What do you do when you want to learn to draw or paint, or figure out how to make art full time? Where do you go for help?

A lot of people try to teach themselves. I did that. A lot of people want to study art in the University. I did that too. And even though I studied in the University, I found I mostly had to teach myself how to paint since what I wanted wasn’t on offer there.

That’s why I started this blog.

This blog is about what happens instead of art school or after art school; or after art school that prepares you only for working in academia and not for the real world. It’s about learning to be an artist outside of or after traditional schooling.

Do you want to develop a thriving studio practice, spending regular sacred hours making your work and being engaged in the flow? Do you want to find a supportive artistic community and continue doing what you love in the face of hard economic realities? Do you want to go from the learning to the doing of an artistic life? Well, me too.

Did you know that after graduation from a traditional academic institution, some 90% of students all but stop making art by 5 years out?*  We need to stop that trend.

My hope is that this blog will help you move from the learning to the doing in your art career, from being unsure to being self-directed, to understand the wonderful opportunities that exist to learn to make and share your work, to help you in developing studio stamina and good habits for a sustainable art career. I need these things myself and I bet you do to. We’ll examine them together.

Like you, I’m trying to balance art making with living – and with making a living. I’ve made it more than 5 years after graduation while still making, showing, and selling art. If I can do it, I know you can too.

My name is Jean but I’m sometimes addressed as “Her Majesty”. I’ve been drawing and painting on things for as long as I can remember – and I really do put myself into the work.

Lipstick body art. Wayyyyy ahead of my time!

A couple of years after this picture was taken I did my first oil painting, blurring the lines on a paint-by-numbers kit to make it look better. I thought it looked brilliant. Mom didn’t get it.

Clara Edwards, Yellow Flowers in Blue Vase, oil on panel, 1954
Yellow Flowers in Blue Vase by Clara Edwards, oil on panel, 1950

I was introduced to painting by my grandmother, who was self-taught. (That’s her painting at the left.) She inspired me to study art and later I traveled to more than a dozen countries, and lived in Central America and the Middle East. When I returned to the U.S. I got an MFA in painting.


I’ve worked in non-profits, managed an archive of historic material, worked in a gallery, and as a university instructor.

Now I paint full time and teach art.

Have a question you want addressed? Ask in the comments or email me.

Email: HerMajesty @ beyondartschool.com

*This statistic is probably wrong. I’m relying on my memory here since I couldn’t find the reference, but it’s close to being accurate. Sad, but true.


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