Yesterday I pointed out that there are things you might want to work out before you do a course. (if you decide to do a course). Although this is true, you will in fact have to tackle these questions whether you do a course or not if you're planning on painting.
- What medium do you want to use. (yes that IS a huge deal)
Watercolours are amazing to work with ... they are almost magical in the effects that can be created. They are quick, they are clean and they are VERY unforgiving. My mother is an amazing watercolour painter ... She doesn't have the guts to show her work to the world, but she has what I don't ... the metal to work with the medium. I have painted with watercolours before and I view it as the artistic equivalent of tightrope walking without a safety net. One mistake and your painting is a pretty much a writeoff ... because of the transparence, permanence and quick drying nature of watercolour there is usually no correcting or covering your mistake. the plus is that the materials are economical, the results instantaneous and, big plus it's easy to clean up afterward. This is not a medium you will master overnight ... be prepared to take it slow. You will need a solid understanding of the science of colour and patience, patience, patience.
Oil paintings (my weapon if choice) is almost the exact opposite of watercolours... an anti-watercolour if you will. Where watercolours are quick, oils are slow, where watercolours are tranparent, oils are pretty much opaque, where they are unforgiving, oils are almost completely forgiving, almost infinitely reworkable. Almost any effect is doable with oils ... BUT they are generally slooooooooow to work with and an absolute bitch when it comes to cleaning brushes etc. Trust me on this ... a complete and utter pain in the butt. Mineral Turpentine, linseed oil bla bla bla bla bla ... groan! Oil is a demanding mistress, but the rewards are sweet ... it's like having a superpower ... ANYTHING can be achieved with the right skills and knowledge!
Now acrylics are the happy medium (yes, pun intended) between watercolour and oil. No mess, quicker than oils, but slower to dry than watercolours, tranluscent if you like, or completely opaque, used with linseed oil or retarder can be "moulded" in a very oil like fasion, are cheap. The only downside of oils in my mind is the fact that they somehow lack the soul of oils ... there is something vibrant and alive in oils that acrylics just doesn't seem to muster.
In summary though ... acrylics are a great starting medium, especially if you are going it alone.
- What you want to paint. (still lives, landscape, portraits, eveything?)
- Who you want to paint like?(a strange thing to say I know ... but I have my reasons).
Okay ... next post I go a bit deeper into any actual practical tips I can offer. I'm off to paint.