Have you reached a point in your art journey at which you feel relatively confident about your skills but are anxious to find your own style and voice? Are you stuck with your art and feel that your own perfectionism and/or fear of failure is keeping you from moving forward?
"Create your own visual style... let it be unique for yourself
and yet identifiable for others."
There is a point in every artist's journey at which a substantial amount of time and effort has been dedicated to developing artistic skills, but the artist has yet to decide what ideas he/she wants to share with the world and what mediums, techniques and style will set him/her apart from others. It takes an immense amount of work, exploration and introspection to push through this point, but it's important to keep on until the breakthrough happens.
In my opinion, it's exactly THIS desire to push through the initial phase that differentiates a hobbyist from a pro. It's a point at which perfect rendering and technique becomes just as important as (or may even take back seat to) having an artwork transmit the ideas or feelings we are striving to transmit.
In this blog post, I will be sharing five very useful tips that will help you loosen up and express more of yourself through your art. It's this exploration that will help you discover yourself as an artist. If you're at this point, it's time to experiment fearlessly and push your limits!
I wrote a blog post several months ago in which I share an excellent method that you can apply to start discovering your own art style using other artists' work as inspiration. This strategy will be very useful for you in this stage, so make sure to check it out after this post.
How to Effectively Use Other Artists' Work as Inspiration and a Great Method to Start Developing Your Own Artistic Style.
Currently, I'm doing a lot of exploratory work with oils on canvas. If you've been following my work for any amount of time, you probably already know that I love working on smaller-scale watercolor illustrations. However, I've had the pleasure of creating larger decorative fine art for local clients and have really enjoyed it! I'm making time for oil painting as much as I can and am planning on selling my artwork internationally in the near future.
I'm working on a series of five large landscape oil paintings. I will be sharing these with you throughout the upcoming weeks so stay tuned!
5 Tips That Will Help You Become More Loose and Expressive When Creating Art
"Regularity, order, desire for perfection destroy art.
Irregularity is the basis of all art."
1. Gain confidence in your skills by learning and practicing
In order to draw or paint freely, you need to have a certain level of confidence in your skills. And the only way to truly gain confidence in anything, is by practicing first-handedly. Knowing Art Fundamentals inside and out is going to help you IMMENSELY, and is the basis for everything else.
Things like composition, harmony, proportion, color, perspective, texture, value, etc., have to be engrained in your head so that you can apply this knowledge naturally and organically as you are creating your artwork.
Aside from knowing Art Fundamentals, it's also imperative for you to have some experience working with whatever medium and supplies you're thinking of using. How are you going to paint or draw freely if you feel like you're constantly fighting with the medium?
The saying "Learn the rules before you can break them." applies here!
In my blog post titled Why Sketchbooks Are Essential Tools for Artists and A Few Usage Tips
I share how I personally use my sketchbooks on a daily basis to make sure I'm progressing continuously.
2. Prepare yourself mentally before you begin
It's absolutely essential to start a challenging piece in the right headspace. Once you have arrived at the idea of what you'll be creating, start with positivity and confidence. I've mentioned this before, but our minds are EXTREMELY powerful! Remember, if you think you're going to fail, you most likely will.
Now is the time to embrace experimentation and throw perfectionism out the window! Allow the magic to happen as you work with your medium and tools. Do your best to give up some of your control and allow your medium to do some of the speaking for itself.
3. Paint with larger brushes and, if possible, on a larger substrate
Painting/drawing at a larger scale will not only encourage more arm movement (which in turn leads to more dynamic work), but allows you to focus on larger shapes. Using a larger brush, or drawing tools like chalk or charcoal, also make it more difficult to obsess over tiny little details. This, in turn, challenges you to think about what is actually needed in your composition and what can be left out.
Not to mention, larger pieces are also (usually) meant to be viewed from farther away. At the moment of drawing or painting, step back and continuously remind yourself that the piece is meant to be appreciated from a distance.
If you're creating a painting, remember that your paintbrush is not meant to be held as a writing pencil or pen! Try holding it with your thumb and index finger, and keep the rest of your hand relaxed. Beginners have a tendency to hold brushes very close to the bristles to feel more in control. Try holding your brush farther up the handle, anywhere from halfway up to the tip.
Explore the different types of brush strokes your brushes are able to create, and the shapes and textures their bristles naturally leave behind. Load your paintbrushes with a good amount of paint so that there's more of a chance for interesting "natural" occurrences to happen.
4. Use music
Music can have such a deep impact on our mood and inspiration levels! I love creating a good, long playlist for myself prior to starting with a painting. Music helps keep my creativity flowing and my energy high for hours.
Our taste in music will vary from person to person, of course. Perhaps an artist looking to create an extremely dynamic abstract painting would be inspired by music with a faster/upbeat tempo. Whereas, another artist might find more relaxing, classical music more helpful.
Regardless of your taste in music, create a playlist that will help you stay positive, inspired and motivated to continue.
5. Learn to leave your brushstrokes alone
Do your best to place your brushstrokes (or lines if your drawing) with intention and then leave them alone! Allow the organic occurrences to happen and think of how you can use these effects to your advantage instead of trying to correct them or blend them out.
Stop yourself from pushing forward with actions that are really not really necessary. Try to do more with less and don't obsess over every tiny little accident!
Let go of the mental need to control everything!
I hope that you found this post helpful and that it encouraged you to keep exploring and moving forward with your art! I wish you all the best and remember to enjoy the process!
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep."
Are you in the process of finding your art style and voice, or do you feel you still need to practice your basic art skills? What type of artwork are you most drawn to, and how do you think this will translate into your own artwork? I'd LOVE to hear from you in the comments section below.
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Hey there! Thanks so much for coming by today!
It's been a while since I last posted a little collection of my latest pieces and I wanted to share a few of them with you. I also want to let you into my personal life a bit every now and then, so that you can get to know me and what I've been up to.
Lately, I've been very busy taking business courses, networking with other artists/creative entrepreneurs both online and locally, doing commission work for clients, teaching my afternoon painting classes, and producing quality, helpful content for blog/YouTube channel. It's been a lot, but I REALLY want to make this work.
I constantly find myself wishing the day had more hours so that I could continue with my personal drawing and painting studies (as I should be), but right now I really have to prioritize my business goals if I don't want to go back to full-time employment.
I'm extremely happy to share that I'll be traveling to Toronto at the end of March! It's been a dream of mine to visit Canada for many, many years! At some point in April I'll be sharing photos and videos of my trip, things and places I was inspired by, and other great things.
Because I'll be taking a week of from blogging and YouTube March 28th-April 4th, I'll be working extra hard to create awesome content before I leave AND I have BIG things planned for April which I will be sharing with you very soon! :) Stay tuned for that!
Hope you've been able to work on your art as well.
As busy as life can get, try your best to make time for it!
Talk to you soon!
New Saint Patrick's Day and Spring-inspired products at my online shops!
Hey! I hope that you are having a wonderful and restful weekend!
As I do every Sunday, here are a few studies and pieces I was able to complete this week. This week I worked primarily with watercolors and oils. You may have already seen some of these, as I created them specially for my Day of the Dead blog post I published this past Thursday. Read that blog post here to learn more about this wonderful Mexican celebration and how to draw a human skull (for beginners)! I included a downloadable step-by-step PDF at the end for you to practice with!
Next week, I am continuing with the plant/flower studies I promised myself I would work on. I really need to improve in this area! In next Thursday's blog post I will be sharing with you how I am brainstorming and planning for the seasonal/Christmas paintings, cards and tags I will be selling both personally and through my online shops. Just in case you aren't aware, my Redbubble and Society6 stores are now open! I am making it a priority to keep uploading awesome products with my work to sell there, if you are interested!
Thank you for visiting and I hope to see you around soon!
Hello! This week I experimented with watercolor faces quite a bit. I found it very fun, which was surprising because a year ago I had a super hard time painting faces with this type of paint. I also finished up the still life oil painting I started last week and a watercolor painting of exercise equipment/accessories.
I am excited for next week's helpful blog post! I will be writing about three of my favorite artists and how to get inspired by others effectively, in order to produce your own original artwork, and slowly (but surely) arrive at your own style! Stay tuned for that! :)
Hello art friends!
Here is my mini-collection of drawings and paintings I was able to create this week. This is my third week doing face studies! As you will see, I started using a drawing pen for some of these, which was super fun. I think next week's sketches will be created using ink as well. I was also able to finish up a watercolor painting and started a new oil painting! I will probably finish the oil painting at some point next week and will re-post the finished piece in my next weekly collection post.
Make sure to check out next week's helpful blog post, in which I will be sharing my thoughts about how to stay confident as an artist and sharing your creative work.
Hey there! This weekly collection includes the five pencil face studies I did this week. This was my second week practicing faces in different angles, which means I have another two to go, at least. I was also able to finish two oil paintings this week and a fun watercolor painting of a little red-eyed frog.
This week was exciting for me because I finally opened my first online shop on Redbubble. Click here to check out the cool stuff that I have created with my artwork and make sure to visit it later because I am still working on scanning more artwork to place on products. Next week I will also be opening a Society6 store and within the next few months, I'm starting on Etsy!
Hope you enjoy and come back soon!
``You want to make an omelette? You've gotta break some eggs.´´
-Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
In today's post, I will be taking you through the process of preparing an old canvas painting in order to reuse it to make a new artwork! I am a firm believer in using what we have and in being as resourceful as possible in our explorations. Because, as most of you already know, us artists explore a WHOLE darn lot and we have to be smart about how we spend our money.
First and foremost, a bit about the original painting. This canvas was a part of an artwork composed of three separate panels (three long rectangles meant to be hung vertically side by side). The paintings around 35 years old. Probably more. Another important note is that these artworks seem to have been created using very thin applications of acrylic paint. It is definitely not oil. And they don’t have much texture to them at all.
I took all of these points into consideration when I decided to use them in my oil painting explorations. I knew resurfacing them was going to be easy and that they presented good opportunities for me to work on a size and format I had never worked on before. Canvases with thickly applied paint (either oils or acrylics) or a lot of texture on them will probably require more work because more sanding will have to be done.
Secondly, I used regular Gesso I had at hand in order to resurface my canvas. There is a lot of debate whether or not it is ¨safe¨ to use oil paint on a canvas prepped with gesso. A lot of folks believe that it should not be done because it is just a recipe for cracking, peeling and an overall less durable painting. Other artists believe that a good quality Gesso can serve as base for practically any type of paint or medium.
I think it is up to you to figure out if this will work for your specific type of artwork or not, and the only way of finding this out is through first-hand experimentation. Perhaps your just experimenting and learning like me, and aren't really looking to create a masterpiece that will be passed on from generation to generation. In this case, it doesn't really matter.
Something you DO have to keep in mind is that if your goal is to resurface an old oil painting, a whole new set of rules apply. Regular Gesso cannot be used for this purpose. You would need an oil-specific ground and/or primer (I will not go into this process today because it is not something I have personally tried). So, once again, you CAN create an oil painting over traditional Gesso, but you CANNOT apply gesso over an oil painting. Are you with me? Ok!
I personally didn't worry much about creating an impeccable surface for this project because, as previously stated, I knew since the beginning that this was mostly an exploration for me. However, if it worries you, a solution is to apply Linseed Oil prior to starting the painting process. Simply brush this all over the previously dried gesso and allow it to soak for about 24 hours. Afterwards, wipe off the canvas with a dry cloth and let the games begin! The idea is that the gesso will absorb some of this oil and it is less likely to make the painting crack later.
How to Reuse an Old Canvas Using Gesso:
You will need:
-Old canvas painting/print/pretty much whatever as long as it's not an oil painting
-Thick used up/cheap brush
-Old fabric or dusting cloth
-Glass containers for water
-Linseed oil (*Optional)
1. Wipe the old artwork clean. Make sure it is clear of dust and other particles.
2. Sandpaper the surface using light pressure and focusing on heavily textured areas. Don’t fret so much about getting the surface super even if the painting has a lot of texture to it. Wipe surface using a cloth.
3. Apply first layer of Gesso as evenly as possible and allow to dry for a couple of hours. If your Gesso is too thick and this bothers you, you can add a bit of water to it. Make sure that first layer completely dries before continuing with the next step. If it feels damp to the touch, this means you should wait longer.
4. Once the first layer is dry, apply a second coat of Gesso and allow to dry once more.
5. Sandpaper the surface again! How much you sand this layer will depend on the amount of texture you want your painting surface to have. Some artists like starting off with more texture than others and this is where your personal preference comes in. Just make sure that after you're done with your sanding, you remove any left over particles by dusting your canvas once more.
At this point it should be ready to be painted on! But if you are still a bit nervous about not having a quality surface to work on, use the Linseed Oil suggestion I mentioned before. I will be trying this out on the next one!
To end this post, I would like to encourage you to experiment with new artistic processes first-handedly even though maybe you don't have much experience about how to go about them. Sure, do your research, but actually DO IT! Trying things out for yourself is going to leave you SO much more knowledge and experience than just reading or hearing about them.
Also, ALWAYS remember that both in art and in life, it's much more about enjoying the process than the final outcome! Even if you don't end up with a masterpiece, the skills you learned throughout the way AND what you discovered about yourself make the process totally worth it!
Have you ever re-purposed an old artwork in order to create a new one? I'd LOVE to hear about it in the comments below!
Thanks so much for reading. I hope this was helpful!
Do you feel ready to start painting faces, but aren't sure where to start? Would you like to know how to transition from drawing to painting faces organically in order to make the process less frustrating and overwhelming?
In this post, I will share the three main things I applied when I decided to start painting faces. As I have previously shared, I studied graphic design and have taken no formal painting classes. I wanted to make the process more organic for myself in order to avoid overwhelm, building on my skills incrementally.
Three tips to apply when transitioning from drawing to painting portraits
These tips apply for acrylics and gouache as well!
1. Always use a good reference photo and observe it CONSTANTLY throughout your painting process
Try to find one that has a good image resolution and interesting lighting. Even if your goal is not to create a painting or a drawing that looks like a specific person, it is always going to be helpful to have an image to look at throughout the process. This will help you establish realistic values and proportions.
2. It is ESSENTIAL for you to have a good amount of practice drawing realistic faces before attempting to paint a portrait
The only reason why I did a semi-decent job in my first portrait oil painting is because I have studied facial proportions for years and have a relatively good amount of practice drawing them. Only through time spent observing and practicing will one start developing an eye for what looks good and what is off.
I once read that, since we humans look at faces probably more than anything else on a daily basis, anyone would be able to tell if something is slightly off with a portrait when they see it, even if they can't exactly pinpoint what it is. You NEED an effective sketch to start a painting off with. Or be such a pro that you have realistic proportions/angles engrained in your head so well that you can go in with your paintbrush right away. I wish to get to this point someday!
3. Once you feel ready to try your luck at your first portrait painting, do it in grayscale
This takes away the need to create realistic skin tones if you are not yet at this point. It is better to take the learning process step-by-step! Keep in mind that, aside from facial proportions, the other important element behind creating realistic art is the effective use of color values.
I recommend focusing on setting up a palette with a variety of gray values, from lightest or darkest, and then making sure to place the different tonal values in appropriate places. I used odorless mineral spirits and Gamsol to thin out my paints and do blending. I really recommend this grayscale exercise.
I recommend moving on to color only after you have achieved effective form with grayscale. Once you have value placement down, you can practice creating skin tones and completing a face in color!
Have you ever tried painting a portrait before? What do you find most difficult? I'd LOVE to hear from you in the comments section below!
Thanks so much for visiting my site! I hope to have you back some time! :)
In my blog you'll find information and resources to help you improve your art skills. I also share tips that will help you stay happy and productive as your journey progresses.
Feel free to send me an
email, leave a comment on the site and/or reach out on social media. I'd love to connect!
Hope you enjoy
and find this useful!
10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting with Watercolors
Why Sketchbooks are Essential Tools for Artists and a Few Usage Tips
Guide to Shading Techniques: Hatching, Cross-Hatching, Scribbling and Others
How to Effectively Use Other Artists' Work as Inspiration and a Great Method to Start Developing Your Own Artistic Style
How to Draw a Face