So it has been a bit since I pulled out the paints and turpentine and as I was setting up my outdoor studio I thought I might pass along some advice to help make things easier. Although I paint primarily in oils, these words of advice can apply to images also made with acrylic paints. Here is a simple short cut or guide to help you cut through twenty years of trial and error. These are time tested truths I have learned through out my career and things i wish I would have come to understand at a far earlier point. As an intrinsic being, when it comes to creation I set about learning my practice as such….. Trial and error…. I didn’t care what the books said. I learned a lot….. it took a lot of time too. So here are few pointers that maybe could have helped me skip through a few hoops.
When making the transition from drawing to painting on of the first things to choose is proper brush sizes. The brushes that came in that set with those canvases they sell at Wal-Mart most likely will not do. Most likely they are too big for the canvases sold with them. keep the brushes and buy a couple extra on the small side. you can never have enough small brushes….. on the other hand not having a small enough brush when needed can be extremely frustrating. want a muddy painting??? Use a big brush. On the other hand it has never ceased to amaze me how a small brush can be used to extenuate a markings on a huge canvas.
Next, Enhance your drawing skills… anyone who tells you painting has nothing to do with drawing is lying to you. Painting is 90% drawing. I am not saying that you can not create great paintings not knowing how to draw …. what I am saying is the more skill you have in rendering the easier it is to create an engaging composition. As such when pulling out ideas from your minds eye the more competently you can engage you hand “mind” coordination the more likely you will be able to successfully recreate the image in your mind. As your rendering skills strengthen so will your ability to render specific elements within your composition then creating more dynamic images.
KISS, KEEP IT SIMPLE SILLY. Use the three primary colors and white. you can mix pretty much ANY COLOR in the universe using red, blue and yellow, including BLACK(which isn’t a color). It is basic color theory. Even if you are stuck with 3 non ideal primary colors (ie. lemon green, pale blue and salmon red) you are still better limiting yourself to these three colors and learning to mix. the process of mixing will give you a MUCH MORE accurate color to the one in your minds eye and also teach you a great deal about the dynamics of creating an image in color. it is also a great way to warm up the mind for making art.
Clean your brushes: Now I am a brush killer from way back in the day but I also know how to bring a brush back to life. In oil painting it very easy to taint a colors with other colors especially in a situation were one was painting with red yesterday and white today. give your brushes a THOROUGH cleaning at least once a month, done proper it will rejuvenate your brush.
Use found house paint on inexpensive materials include found objects and “gessoed” paper. Ever buy a nice piece of paper then been to afraid to make a mark on it. Same thing except times ten cause painting supplies are more expensive. Using less expensive materials you can free yourself from fear of making mistakes, thereby liberating your creativity. Under painting a flat color on a white canvas can also be used to break the “fear” barrier. That first mark can be a little scary so why not make in away you can not make a mistake. Under painting also enriches a work by adding extra depth through out a work.
Learn from the “MASTERS”….. look at what you like and more importantly look at what you don’t like. WHY don’t you like it and what can you learn from it. If there is a work you really like reproduce it or even better create your own work with elements of that masters technique.
AND LASTLY….. When in doubt research and YouTube it.