An old schoolfriend ... that just sounds wrong ... let me start that again .... a friend that I was a school with, who is just as young as I am, dropped me a message on FaceBook to ask, "Have you got any advice for me? What should I do to learn about painting?"
Well, I asked her why she wanted to learn. If one has aspirations of becoming a famous and wealthy artist, I really wouldn't know how to go about it. What I do know is that whatever you paint, however bad or good you are, or think you are, is likely to impress your family and friends who want the best for you and are probably too subjective to tell you what you need to hear; is likely to be spurned by galleries and collectors, who are looking for big names that sell; and is likely to be looked on with complete disinterest by your peers. If you were expecting something different, find a Hollywood actor to marry, it's an easier route to the red carpet. If however you paint because you ARE a painter; because you are DRIVEN to paint; because if you don't paint you go insane, and because when you don't paint you start having nightmares that Dali has abducted your children and is melting them all over the landscape, then painting is for you!
Fortunately our subject's answer to my question was a solid one: "I've always wanted to. I've feel like its in me but I have never got around to doing anything about it. Painted furniture and houses and love Paint itself. Wish I could use it to express myself and also create something that's speaks to me. Need to get it out there. Wouldn't know which paint to even start with. Doesn't have to be a profession but I want how to do it right so I can get the effect I want" .
Anyway, I thought that it would be an interesting blogging topic series. Oddly enough (well, maybe not odd to you, but odd to me) it is a question I get asked relatively frequently. I say odd to me, because I don't actually know a heck of a lot about painting except what I have learned from my own experience. I am totally self taught, having never done a course or studied art and so it is likely that everything I have learned is "wrong". BUT I am not adverse to offering my opinions and dispensing whatever information I can (even if it's on things I only know a little about. ;) ).
So, over the next few days I will post my thoughts revolving around certain topics in the "advice" sphere. ... starting with courses.
Should I do a course?
Well ... I learn best through trial and error. Some people can't abide it; for me, well, that's the quickest route to rewiring my brain to do something it wasn't programmed to do. I experiment, get it wrong lots and eventually find something that works. Once it's learned it's there for good. Having said that, if I'd done courses, studied etc. I'd probably be a much better painter, and got to this point a hell of a lot quicker ... learning from someone elses mistakes is not a bad way to go (but never accept it as law ... teachers can only show you what they know ... and they don't know everything). So if you are a "course" type person, and you can find one with someone who knows what they're doing, go for it!
Things you might want to work out before you do a course? (... and I'll cover these next post):
- What medium do you want to use. (yes that IS a huge deal)
- 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).
... but more of that tomorrow.
I hope you find this constructive. If not well ... hey ... you can't say I didn't try.
"Vacant Stare" (WIP), 20cm x 20cm, Oil on Canvas