1.There is no substitute for miles on the brush.
You can only learn to paint by painting. Nothing teaches like experience.
You can learn about painting by listening to others, reading books and magazines, and by watching teaching dvds and videos, but it is only in the act of painting that you learn to paint. So paint...and then paint some more.
2.Give yourself permission to succeed.
And while you’re at it, give yourself permission to fail, to experiment, to enjoy the process of painting as much as the end result. Watch your language. Give yourself a ‘good’ talking to. Don’t be one of those people who say they want to learn to paint and then continually tell themselves they can’t, or berate themselves because they’re not painting masterpieces immediately. Where’s the fun in that?
3.Better quality materials will give you better quality results.
Buy accordingly. It’s tough enough to get a good result when you are learning to paint without giving yourself a further handicap by using inferior supports and equipment. Buying cheap is often a false economy and is likely to set you up for frustration and disappointment.
4.You don’t know what you don’t know.
So do workshops with different tutors. There is no right or wrong way to paint, there are only results. With such a multitude of techniques and different ways of working no one person can show you or teach you all that’s possible. Every workshop is worthwhile practice and who knows what you might learn that will be useful?
5.You have an artistic license. Use it.
An artistic license means you do not have to limit your options to what is before you or to what is ‘real.’ Use reference material, but remember your painting is your creation. You can change the colour, change the tone, emphasize, minimize, simplify, change the position of, add in or leave out any element of your painting to make it a better picture.
6.Variety is what creates and maintains interest in a painting.
So aim for variety in all things: in sizes and shapes, in tone, colour, texture and line. Vary your brush technique. Also vary the size of any repeated elements within the painting.
7.Asymmetrical designs are much more interesting than symmetrical ones.
So place the main point of interest off centre.
Whether you are painting an abstract, a figurative work or a landscape, principles of design are still relevant if you want to create a pleasing image. The ‘rule’ of thirds is one such principle which is very useful.
8. Learn to squint.
Tone and tonal relationships are much more important than the colours you use. Squinting, looking at your subject through half closed eyes is a great way of simplifying what is before you to a tonal pattern. It the will enable you to see the relative tonal values more clearly.
9. Depth in a painting is an illusion.
A wonderful illusion that invites the viewer to ‘enter’ the picture. Simple techniques you can use to create a sense of distance is the use of cooler colours, lighter tones and less detail for what is distant: warmer colours, greater tonal contrast and more detail for objects that are closer. Overlapping shapes and linear perspective using foreshortening and converging lines, along with repeated shapes of diminishing size all add to the sense of depth in a painting.
10. Colour Trails.
When you use a colour make sure you it appears in more than one place in you painting. Just a hint or two of the colour in other spots will help give unity and balance to the image.
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