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 for lily painting lily drawing

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

White Lilies Acrylic painting 20 x 16 inches

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.

Red poppies acrylic painting 20 x 16 inches

Poppies

For illustration: we are painting large flowers in Thursday classes. 2 hours at a time.

Artistic freedom and risks taking to a higher level of ourselves

Time … Time … How to make it slow down and stop for a moment? I have the answer, but unfortunately, this doesn’t help me getting done everything. We can capture a moment in a painting, and that doesn’t mean we can capture only the scene we are drawing or painting, we are also making impressions of our senses, our mood and feelings.

Although, I’ve been working hard and working a lot, my art and lifeschool blog were left alone again. Well, if I’m so tired that I’m almost fainting, I certainly won’t be posting anything. I believe doing our best can be not enough sometimes, but that is the only result we are able to have here and there. I do not push myself, as well. Rest is important, so is sleep.

My classroom got a face-lift. There are so many flaws with easels which are sold at the art store that I had to finally get to the issue and design my own easels for the use in classroom. They are extremely light and perfectly stable; nothing dances around, falls off or turns over. They allow painting when sitting and when standing. That took a while, and thanks to my husband and his skills, we have these easels working well now. I had to make also some smaller things like cardboard trays because I am seeing very often how disorganized the work-space is. That does not help. Work-space has to be easily approachable and everything has to be in the right place.

Acrylic painting for adults, new classroom

New easels

Art classes Whitby Ontario, new classroom for adult artists

Arranging everything

Acrylic painting classes Whitby Ontraio

New classroom settings

Artistic freedom Thursday class has 6 students

Pleasure lives here

Garden demo, too bad on cardboard

 

Garden demo for Wednesday, here only starting out, lots of work required yet, we will work on this for 2 more weeks

Acrylic painting Poppies Demo 1.5 hours

My less than 2 hours demo today

Talking about supplies which we use: we shouldn’t try using the entire art store. I counted last night; we need 14 paint tubes at most. We can paint very well with just 8. That means a bit more mixing. We normally won’t be using 6 or even 10 brushes during a few hours. Most often, we can perfectly paint acrylic with just one medium size flat brush. Watercolor requires minimum 3 brushes, but not 10 either. I can understand why somebody tries to take everything to the class: it’s called just in case. The negative aspect of too much art supplies is that it causes confusion. Especially when somebody is starting out, they won’t even notice what each brush does, and they will get to using it even less.

We had a fantastic group painting today. I have 3 hour painting sessions on Saturdays. We start on blank canvas and at the end of these 3 hours we usually have something to show for. I loved that nobody was disappointed because sometimes people imagine they can go within 3 hours from “never painted or was holding brush in my hand” to “perfect art created by a master”. That does not happen, so I am happy with people who have reasonable expectations.

Creation of art has to be fun and relaxing activity. When I hear people saying I am afraid, I am really wondering how so? I can imagine how one is afraid from a surgery, even dentist, test, speech to thousands of TV viewers or a job interview which can change the entire life. What is the worst that can happen when we paint something not as we think we should? With acrylic, nothing at all. We will need a bit more paint and possibly time to start that particular spot from new. Therefore, being afraid to paint sounds strange. Most likely, that is why kids and people who love taking risks have very good results. Once we get over the barrier we placed in front of ourselves, we are fine. I wouldn’t even call this courage. I’d rather call this: pleasure to experiment, take plunges into unknown and experience freedom.

Artistic freedom is like no other freedom and it is the most uplifting one. When somebody tells me there are very many rules in art, I’d like to disagree. There is no one single other person who can see and experience the reality in the same way we do. Why our imagination and creative potential should then be squeezed in some kind of frame of regulations? It shouldn’t. Any other freedom comes paired with duties and obligations. Artistic freedom of creative self-expression is a complete alone standing freedom. There are no and there should not be any restrictions. There are tips and tricks, and common sense how to get things done faster, better, more sufficiently and more impressively in art. Yes, there are. We can either accept or disregard them and try to discover everything from new. Art and creativity  mean a new world every single time we take the brush or pencil in our hand, I think we should build this new world in accordance with our personal preferences, likes and our vision.

I believe, many people like my approach, so my art groups have grown a lot. My space is limited to 12 participants, but I prefer not more than 10 artists for acrylic.

My wish to everybody starting out in art: do not take it too seriously, enjoy, have fun and you’ll find over time how nicely everything works out and falls in place. The above does not refer to people who make their living with art. That is a hard work, one of the hardest I know.

Create art and make your soul sing

We all have our routine duties, we all have to make our living, but how about the soul? What are we doing to feed not only the body, but also our soul? Some people express themselves playing music or dancing, some are writing poetry or stories, and some love to create.

I don’t think anything compares with the wonderful feeling when I have a white pure canvas or sheet of watercolor paper in front of me, and I’m about to put down the first lines or brush strokes. Creation is the straight opposite to consumption, and I really have deep respect for people who love to create and give something to others instead of just taking and using.

Creating art is a rewarding way of self-expression. It takes away from our daily troubles and routines, and this time is never wasted.

Adult acrylic painting class

Our adult acrylic painting class for beginners: rural scene

Paintings by our students

Beautifully done painting

 

Wonderful first acrylic painting

Great painting of farmhouse

Great farmhouse painting in acrylic

We had busy October and November: there were lots of meetings with interested people, many adult and teen classes, and also the November workshop was successful.

We were discussing the magazine article which will be published in Laura’s online site devoted to making lives of women richer and more satisfying:

www.More2Life4Women.ca

This article will describe my personal and art concepts, I will also share my experience living both, in Europe and in Canada.

I had two extremely devoted and diligent students: Sharon and Christine. They created fairly large paintings to decorate their living and dining rooms along with small nature scenes.

 

Wild rose fields by Sharon

We spent approximately 6 hours doing large decorative floral paintings.

Christine’s poppy painting

No doubt, these paintings will make every space look more attractive and inviting.

I started Wednesday night acrylic painting class for adult beginners.

The first painting came out very nice, even though nobody had too much experience painting with acrylics.

I am running workshops once or twice a month. This time we decided to paint winter landscape, and we think a flower painting would be great subject for the next workshop. Workshop takes about 3.30-4.30 hours, and we get done the entire painting during these hours. I’m providing with template to speed up the drawing and planning part, that way we have more time for application of paint.

Ladies with their ready-to hang winter landscape paintings. Even absolute beginners can achieve great results.

Beautiful snow scene paintings

We had one more younger attendant, but she left a bit earlier because she already had done two winter and fir-tree paintings with watercolor. Watercolor is a faster medium, especially when painting winter and snow, lots of spots can be left white.

We are working on an old farmhouse painting with the adult group, and I will post ready paintings next Wednesday.

Finding inspiration in poppy fields

It is not a secret that some themes and objects are easier to do, and especially, if the artist is just starting out. After engaging for a few classes in two landscape paintings, we decided to paint some poppies, just for fun and for the love of color.

This theme was liked a lot, and all students started their paintings without any complications, extreme difficulties or unpleasant surprises.

Placing poppies in the right spots

Everybody told, they really enjoyed this painting.

Blocking in the blooms

The excitement was so great that these paintings got finished by students during the following class, which was the last class before I left for vacation.

Students are using artist grade acrylic paints, so, these paintings will last. We had a chance to check out paintings done with students grade paints, and colors had lost they brightness in just 3 years.

We are referencing drawings, pictures, and sometimes real flowers to help our imagination with color choices and composition.

Students have freedom to choose whatever color or its shade they prefer, in order to create their paintings in a way they love it.

My poppy field demo version for this class.

I will post the cropped image under the Art News.