Short introduction in main issues which everybody encounters when they pick up pencil or brush

Lesson 1

You always wanted to draw or paint: it seems it does not want to happen.

You will need patience, courage; willingness to experiment and make mistakes, as well as, you should be ready to put into your learning process efforts, work and time.

Any drawing and painting starts with being able to see and feel. It does not start with knowledge of techniques and all kinds of tools and mediums.

I have given countless classes and workshops over many years; it actually feels like I have been teaching arts all my life. It is obvious that all people who would love to start painting or drawing do not get past the first problems and give up this fantastic activity before they could even become aware of easy fixes which there are just for anything when it comes to creation.

The main thing with visual arts is the ability to see and to understand what one is looking for. Most people will definitely be sure that they have eyesight good enough and that they can see everything. That is not true at all. While we are seeing things around us, we are not seeing them in an artistic way. I suppose the inability to perceive values, shapes, colors, lines and their relationship, as well as correct scale, depends on what one has been doing and using for drawing and painting before.

It’s not rare that artists also simply copy an image and then transfer this copy onto paper or canvas. Many artists do a lot of image editing with some software so that the image is ready to copy and to apply paint on it. They believe that will save time and efforts and make painting process easier. That’s not true either. Do not do that, do not copy any photos or images if you want to ever draw and paint without fear and with confidence.

A complex drawing might take me between 30 minutes and an hour, but that’s about it. I will have everything in my drawing: values, composition, correct scale since I’m usually doing the entire canvas or paper size drawings as opposed to thumbnail sketches, and I can start doing whatever I want with it: use for watercolor, pastel or acrylic and so on. I won’t need editing, adjusting, copying, enlarging.

Therefore, if you want to be ever free from computers, laptops, screens, all kinds of measuring devices, grids and photos, start learning to see.

I have noticed this for millions of times: people do not see anything in the reference photo or picture. They see a flower, a tree or fence, but there is nothing behind that. I am also using real objects: fruit, vegetables, flowers, flower pots, leaves, cups, bowls, glasses and similar stuff, and that does not usually help at all. No attention gets paid to shadows, value distinction, correct size, potential composition, contrasts and layout. Every single person can draw and paint as soon as they understand what they have to see in that object. That refers to drawing figures and body parts, as well.

It is hilarious how there are so many separate art lessons like: How to paint an apple, How to paint a bird, How to paint a spring landscape, How to paint a cup or glass, so on. The answer to this: you can paint anything; you can draw anything once you are able to see it. To see it in an artistic way taking into account things which other people don’t know exist. Therefore, lesson 1 is: place some object in front of you and look at it. Look carefully at dark and light spots, visible lines and shadows, direction and size of any shapes. Starting with very light and general outlines try to get the exact shape. Start with very general shapes and lines and move towards details. Repeat until the object or objects get dimensions and start to take on shape. I will illustrate it in more detail in some upcoming posts. Yes, it all comes from our eyes and brain, and hand with pencil or brush just makes the brain signals visible. How do these signals get into our brain? Our senses and our memory, plus imagination contribute to this process. That is why drawing and painting is the best tool for fixing memory issues, taking care of brain flexibility and for prevention of mental diseases.

 

Value sketch in the actual size is the best help one can have

 

Lilies

I have elaborated a new approach to acrylic painting since many people want to learn it, but results are quite often disappointing and don’t make them happy. This new approach uses the specific features of acrylic (fast drying time, ability to work over dry layers) and turns them into the biggest advantage. Results are quick and stunning. Most people don’t even believe they could paint it. There is a small remark, however: as long as they follow my steps and take into account the guiding suggestions. I don’t think I will bother with online classes because the live art classes are the only ones which make real sense. It matters how much water or how much paint, or what medium on what surface one uses. It matters how fast the previous steps are done and it matters how you move the brush and mix the paint. Everything matters, and we can correct mistakes right there where they happen, therefore, it is important to have a teacher which can directly see why some things work and why some others don’t.

 

Poppies

We are painting large flowers in Thursday classes. 2 hours at a time.

Painting brings balance to life and philosophy behind old barns

In the light of upcoming workshops, I decided to post some painting steps in order to set potential students in the right mood. These barns are not the same we will be doing during adult acrylic painting workshops. These we were painting during 2013 and 2014 spring classes.

I will also place some pictures about preparation of canvas for workshops and classes during the new painting session. It is not complicated, I also expect meeting some of the students and artists on August 3rd.

We all have some problems, some less bothersome, some more persistent and severe. I can tell from my experience that indulging in some painting helps incredibly and allows to find piece of mind and to forget about some not that pleasant stuff . It can be simple sketch and it can be multiple step painting: that is not of importance. The main thing is to immerse oneself into the meditative state of creation. Many students have told me they sometimes needed these classes and come-together so much just because life was too stormy or too complicated. These art classes served as a safe harbor where to take a breath and see further perspectives along the road.

This year we will be working on under-painted or at least toned canvasses.

This will save us time, as well, and it is much easier for many students to start out on a medium dark surface than on a completely white. It is just our perception, but painting happens smoother and faster this way.

Underpainting canvas

You will need a fairly large brush which can be some old brush or not that expensive brush. I am using some leftover or not that great quality paint. It is advisable to use some brown and grayish shades or warm oranges and red browns for those who love bright colors. I personally prefer neutral base since that works the best with my perception. This is something one can choose depending on their personal preferences.

Preparing canvas for classes

 

You should not make the base coat very dark since acrylic requires quite a few layers to build up lights. We are using 20 x 16 inches canvasses in workshops and in art classes. Slightly smaller size is fine, however, much larger will not allow finishing painting during classes.

You can mix paint and gesso straight on canvas. No worries if you get not very smooth color, however, there should not be any texture yet since that may disturb during painting.

Neutral gesso and paint coat on canvas

Just brush the mixture on not forgetting edges because we are always painting around the edges as we go. That gives us a ready to hang painting which can be used without a frame. Allow some time to dry, at room temperatures, that may be 2-3 hours depending on what paint and how thick layer you have applied.

Students love watching time-lapse and speed painting videos. However, I would like to remind that painting in reality requires much more time. If you have decided to join workshops or classes, please be prepared that painting is not ready in one or two hours.

When I look at old barns, they make me feel warm. It is hard to explain, but cozy, too, which is somehow weird, but, nevertheless, I am painting them warm and cozy because that is how I perceive these objects. When I see abandoned farms or barns, I have to think about people who long ago were there. Why don’t they come back to fix the barn? Where are they now? Did they move away, or are they in another reality? Sort of nostalgia mixed with sadness and realization that Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas. The strongest controversy straight before our eyes: the present wild beauty of the nature and an abandoned building with blind and empty windows witnessing past and better days. Well, there is so much behind a simple old barn in the wildly blooming summer day or at he mirror-like lakeside.

Barn paintings steps: acrylic for adults

Talking about the steps, there were quite a few. I would always start with just dark and general outlines or blocks of shapes which get defined and refined during the painting process.

Basic layers to block in main shapes

Basic layers to block in main shapes

Painting half done

Barn has got some red and fields, too

Placing them side by side allows noticing what needs more work

Placing paintings side by side allows noticing what needs more work

Why don't they come to fix it?

Why don’t they come to fix it?

Mirroring the past

Mirroring the past

August barn project: old barn paintings in acrylic

The collage view of the most recent versions: old barn paintings in acrylic

The most unpleasant drawback of acrylic paints is the loss of lights and highlights as the painting dries. Therefore, we may need to rework some by adding more and more light color as the paint settles down. That does not happen right away, I have had paints which became dark only after some 2 weeks. That is  something we learn cope with because the advantages of acrylic paints outweigh their minuses plenty of times.

I hope you will enjoy our workshops!

 

NEW this fall: acrylic for teens and advanced drawing plus watercolor

Many teens expressed interest in acrylic painting last year.

Such classes are lots of fun, they are exciting, and students can create very real art for whatever needs they have: decorating teen’s room, giving as a gift or preparing a portfolio for future studies in an art college.

Acrylic painting classes

I have scheduled 1 acrylic painting class for teens and young adults (10 to 18 years) during this fall term.

Thursday 5.30 pm – 6.30 pm (teens/youth 10-18) Fee: $14

Lots of excitement, lots of discoveries, lots of fun, not to mention the happiness of having created something.

Materials are not included; however, the material list for teens is noticeably smaller than for adults.

Acrylic painting supplies

Canvas, canvas board or heavy watercolor paper approximately 14 x 18 in or 16 x 20 inches in size.

2 or 3 fairly soft brushes: 1 flat (1 to 1.5 in), 2 rounds: 1 size 8, and 1 size 12 with fine tips.

Acrylic paints:

Titanium white; Payne’s gray; Cadmium red medium, Cadmium yellow medium, either Cerulean blue or Ultramarine blue. More colors are optional.

Pencil, eraser, red, brown, blue markers

Pretty many sheets of thick paper towel and medium large plastic or paper plates

Kids and teens who want to draw more and use watercolor or watercolor pencils are welcome to attend 2 Tuesday watercolor and drawing classes and 1 Wednesday drawing, sketching and painting class:

Tuesday 5.30 pm- 6.30 pm (teens/youth 9-15) Fee: $14

Tuesday 7 pm- 8.30 pm (teens 10-18) Fee: $16

Wednesday 5.30 pm- 6.30 pm (teens/youth 9-15) Fee: $14

Development of observational drawing, visual perception and artistic abilities; starting with simple objects, perspectives and scenes and gradually achieving excellent results. Very exciting classes with plenty of pleasure to explore new themes.

Watercolor painting supplies

Materials include good watercolor paint set (please do not get absolutely spicy shades), watercolor paper from 14 x 18 and up to 16 x 20 in; 3 watercolor brushes: 1 flat (1 inch); 1 round size 8 and 1 round size 10-12, all with fine tips, pencil, eraser, cardboard base and painters tape to attach the paper, rather larger size plastic palette for mixing up paints and fairly many sheets of paper towel.

Watercolor pencils are optional.

Registration is already on.

Art classes: acrylic pancy painting

I have scheduled an introductory class for new students and those who might be interested on August 29 between 4 and 6 pm. I will pass out applications, answer questions and show materials.

I hope to see you at my studio-gallery!

Students told they really enjoyed my classes last year!

For any questions, please e-mail:

inesepogaart@gmail.com