Hey there, art friends!
I've been busier than usual the last couple of weeks because I'm launching my first two mini-courses, which will be free for my newsletter subscribers! These two mini-courses are intended for total beginners looking to start drawing and/or painting with watercolors and are coming out mid-May.
Each of these courses is three classes long (10-15 minutes each) and each class includes its own exercise I ask you to complete before moving forward. They are chock-full of information that I wish I had when I first started drawing and painting with watercolors. Knowing this information will not only give you a solid foundation to build skills upon, but will also help you save some money (we tend to buy supplies in the beginning that we really don't need).
To be notified as soon as they're out, make sure to subscribe to my list here:
Aside from working on my mini-courses and teaching my afternoon art classes, I'm continuing to challenge myself to improve my drawing skills, which is INCREDIBLY important, no matter what artistic medium you plan on developing skills in. The past couple of weeks, I've been sketching a lot of female figure studies, as well as portraits.
In case you're not following me on Instagram (instagram.com/erika_lancaster_art), you should! On there, I share what I'm up to on a daily basis. If you've already been following me, then you're probably aware that a couple of weeks ago I challenged myself to produce a total of five landscape paintings using oils. I've nearly completed the second, which I will be sharing soon! I'm including the first in this mini-collection of my latest artwork!
See the process that I went through to create this oil painting in this YouTube video of mine:
That's it for now, but stay tuned for much more to come!
I hope you're having a wonderful day and that you've been able to set aside at least a bit of time to work on your art!
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."
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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.
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!
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.
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!
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