Thursday, March 22

Learning to Paint from a DVD?


Recently I viewed several artists’ DVDs. These are painting demonstrations on DVD that feature a particular painter. Up until now I had not really taken the time to watch any artists on DVDs, which are available to purchase online or in art supply stores.

I didn’t really believe they would be able to “teach” me much in a 1 to 1 1/2–hour DVD format. Nor did I think I would be able to learn that much either. 

I have watched trailers, which are short previews, of many artists’ DVDs on YouTube. These are generally three-minutes or so with snippets of artists painting on location or in their studios. They show just enough to give you an idea of what's on the DVD so you'll buy it.

The DVDs usually cost around $39.95US, but that is much less than most in-person workshops. I have been somewhat skeptical of any painter who would produce one or more of these DVDs just to enhance his or her income. Yes, I know that’s naive. Artists have to make a living.

A couple of months ago I decided to order the DVD of a painter whose book I had previously read, and the DVD had the same name as the book. It was interesting to see the painter “live” and actually using the techniques described in the book. The production quality was pretty good, and the artist was actually quite entertaining. And I learned something about  painting loosely.

Then an artist friend lent me a DVD of another painter several weeks ago, and I watched it. This painter’s style was quite different from the previous one. Where on the previous DVD the paintings were done both en plein air and in the studio, on this DVD a painting was done entirely in studio from start to finish. This was more of a workshop demonstration for those who learn better in that environment. This painter was equally entertaining, and by that I mean she interjected personal painting anecdotes, which helped convey what she was saying. And I learned something.

Finally, I just recently ordered the DVD of a painter whose work I admire. In this DVD the painter is painting entirely en plein air. It’s not step-by-step, but you are looking over his shoulder as he paints. He doesn’t go into detail about paper or paint, although he does give his palette colors. However, he does explain how he goes about deciding how to paint the picture. You listen to the explanation and watch him paint, and the paintings develop before your eyes. I definitely learned something.

Although the DVDs are edited so that you can’t always tell how much time has elapsed between scenes, to allow paint to dry, for example, that doesn’t really matter.

So I have changed my mind. I believe painters can learn by watching DVDs as long as they practice, practice, practice what they learn. There is no substitute to learn to paint other than actually painting.

FYI--the painters I learned from in order were Ron Ranson, Judi Betts, and Joseph Zbukvic.

Keep On Painting.

1 comment:

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