- 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’ve had five Zoom calls with lovely Shiny Happy Art Club Members this week, and I found myself recommending SAMPLERS a few times.
These two are on Scrap Book Covers (I use them for planning) from 2017 and 2018.
The thing with Samplers is:
– you get to practice colour mixing
– you learn about your own art supplies (whether you have a little or a lot)
– you have a ‘go to resource’ when you’re wondering how to start mixing a colour
– if you fill a page with marks like this it looks impressive! You’ll feel like an artist!
I have only become a convert to Samplers in the past 5 years but now – I just love them. I do them for every art supply I have. It’s time well spent.
So I encourage you to make time for a Sampler this weekend. Do at least a page (or a book cover!).
If you’re a neat person, rule some lines. If you’re not (like me) just go for it. Mark your colours across the top of the page, and down the left hand side (label them) and then get mixing your grid of colour.
How do you fit a long house in a square format? I decided to focus on the front door and attempt to capture the pure FUN of this home.
This secret commission was a true exercise in ‘creative decision making’ and such a joy to paint I actually had a few goes at it, getting more familiar with the building each time.
Of interest might be the prepping of the watercolour paper with Gum Arabic ‘dust’. Gum Arabic is made from the sap of the Acacia Tree and is used as a binder in quality watercolours. This little jar, complete with tissue, was given to me as part of Olive Bull’s calligraphy lessons about… ohhh… 22 years ago! (See – ‘art supplies ARE heirloom items’!) Back then I used the tissue to rub the Gum Arabic dust onto the surface of the paper I was about to write on – to prevent bleed.
I knew I wanted some hard edges in this painting so I pulled out the jar and prepped the paper and it DEFINITELY made a difference.
Gum Arabic can also be bought as a liquid and used to thicken ink for calligraphy (and thicken food colouring, interestingly!). It can be used as a bonding agent for gouache or powder pigments (so that the ink doesn’t wipe away after the water evaporates). It can also decrease cracking in some thick inks.
So there you go! You can thank me when you win the prize at the next (online) trivia night!
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!