Art instruction: how to choose what to paint

art classes: barn watercolor

Art instruction and art classes will definitely help because the subject is everything!!!

Why it is so difficult to choose what to paint? Why cannot we decide on it?

That sometimes takes, hours, days and weeks, even months. I know how some potential artists would procrastinate for long time just because they cannot stop at something in particular and make a decision.

How so?

Stopping at some subject is crucial to get started at all.

When we go through images or sort our memory and imagination we find the potential subjects too difficult, too complex or too simple. There is nothing to paint. Nice colors, but bad view, no foreground or no background, boring or too detailed: these and similar thoughts might rush through your head.

One of the worst ways to help you choosing what to draw or paint today is just to check out what others do or have done today.

That’s it. There goes your day and there go the best hours for painting.

Internet images will suck you in; you will end up watching lots of YouTube videos which you neither wanted to watch, nor needed. You will look at endless Google images. That is a big distraction which we call inspiration. I will just get some inspiration on this subject, you say and nothing gets done.

Whether that is a photo or a set-up of real items, just get started. Just do it: the first line, the first brush stroke. Who cares?

You can change colors.

You can add or remove the background.

You can disregard details or add them to your pleasing.

Anything which is related to your computer or phone is here to distract you.

No wonder we wake up 4 hours later and we have not done one single line of a sketch, drawing or under-painting.

I sometimes think people are way better off going to a class because that will remove all troubles.

There will be a prepared image, subject or concept and you just go with it.

That image will suit well your intentions.

Assuming, you are alone and you do not have intention attending classes at the moment.

Get a picture, good, perfect or not that great: it does not really matter. The only thing that matters is to get started.

Once we are over the starting point, that’s it.

Just take the pencil or pen and start drawing. Take the brush and start brushing.

The first step is what matters. After that point you will be fine because the inner “you” will not allow taking a break until you are done.

For inspiration, please, see the progress of recent barn and spring watercolor.

 

We start with sketch, then do very light line drawing, apply first washes, add more or less color, define more and that’s pretty much it. Total time: about 5 hours.

I did not like how the first version looked pale (not in photo, but in reality) the next morning, so added stronger background and more layers to buildings and front.

art classes: barn watercolor

That’s how it looks, watercolor on Saunders-Waterford paper, 22 x 16 inches, or 56 x 41 cm.

To get started easier, please, sign up for painting and drawing classes:

https://inesepogagallery.com/classes-workshops-schedule/

To see what art can do for your mental health and brain fitness, please read my article on my other blog: Keeping memories alive

Good luck!

 

Art instruction: meaningful and useful tools for your creative freedom

art instruction

Art instruction is a way to find out how one is able to make creativity, drawing, sketching and painting part of their lives and self-care.

I received recently a lot of positive comments about my art classes. Parents admitted that the art instruction which is available in our region (Ontario, Whitby, Oshawa, Ajax) does not actually include learning how to draw or paint for real. That especially referred to art classes for teens. They told most art classes were rather craft classes that deal with glue, markers, inks, papers, mixed media topped on each other, and so on. Basically, they were looking for somebody who has the skill of drawing, sketching and painting and is able to present this skill to others. So they were very happy to find me.

Is that a surprise? It actually isn’t when we take into account the dramatically shortening attention span due to the overuse of devices, lack of commitment due to the inability to prioritize important things in our life and fake positive reviews of entertaining art events like paint nights. While some people who have no art creation experience would assume that entertaining art events with cocktails and food are art classes, as strange as it sounds, I must admit that they simply cannot be by their nature because they won’t teach anybody anything.

We have arrived at very misleading art instruction models. Most of them are designed to please the participant and to make believe that they are gaining a lot.

One of my 12-year-old students literally nailed it during the last watercolor class: most people are interested only in the final products and they have no interest or patience to learn about the process of getting to this final product.

Indeed, we are seeing this frequently. Due to the fact that potential students are made to believe they will learn something about drawing and painting while actually not learning anything, many venues that offer art classes are trying to go the way of the least resistance: they offer paper or canvas with drawing on it, so that the student has to only apply paint as instructed on these surfaces. Most events are a few hours a single night or one day only because everybody is in a big rush. Is it possible to master everything within such a small time frame? No, it isn’t. Alone brushing techniques take months to practice and manage, not to mention that colors, values and composition matter. We always place something in the painting on a certain spot, not where happens, but where it makes sense. Our task is to find out how to detect this spot.

While most people who sketch or paint somewhat representative scenes and subjects implement roads, buildings, fences, water streams, paths, tree lines and distance, only a few are aware that this is done by using linear perspective to which we are adding atmospheric or chromatic perspective to achieve impact and give our image power.

If we want to make art instruction meaningful again and if we want people to really fall in love with creativity and hand-made art, we have to go the long and more difficult way. We have to allow teens and adults who want to learn to do so. Having the final product or masterwork done in just a few hours is an illusion. Nevertheless, there are lots of people who believe in that. Final product or masterwork cannot be the only goal. What matters in this case is the journey to the final product, the multiple techniques and approaches, the enjoyable path to self-discovery, satisfaction and feeling of fulfillment.

So, I received nice compliments about my art instruction because nobody else actually bothers with teaching potential students the understanding of main drawing and painting principles in this area.

Our recent project: progress

I also wanted to make an art class which is impossible to replicate online: just because the content of this class rests on the presence and the interaction between me, group and everybody as an individual.

art instruction: sketching and watercolor

Therefore, I am proud that my drawing, sketching and painting classes provide teens and adults with a meaningful art instruction that ensures one has tools to enjoy a creative freedom and is able to draw, sketch and paint anything they want and the way they would like to. I believe that is different and that works in favor of a student.

Please see also: https://inesepogagallery.com/2017/10/02/art-created-different-dimension/

And if you live in Ontario, you can apply for my art classes directly here:  https://inesepogagallery.com/classes-workshops-schedule/

Art instruction: online versus real, myths versus reality

Art instruction can be found in abundance everywhere: there are numerous online classes, numerous websites that will give an idea of that and also countless real life events. 100% of students who attend my art classes have been watching YouTube art instruction videos, demos and suggestions. One would think they have learned a lot. In fact, it isn’t the case. Most people after spending a lot of time with online art instruction videos haven’t learned anything. That sounds strange, but it is a fact. Most people who have been watching YouTube tutorials and demos do not know how to use the brush with acrylic, how to blend paint and how to make the correct color they want. Most people who were learning drawing and watercolor painting using online video tutorials are afraid of water; they do not know how to apply watercolor paint, how much water to use, how to time the painting process and how to avoid muddy colors. Most people, who were learning how to draw online, cannot draw anything on their own or using real things and their set-up compositions. They can only trace a photo or use an outline printout for their drawing. Why would that be? Why haven’t they become skilled after spending numerous hours at the screen? The reason might be the one-sidedness. If one has a lot of artistic experience and knowledge of paint application techniques and understanding of paint properties, they will benefit from such online art instruction videos. These, who have zero experience, most likely will not. I believe these art instruction videos are good for inspiration and issue solving if you have plenty of painting and drawing experience. If you do not have such experience, you will rather get confused and disappointed. In real and live class, I can see how somebody understood the demo or painting tip. You’d be surprised seeing what levels of moisture are applied when I am saying: make your paper wet. That ranges from flooded paper with puddles of water to slightly seeing shine on it. Graded wash is understood in very different ways: from thick layer of paint to no paint at all. Not to mention a wet paint application on wet paper and a dry paint application on wet or dry paper. Timing is a very important part of painting with either watercolor, or acrylic. By not observing timing and making good use of it, the potential artist will definitely get frustrated. There are things which are easy to do when the timing is right and impossible to do at all if the timing is wrong. When you are sitting on one side of screen, nobody can check or see how exactly you are applying advice or tip. In a real life class, I can see right away whether the paint is too wet, too dry, there is too little of it or there is way too much of it. I can see right away who understood the technique and who is struggling with it. I am able to notice the weaknesses and the strengths right away, as well. Brushing techniques are probably the most important part of acrylic painting. Most people have absolutely no idea about these techniques. It is understood that it does not matter how you put the acrylic paint on canvas. Well, that makes the painting experience either pleasant, or results in frustration when one cannot achieve what they want to. Most people do not know how wet and how dry watercolor paint should be, and I have seen how some would try applying it without any water at all. Sounds crazy? Yes, it is weird because we call it watercolor since it can be used only with water. Pigment in watercolor paint is activated using water, otherwise it won’t work. Without doing this properly, there is no watercolor painting, but we create a streaky smear. There is a principle which is always true when it comes to art supplies: the better quality art supplies are, the easier it is to apply them; and vice versa: the worse quality art supplies are, the more skills one will need to use them properly and to achieve good results. While many art instruction demos and videos are called “How to paint ….” they should be called, in fact, “How I paint ….” because there are lots of ways to interpret one and the same subject and one and the same theme. Many of demos also instead of “How to paint …” fall in the category “How not to paint …”. That’s just how wrong the demo or art instruction advice can be. With the wide-spread accessibility of internet and opportunity to share and post anything, we cannot be always sure if the advice we are given is correct or if it will ever work for us in particular. We have to approach everything selectively. That refers not only to art instruction, but also to any advice for any situation in life. We have seen by now how art instruction is given by people who do not have the slightest teaching or art experience, as well. Art instruction has become an area where everybody is an expert. Would anybody teach and give music lessons? Piano or guitar lessons, for instance? No, they would not. Would anybody without any knowledge and skill teach foreign language, math or chemistry? No, they would not because that means misleading the student and pretending that one has what they do not. When it comes to drawing and painting, it is assumed that having no experience is not an issue. Just teach it and everything will be fine, which is profoundly wrong. I would say if you want to see fast results and create a decent and interesting art, you definitely have to start with real and live art instruction. Let the art instructor see how and what you are doing because that is the only way to find out why some things absolutely do not work and what you should be doing to make this experience rewarding and uplifting. Realistically, the things one needs to learn are the main principles of drawing and painting, not the style and techniques of artist X, Y or Z. The truth is that once you have learned the basics and have established the foundation you will be able to create anything, draw and paint anything in your personal style and to develop a personal approach to any subject. That won’t limit you to just being able to paint one particular scene and subject. It will feel like: I can draw and paint any scene, any still life and floral composition. I can draw and paint anything. That’s why starting with techniques, values, color theory and composition is important. Practically, that means finding out what your brush, paint and pencil can do once you know how to use them. Therefore, I would suggest, we start with basics and go from simple subjects to very complex ones. Along with becoming skilled in art, drawing and painting are the absolutely best things to devote our free time and leisure hours to. This means also exploring ourselves, becoming smarter, better with decision making and invisibly growing new brain cells, as well, extending the lifetime of the existing brain cells. That means a better memory and an improved cognitive function.

Art instruction can be found in abundance everywhere: there are numerous online classes, numerous websites that will give an idea of that and also countless real life events.

100% of students who attend my art classes have been watching YouTube art instruction videos, demos and suggestions. One would think they have learned a lot. In fact, it isn’t the case.

Most people after spending a lot of time with online art instruction videos haven’t learned anything. That sounds strange, but it is a fact. Most people who have been watching YouTube tutorials and demos do not know how to use the brush with acrylic, how to blend paint and how to make the correct color they want. Most people who were learning drawing and watercolor painting using online video tutorials are afraid of water; they do not know how to apply watercolor paint, how much water to use, how to time the painting process and how to avoid muddy colors.  Most people, who were learning how to draw online, cannot draw anything on their own or using real things and their set-up compositions. They can only trace a photo or use an outline printout for their drawing.

Why would that be? Why haven’t they become skilled after spending numerous hours at the screen?

The reason might be the one-sidedness. If one has a lot of artistic experience and knowledge of paint application techniques and understanding of paint properties, they will benefit from such online art instruction videos. These, who have zero experience, most likely will not. I believe these art instruction videos are good for inspiration and issue solving if you have plenty of painting and drawing experience. If you do not have such experience, you will rather get confused and disappointed. In real and live class, I can see how somebody understood the demo or painting tip. You’d be surprised seeing what levels of moisture are applied when I am saying: make your paper wet. That ranges from flooded paper with puddles of water to slightly seeing shine on it. Graded wash is understood in very different ways: from thick layer of paint to no paint at all. Not to mention a wet paint application on wet paper and a dry paint application on wet or dry paper. Timing is a very important part of painting with either watercolor, or acrylic. By not observing timing and making good use of it, the potential artist will definitely get frustrated. There are things which are easy to do when the timing is right and impossible to do at all if the timing is wrong.

When you are sitting on one side of screen, nobody can check or see how exactly you are applying advice or tip. In a real life class, I can see right away whether the paint is too wet, too dry, there is too little of it or there is way too much of it. I can see right away who understood the technique and who is struggling with it. I am able to notice the weaknesses and the strengths right away, as well.

Brushing techniques are probably the most important part of acrylic painting. Most people have absolutely no idea about these techniques. It is understood that it does not matter how you put the acrylic paint on canvas. Well, that makes the painting experience either pleasant, or results in frustration when one cannot achieve what they want to.

Art instruction can be found in abundance everywhere: there are numerous online classes, numerous websites that will give an idea of that and also countless real life events. 100% of students who attend my art classes have been watching YouTube art instruction videos, demos and suggestions. One would think they have learned a lot. In fact, it isn’t the case. Most people after spending a lot of time with online art instruction videos haven’t learned anything. That sounds strange, but it is a fact. Most people who have been watching YouTube tutorials and demos do not know how to use the brush with acrylic, how to blend paint and how to make the correct color they want. Most people who were learning drawing and watercolor painting using online video tutorials are afraid of water; they do not know how to apply watercolor paint, how much water to use, how to time the painting process and how to avoid muddy colors. Most people, who were learning how to draw online, cannot draw anything on their own or using real things and their set-up compositions. They can only trace a photo or use an outline printout for their drawing. Why would that be? Why haven’t they become skilled after spending numerous hours at the screen? The reason might be the one-sidedness. If one has a lot of artistic experience and knowledge of paint application techniques and understanding of paint properties, they will benefit from such online art instruction videos. These, who have zero experience, most likely will not. I believe these art instruction videos are good for inspiration and issue solving if you have plenty of painting and drawing experience. If you do not have such experience, you will rather get confused and disappointed. In real and live class, I can see how somebody understood the demo or painting tip. You’d be surprised seeing what levels of moisture are applied when I am saying: make your paper wet. That ranges from flooded paper with puddles of water to slightly seeing shine on it. Graded wash is understood in very different ways: from thick layer of paint to no paint at all. Not to mention a wet paint application on wet paper and a dry paint application on wet or dry paper. Timing is a very important part of painting with either watercolor, or acrylic. By not observing timing and making good use of it, the potential artist will definitely get frustrated. There are things which are easy to do when the timing is right and impossible to do at all if the timing is wrong. When you are sitting on one side of screen, nobody can check or see how exactly you are applying advice or tip. In a real life class, I can see right away whether the paint is too wet, too dry, there is too little of it or there is way too much of it. I can see right away who understood the technique and who is struggling with it. I am able to notice the weaknesses and the strengths right away, as well. Brushing techniques are probably the most important part of acrylic painting. Most people have absolutely no idea about these techniques. It is understood that it does not matter how you put the acrylic paint on canvas. Well, that makes the painting experience either pleasant, or results in frustration when one cannot achieve what they want to. Most people do not know how wet and how dry watercolor paint should be, and I have seen how some would try applying it without any water at all. Sounds crazy? Yes, it is weird because we call it watercolor since it can be used only with water. Pigment in watercolor paint is activated using water, otherwise it won’t work. Without doing this properly, there is no watercolor painting, but we create a streaky smear. There is a principle which is always true when it comes to art supplies: the better quality art supplies are, the easier it is to apply them; and vice versa: the worse quality art supplies are, the more skills one will need to use them properly and to achieve good results. While many art instruction demos and videos are called “How to paint ….” they should be called, in fact, “How I paint ….” because there are lots of ways to interpret one and the same subject and one and the same theme. Many of demos also instead of “How to paint …” fall in the category “How not to paint …”. That’s just how wrong the demo or art instruction advice can be. With the wide-spread accessibility of internet and opportunity to share and post anything, we cannot be always sure if the advice we are given is correct or if it will ever work for us in particular. We have to approach everything selectively. That refers not only to art instruction, but also to any advice for any situation in life. We have seen by now how art instruction is given by people who do not have the slightest teaching or art experience, as well. Art instruction has become an area where everybody is an expert. Would anybody teach and give music lessons? Piano or guitar lessons, for instance? No, they would not. Would anybody without any knowledge and skill teach foreign language, math or chemistry? No, they would not because that means misleading the student and pretending that one has what they do not. When it comes to drawing and painting, it is assumed that having no experience is not an issue. Just teach it and everything will be fine, which is profoundly wrong. I would say if you want to see fast results and create a decent and interesting art, you definitely have to start with real and live art instruction. Let the art instructor see how and what you are doing because that is the only way to find out why some things absolutely do not work and what you should be doing to make this experience rewarding and uplifting. Realistically, the things one needs to learn are the main principles of drawing and painting, not the style and techniques of artist X, Y or Z. The truth is that once you have learned the basics and have established the foundation you will be able to create anything, draw and paint anything in your personal style and to develop a personal approach to any subject. That won’t limit you to just being able to paint one particular scene and subject. It will feel like: I can draw and paint any scene, any still life and floral composition. I can draw and paint anything. That’s why starting with techniques, values, color theory and composition is important. Practically, that means finding out what your brush, paint and pencil can do once you know how to use them. Therefore, I would suggest, we start with basics and go from simple subjects to very complex ones. Along with becoming skilled in art, drawing and painting are the absolutely best things to devote our free time and leisure hours to. This means also exploring ourselves, becoming smarter, better with decision making and invisibly growing new brain cells, as well, extending the lifetime of the existing brain cells. That means a better memory and an improved cognitive function.

Most people do not know how wet and how dry watercolor paint should be, and I have seen how some would try applying it without any water at all. Sounds crazy? Yes, it is weird because we call it watercolor since it can be used only with water. Pigment in watercolor paint is activated using water, otherwise it won’t work. Without doing this properly, there is no watercolor painting, but we create a streaky smear.

There is a principle which is always true when it comes to art supplies: the better quality art supplies are, the easier it is to apply them; and vice versa: the worse quality art supplies are, the more skills one will need to use them properly and to achieve good results.

While many art instruction demos and videos are called “How to paint ….” they should be called, in fact, “How I paint ….” because there are lots of ways to interpret one and the same subject and one and the same theme. Many of demos also instead of “How to paint …” fall in the category “How not to paint …”. That’s just how wrong the demo or art instruction advice can be. With the wide-spread accessibility of internet and opportunity to share and post anything, we cannot be always sure if the advice we are given is correct or if it will ever work for us in particular. We have to approach everything selectively. That refers not only to art instruction, but also to any advice for any situation in life.

We have seen by now how art instruction is given by people who do not have the slightest teaching or art experience, as well. Art instruction has become an area where everybody is an expert. Would anybody teach and give music lessons? Piano or guitar lessons, for instance? No, they would not. Would anybody without any knowledge and skill teach foreign language, math or chemistry? No, they would not because that means misleading the student and pretending that one has what they do not. When it comes to drawing and painting, it is assumed that having no experience is not an issue. Just teach it and everything will be fine, which is profoundly wrong.

I would say if you want to see fast results and create a decent and interesting art, you definitely have to start with real and live art instruction. Let the art instructor see how and what you are doing because that is the only way to find out why some things absolutely do not work and what you should be doing to make this experience rewarding and uplifting.

Realistically, the things one needs to learn are the main principles of drawing and painting, not the style and techniques of artist X, Y or Z. The truth is that once you have learned the basics and have established the foundation you will be able to create anything, draw and paint anything in your personal style and to develop a personal approach to any subject. That won’t limit you to just being able to paint one particular scene and subject. It will feel like: I can draw and paint any scene, any still life and floral composition. I can draw and paint anything. That’s why starting with techniques, values, color theory and composition is important. Practically, that means finding out what your brush, paint and pencil can do once you know how to use them.

Art instruction can be found in abundance everywhere: there are numerous online classes, numerous websites that will give an idea of that and also countless real life events. 100% of students who attend my art classes have been watching YouTube art instruction videos, demos and suggestions. One would think they have learned a lot. In fact, it isn’t the case. Most people after spending a lot of time with online art instruction videos haven’t learned anything. That sounds strange, but it is a fact. Most people who have been watching YouTube tutorials and demos do not know how to use the brush with acrylic, how to blend paint and how to make the correct color they want. Most people who were learning drawing and watercolor painting using online video tutorials are afraid of water; they do not know how to apply watercolor paint, how much water to use, how to time the painting process and how to avoid muddy colors. Most people, who were learning how to draw online, cannot draw anything on their own or using real things and their set-up compositions. They can only trace a photo or use an outline printout for their drawing. Why would that be? Why haven’t they become skilled after spending numerous hours at the screen? The reason might be the one-sidedness. If one has a lot of artistic experience and knowledge of paint application techniques and understanding of paint properties, they will benefit from such online art instruction videos. These, who have zero experience, most likely will not. I believe these art instruction videos are good for inspiration and issue solving if you have plenty of painting and drawing experience. If you do not have such experience, you will rather get confused and disappointed. In real and live class, I can see how somebody understood the demo or painting tip. You’d be surprised seeing what levels of moisture are applied when I am saying: make your paper wet. That ranges from flooded paper with puddles of water to slightly seeing shine on it. Graded wash is understood in very different ways: from thick layer of paint to no paint at all. Not to mention a wet paint application on wet paper and a dry paint application on wet or dry paper. Timing is a very important part of painting with either watercolor, or acrylic. By not observing timing and making good use of it, the potential artist will definitely get frustrated. There are things which are easy to do when the timing is right and impossible to do at all if the timing is wrong. When you are sitting on one side of screen, nobody can check or see how exactly you are applying advice or tip. In a real life class, I can see right away whether the paint is too wet, too dry, there is too little of it or there is way too much of it. I can see right away who understood the technique and who is struggling with it. I am able to notice the weaknesses and the strengths right away, as well. Brushing techniques are probably the most important part of acrylic painting. Most people have absolutely no idea about these techniques. It is understood that it does not matter how you put the acrylic paint on canvas. Well, that makes the painting experience either pleasant, or results in frustration when one cannot achieve what they want to. Most people do not know how wet and how dry watercolor paint should be, and I have seen how some would try applying it without any water at all. Sounds crazy? Yes, it is weird because we call it watercolor since it can be used only with water. Pigment in watercolor paint is activated using water, otherwise it won’t work. Without doing this properly, there is no watercolor painting, but we create a streaky smear. There is a principle which is always true when it comes to art supplies: the better quality art supplies are, the easier it is to apply them; and vice versa: the worse quality art supplies are, the more skills one will need to use them properly and to achieve good results. While many art instruction demos and videos are called “How to paint ….” they should be called, in fact, “How I paint ….” because there are lots of ways to interpret one and the same subject and one and the same theme. Many of demos also instead of “How to paint …” fall in the category “How not to paint …”. That’s just how wrong the demo or art instruction advice can be. With the wide-spread accessibility of internet and opportunity to share and post anything, we cannot be always sure if the advice we are given is correct or if it will ever work for us in particular. We have to approach everything selectively. That refers not only to art instruction, but also to any advice for any situation in life. We have seen by now how art instruction is given by people who do not have the slightest teaching or art experience, as well. Art instruction has become an area where everybody is an expert. Would anybody teach and give music lessons? Piano or guitar lessons, for instance? No, they would not. Would anybody without any knowledge and skill teach foreign language, math or chemistry? No, they would not because that means misleading the student and pretending that one has what they do not. When it comes to drawing and painting, it is assumed that having no experience is not an issue. Just teach it and everything will be fine, which is profoundly wrong. I would say if you want to see fast results and create a decent and interesting art, you definitely have to start with real and live art instruction. Let the art instructor see how and what you are doing because that is the only way to find out why some things absolutely do not work and what you should be doing to make this experience rewarding and uplifting. Realistically, the things one needs to learn are the main principles of drawing and painting, not the style and techniques of artist X, Y or Z. The truth is that once you have learned the basics and have established the foundation you will be able to create anything, draw and paint anything in your personal style and to develop a personal approach to any subject. That won’t limit you to just being able to paint one particular scene and subject. It will feel like: I can draw and paint any scene, any still life and floral composition. I can draw and paint anything. That’s why starting with techniques, values, color theory and composition is important. Practically, that means finding out what your brush, paint and pencil can do once you know how to use them. Therefore, I would suggest, we start with basics and go from simple subjects to very complex ones. Along with becoming skilled in art, drawing and painting are the absolutely best things to devote our free time and leisure hours to. This means also exploring ourselves, becoming smarter, better with decision making and invisibly growing new brain cells, as well, extending the lifetime of the existing brain cells. That means a better memory and an improved cognitive function.

Our December art project: beginners and students with experience, everybody got fantastic results. It was a very successful art instruction, and I finished a few versions of my demo paintings. This is one of them. 

Therefore, I would suggest, we start with basics and go from simple subjects to very complex ones. Along with becoming skilled in art, drawing and painting are the absolutely best things to devote our free time and leisure hours to. This means also exploring ourselves, becoming smarter, better with decision-making and invisibly growing new brain cells, as well, extending the lifetime of the existing brain cells. That means a better memory and an improved cognitive function.

Suggestions on how to choose art classes: https://inesepogagallery.com/2017/10/09/choose-art-classes/

Registration for art classes: https://inesepogagallery.com/classes-workshops-schedule/

And some of our previous experiences: https://inesepogagallery.com/2013/09/20/art-classes-a-worthwhile-activity/

How drawing and painting teaches life and boosts mental fitness

Drawing and painting are some of the best things we can do in order to increase the brain activity, improve memory (not only visual) and become more confident, self-aware and efficient with making decisions.

How so? Every line and brush stroke we put down on paper or canvas comes from the brain impulses and activity of neurons at certain parts of the brain. Your hand doesn’t move on its own, it’s guided by our perception and the ability to transform visually or with other senses perceived information into individualized personal experience which is reflected as you draw or paint. It is a very complex process, and we tend to think there are mysterious powers of some kind involved. I sort of want to remove the magic aspect from creativity, just to keep things simple. Inspiration will add the magic, but we have to start from the basics.

Most people do not see the surrounding world as an artist does. So, the first task is learning to recognize all the multiple aspects of transforming a simple visual image into art that exhibits the artistically applicable features of this image. How do we do that?

Anything we draw or paint must find some echo in the storage space of our imagination. Such space of stored imaginary images is present within any memory based on associative and a priori acquired knowledge. Anything we create always relates to our fundamental knowledge of this world. Yet, the drawing or painting we are doing has SPECIFIC OBJECTS, VERY SPECIFIC ITEMS, a VERY SPECIFIC THEME and ATMOSPHERE. It is a scene like no other because it always presents individual features. No two apples are exactly the same, now flower copies the other one exactly line by line, vein by vein and trees come all in very various shapes, not to mention faces, landscapes or other scenery.

Since most people who learn painting or drawing believe that getting all information from the outside and simply following somebody without making their own decision will do the job, first artworks usually do not come out that great. While we are sketching or blocking in the basic shapes or lines, we should already try to decide why everything is where it is, and why composition evolves as it does. The reason we place our objects based on some principle on our paper or canvas is deciding early and planning for effects which we create later.

Adding paint or other elements is always making decisions: first about values, then about shapes, edges, washes and eventually we need to apply color if it is watercolor or acrylic or oil painting in color. Our brain has to make these decisions fast. Most mediums require using relevant timing. If we hesitate too much in some watercolor layers, it simply is too late to achieve the type of wash that makes such painting outstanding. If we are too slow, the acrylic layer we worked at is already dry or tacky and we have to return to it later.

Some images from recent art classes

Blooming in studio, painting makes us happier and definitely boosts mental fitness

There are two main things blocking our ability to proceed with painting or drawing when somebody attends or watches a class: we believe that instructor has made all decisions for us and our task is to blindly follow and to repeat what we see; and we are trying to do everything without any knowledge of why. There is no reasoning, no decisions which arise from our current activity.

For instance, when asked what he or she is doing with some particular part of painting, a very frequent answer is: “I don’t know”. How come? You have to know why you want one part dark and how to achieve that, you have to decide whether that particular object is small or large, has lost edges or sharp edges. That is, basically, we have to decide what exactly and why exactly every time we do something with our painting or drawing.

The biggest trouble maker is simple, aimless brushing around, moving paint all over until everything what there was is lost. That comes from not making a decision. When we decide that clouds are large and grey, we act to achieve this. It’s obvious that only acting based on decision can contribute to implementation of our intentions.

The instructor or art teacher isn’t a magician; they cannot affect directly and immediately the way your brain works. They hope you pay attention to what they say and demonstrate and you will make your own decisions based on this advice. However, if you do not answer for yourself why, what, when and how, the progress is noticeably delayed. Therefore, I also advice doing value sketches. This does not slow one down, but helps tremendously with planning and deciding on what, where and what way.

Eventually, the decision making we learn in classroom makes one much more efficient in other areas of life; hence, everything should be based on decision, not impulse and lack of thinking, so that we do not have to admit: I don’t know why I am doing this. You have to. Unfortunately, nobody can provide you with a dose of understanding perspective, values, shapes, contrasts, layouts and other elements as a capsule or tablet to simply swallow and apply. Everybody has their own ways of making the necessary decisions and they should arrive to this understanding on their own, based on advice, recommendations, techniques and principles teacher, demo or class has provided with.

2 new still life paintings for sale

Sunny still life, 12 x 16 in, acrylic on canvas

Recent study

Fall still life based on drawing: Fall still life

More about drawing: Magic attraction of drawing

Lifeschool post has some suggestions on how to avoid preventable accidents and also shares some stories of people who required lengthy recovery:  Preventing bad accidents

The magic attraction of drawing and making time disappear with watercolors

Drawing and painting takes time, and I was recently short of it. However, we created sketches from real fruits in our watercolor class, we did large-scale reference drawing for our still life painting and we are also about to finish the chickadees and birch painting in the evening class.

I regret seeing how few people actually decide to engage in drawing and sketching because it is the perfect thing to get carried away by when it is not that pleasant outdoors. As many of you know, my health is very far from good, so, I’m using drawing and painting to a big extent as a part of my art therapy. It has good results!

I paint and create some drawing even when I cannot do anything else, when pain gets that bad that it prevents me from walking and standing. I paint and do drawing when I feel desperate, disappointed with the reality of life and when I am completely depressed because of strong medications which make me cry for hours and see no point in anything. It can be a bit difficult to get started, bet when I overcome the resistance, what a pleasure that is! I don’t always care how great the painting or drawing is or how perfect the color combinations are. Art is so fulfilling that I cannot compare this with anything else. Drawing and painting cures.

One set-up of still life which resulted in reference drawing to be used for creation of a painting

Watching different students getting started with their first drawing or painting certainly brings up some thoughts. When I have people with the attitude: I came to the class and teach me now, it can be tough. Teaching is only a part of the entire process, and whether somebody will achieve what they came to the class for, will definitely depend on their willingness to get engaged in the process of creation. Since it is a process and something ongoing with a potential of being developed endlessly, it would be silly to expect mastery within a few hours. Therefore, I really appreciate the students who enter my studio with open mind and heart and who want to see this as an exploration of our abilities, as an experiment in our capabilities and as an enjoyable learning experience.

Drawing still life: pen and watercolor sketch

First steps in still life painting is following the drawing and sketch: we did a very light line drawing and began to apply some paint

This is just the first half, but we will finish this painting during the next class

When we look at online, offline and otherwise prepared materials for somebody to get involved in drawing and painting, I must say nothing can replace the live interaction and face-to-face classes. Why? Because I can see right away what’s causing some problem: too much water, too dry paper, too less paint, too much paint, bad quality paper, brush or paint. When it comes to watercolors, everything matters, yet, the quality of paper is crucial to achieve anything. I always use the same paper that I give my students which is large size, between 16 x 18 in, and this time it was 18 x 24 inches. I have seen over the years how tiny and small paper prevents one from getting done good art. If paper is too small to see and perceive, it will be definitely too difficult to apply paint on it. Let’s just say if you are watching somebody painting online and you do not have a very thick, heavy and good quality paper, you can kill yourself, but you simply won’t achieve what they are showing you. Saving on paper is a mistake because thin paper won’t allow to lift paint and use multiple washes, as well as, to try other techniques. My students are using paints made in St. Petersburg from real pigments. The difference in transparency and ease of application is huge. Once again, with bad paints, you won’t have the same results and transparency.

Chickadees and birches project which we did in Tuesday night class, it is ready for sale, too, and I will upload it on Fine Art America site to get cards, prints, canvas prints, tote bags, phone case and pillows with this image, original is 18 x 24 inches

I am somebody who loves drawing, therefore, I’m also teaching to draw from real life, not photos whenever possible. I believe that drawing from real  subjects results in the best art because it gives one an absolute freedom of interpretation.

I am somebody who was born with the ability to draw and create a drawing from real or live subjects and set-ups. I am simply good at it.

Link to my drawing and painting classes: https://inesepogagallery.com/classes-workshops-schedule/

Well, there are lots of unfinished paintings,, lots of drawing I still want to do, just like always, but I hope following my advice more people will pick up pencils and brushes and get engaged in drawing and painting. There is simply nothing like it. It doesn’t ask one to be in a good shape or to be dressed up and look perfect, it doesn’t even require being in a good mood. That comes as an additional benefit along the way. I’m also seeing art as a tool to cure addictions and prevent from falling back into addictions because it has such a huge power. Have a great week full of art!