Zhujiajiao - oil study 10x8"

Don’t wait until you’re ready

I have a folder on my computer called “To paint”, which contains all the photos I’ve taken that I might someday like to use as reference for a painting.

Maybe you have a similar system?

If you’re anything like me, there will be a handful of photos in that folder, which you’re saving, because you don’t feel like you’re ready to paint that particular subject just yet.

It’s such a great subject that when you paint it, you want it to be the best it can possibly be, so you think you’ll just wait a bit longer, until you have more experience and you are more likely to do it justice. When you feel ready, you’ll paint that masterpiece.

Well I have news for you…

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Paint like a millionaire

When I first started painting (with acrylics back then), I was very stingy with my paint. I would squeeze out just a small blob of the colours I was going to use, and then try to make that stretch as far as possible.

I don’t think it was really related to the cost of paints (I was living in China at the time, where the price of paint was not prohibitive), but more that I just didn’t like the idea of waste (I still don’t!)

So I would spread my paint very thinly, almost glazing or scumbling all the colours on top of each other. The result was ok, but there wasn’t any brushwork to speak of. You couldn’t see my brushstrokes, so the image almost looked like it was printed onto the canvas.

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banana-600
stanage-pole-800
Marooned by Dan Johnson
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Revisiting failed painting attempts

I posted recently about how I had a bad painting day, and had to abandon a painting I had started.

This happens from time to time, and it’s important not to get upset about it. Even failed attempts can be useful as long as you learn something from them (sometimes you may not even realise you learnt anything!)

If you’re struggling with a particular subject, it’s probably wise to take a break and try a new subject, but it can also be interesting to keep that subject on the back-burner and maybe give it another try at a later date.

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