Starting a New Painting


Hi Folks

Now my fall classes are in full swing I am hearing comments like the following over and over again:

“I think I’ve forgotten everything”

” I did nothing over the summer”

” where do I begin”

” I’m confused and feel anxious”

This is more common than one may think so how and where does one start?

There is no simple answer except jump right in. Start with something small and simple. Work on a small canvas and find a simplified image. You don’t want to over whelm yourself. You want to build your confidence back up and nothing succeeds like small and simple.

You may find you are over blending and so you need to resort to the Rules of Three:

Three brush strokes and stop

I have stood behind students as they paint and asked “how many brush strokes do you think you just used?” Their answer is usually ”around 10″. They are always amazed when I tell them ….. 36… or some number that is well above and beyond their expectations. No one should take more than 3 – 4 brush strokes with one tonal value or colour before mixing and using another.

Three colours only – mixed together to create a new colour

Again students are very successful at making ‘mud’ or nasty greys. All because they used more than 3 colours.

Three Focal Points

You need to move the eye around in your painting and so you will need 3 focal points and one rest spot. This can be in the shape of a triangle, the letter Z and in some landscapes you can stack your 3 areas.

Remember to keep your brush strokes consistent and this is important to remember when painting a landscape with lots of sky. We tend to want to blend the sky colours and then resort to a more painterly approach for the fore ground, giving the impression that perhaps two different painters have painted the picture.

Talking about skies, the best way is to use a criss cross brush stroke and work it fast, painting one corner first and then move on to the next. When it dries you will be amazed how blended it appears yet still allowing some brush strokes to show. Often times it takes 3 – 4 attempts to get the completed look, colour and tones that you want. Don’t despair, skies can be tricky. You need patience and a strong arm. I always say this is how I keep my arms toned – at least my right arm!

Happy Painting

Cheers Georgia

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