One painting invites scrutiny. It’s easy to pull apart and be critical.
Two are a pair. Your eye is looking for the similarities as well as the things that ‘don’t quite fit’. And they’re often easy to find.
Three? Well that’s a ‘few’ and it’s more impressive. You’ve put some work in here and that’s admirable in itself. Perhaps you know what you’re doing. Because you’ve done it three times.
Four? Oh honey. I’m impressed. Such stamina! You’re feeling good? Great. I can see the improvement between #1 and #4. You’re getting this.
Beyond four? Well that’s the gravy, baby.
And THAT is why I paint Demonstration Collections each month. I commit to do 12. Even if you only do 3 a month you’ll have 36 somethings at the end. A Mighty Collection.
So join in and stretch those creative muscles. I’ll be on FB later tonight or head to www.bit.ly/shabirds50 to get this month’s Demo videos for half price.
So don’t be overwhelmed. Choose your favourites and aim for three. You just might find yourself doing four. You’re welcome.
- You get to explore a topic, or an art supply, with purpose.
- You create an impressive body of work.
- You have the opportunity to see your skills improve between artwork 1 and Artwork 8 (or 12 or 20 or 31 or 54 or 100)
- You can take a photo of your collection and FEEL THE FEELS of a joyous job well done.
I started deliberately painting/sketching themed collections last May (remember #5minutemay
?) and haven’t looked back. Last month it was #shaaustralia
and right now it’s all about #shabridgerton
I’ve settled on a goal of 12 pages/artworks/whatever each month (because 31 was an uncomfortable stretch!) and it’s all systems go.
What subjects are you interested in? Is there an art collection project in that? How much time do you have? How many would feel comfortable for you?
Remember that one sketch or painting is one thing, but boy, a collection FEELS AWESOME.
Just pick up a brush or pencil and let’s go!
I’m often asked about different art supplies… and it’s true… I do have a BIT of a collection 😉 (I remember an old friend and student, Ros, saying that coming to my studio was like visiting an art shop but being allowed to try everything 😅 ).
What I’d like to do is CHALLENGE YOU TO GET OUT THE ART SUPPLIES YOU HAVE – or at least one box of them if you have a lot 😉 – and MAKE THIS THE YEAR THAT YOU USE THEM – not necessarily to produce art for your walls, or to even show anyone.
To use them, either love them or loathe them, get to know what they can do.
DON’T KNOW WHAT TO PAINT? Start with a colour chart – you’ll impress yourself. Seriously.
WHAT’S NEXT? Drop by here and see what I’ve been drawing or painting – then do that. Simple. Decision made.
Because you won’t get any better at painting or drawing without actually painting or drawing. And each time you paint or draw there is learning to be had. And QUANTITY will lead to QUALITY.
These are the supplies I have on my desk at the moment – different brands of acrylics, mainly, and they all act slightly differently. Some are more transparent, some are more expensive, some are thicker others more fluid – by using them I build my ‘library of knowledge’ about them.
So let’s do it, huh?
PAINT IT AGAIN. That’s my message for today. The more you look at a subject, and then paint or draw it, the more you will SEE.
Here’s a photo of Cape Tribulation that my friend, Larah, has taken – I painted it (small) as part of my #shacards series and then again (A4 size) as part of #shinyhappylandscapes last year.
Mind you, it’s a lovely reference photo, and as soon as I saw it I asked Larah’s permission to paint it.
Both of these paintings are in acrylic, but before too long I’ll also have a go at drawing it, and probably watercolouring it… and you might even see it on a big canvas after that.
WHY DO THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER? Because there’s something to learn every time… about colour, about materials, about shape, about tone… and you’ll SEE more every time too.
CAN YOU SEE THE PEOPLE SHADOWS IN THE FOREGROUND? I didn’t even notice them when I started the first painting. When I was using a fan brush (a tool I hadn’t used for ages) to do the shore, I noticed the shadows, and now they’re my favourite bit!
Also think about the Masters. Degas did ballet dancers. Van Gogh did sunflowers. Monet did waterlilies. In more recent times, Warhol did soup cans; George Rodrigue did the blue dog, Ken Done does Sydney Harbour.
What are you going to do? Don’t make it difficult – Danny Gregory did/does toast, you might draw your own hand… your coffee cup/s, your pot plant.
Use the same materials or different materials, do it the same size or different sizes… if this is all too many decisions, just get a sketch book (or exercise book) and FILL IT!
I’d love to hear about how you feel when it’s full (and it’s totally ok if you feel like it’s time for a new subject 😉 but I’m pretty sure you’ll thank me).
And here endeth the Art Sermon 😂 😂 😂 !
See you in my Virtual Studio!
Watercolour paints last really well and can be an heirloom item to be passed down from generation to generation. Don’t hesitate in buying the best set you can afford and use them often.
Painting ‘white objects’ can be struggle for those just starting out with watercolour. The trick is to leave the paper behind as the light. But also remember that white objects are often not white – look for the colours.
My “White Caps on Waves” 2019 (watercolour) – inspired by Brett Whiteley’s painting, “Thebe’s Revenge” 1973-82
Other techniques include using a darker background which can definitely help a white object POP. By making the tones around the white darker, the white ends up looking lighter. You can also use masking fluid which you apply to the page, paint over and, when the paint is dry you then peel off to leave the bare paper. This is definitely worth experimenting with.
The magnolia drawing below was created during a live Zoom session with members of my Paint Along of the Month Club. While the first drawing is nice, see how much brighter the flower with the coloured background appears?
Painting the sky is another skill to practice. The sky is not always blue – it can be made up of many colours. My advice is using a big brush (in relation to your painting) so you are less likely to see brush strokes. Use plenty of water – don’t be scared – and practice. Practice, practice. Observe that the lightest part of the sky is usually at the horizon – it is the furthest away, so it is paler. Above you is the brightest or darkest colour.
And the ducks below aren’t actually ‘painted white’… they’re paper-coloured. It’s the blue sky that makes them white. Practice painting and drawing negative spaces to get better at leaving the white of the subject behind in watercolour.
White Water Colour Ducks
UPDATE – you can see the Webinar replay here –
For years I’ve wondered how I could do a webinar, because painting demonstrations can be a pretty slow process, but just last week I figured out a way!
I’ve made a list of the things I say most in a class, to answer questions or solve problems, and these are the first five. Odds are there’ll be a new learning or five for you, because I LOVE acrylics and am so happy to share the way I like to paint with them.
And if you haven’t attended a webinar before, that’s great… because it’s my first one too! I’ve attended them, but haven’t delivered one before – but I’ll be practicing my head off before we go live. Wish me luck!
The Webinar date is Thursday 24 January (that’s this week!).
You have three options so just click on the time that suits you best:
Now, here in Toowoomba, Queensland, we are +10 GMT, so if you’re on the other side of the country (or the world) please check what time it’ll be for you. I use the clock app on my phone to do that easily. And there’s a link in the confirmation email to add it to your online calendar. Easy peasy.
There’ll be gifts for attendees, and as it’s the last day before the Paint Along of the Month Club‘s first paint along goes LIVE, it’ll be your last opportunity to nab the Pre-Release price on that.
I hope you can join me for this ‘first time’ – I’m really looking forward to being able to answer questions as we go, and you’ll finish inspired and ready to paint something!
There are limits to the number of people who can attend each session, so please pick a time and register asap. You’ll then get a personal link (and I’ll send you out a reminder beforehand too).
I’ll see you in my virtual studio to talk acrylics!