Last year I focused mostly on projects that developed my 2D vector illustration skills. I tried to break into 3D but the learning curve is steep. These last few weeks I've finally decided to reopen this issue and learn Blender. Blender is oriented towards artistic modeling, rendering, and animation rather than engineering design; it is fairly powerful and packed with features; it is free, open-source, cross-platform; it has a Python interpreter.
The blender learning curve is steep. I'd suggest some tutorials. I did some of the tutorials from Amadeo Compositions, which are reasonably helpful. The First Steps and Preparation series spans 17 hours and covers almost every feature in Blender...so I got bored at around the 10th video. I'd say pick and choose which videos to watch based on what you need to learn to get your own personal projects done. Once you have the basics down it helps to switch to a tutorial where you actually make something, like Amadeo's Appetizer Tutorial.
I'm not interested in photo-realism and I got fairly antsy waiting for Amadeo to finish making endless adjustments to some of the meshes created in the tutorial, so I turned a few shapes upside down and created this Study in Jello:
This second image is the main tutorial payload. This is as far as I felt like tweaking the various parameters. There are lots of weird things going on, and some visual effects that should be there are conspicuously absent, but hey that weird flare from the sun on the strangely shaped glass chalice makes it look like an intentional gold stripe on the glass. Pretty cool.