I have been making a profession of art exclusively since the age of 23 and I am a self taught artist. It's been a long road of development and though it may have been shorter with tutelage I believe it would also have led to a less original destination. It is hard to do anything new in painting but I believe there are elements to my style that have never been repeated. I begin with black on white and then gradually work in colour and tone until the final product is revealed. It requires many layers of paint. I also believe that people have come to put an overemphasis on content, on the supposed meaning of a work. I do not believe that great art requires meaning in painting any more than in music for instance. Which is not to say that emotion is not evoked, but the emphasis should be more on experience and less on interpretation. You should look at a painting the way you listen to a piece of music. No hidden knowledge is required.