Do you remember your art teacher from school? I remember mine. Her kindness was infectious and passion for art contagious. She encouraged me to pursue my own interest in art history. Right now, I am able to tell apart Renaissance from Baroque, and provide unique characteristics pertaining to each period and style. She also motivated me to pick up canvas and start painting. It was under her mentoring that I made my initial steps in regional and national art contests. While on one of these contests, I painted beautiful European architecture. She has always been my champion.
Art Teacher on YouTube?
Angela Anderson is passionate artist, patient art teacher and fascinating innovator. Her life and resume are a testament of what it means to discover and re-discover passion for art.
In today’s post, I am pleased to feature an interview with a ground-breaking artist who was among the first ones to teach art on YouTube. She reached a whopping 3.5M unique viewers. Angela Anderson, also known through her site Angela Anderson Fine Art, her Blog and YouTube Channel, is kind to share how she discovered and re-discovered interest in fine arts and how she was so successful with her YouTube channel where she teaches art.
My conversation with Angela showed me yet another side of how inspirational she is. Born to a fairly un-artistic family, she pursues a degree in fine art. She masters her technique, but burns out. She works a regular office job until her trip to France inspires her to pick up art from a very different angle. Today, she brings the world of art professionals and amateurs together in so many different ways. She does not just inspire people with her style and paintings. She shares her talents by putting together art classes and broadcasting them on YouTube. She gives her most precious gift of artistic soul back to society. Thanks to her time, investment and effort, millions of people around the world are able to learn how to paint.
In the interview, I talk with Angela about her passion for art, advice for aspiring bloggers, challenges she came cross along the way, and success in teaching art on YouTube.
Adam Ziemba: You are an incredibly inspiring artist who performs in a variety of different techniques, for instance: acrylic paintings, murals, custom artwork, to name just a few. To begin our conversation, would you mind sharing where your passion for art comes from?
Angela Anderson: I have been passionate about art since I was a child. Art has always been an inseparable part of my life. I have been drawn to creating, which translated into a career for me. When I was selecting colleges, I knew I would want to pursue art as a full-time career. I was very fortunate to be able to do that.
AZ: What fascinates you about art?
AA: Art is fascinating in and by itself. I find it everywhere in everyday life: TV, music and nature. As an artist, I remain open to various sources of inspirational stimuli.
Art is fascinating in and by itself. I find it everywhere in everyday life.
AZ: Are your other family members in the world of art?
AA: My family was not overly artistic. As a child, I found drawing, coloring, painting not just inspirational but fulfilling. I was not able to precisely define what that meant for me back then, but I allowed myself to explore it. From the perspective of time, I also realize that my grandmother played a crucial role in helping me discover passion for art. She encouraged and pushed me to work with her on crafts.
AZ: What artistic media do you now use? How have you discovered your passion for them?
AA: I have been most comfortable with acrylics for most of my career. However, I like experimenting with other media from time to time. For instance, I recently started to incorporate paper into my paintings, mostly as a background element. Sometimes, I use pencil or pen. I also used to do custom artwork with wallpaper, fabrics and murals. I found murals super fun.
AZ: What has been your career path to be where you are today? What is your background in art?
AA: My career really started at college, where I earned an associate degree in fine arts. My college experience was truly invaluable. Not only did I get a thorough understanding on fundamentals of art, but I applied lessons from my drawing class beyond the walls of my college. Among all the different things I learned there, I believe that drawing was the most influential and impactful on my future as an artist and art teacher.
AZ: Your primary medium is acrylic, but you mentioned drawing at college. What did the transition between drawing and acrylic look like for you?
AA: I wish there was more painting at college. Unfortunately, I did not receive any training or education on painting techniques. The primary goal of my art teachers was to allow an exploration of various media. At that point, I did not really enjoy or understand how to work with acrylics.
However, I started to watch Bob Ross Art Club on TV. He worked with oils, and I was very frustrated trying to incorporate things that he was doing into acrylics.
AZ: So how did you learn painting?
AA: Coming out of college disillusioned with painting in general, I successfully applied for a job at a hobby store. People who I worked with did tole painting, which was a decorative painting in the 90s. I did that for roughly 10 years. During that time, I taught myself how to paint, primarily out of books. I had copied a lot of those techniques into my paintings until I finally became comfortable with painting in general and acrylics in particular. At that point, I started to design my own art works, which would sell at craft and art fairs.
AZ: Have you ever had any doubts about your artistic career?
AA: When I became technically proficient at decorative painting, I found my career creatively unfulfilling. Creating art seemed just like a job. Feeling burnt down, I quitted arts and returned to a desk job.
A couple of years passed. My family and I went on a trip to France. We made a visit to Louvre and Musee D’Orsay, among others. I was inspired by fine art that I found there. I wanted to do canvas art. Upon return from France, I immediately painted several canvases and got into a few galleries. I took my art in a totally new direction and it became exciting again. I had previously acquired technical skills so I was able to do with art whatever I pleased.
AZ: Not only are you an artist, but you promote your passion by teaching art. Can you tell me a little bit more about your career as an art educator?
AA: As soon as I was proficient in painting, I began to teach art. Teaching provided me with a sense of completeness and fulfillment. Initially, I taught mostly adults. In the last 10 years, I have focused on teaching arts to children.
AZ: Are there any differences between teaching arts to children versus adults?
AA: Children bring so much freedom to art. They are not worried about the final product. Instead, they are all about the experience. As a teacher, I learned that if I am able to explain some material to a child, I can teach to an adult in an approachable and understandable way.
AZ: Last but not least, you are a very famous YouTube artist, with currently 3.5 Million overall views on your videos. Where did you get an idea to teach people art via YouTube? Do you find YouTubing challenging?
AA: YouTube has taken over my entire art journey. When I first started, I thought I would be teaching art instructors, who would then teach art to children or adults. There were very few, if any, YouTube art teachers at a time so I thought I would share what I was doing in my local art classes with others. If you listen to a couple of my first videos, you will quickly learn that I am really teaching how to teach children.
I was one of the first artists to put that kind of content on YouTube. Over the years, the artistic community has grown significantly showcasing their art and teaching art. It has admittedly become a lot more competitive. While I do not necessarily like a competitive aspect in arts, I do think it is good because it keeps me on my toes with fresh content. My studio has had to be adapted to include video recording, lighting and sound equipment. It can get in the way when I paint large canvases.
AZ: What do you like most about educating art through YouTube?
AA: It quickly became apparent that my YouTube was reaching incredible people around the globe. I currently have 41,000 subscribers and am adding over 2,000 new subs every month. I have been contacted by adults, teenagers and kids from various backgrounds, art and non-art alike. YouTube is a fantastic opportunity to meet and interact with people. I have built a really engaged and interactive community on Facebook called Thankful Art, with almost 3,000 people following. They share what they have painted using my video tutorials, and can give each other support. I also do weekly video art chats, share my new painting ideas, take polls for future videos, give critiques and generally get to know my core YouTube fan base.
AZ: Your Saturday Live Shows have been attracting a large number of viewers on YouTube. What are Saturday Live Shows?
AA: At 2:00 PM central time each Saturday, I broadcast 2-hour live painting lesson out of my home studio in Arkansas. I do a full lesson from start to finish. My broadcasts are geared towards beginner painters, who are about to begin their journeys with painting. The Shows are typically very fun with easy and beautiful paintings.
I love the interactive aspect of Saturday Live Shows. As I paint, people ask multiple questions to get a better understanding of what I am doing at each stage of the painting. That way, they can more easily comprehend and follow the process.
AZ: I admire your inclination to nature and animal motifs on your artwork. Where does your deep interest in and appreciation for landscape painting and wildlife art come from?
AA: As a child, I lived in the desert. It was very sunny and dry. I loved to spend outdoors, climbing trees, exploring the area, finding wild flowers, catching butterflies and lizards. As you can imagine, there are not many long periods of time where flowers bloom up there. When they did, I was mesmerized. This fascination is now best represented in my art work.
AZ: Do you take your canvas outside?
AA: I do not do any painting outside because acrylics dry out too fast. I do take pictures for my reference. Very few of my custom art works are memory-based.
AZ: What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
AA: One of the best things that I have learned is to say “no” to things and opportunities. I learned to always do what I love and care about. Believe me or not, there is pressure from galleries, customers and YouTube audience to create something that may be outside the scope of my interest or passion. It is alright to say no. Instead, you can send someone else. Not every opportunity is the right one.
AZ: In addition to your passion for acrylic painting, murals, custom artwork, you are also a famous YouTuber, teacher, wife and a mom of 3. How do you balance work, passion, and family demands?
AA: My entire family has been incredibly supportive. I am thankful to my husband who is 100% behind what I am doing. He even takes up a lot of the slack. He helps me with Saturday Live Shows and management of social media like Instagram and Twitter. He does have a full time job, but he enjoys helping me.
One of the nicest things about working for yourself is that I can own schedule fully. It is my priority to always make the time for my family. Sometimes I am on a tight schedule, so I work when they are home but I really try to separate work from family time.
AZ: 3 reasons why people should care about fine art.
AA: Art makes life richer, fuller and more beautiful. It speaks to the soul. When I create, I listen to all kinds of music, radiohead and alternative, to name just a few. Can you imagine a world without music, literature or movies? It would be dull indeed!
AZ: Who do you admire most and why?
AA: My husband has been a source of admiration and inspiration for me. He has worked incredibly hard his entire life to afford life for our family. He and I were very poor when our children were small. He worked overtime, including nights. It took him about 8 years to finish college degree to make a better life for us. In all honesty, I would not be able to do arts if it was not for him supporting me. We are a team.
AZ: What are 3 pieces of advice would you give to aspiring artists?
- Have patience
- Have persistence
- Practice, practice, practice
I have learned that if you stop learnings new things, you become stagnant. Art is a learning journey. It takes a lot of diligence and hard work to be good at your craft. Once you are good at your craft, explore your own style, experiment, and learn.
All other imagery in this blog post are a courtesy of Angela Anderson from Angela Anderson Fine Art.