Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wicki's Top Ten Ways to Put the Fun Back in Painting

Really great ideas to start the new year off from the wonderful Vicki Ross at MyArtTutor.com

10. Select a few books from your art library and then stack by your favorite relaxing chair. When TV drones through endless advertisements, pick one book to absorb. Try to read it all the way through and understand what the author is telling you...remember why you bought it in the first place. Use little post-it notes on pages you want to review later...or to actually PRACTICE :)

9. Avoid social media for a day...the world won't spin off its axis. Unless you are using your computer as photo reference for a painting, don't allow it in your studio area. Even turn off email. 'Oh, no, say it ain't so, Wicki'!

Try a new medium...even if you are 'known for your oils', nothing says you can't try soft pastel or watercolor. OR encaustics, acrylics, charcoal. You don't have to show anyone, and you will learn new skills that will help freshen your chosen medium. Mastering two mediums is very common for artists.

If you paint tight, paint ten small (8x10) with the largest brush you own. If you paint loose, paint ten pictures detailed. If you paint fast, execute a few paintings slowly and enjoy the process. Too slow? Set a timer for 30 minutes and do ten 8x10's, ten 11x14's, ten 16x20's (Lyn Diefenbach's suggestion). You'll learn how to capture the essence of your subject and your work will have a painterly quality.

6. Buy something totally out of the ordinary for YOU, the artist. A new pochade box, a few new tubes of pigment or brushes, or some new equipment...easel, roll of canvas, or an out-of-print coffee table art book!

Browse your art books for artwork you love. Copy it as closely as you can...pretend you are Anders Zorn or John Singer Sargent, duplicate the color, the brush strokes, the composition. Be sure to sign it 'after Zorn' so there will be no confusion in the future ... :)

Put together a mini-painting kit for 5x7, 3x4-ish. Make or buy a pochade box (my new fav is the 5x7 Pocket Box by Guerrilla Painter), with a lid that works as a support. A small jar can rest in the bottom of the box for turps or medium or water. Go all the way and get some short handled brushes that will live in your box. A small palette can rest on top of your mini-supplies (pigments, board, etc.). NOW, sit in your favorite chair and PAINT...PLAY. I have a small 7x8 Masterson Sta-Wet palette, cut a lightweight piece of acrylic for the bottom for easy cleanup...it had been in the freezer for months and the pigment was still usable! It fit perfectly in my box...in my chair!

Canvas by the Roll (or Wallis for pastel or watercolor paper roll) is an excellent investment. You can pre-cut your favorite sizes (leaving 3" border for stretching/framing). Now tape the canvas to a support board. If it turns out to be a 'keeper', you can stretch or mount on a panel. Gives you permission to 'play' because you are not using up expensive supports!

Electronic devices (smartphones, tablets) have drawing apps for a few dollars (or free)! Learn to fingerpaint again...if you don't like it, just erase it. If you do like it, forward it to your computer. Work out compositions, make quick sketches. Digital art is still ART!


1. Treat yourself to one of MyArtTutor's workshops...select a new medium, style, or tutor. (Computer allowed in studio for this purpose :) Study in Scotland, France, Australia, or the US. Meet other students and participate...everyone is learning new techniques for the first time, so the playing field is even! Start NOW, and complete at your leisure...your class is always available on your schedule. (You can be anonymous if you are afraid your collectors will find out!)

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