Sunday, December 29, 2013

I painted with my son!

This had been the most incredible experience I have had yet with my painting.
My son Acey came home from an LDS mission to Argentina in November. I’ve missed him so much! Since my younger son Ethan challenged me to learn to paint, I’ve dreamed of painting with Acey.
Acey is a talented artist. He works in many different mediums, but he especially likes drawing in ink. But since I started painting last summer, I’ve been looking forward to having Acey come home and paint with me.
Acey told me right as soon as he got home that he would love to paint with me. Still, I worried that he would just be patronizing me because of his superior artistic abilities. When the time came to actually set up my easel, I was thrilled when my son was enthusiastic about setting up another easel next to me.
I have to say right now that painting with Acey that night was an experience that I’ll never forget. It was golden. Because of his experience in the arts, he was already way ahead of me. I expected that, and I hope Acey will have things to teach me as we go on.
For now I’ve got to say that having a partner to paint with is pretty special for me.
I actually hope to paint regularly with Acey. I have some big plans that will be revealed soon here on this blog.
For now, I’m just going to enjoy painting side by side with my son. He’s the first true artist who has worked with me, without looking down on me. We just paint together. That’s a wonderful and amazing thing.

Just wait and see where this goes next!

By the way.

Here's what we painted:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What I have learned so far

It’s more complicated than you might think. I thought oil painting, and by association art itself, was free and accepting and open minded.

When I first got started painting, I called a local art gallery, looking for a teacher. I talked with a lady who taught the oil painting class at the gallery, and she asked me to tell her what I had done up to that point.

I told her about the paints and brushes I had purchased at walmart and about the Bob Ross videos I had found at the library.

I could hear this teacher starting to hyperventilate over the phone, so I stopped talking.

Then she launched into her rebuke!

I was doing myself more harm than good! There was nothing on the internet or in videos that will teach me anything!

I needed live, personal instruction. I needed a good year of training in sketching before I ever touched a painter’s brush!

Now, I respect this teacher and I understand her enthusiasm about the importance of proper art instruction.

But I don’t feel like I have a year to spend learning things before I start to paint.

I will say this though: I believe that I need to learn to draw, so I will study drawing AT THE SAME TIME as I am painting.

The main reason I didn’t decide to take lessons from this teacher is that I am looking for instructors that are more easy-going. I’m not young anymore. I can’t take the “drill sergeant” type who has very strong feelings and beliefs about the right way and the wrong way to do things. I want to explore and experiment. I don’t want to be indoctrinated into one particular school of thought.

It’s funny to me because I’ve always been attracted to hobbies and pursuits that cause people to disagree violently.  I golf, and golfers are cruel and critical of one another. I play the guitar, and guitarists notoriously hate each other.  

“You’re doing it wrong!” I knew I’d hear that. I’ve found that artists have very definite ideas about the wrong way and the right way to paint.

But isn’t art about expression?

What if I wanted to paint with different hues of mud, using a toothbrush? Would that be okay?

I won’t even start naming famous artists who had different styles, some even radical.

But there are still some hints I’m learning about successful oil painting that I can share.

Cleaning the brushes with dish soap and water is possible. But it makes a huge mess in the sink. I’m always looking for the cleanest, easiest way to go from set up, to painting, to clean up, as I can.

People have told me not to use dish soap and water to clean my brushes, but it seems to work fine, and after drying overnight, the brushes seem great.

By the way, if you have strong feelings about what I should or shouldn’t be doing, PLEASE leave a comment!

But right now I’m mostly cleaning my brushes with mineral spirits. They do seem to build up a residue though.

So I’m learning, finding my preferences, developing habits, painting my mile.
So here's another canvas so you can see my progress: