I’ve said this before in my post about becoming an artist if you haven’t even so much as drawn a stick figure. You will be more excited, more passionate, and have a much easier time if you like the thing you’re learning to paint. When you’re struggling somewhere along the way, you’ll be more motivated to learn how to get over that hurdle.
Now, it’s okay to change your mind every so often, especially if you’re just starting out, but as you keep getting better at art, and maybe even want to start it up as a business, you may find that it’s much better if you stick to one kind of thing. Your skills won’t be spread out across so many subjects, and potential clients generally like consistency.
2. Have the Right Kind of Materials
There are hobby grade and student grade paints and canvases, but, unless they’ve gotten much higher quality since I’ve written this, I strongly advise AGAINST using them. It’s better the invest in professional paints and canvases because they last much longer, are more smooth as you’re painting on the canvas, and you don’t have to use as much of it.
I mean it. When you use the cheap materials, you have to use a lot. Higher grade oil paints are actually much cheaper in the long run because you don’t have to use as much to get the results you want.
As for brands. I highly recommend Golden Colors or Gamblin. Gamblin especially is a highish mid-range brand and produce very good materials. Not only that but they are dedicated to conservation. They do a lot of good work with art conservators.
These Gamblin oil paints are less than $8.00 per tube.
This Gamsol paint thinner is oderless, nontoxic, and lasts a long time. You can pour it in a glass jar, wait, and the paint separates, then you pour it another jar and it’s clean again! I bought a gallon of this about a year ago, and I still have the half the bottle left. And I’ve been painting nearly every day too!
Lastly, you’ll want to get picture varnish. It preserves your painting, makes your colors more brilliant somehow (I don’t remember the science, it just does!), the colors become richer, the painting is shiner, and, no matter what your skill level, brings your up at to that classy-museum level brilliance. Don’t get attached to it though. If art restorers think your art is worth preserving decades down the line, they’ll probably remove it from your painting.
3. Learn Shadows
The best oil paintings, in my opinion, and human natures’ opinion, are those with an excellent use of contrast.
With the exception of Impressionism, but we’ll cover that here in a second.
This especially true today. On Instagram, the entirety of your art isn’t the first thing that get’s noticed. It’s the tiny thumbnail. So if the thumbnail doesn’t pop out, then not as many people are going to want to view it.
4. Have Some Understanding of Color Theory
This is especially important. If you don’t study a little color theory beforehand, you will probably find (if you haven’t already) that if you mix the wrong oil colors, they will look muddy, gray, and ugly. For now, you don’t want to do that. Maybe you’ll do it on purpose later on, but if you’re just starting out, please, for the love of God, go on YouTube, and watch a five minute video on color theory.
This goes beyond just learning the primary and secondary colors, I’m talking about hue, saturation, warm colors, cool colors, why some colors work together and some don’t.
In fact, this YouTube video actually helped my art exponentially. It’s 20 minutes long, and worth every minute (I actually need to watch it again):
5. Practice Every Day
The most important thing is to practice every day. Even just 20 minutes every day. 20 Minutes per day is 140 minutes a week which is 2 1/2 hours which means you can have a nice painting done in one week. A couple months later, you can have an entire portfolio to present to art galleries (or even your online gallery).
Hey all, sorry for not having posted the last couple of days, but I got sick, so I couldn’t bring myself to wake up at 5 am like the original plan, let alone spend an alloted time on art. So I guess I really did fail the challenge, huh? Oh well. I passed the first one, so I’m not discouraged.
I did manage to make some progress. I am feeling a lot better today compared to yesterday, but I’m still trying to take it easy.
Here are a couple things worked on the last couple days. A study of Caravaggio’s David and Goliath and I started a new portrait.
So… technically, I failed this challenge. I did wake up at 5, but then I went back to bed and slept for two more hours. The fact that I didn’t have to work today was sort of a de-motivator. Even so, I did get up at just a little before 8, which is still a decent morning time.
I also planned to work on this painting for an hour, but I found that I was satisfied with it after 15 minutes.
The above painting is technically fanart. This is the Banu Merchantman from Star Citizen. My husband wanted this painting for a couple of years now. Shortly before getting married, he paid for the canvas, and now, after several months, it’s finally done. It’s finally at a point where I’m happy with it- or at least- if I do anything more to do, I’ll over do it and ruin it.
Welcome to Day 1 of the 7 Day Lazy Morning Challenge: Where the goal is to wake up at 5 am to work on a project for 30 minutes after having set the week up ahead of time to allow yourself to be as lazy as possible.
I spent 30 minutes on my oil painting, Ascension (still not done yet, still a work in progress). I made this painting based on a dream I had which also served as encouragement in a time where I was so stressed out, I managed to get sick.
How did this first morning go?
This first morning went very well! I had one handicap: I forgot to set my alarm for 5am, so I woke up at 6 am instead. That kind of stressed me awake. Like that feeling you get where you’re super motivated to get up because you’re late for a final exam.
Not the best feeling, but at least it woke you up faster than the blackest cup of coffee.
Even so, thanks to the fact that I had breakfast (yogurt parfait) set up ahead of time, my clothes set out, coffee already made with clean mugs already set up, AND I already knew what project I would work on with all the materials laid out, I was able to spend 30 minutes on my project and have some time leftover to blog about it.
All in all, not a bad deal. In fact, given how well this morning went even though it started late, I’m seriously considering spending an hour on the next projects in the work mornings with 30 minutes being the minimum.
So, this week, I unfortunately was hit with a pretty bad flu. I think my art suffered for it. I got some toned paper, but the oil paint doesn’t really translate well to it.
I actually thought about not posting these since are definitely not the best I can do, but I once heard some wise advice that you should not be afraid to do something you need to do, even if it’s doing it badly. This was important lesson in what not to do as much as what to do.
Don’t paint directly on paper.
Angle features better. It’s easy to just paint things flat.
Don’t mix burnt umber/ cadmium red/ flake white. They muddy up very quickly
Do not work on a big important project when you’re really sick. As much as not painting might be killing you, your quality will suffer for it.
Day 19: Old Master
Day 20: Child Lips
So, full disclosure, I didn’t paint these lips on Day 20. I was too sick to paint on Day 20, but I actually painted these on the same day as Day 21, the Woman’s lips.
Day 21: Woman’s Lips
Day 22: Man’s Lips
So, since it became clear that the paper wasn’t working, I used a canvas panel I used in the past for a previous exercise. And again, I wanted to paint a beard. Nick Offerman’s Beard to be exact.
I don’t know what to write, so here is the most recent progress of my Springtime Copy:
So far, I’ve spent several months working on it a little bit every day. I learned a lot about painting in general by doing this. I feel like it looks like a child’s drawing when side by side with the original, but that’s okay. I’m still very happy with how it’s turning. It’s not done. I’m taking a break from it to work on some original artwork (finally), but I just wanted to show you my progress.
Also, How to Fight Writer’s Block: Just type “I don’t know what to write…” and see what comes after.