Tip Tuesday: Playing with Paint

Most of us know there are several different ways to paint. From strokes to colors and back to canvas, painting something can be full of options. But how many options have you tried? Recently, meaning in the past few months, I have tried playing around with my paint. Why is Tip Tuesday about playing with paint? Because that is the only way you will learn.

Read the art books, watch the demos and take workshops. But if you don’t practice that information it is meaningless. I had a great enlightening experiment over the weekend. It was one of the moments where you felt like playing, just to see what would happen. I had a horrible painting come out of it and a pretty good one. How did I create both? I played.

The first one was just awful. You know it’s bad when your boyfriend walks by it and says “Don’t be mad, but I can’t tell what that is”. I laughed and simply said “I know, it’s my ugly painting.” HAHA. I recognized the issue and I let it go. If I made excuses for it where would the learning be? I probably won’t keep this piece but it’s a reminder of what happened. Ready to see it? Scroll to the bottom, yes I posted it on here!

So what went wrong? First of all I wanted to complete the piece in one sitting, it’s to large to do that. Especially if I am just seeing what I can do. I took the mindset of it not being a masterpiece. It started off okay but I quickly discovered it wasn’t planned out right. I was lost on how to create the background of foreground, to many colors on my palette and I picked a really difficult subject for a one day sitting.

I did not complete it in one day. Which was okay, when I saw it the next day all I said was…..yikes. I threw in highlights and blended a few things here and there. I already knew it was a lost cause at this point but that was okay. I was just playing after all.

The next piece went pretty well. I did it in one sitting and tried something different again.

Crusing the Shallow Seas blue spotted sting ray
Cruising the Shallow Seas; 20×16; oil on canvas
I was pretty happy with the way this one turned out. I recognized all of the issues before I even started.
Buy now at: www.taylorannfineart.com or email me at: tnichczynski@yahoo.com


Before starting on this I picked out my colors as usual but I also laid them out in the order of the color wheel. And I used less white, mixed the colors with a brush vs a palette knife and for my darks…..I mixed main color used with red, yellow and blue. I really loved this. It was interesting to see what was going to happen. I used less paint and made color notes off to the side to see how the colors would work together.

I kept the whole thing really simple and I think changing the type of animal helped. I used different brush stokes as well. I kept with the form of the animal but I also didn’t keep my wrist to tight.

Stepping further back while painting helped as well. The key to many things is squinting, for me it doesn’t really help. Since my eyes are bad, I just take my glasses off. Works just as good!

Good vs. Bad. Color vs Harmony. What more can you learn. Learn all that you can from teachers but test them out for yourself. Below (besides the ugly painting) are some tips that you may even be doing without realizing it!

Just bad Haha. But a learning tool.
Just bad Haha. But a learning tool.

Play with Paints:

— Keep color temperature in mind. Typically the best way to go is warm colors in front and cool colors in the back.

— Try a limited palette, less confusion. Also keep it clean and organized.

— Keep transparent colors on hand as well as opaque.

— Avoid black, use mixtures of colors instead. (ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson)

— Be careful with whites (I find myself using wayyy to much white) to lighten a color, warm it as well. The lights on an object is reflecting the color around it.

— Get to know the back of your paints. See if they are transparent, how many pigments make up the color and how does it hold up to the sun.

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