Tuesday, June 24

4 Simple Steps to Successful Painting

A River Runs
9 x 12 in/22.8 x 30.4 cm
Copyright 2014
Although I can't really show you how to become a successful painter, mainly because this is a static blog rather than an online video, I hope to explain it in an understandable way. It's so simple, really

 I'm doing this to follow up on my last blog where I complained that most painters don't show you how they really paint in their for-sale DVDs or YouTube videos.

I said they they talk a lot about how they go about preparing and what palette they use and what their favorite brushes and supports are, if that. However, they don't show you what to do because they don't know how to tell you, much less show you.

It could be they don't want to show you for reasons either nefarious or benign. But whatever the reasons, I just wish they would or could be better instructors.

Anyway, here are my four simple steps to successful painting:

1. Choose only motifs you love to paint--then every painting will be a challenge, an adventure, and a labor of love.

2. Choose the medium you love--whichever one that is, you will know it immediately, and, as the enchanted song says, "once you have found it never let it go."

3. Practice your favorite painting techniques until you master them all--it will take a while, but maybe not 10,000 hours.

4. Accept you own unique painting style--whatever that is, learn to love what is unique to you, then enhance it, but don't try to change it.

Four simple steps.

Monday, June 16

Re-new Your Artistic License

Canal Living
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
9 x 12 in/22.8 x 30.4 cm
Copyright 2014
I'm not so sure all those painters who are/were famous or all those painters you read about in their blogs or whose DVDs you purchase actually follow all the painting rules. By that, I mean those lists of do's and don'ts, those must's and must not's, those things we're told that are the correct way to paint. They are promoted as the only way of doing things in instruction books and painting DVDs and on YouTube videos.

However, I have noticed more often than not that unless you are actually in attendance in person at a painter's workshop or demonstration, then you don't really know exactly how they accomplished some of the things you see in their books or in their videos. Even then you may not be able to follow their example.

 I have noticed that the camera almost never shows the painter mixing up his or her paint on the palette either in photograph in a book or a shot in a video. If they do, it is for the briefest of moments when they first begin. You almost never see the amount, the viscosity or how the various colors are mixed from their own color palette--or which brush or brushstroke they use when. You just see them putting their brush to the canvas.

What I would like is for them to show me how they really paint. I can almost guarantee that no else will be able to paint exactly like them so what does it matter. It's call style, technique, and artistic license and every painter has his or her own way of accomplishing that.

Why keep on trying to paint a certain way over and over and over again. Use your intuition or your artistic license to discover your own unique look-and-feel. Maybe that's how your favorite painter discovered their own.

Time to re-new your artistic license

Tuesday, June 10

An Opinion on Painting with Water- Mixable Oils

Looking Northwest
Water-Mixable Oil on Canvas Panel
8 x 8 in/20 x 20 cm
Copyright 2014
About eight months ago I made a concerted effort to try water-mixable oil paints--which is what I call them--although they're also known as water-miscible and water-soluble as well.

I wanted to try them because I had previously painted with regular old oil paints that  everyone is used to, but to be truthful, just couldn't abide the solvents, the smell, and the messiness. I realize almost every painter, bona fide or otherwise, since the Renaissance paints with oil.

However, I have primarily used acrylic (for years) and continue to do so. But still I wanted to try something different and, as I've said before, that's how we learn. In the ensuing eight months I have painted more than 15 paintings, give or take, with water-mixable oil

 Like anything it takes time to get used to something new; however, if you have been painting with either oil or acrylic, it's a pretty easy switch, especially from oil.

No surprise, what I like about water-mixable is that you don't need toxic solvents, it's much less messy, there is less odor, and brushes clean up with soap and water. They handle pretty much like oil in my humble opinion. I did notice a difference in viscosity among the brands. I have used W&N Artisan, Weber WOil, and Lukas Berlin.

WOil is buttery, Berlin seems creamy, and Artisan has the most body among these three, but as with a lot of things in painting, it's a personal choice. Today's image was painted using all three brands, and there was no problem with mixing them. I've also read good things about the Holbein and Talens brands, but haven't tried them yet.

There's not too much I don't like about using these paints except they don't dry as fast as acrylics--but what else does? I have added fast-drying medium to speed up the process, but it still takes at least 24 hours for some colors to dry to touch and up to more than a week for others. Without the fast-drying medium it takes months to dry completely just like regular old oil paints, bummer.

Anyway, if you haven't tried them and are looking for something in between acrylic and oil--process-wise, that is--I say go for it.


Tuesday, June 3

Too Blue

Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
22 x 28 in/56 x 71 cm
Copyright 2014
Last week I bought two "new" blues that I want to try out on my palette. By "new" I mean that I haven't used them very much at all either in watercolor, water mixable oils, or acrylic. But I have used them, or something like them, before so I know what to expect, sort of.

I bought a tube of Pthalo. I have used Pthalo and what's also known as Primary or Brilliant blue (by some manufacturers). I knew they were the same by comparing their pigment colors, which are listed on the tube (except for the cheapest paints). Pthalo is PB15, that is, Pigment Blue15. Brilliant blue is also PB15, so they the same color. If you don't know what I'm talking about, learn more about pigment numbers and the color index--it will help you in building your own personal color palette.

Modern Prussian blue is actually a hue, which I'm sure you know means that it is a mixture of several pigments. Golden Artist Colors acrylic Prussian BlueHue is PB15 (or Pthalo), PV23 (Violet 23), and PBk9 (Black 9). The development of Prussian blue has an interesting history--here's a link to read more.

Anyway, I know both of these blues will need to be used with caution, at least until I (or you) get used to them. That's because Pthalo is a very strong, in-your-face, bright blue that leans to the green side. It's really good for some types of water scenes and also for adding--just a touch, however--to ultramarine blue skies.

And Prussian blue, well, let's just say it has a dark personality and leave it at that.

Happy painting!