Painting In General

Paint Box

Think of all the possibilities you can achieve with painting a picture. Is there a painting you’ve always wanted but never quite seen the way you envision it? You can achieve it with some practice using your art materials and patience. Purchase a bunch of little canvases or canvas panels. They provide practice and references for larger paintings.

When creating a painting, you are visually telling a story. Just as a child, when you didn’t think in words as much as you did in pictures, you can still think and create an entire story in just pictures. In this story, there are nuances that you will appreciate as you are painting. In order to compose a painting well, an artist should know every little stroke of the brush and what it is saying in the story. If, for instance, you are creating a little landscape, and instead of just thinking, well, there’s a tree, a fence and a mountain, think instead of it in more detail. Just past the rustic fence, there was a beautiful sky above a purple mountain. The sky was a warm purple and yellow, and the clouds were on fire. This technique also enable the minimal-object artist to paint more complex situations and stories. Write out your thoughts in a notebook along with your drawing. It makes your painting more rewarding for both you and your viewers.

Getting good quality materials doesn’t need to break your bank. You can achieve wonders with just Phthalocyanine Blue, Hansa Yellow Light, Quinacridone Red, Mars Black and Titanium White. Getting Burnt Sienna is optional, as browns are rather obnoxious to mix and is used often. For brushes, get a good soft synthetic, at least one round, and one flat of small, medium, large, large being 1 inch. You can get 2 inches, but I find that overkill. For supports, it is best to begin with a drawing board and some watercolor paper. Watercolor paper like Strathmore and Canson will work fine. Other things you’ll need is a water cup, and a water mister, a palette which can be made from an old plate will work fine.  

When purchasing canvas, make sure you read the labels carefully, and then compare it to the art stores ratings and advice. They will point you to the type of canvas that will best fit your needs as an artist. I use canvas, watercolor paper and bristol board, depending on the style of painting I’m creating.  Sometimes a good old fashioned wash of ink is in order.

When starting out in painting, try getting a bunch of little canvases about 8 by 6 inches to 8 by 10 inches, they are small enough to experiment with without wasting time and money. If you make 100 paintings, you’ll surely have found your voice. In other words, the more paintings you do, the more solid you will become in your art. By that time, you will have chosen something you like doing, your comfort level and more.

For oil painting you’ll want any type of palette, wood works for nostalgia, but sometimes just a disposable palette is in order for all mediums. Disposable palettes can be used until it is finished. They are made from a piece of wax paper, respectively. And the main point of the disposable palettes, is they are cheap and super easy to clean up.

Mahl sticks are great to have around. They keep your hand steady, help you draw lines, and are great when used as a perspective tool. Hold the stick at the horizon, then hold the stick at the vanishing point. The vanishing point is the smallest or rather farthest away point in your picture. Make a little dot where the vanishing point is. Then use the mahl stick as a guide to make lines, or measurements to the rest of your picture. If you can, use your easel with the metal to hold your malh stick. You can adjust the painting to where the vanishing point is, especially if it is on top of the painting, or at the bottom.