Category Archives: Learning to Paint

Blue Fruits

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Last Friday, I took an art class at Spruill Arts. The workshop was “moving from representational to abstract” which I took to mean it would be more of changing your mental mindset. It was that in theory, but in practice, it was more of how to paint real things in an abstract manner, and not outright abstract.

That didn’t really matter though, and I probably need to take the abstract subject in baby steps anyway.

Our first “warm up” exercise was to paint 3 mandarin oranges or cherries abstractly. My fruit really doesn’t look like oranges or cherries, but that wasn’t the point anyway. In fact, looking at them on the computer screen, they kind of look like tiny earths.

There you go. Now that I’ve immortalized it digitally, I can paint over them, and use the canvas for something else. Unless I decide I really love them. You never know.

Painting for Someone Else?!!

Thus far in the saga of my learning to paint and acknowledging that I am an artist, everything I’ve painted has been for myself or an unrequested gift. Of┬ácourse, the odd room here and there … oh, wait… that’s a different kind of painting.

So, I’ve been asked to paint 3 pictures for someone else! OK, that someone IS my daughter, Laura, but, oh, the pressure. She had 3 24×30 canvases that she had used for a pinterest Christmas project that she wanted to take home with me and make good use of. She says she likes abstract art, and wants the color coral to be in at least one of them.

Her birthday is in September, so that could be a good deadline for at least one of them, but at the rate I’m going, it’s not likely. I decided to paint a “practice” picture, just to see if I’m on the right track. The colors are wrong, but if it turns out, it will be for me (unless someone wants to buy it, heehee) so I’m using colors I would want for me. Mine is also smaller (16×20).

I’ll let the work in progress pictures do the talking. Seeing the pictures on the computer is a useful tool for me to see it through a different lens. And Laura, if you’re reading, tell me if I’m on the right track.

Here ya go:

Texture and undertone added.
Texture and undertone added.
More undertone.
More undertone.
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Collage piece added, and first layer of color.

 

Second layer of color. (yellow rectangle is still there, I just didn't want to get other colors on it
Second layer of color. (yellow rectangle is still there, I just didn’t want to get other colors on it.

Craftsy Teaches Flower Painting: A Review

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I’ve mentioned Craftsy before, back in this post, where I revealed the rose painting, that was created taking the Painting Flowers in Acrylics. Before I get too far away from that experience, I wanted to sum it all up with a little review.

I have no connection with Craftsy whatsoever. The opinions expressed here are completely my own.

If you haven’t heard about Craftsy before, it is basically a website where you can take crafting classes online. Some are free, and some you pay for, but there are topics for anyone who has even the slightest creative bent. The free classes are a great way to give it a try, and that is exactly what the Flower Painting class is. Free.

But free does not mean second rate. The main difference, as I am experiencing it, is that with the free classes you do not get any additional interaction with the instructor, as you do with the paid classes. I’m currently taking another acrylic painting class that I did pay for, so I’ll let you know how that one goes, and if there are other differences.

Back to the flower painting. This “class” had approximately 100 minutes of instruction, just a little over 1-1/2 hours. Once enrolled, it’s yours until, I suppose, Craftsy doesn’t exist anymore, so you can repeat it over and over if you want (that’s true of any of their classes).

The instructor, Micah Ganske, goes over the underpainting, blocking in the colors and layering the colors, and finally, adding the highlights. That’s really a lot of ground to cover, and you are not going to learn more nuanced techniques of mixing your colors, or how to draw the flowers. Painting 101 it is not. In my blog post linked above, I documented my progress, which basically followed the course.

Initially, I tried to paint along with the videos. Um. Yeah, that doesn’t really work. For one thing, duh, they are edited, so he isn’t painting in real time. What I found worked the best was to watch the video lesson all the way through, and then work on my painting going back to review in places that I needed the repetition.

There are questions posted alongside each video that deal with the topic being discussed at the time. In a free lesson, the questions are answered by other students, and I did, in fact, learn quite a bit from my fellow students.

Best tip from a student… use chalk to draw your outline. That technique worked better for me, than the one that Micah was teaching. Which doesn’t his bad, I just didn’t have success with it.

I would rate this course advanced beginner, and I would definitely recommend it. It was great for trying out a online craft class platform, without making a huge investment or either time or money.

Keeping in mind that it is free, if you only learn one thing (and I definitely think you will learn more), it is worth a try.

 

 

Looking Skyward

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Dropping off today’s artistic accomplishment. More of a palate cleanser after the rose picture which took more than several days. This one just took an afternoon. Of course, it shows, but sometimes you just gotta paint. When I was in the backyard the other day, I took picture, looking up into the trees, and wondered if I could recreate it.

And I did semi-successfully. Perfecting painting techniques from mixing colors to figuring out the best brush to use takes some practice, so I’m chalking this one up to practice, and the odds are, I’ll just paint over it one of these day.

So here it will live on, in all its glory.

I hope your skies are sunny and blue.

Learning to Paint: Roses are Hard

I’d love to be able to boast that I am a self-taught artist, but ┬áthe truth is, I’ve had a couple of teachers besides myself. Let’s see. I’ve taken one art class at a local art gallery, and I’ve bought (or had given to me) a number of “workshop” type art books that plan to work my way through. I think that takes me out of the “self-taught” category.

And now I’ve taken my first craftsy class. Craftsy offers online video classes of crafty topics from Cake Decorating to Weaving. I haven’t clicked on all the topics, but at least a few of them (maybe more) offer free mini-classes as well as the ones that you pay for. During a recent sale, I bought 2 classes and signed up for 2 free ones. Today, I completed the first free mini-class, Painting Flowers in Acrylic.

I’ll do a review of the class in another post (short story: really good!). But for now, no more words… just pictures (ok, maybe a few words will accompany):

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Good start.
Good start.
Not too bad. Sure. I can do this.
Not too bad. Sure. I can do this.
No. This looks bad. What have I done?
No. This looks bad. What have I done?
OK. Redraw the petals with chalk. Just keep layering.
OK. Redraw the petals with chalk. Just keep layering.

All done…

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The Color Wheel

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Sure, the color wheel is Art 101, but knowing the it really is the backbone of everything, well, color. Art, fashion, interior design, how to coordinate your car’s interior and exterior. And it’s lesson #1 in the book Creating Art at the Speed of Life by Pam Carriker. I’m working my way through the exercises in this book, though not particularly speedily.

Watercolor and acrylic paint, micron pen

Learning Shading

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Working a full time retail job leaves little time for weekend painting classes, so I turned to books. I purchased Acrylic Painting with Lee Hammond, and one of the first exercises was learning the Elements of Shading. Just painting random gray spheres seemed kind of boring, so this is my interpretation. The rainbow didn’t turn out quite like I envisioned, but it works for me.

Acrylic paint, magazine pages

My First Landscape

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In the weekend class I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the second project we painted was a landscape. I had brought several personal photographs as possibilities that were taken either by me or my husband, Roland. We were using acrylic paints, and learned about adding pre-painted tissue paper for texture.

Acrylic paint, tissue paper, painted September 2012

Inspiration photo is of Point Lobos State Reserve in California.

Spark #2

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In September, 2012, I took a weekend painting class at Spruill Center for the Arts in Atlanta. The class was called landscapes and collage (or something like that), and turned out to be different than what I was expecting, but having never really done any painting (except walls in my house), I was intrigued. Oh, yeah, I had also been doing some experimenting with watercolors in the 366 Pages journal mentioned yesterday. This class was primarily acrylics, though not this introductory piece. This piece was the first thing the instructor had us do. Let’s call it the Paper Tree Forest.

Construction paper, colored chalk

The Spark

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What sparked this revelation that perhaps I like a different kind of art? The kind that did not involve a needle and thread? It started with a chance comment from a friend on Etsy. A fellow Etsian was offering a Leap Year project for $20 to make an art journal with a prompt every day in the year 2012. I didn’t do every prompt, and in fact, probably stopped seriously participating by the end of the summer. But still the fire was lit.

The picture above was from the January 26 prompt “illustrate a dragon” to commemorate the Year of the Dragon.