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greymist
09-20-2007, 10:44 PM
Does anyone have any time-saving tips that they have learned over the years that have helped them speed up the painting process? I am tired of being the slowest painter in the world. I looked for a tips and techniques thread on this forum, but could only find the ones about tips for palettes and paint-storing, etc., and not ones about tips for helpful time-saving techniques. I hope this is not a stupid question???

Lisa

peapod
09-20-2007, 10:59 PM
time saving in what way?

idylbrush
09-20-2007, 11:01 PM
It isn't a stupid question but I must say that being a slow painter is a matter of style and application rather than a byproduct of the materials used.

Start by doing some gesture works with brushes and in time you will find you can gain some speed if that is what you truly want.

1100ww
09-20-2007, 11:38 PM
Maybe you could describe your current process? I wonder if you are starting with too much detail? The best thing I could recommend would be to start simple, blocking in the main shapes and forms, and layer over that with shadows, highlights, and details. But that's just a matter of opinion and personal preference, of course.

metalhead
09-21-2007, 02:11 AM
Small canvases, big brushes, paint outside where it's uncomfortable. You'll be done in no time.
:D (only half joking.)

Also, the corner of a half-inch wide flat brush acts like a much smaller brush (so you can get away without switching brushes sometimes.)

1100ww
09-21-2007, 03:23 AM
Another thing I forgot to mention, that you might already know:

For me, a white canvas staring at me is the worst thing. Painting on a medium-toned canvas helps so much. You can then sort of approach your painting almost like a charcoal drawing on grey paper--using the medium tone for your base, and being able to go darker or lighter with ease.

The splotchy, uneven coverage you'd get trying to cover a white canvas, virtually goes away when you start painting on a medium tone. It's easier to get darks, and easier to judge your values more accurately. And when you put those highlights on, it's like magic, like the icing on the cake.

If you were doing, say, a landscape--go ahead and brush on a blurry sky and a green/brown/whatever tone for the land, sort of blurring them in the middle. You can add anything on top of this with ease--trees, water, grass, etc.

Again....just a matter of opinion, but it has helped me a lot.

LavenderFrost
09-21-2007, 12:49 PM
I could compete with you for being the slowest painter. :lol: But I don't know how to paint faster without compromising my style, which is realistic and detailed. I would like to learn to paint faster, though. When I find the time, lol.

Bill_E
09-21-2007, 02:09 PM
Well, back in the north woods we used to go out in the bush and find a nice spot down wind of a hungry bear to set up the easel. Then you'd pull out a smelly old fish and lay it down under the easel and start painting. The idea was to finish painting the picture of the bear before you got too scared and ran away... just joking :lol:


I guess the question is why be in a hurry. Yes, with practice you become more efficient. Simplifying the painting helps too. I think of it this way. Do you want a fast food meal, or fine dinning? To rise above the ordinary takes time...unless your being chased by a bear :D


PS PLEAD DON'T TRY WHAT I SAID ABOUT THE BEAR!!!

Nilesh
09-21-2007, 03:03 PM
Does anyone have any time-saving tips that they have learned over the years that have helped them speed up the painting process? I am tired of being the slowest painter in the world. I looked for a tips and techniques thread on this forum, but could only find the ones about tips for palettes and paint-storing, etc., and not ones about tips for helpful time-saving techniques. I hope this is not a stupid question???

Lisa
There is a book called The Unknown Craftsman. In it, especially in and around the ninth chapter, there are some fascinating insights into working quickly and freely and beautifully.

greymist
09-21-2007, 03:03 PM
Thanks everyone, for your replies. I can see how a medium-toned canvas, and learning how to become proficient with a larger brush would help. Those are the types of things that I meant. I recently learned that when trying to paint buildings, I might as well go ahead and use my masking tape to begin with, or I waste a lot of time later trying to fuss with my feeble attempts at straight lines! I think I might try complementary underpainting next. I guess I will eventually find what works best for me. Thanks again...

Lisa

amaze_1101
09-21-2007, 05:00 PM
I havn't read everyones replies. My own thoughts on the matter are firstly, there is no need to be in a hurry, you need to work at your own natural pace, and not be pressured to go faster or slower. We each work at different speeds and there is no right or wrong way.

Secondly, have an organised work area, i.e. good lighting, colours and brushes layed out, plenty of fresh water, paper towels, whatever tools you like to use close at hand.

Understanding the process of what you're painting is to me, probably the most effective way of getting the work done efficiently. Knowing where your painting should be at each stage of the process. This obviously takes practice, and following the WIPS here in the forums will be really usefull if you are new to painting.

edtree
09-22-2007, 06:31 AM
Something you might consider is participating in the WDE Events here on Wet Canvas. 16 references are posted each Friday, you spend 30 minutes choosing one of the references, and two hours to create. Then you post it! Maybe go over and take a look if you haven't already. Here's the link:WDE

Elizabeth

metalhead
09-22-2007, 10:32 PM
Well, back in the north woods we used to go out in the bush and find a nice spot down wind of a hungry bear to set up the easel. Then you'd pull out a smelly old fish and lay it down under the easel and start painting. The idea was to finish painting the picture of the bear before you got too scared and ran away... just joking :lol:


I guess the question is why be in a hurry. Yes, with practice you become more efficient. Simplifying the painting helps too. I think of it this way. Do you want a fast food meal, or fine dinning? To rise above the ordinary takes time...unless your being chased by a bear :D


PS PLEAD DON'T TRY WHAT I SAID ABOUT THE BEAR!!!
I know what you mean, but, as a counterpoint, I have here in my hands a book called "60 minutes to better painting" by Craig Nelson.

In it, he makes the point that to become proficient at painting, you got to put in some brush mileage. If you're still learning (and who here is finished learning? -- but especially if you're kind of a beginner, as I consider myself to be) If you spend a lot of time futzing around trying to be perfect on every painting, and being super careful, etc., you're never going to make a good painting that has those loose, confident, "just-right" brushstrokes. Now if that's nothing like the sort of painting your aiming to make, then fine. If it is, or you'd like to be able to do that, then I think there's no substitute for brush mileage, and some very quick paintings, which you don't go into with the mindset of producing a masterpiece, will get you to a level of proficiency a lot quicker than futzing around trying to create masterpieces each and every time. It's kind of like practicing guitar. You might practice all sorts of picking exercises, scales, fingering exercises, which in and of themselves are not music, but they get your fingers and your brain to a place where making good music is possible.

To shorten all of the above down to a single word:

Practice.

(Now I should practice what I preach. :) Fully intend to head out to the park tomorrow morning and do a plein air (maybe two.) There, now I've written it in public, now I have to do it. :) )

ETA: edtree, the WDEs are a good idea. I keep looking at those every once in awhile, and have done them in the past, but usually I can't find a photo that grabs me. Too picky, I guess. That being said, my very best painting ever was from a WDE photo.

BTW, your WDE link didn't seem to work for me:
Here's where I go to check out the WDEs (http://wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=133).

Bill_E
09-23-2007, 01:45 AM
... I think there's no substitute for brush mileage, and some very quick paintings...A friend of mine, a professional orchestra musician, once told me that if you want to be a professional musician you have to play a lot of notes first. Good advice. I agree that there is nothing like "brush mileage" as you say. I would say, however, that there is a distinct difference between a "quick" painting and being "fast". I love plein air paintings for the very reason that they are by nature "quick". What they are not is "fast". There are no short cuts. Plein air forces me to simplify and concentrate on essentials. Quick has nothing to do with "time saving", rather it has every thing to do with "judicious use of time". A "quick" painting requires you to concentrate on the essential elements and to do them well. Short cuts...well, I'll let the reader decide.

edtree
09-23-2007, 08:38 AM
Seems I'm dabbling in a little of both these days. I've got some pieces that I am laboring over, slowing and meticulously, but try and do a couple a week that are fast and loose because it releases the inner creativity (does that make sense to anyone?) If you've ever taken a life drawing class, you know what I mean. Especially during warm-up, the model only poses for a minute or two so you have to draw quickly. As I look back through my sketches, I see some pretty amazing attempts and a big difference from the laborious drawings. I think this is the same kind of thing Bill is speaking of with plen aire. It is more spontaneous...you have a limited amount of time because of the light etc. You don't overthink. Interesting discussion. :)

Elizabeth

JamieWG
09-23-2007, 10:31 AM
Elizabeth's suggestion of using the WDEs for speed training is a great one! Painting plein air also forces you to work faster because of the changing light. You really only have a couple of hours to complete a painting. Working smaller helps too. :)

Jamie