Tips On Learning to Paint
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Tips On Learning to Paint

If you are thinking of going to the local hobby store to pick up supplies to start your very first painting, and you are just going to "wing it" then you are probably going to be very confused when you get there. There are a few things you need to know before venturing out to the fine art supply aisle. Beginners can make some pricey mistakes if they don't do their research first.

In the course of your life, it may occur to you that you would like to learn to paint a picture. You might have seen a beautiful landscape by Bierstadt or a portrait by Whistler or perhaps you are a fan of the cubists like Braque or Picasso. If you are a complete novice then knowing how to get started may be a complete mystery to you.

What kind of painting do you want to do? There are many different kinds of paints and painting techniques so you might want to first educate yourself on the different paints. Read Different Types of Paint Used in Art  and Paper Used in Art for Drawing and Painting  These two articles will give you an overview to help you choose the kind of paint you want to use. There are dozens of links on the right side-bar of these two articles to other painting techniques. Read as many as you can before going to the art store.

Oils are generally painted on primed canvas but some artists use oil on paper as well. Acrylics can be used on canvas or paper and watercolors are usually only on paper.

Brushes are often designated as appropriate for various paints but some brushes cross over. Watercolors are usually done with relatively soft brushes. Brushes tend to be personal preference for each painter. Most painters will find a brush that they really love. When looking at the racks of brushes, they are usually labeled “oil” “acrylic” “watercolor” so you can pick one that is appropriate. Brushes can be very expensive and I personally would recommend that you stay on the moderate price range but not "cheap" to start with. Really cheap brushes can be frustrating. Expensive brushes can be put on your birthday list later if you fall in love with painting.

The best thing to do is to take a class at your local art association or recreation center. You will get a list of supplies on your first class if you are taking a beginners class. If you want to be a good painter, be a good drawer. Take a drawing class and draw every day. This will train your eye to see.

If you are going to “wing it” and not take a class, I would recommend you buy a small starter kit for painting. There are many available and some are complete with paint, brushes, paper and/or canvas. Some even have a small how-to book for the beginner. These are great to get your feet wet with minimum outlay of cash.

Learn to mix colors. This is critical for a good clean, bright painting. There is nothing more frustrating for beginning painters than mixing muddy colors. You may not even know how you got those yucky colors. Read Mixing Colors for Painting: Avoiding Muddy Colors. Another great resource is the book,  Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green by Michael Wilcox.

Learn about paintings and different artists and how they approach various subjects. Learn to analyze paintings by going to art galleries and museums. Sign up for tours and talks at your local museum. Ask lots of questions of the tour guide. Analyzing paintings and art is a learned skill and has a particular jargon that goes with it. Here is a great guide on how to analyze, view and critique a work of art

And in the words of Bob Ross concerning painting “You can do anything you want to do. This is your world.”

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Comments (2)

Very good article.  I do not get notified of all your articles because since they changed to Knoji most of my emails that people have published are going to my mother's spam folder in her email and I do not have daily access to it.

I do paint before with the watercolor medium, but I concentrated on air-brush painting, thanks Judith for tha advices.