You remember potential energy – from Physics class? I have potential creativity. (And possibly ADD. All I know is that I can’t write a word without a cup of coffee at hand. But anyway…)
Years ago, I went on an oil painting bender. I bought an easel, some canvass, a cupful of brushes and stuff, and paints. A lot of paints. I bought books on oil painting, because seriously, how else are you supposed to learn this stuff? I tried art classes is school. They intimidated me. And the teachers spent all their time hanging out with the kids who were already good at art, and pretty much ignored me while I struggled to figure out the basics. (Ok, that was one teacher in seventh grade. Looking back, she was a pretty lousy teacher. I never took another art class again.)
I even started a few paintings. I’ve never finished one. Partially because I only have so much time, and I have other things to do (like writing that book that everybody keeps asking me about…). But mostly because I can see the picture I’m trying to create and don’t (yet!) have the skill to make the picture come out right on the canvas.
Normally, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t play the game unless I’m pretty sure I can win. But I haven’t thrown out my art supplies. I keep them, almost as art pieces in themselves. They are potential creativity, potential beauty, potential art. I want to do a self-study painting class, where I get a great beginners tutorial book and work through it, chapter by chapter, exercise by exercise. I’ll do it on my own schedule and at my own pace. Or maybe I’ll find a good online class. Or maybe I’ll do both. Any suggestions for me? Leave them in the comments below!
I’ve seen several step by step books that are almost art classes. I always recommend going to the library. You can try tons of books and when you find the right one then you can buy it. However, I think the real trick is to just try. Paint and paint some more. Isn’t that what they say about writing – just write and write some more. The more you paint, the better your technique will be. I guess I’m just one of those who just believes in doing it (sometimes after researching it to death but I’m not perfect).
There’s one book called “The Oil Painting Course You’ve Always Wanted” by Kathleen Staiger that I’ve checked out of the library several times. I need to finally get around to buying it! And you’re absolutely right – the best way to learn to paint is to put brush to canvas. I need a little more direction than just “Hey, go paint something!” though. I can stare at a blank page and dive right in, but blank canvas? No way 🙂
DIVE DIVE DIVE right in. Paint and paint some more. Play with it and play with it some more. then get a book.