Why Beginners Are Good At Painting

Every week I see people paint. Some beginners, some with drawing experience, some who are artists and some who haven’t painted in years. Their skill doesn’t correlate to whether or not they will create a good painting.

There is something beautiful in each one, the more I look the easier it is to find those moments. They are often surprises; those opportunities where paint suddenly transforms and becomes more than just a mark.

Good painters keep painting until they reach such a moment. Good painters are willing to try something new; they switch gears- sometimes scraping away extra paint and going for another round. Good painters have many rounds of failed moments and they kept working at their art. Good painters sometimes spend hours and hours painting, good painters find painting to be rewarding even if they go unrecognized. Good painters are willing to let their ability, where its at, to be enough to enjoy painting itself. Good painters play with the paint, and fuel their painting with their feelings. Good painters Paint, and the process is the painting.

Good painting is not about achieving photographic images or pleasing every viewer or even pleasing the artist. Good painting isn’t perfection and organization and order.

Beginners are open to possibilities and to play, so beginners are good painters.

 

 

Art Collaboration

Yesterday I was painting on my demo paintings so that I could reuse them my stepdaughter Aranna was drawing in a sketchbook and interrupted me to tell me I should do something similar to her favorite things.

I told her if she drew it for me so that I could understand her idea, I would do it. This is her drawing:

Anime style art
My stepdaughter Aranna composed this drawing for her commission.
image
And here is my impressionist interpretation of her Anime style.

 

Watercolor Mastery ToolKit

I love painting with watercolor, so I’m sharing with you the master painter’s list of watercolor supplies – beyond tempera paint. Its easy to paint beautifully with these art supplies.  Tempera paint never mixes into water as beautifully as the sumi-e ink in the opening sequence of Marco Polo, for example.

So spare yourself the disadvantage of poor materials and pick up some Windsor and Newton watercolors and the other supplies on this list.

ART SUPPLIES FOR WATERCOLOR PAINTING

Art supplies

You can buy all of these Art Materials on Amazon. Listed in no particular order.

Painters’ Tape

Tape the edges of your paper for a clean edge and your paper won’t slide around. Painters’ tape is better than masking tape, which will work if you must paint now.

painters tape
Painters tape provides clean lines on your painting surface

Watercolor Paper

I bought Bee Paper 100% Rag 140# Cold Press Watercolor Paper Pack, 50 Sheets per Pack from Amazon and was pretty happy with it. I trust Fabriano brand – Fabriano Studio Watercolor Pad 300G 50 Shts- any thick quality watercolor paper will do.

watercolor paper
Watercolor paper by Fabriano. I also love Arches for commissions and special occasions.

Artist Quality Watercolor Paints

watercolor paint set by Reeves
Reeves watercolor paint set. Upgrade to Windsor & Newton
watercolor paint
A travel kit of watercolor paints by Windsor & Newton. 

 Cheap but Good Brushes

Loew-Cornell Brush Set Value Pack

watercolor brushes
Inexpensive nylon brushes are fantastic.

Nylon brushes are the best ones, this pack has a variety that includes nylon as well. I buy cheap ones at Wal-Mart (the only thing I actually to Wal-Mart for, although I inevitably end up getting other things too :p).

Sketchbook

Draw it first in your sketchbook and make sure your painting will be a success.

I love a good sketchbook and Canson is a very reliable brand.
I love a good sketchbook and Canson is a very reliable brand. I like to pay $8-$10 for a good sketchbook and I always buy the hardcover black ones when they’re on sale.

Canson Universal Sketch Paper Pad 5.5 x 8.5 “: 100 Sheets

Oil Pastels

Oil pastels are dust-free and provide a beautiful outline to fill with fun watercolor washes.
Oil pastels are dust-free and provide a beautiful outline to fill with fun watercolor washes.

Sakura 25-Piece Cray-Pas Junior Artist Assorted Color Oil Pastel Set
The drawing won’t disappear when you start painting, because these pastels resist watercolor. $5.29

Art supplies for watercolor painting

Charcoal Pet Portrait Commission

Lou and Julie two sweet doggies pet portrait commission
Lou and Julie two sweet doggies pet portrait commission

I was recently chatting about my art, and I mentioned I occasionally took commissions and showed my work.

Most of the time when I tell someone I am an artist the response is “My friend or relative is an artist too.”

I usually request to be put in touch to see their work and do some networking with other artists.

But an even happier response is, “Can you make some art for me? I will give you money” and that is usually how I land happy commission like this one of Lou and Julie.

These two versions I will present to my client and hear if they capture the spirits of her animal friends. If so, I will collect the remaining fee [a deposit was paid before I started] and if not, I will collect feedback and do another version so that I know it is just right.

These two dogs are best friends and Lou is the elder. I really enjoyed the feel of charcoal on vellum and when I finished I sprayed them with Krylon clear coat as a fixative.

The pet  portrait Lou and Julie commission
The pet portrait Lou and Julie commission.

Spirographing. How That Spirograph is working Out

I draw the spirograph patterns by pinning one wheel or shape to the board then spinning a circle gear with a pen.
I draw the spirograph patterns by pinning one wheel or shape to the board then spinning a circle gear with a pen.

I recently was gifted a spirograph, which I absolutely love. I like making the circles in each pattern, and watching the pattern appear. I have been using the circle wheels until my pen ran dry. I am going to experiment with pens. I want a nice dark line that applies smoothly and doesn’t puddle or spot (when the pen leaves white spots in its wake I have to fix it in Procreate). My pen did both but for what I had, its nib fit in the Spirograph discs so I used it anyways. Mine is vintage, and from the looks of the ugly bulky colored not clear plastic modern ones, I am very lucky to have it. I guess parents don’t want toys that come with dozens of tiny push pins. I don’t blame them; Jeremy has already punctured his thumb after picking up what he thought was a small green bead off the floor.

Here are the Rainbow spirograph shapes all together.
Here are the Rainbow spirograph shapes all together.

My Super Spirograph set comes with a little cardboard surface. I lay out my paper – I like more than one layer of paper so my pen doesn’t fall in a pin hole and puncture my paper. Then I pick the larger shape and pin it to the cardboard. This is the one the circle will spiral inside or around.

Now I can repeat these spirograph patterns i
Now I can repeat these spirograph patterns in any drawing I like.
Triangle Spirograph with an interesting darks on light transition. This is what happens if I don't clean up the contrast before making a brush.
Triangle Spirograph with an interesting darks on light transition. This is what happens if I don’t clean up the contrast before making a brush.

Then the circular wheel, with pen shaped holes spiraled around the disc. These are where the pen goes in and turn the gear. Its a little bit of a steampunk craft, with the little gears revolving around a shape and laying down a pattern.

The process reminds me of this drawing machine.

eske rex: drawing machine from designboom on Vimeo.

(edited to add: my friend Alan let me know my previous link was not working and adds, “Caveat: the device above is not recommended for small apartments or those with nervous cats…” Ha! 😀 )
Have you ever heard of the Spirograph nebula IC 418? It is so named because its patterns are complex and lovely, too.

The Spirograph nebula named after the toy phot from NASA.
The Spirograph nebula named after the toy phot from NASA.

Eske Rex: Drawing Machine from thisispaper on Vimeo.

Spirograph custom Procreate Brushes i created for my illustration work.
Spirograph custom Procreate Brushes i created for my illustration work.

I import the spirograph designs into my digital illustration app, ‘Procreate’ and edit away the texture of the paper. Then, I transform the drawing from pen and ink to black and white, suitable for creating custom brushes in Procreate.

Spirograph mandala creation.

Colorful mint salmon and lemon spirograph.
Colorful mint salmon and lemon spirograph design. Available on Light Love Art Etsy
Looped spirograph.
Looped spirograph design available on Light Love Art Etsy.

Your Invitation to the Opening

Art Show & Salon Grand Opening

Art Salon Opening
Art Salon Opening

What’s happening

Come join in on the festivities and tour our newly opened Day Spa and Salon and check out what local art work we have on display! This month we are hosting 4 artists from Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Los Osos!

Have the opportunity to enter into a drawing to win free services provided at the salon and day spa. We will be drawing 23 tickets for a variety of services and for 3 fine art prints (4×6) of your choice from artist Katana Leigh!

Music, Finger Food, Wine, Beer and Beverages will be provided! Come join us to celebrate our new shop and just enjoy the night!

Hope to see you there! From the staff at Serenity Day Spa and Salon

The Sexuality Memoir I Illustrated

memoir sexuality
The three panel comic book illustration I created for Veronica Buna.

When Author Speaker Facilitator Veronica Buna contacted me about creating a 3 panel comic book illustration for her new book “S-E-X How Did You Learn to Spell It” I was delighted to jump onboard the project.

sexuality memoir by veronica buna
I love seeing my name in print!

She’s straightforward and candid about her personal experiences and shares stories about sexuality more honestly than Carrie Bradshaw. She’s also incredibly self aware, willing to be blunt about her own shortcomings so that she can get clear about what she wants and the kind of partnership that she (and you!) deserve.

It’s brilliant.

Here are the kind words she had to say about my involvement in the project:

sexuality memoir illustrator appreciation from veronica buna

Acrylic Painting Tips and Tricks for Beginners- How to Select Art Supplies!


Most people feel better about their painting when they know they have the right supplies. There’s just a few supplies that I think are important for an acrylic painting set up ever since my first class in university.

acrylic painting for beginners
acrylic painting for beginners
  • Glazing Medium
  • Matte Medium
  • Many Cheap paintbrushes
  • Primary Colors – Red, Yellow, Blue in warm and cool shades
  • I usually have a Sharpie silver marker or Silver Leaf pen to add accents to my paintings.
  • A mechanical paper and Pilot precise V7 pen for sketching.
  • Canvases or a surface to paint

These colors make it possible for you to mix any color found in nature. The glazing and matte mediums are for making translucent colors – useful for skin tones and flowers. I also have a selection of neon colors for sunsets and special occasions. But these are the basic art supplies that are enough to get anyone started.

Then all you need are a few canvas or canvas boards or even just a little wood to paint on.

Get started on your acrylic painting.
Get started on your acrylic painting!
acrylic painting tips and tricks for beginners
Acrylic Painting Tips and Tricks for Beginners – how to select your art supplies and make sure you have enough colors without spending too much money.

cosmic sunset

Full Moon Art meets the Heart Sun Meditation

This triptych is about the yin/yang of the lunar and solar cycles, about meditating on a glowing, fiery hot heart love, about the cycles of the moon and the way its all connected.
This triptych is about the yin/yang of the lunar and solar cycles, about meditating on a glowing, fiery hot heart love, about the cycles of the moon and the way its all connected.

This set was just completed  and unified into a triptych. There are three canvas panels that feature the dark black purplish night sky; one is the hand swinging the pendulum moon, showing the lunar cycles, while another features a figure meditating on the heart sun- the glowing feeling of love that is like the sun of the solar system. Behind the figure, the sun and the moon form an abstracted yin yang symbol.

Isn’t it beautiful?