So I had a colleague/friend over for a chat in the Cave after she expressed interest in my digital art exploits. She didn’t know much about my art, photography, or more eccentric interests, but had a lot of questions.

I was shocked to find out how many answers I had.

No joke. She asked me what an f-stop on a camera was and I had an answer from a 4-H presentation I had done well over a decade ago on the tip of my tongue. How did my mind even manage to dredge that up?

She had a lot of questions about plagiarism on the internet (when is it okay to use reference images, actual images, and so on). Suddenly, my remembrance of college citation practices came to mind, and I was able to draw a parallel. If your professor would make you cite a minute quote, then you should probably do the same with your art as well. However, if you aren’t selling your work – just practicing – then it really doesn’t matter. Unless you’re posting it on a blog for all the world to see. (I’ve striven to clearly cite and reference any of inspirations and sources thus far in this blog. If I fail in future, please let me know so that I can give credit where it is due.)

Then there were questions about composition, depth-of-field, shutter speeds, Photoshopping techniques, and just about every other thing under the sun. I talked until I was hoarse, drank some water, talked some more, emptied out my water glasses, and then talked until it was time to go on with the day.

My point is this: artists, photographers, musicians, engineers, mathematicians, museum curators, psychologists, and every other professional or expert out there has a lot of answers to a lot of questions. So if you’re just starting out and you feel inadequate, you probably are… right up until you aren’t.

Those are the moments when you suddenly realize that, yes, you’re still learning, but you can answer questions from beginners for hours on end because there is much that you have learned. But it takes time, dedication, and a desire to better yourself.

Go, learn, do!!! And remember to look kindly on those who come along after, seeking answers by asking you questions.

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