5 essential tips to improving your painting.

 

Sometimes even the most experienced artist needs a reminder of these basic tips for good practice.

When I paint, I sometimes get so subsumed in the creative process that I forget some of the hard learned lessons of past works consigned to the “good idea but didn’t quite work” cupboard. Here are a few of my cardinal sins.

  1. Don’t overwork – less is more. When you are focused on a detail and struggling with it’s representation it can be all too easy to “labour the point”. Practice that detail elsewhere – in your sketchbook or on some practice paper/canvas. Come back to your painting when you know exactly what you are going to do.
  2. Know your colours – blue and yellow don’t always make green. I have a sheet that I keep to hand showing all the colours I use and their mixes with every other colour. There are some surprising results. To stop your mixes turning to mud, aim to use as few pigments as possible. To do that you need to take a look at the tube. Some colours are a mix of several pigments – these are best avoided to make your mixes from as they often create mud. Use them as they are or lightened only. Knowing your colours will help you use less paint too as you will know the mixing strength of each colour. The picture above is a link to an example of a ready made mixing chart with frequently asked questions answered.
  3. Practice, practice, practice. Like exercise to keep you fit, doing a little every day will help you improve in leaps and bounds. I know how difficult this can be – four children, moving house more times than I care to remember, working long hours, caring for family. The list goes on. That’s when you need to set aside even the smallest chunks of time to keep your creative brain exercised. In the kitchen while cooking, waiting for appointments, travelling on public transport to work, doodling in those tedious meetings and so on. It will soon become a habit and you will reap the rewards I promise. The saying use it or lose it is never so true as in any creative endeavour.
  4. Look for criticism from experts you trust who create work you like. And learn to take it. Your family and friends are all well meaning people and will enthuse about your work endlessly. If they are not critics though, it may not be helpful to rely on their input alone. I don’t recommend community groups either, especially those online as many are not trained to look objectively at a work. Also, many are looking Β to get comments on their own work and so aim not to offend. A good way is to join a class by someone whose work suits your genre or take one of the many courses that include a critique.
  5. Copy work by great painters especially the great masters. Yes, I really did say copy. Of course, this is work for you only. What you learn from this is invaluable. You get to see how a picture has been constructed, the design, how the elements relate to each other. What has been left unsaid for you to interpret, how the eye is drawn to what the artist wants you to see, how illusion is created. This is your opportunity to “stand on the shoulder of giants”. You can look at a painting and see it, it’s not until you complete that process of creating it yourself that you understand.

I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand. -Confucius

Happy Creating,

Janice πŸ™‚

Scarey plans and a crafty tutorial.

 

Dragonfly pendant tutorial
Dragonfly pendant tutorial

I have a bit of a block today deciding what to write. There are lots of things I want to add to this blog but they are quite demanding of my time and it’s late on a Sunday evening. I have also already written 2 posts today, so I am going to cheat a bit.

I have another blog, a blogspot called Jangill Designs. I put a few how-to jewellery making ideas on there and quite a few of my photographs. It tends to get ignored when I get busy. One post that is regularly visited is this one. It’s a step by step tutorial on how to create the dragonfly pendants above.

Each Tuesday I would create a piece of jewellery and photograph each step to create a series of tutorials. It was great for me, as it kept me thinking in terms of teaching and demonstrating, as well as designing and making. It provided great added value for the demonstrations I was doing as people could look up steps if they forgot them later. It is one of the goals for this site too. I’m not sure if I will be confident enough to do a video, but it is a challenge I have set myself. It scares me, but that is supposed to be good for us πŸ™‚

Have you set yourself any challenges? Do they scare you a little? Would love to hear about it, so feel free to share in the comments πŸ™‚

Happy Creating,

Janice πŸ™‚