] I met someone working as a graphic artist. [It] made me think that maybe I could do something like that.
Did you end up attending an art school?
I enrolled in a technical college and got a 2 year degree in graphic communications which I don't regret, but I was a little disappointed that there was no art training to speak of.
I learned how to use the software, but the software is useless if you want to create your own art but don't understand the fundamentals—light & shadow, edges, proportions, etc.
So while school got me a better job and life, I still had a desire to create my own art but felt frustrated that all of my attempts were so disappointing.
How did you find Evolve?
I started getting the emails about it from Mitch and I was pretty skeptical, but the before & after images were so impressive I figured I had to at least give it a try.
I'm so glad I did. I'm finally learning all the things that I wish I would have learned a long time ago, before trying to go digital.
Do you have a personal favorite piece you’ve completed recently?
I'm almost halfway through Block 4 and I'm happy with how those pieces are turning out, but I think my favorite so far is still the little girl holding the kitten. I didn't know if I could pull it off at first because I find the direct observation paintings to be especially challenging, but I'm happy with how it turned out.
Tips for Artists
What tips would you give to a beginning student?
I would say to anyone that feels stuck to remember that you only have to get a little bit better with each assignment. Even if you're not happy with how something turned out, as long as you learned something creating it, it was a productive experience. You can use that knowledge to make your next one better.
At some point during almost every assignment I've done I start thinking that it looks terrible and I'm going to be too embarrassed to submit it, but I just try to relax and remember what I've been taught.
I recently heard somebody say that mastery isn't magic, it's process. Kevin has developed a finely tuned process here and if you stick with it, you'll get results.
We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know one of our Evolve students, and are encouraged to surround yourself with community and begin to Evolve as an artist!
You can see more of Sheila's work on her instagram page.
The 4 Part Framework to Develop Artistic Excellence in 12 Months