View Full Version : Frustrated

10-17-2000, 09:27 PM
As I have been drawing for a couple years and have only used acrylics for a little while , i am frustrated and can`t seem to depict fur like in my drawings,also I am frustrated because my water doesn`t look as real as I want it to be

10-17-2000, 10:34 PM
I certainly don't want to discourage you Animal....but, I have to be blunt honest.

When I teach painting to adults, I let them know that as beginners they have to do 120 bad paintings just to learn something about painting.

Edgar Degas once said, "Painting is easy for those that don't know how, but very difficult for those that do!"

There is good reason we "ooh and ahh!" excellent work, because it is not easy to learn nor master, and requires much personal sacrifice.

So...let's pretend you were a student of mine in a class I was teaching, and after 3 different painting attempts felt painting fur (or anything for that matter) was something you weren't meant to do or capable of.

I would tell people who tried painting a few times that said painting was not for them, that they were wholly unqualified to make that determination. And the same for those frustrated as though something "ought" to come easier. At three paintings, you don't know enough about painting to know what your potential is. At fifty paintings you know a bit more what your potential is, but at about 120 paintings you will know what your potential is.

After painting wildlife art for roughly 20 years, when I decided to start painting landscapes...I knew I would be going back to near ground level. I fully expected that I would have to do about 120 paintings to learn something about landscape painting. I have done about 140 such paintings in the last 18-20 months.

So...it is not that you can't learn this thing Animal, but yes...admittedly, it may be tough for awhile. Some sayings in athletics are, "quitters never win; winners never quit!" "You never fail until you quit!"

So...be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to push discouragement far from you, for this will come in time.

Realistically rendered fur comes from drawing with smaller brushes; getting the paint to flow at a workable consistency; using washes of color to pull all the detailing together.

Suggested detail fur with the impasto technique requires focusing on the drama of light versus dark; the use of colors; and carefully laid texture.

Water is also, as so many others tell me, very difficult. I feel I have somewhat mastered painting water...thus it does not seem so hard for me, but I can appreciate its difficulty for others. I simply squint my eyes and study the patterns. I don't think of water as water...just see myself the artist responding to shape and color.

There are those that almost trace the patterns of water. They take a slide photo, throw it up onto the canvas and trace the patterns, then fill it in. If you do that to study water, that's fine. Some I know still do it to fool the public of their ability.

Get outdoors. Study water. Hear it. Close your eyes and smell the freshness of a rapids spray. See the effect of light reflecting off the surface; penetrating to the shallows beneath.

paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, and paint some more. Save your first few works and compare with later works. See if you are not improving. Then understand that many artists have 20-30 years invested in what sums up their proven abilities. You cannot short cut that which needs to be learned.

Start saving art magazines...such as "SouthWest Art", "American Art Review", "Wildlife Art News"....and visit galleries and art museums. Study what other artists do. When something seems to work, ask why and refuse to leave the work until you figure it out. Become a sponge and soak everything up.

If you could ask my wife, you would discover that I don't go anywhere without an art magazine in my hand. Tonight, we went out locally to eat before heading over to our school's girl's volleyball tournament. I had two magazines with. I constantly surround myself with images. Constantly appraise works and dissect them. If you want to paint well...you must surround yourself with the images that represent to you the excellence you are striving for.

This is not a quick fix..but a lifestyle. So, hang in there my friend. Don't despair. Respect the wrinkle around our eyes, and the grey in our hair. The things we learned came hard. Some you will be able to pick up here and there on Wetcanvas, and that is a blessing when it happens. Wow! A shortcut.

IF it sounds as though I'm being cynical, I struggle with young artists that have no sense of the hard digilence in the face of insurmountable odds and struggles that I and other experienced artists have somehow managed to overcome in the pursuit of excellence.

My struggle is not with you...not at all. I do not wish at all though for you to think that the solutions to painting well can somehow come without the price Father Time demands. Instead of growth by leaps and bounds, give yourself credit for "baby steps" Hang in there. Be encouraged!

Go make yourself 30 painting panels no larger than 12" x 16" and no smaller than 6" x 9" and then paint, paint, paint, paint.


[This message has been edited by lseiler (edited October 17, 2000).]

10-18-2000, 12:42 AM
Hi Larry,

Great advice!

I've been painting for a little over 5 yrs. and believe that I'm now only beginning to get the hang of it. I too began my life depicting images with pencils/pens and other means of drawing.A few years back I stumbled onto Bob Ross on T.V. and figured I could achieve more and different results with paint and brushes than I could with pencils etc. I wasn't at all in search of the half-hour wonders that this guy pumped out,but the feel and diversity that oil paints allowed me. I,as opposed to you have grown tired of the basic landscape painting.Maybe it's 'cause I've never tried Plein aire work.
I'm heading towards wildlife,I just feel pulled in that direction and have always had a love of wildlife and nature in general.
I know this probably isn't the place to put a link to my work, but I'd really be honored if you would please take a quick look at my site and see the transition that I've made from landscapes/seascapes to various other genre,including wildlife.
I never thought I could paint people...until I tried,same with animals.The Tiger that I just completed is my second animal painting,the Grizzly-my first.
Reading your responces to some of the messages in these forums is both highly inspirational and extremely motivating for me,thank you for your selflessness Larry.
Thank you in advance for any response.
Here's the link to <a href="http://www.artistnation.com/members/lofts/jim/wildlife.htm">my wildlife page</a>
P.S. About the boards that you mentioned at the end of your post,I can't help but be naive in this area and can honestly say that I've never glued canvas to board before.
I do currently have approx.two large rolls of canvas and would love to find out the procedure for gluing (what type of glue?)
(what type of board?)Is it Masonite?
Any special procedure for this?

Peace to you too! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
<center> Cloud Ten Graphics *Artwork by Jim* (http://jim.artistnation.com) </center>P.S.

[This message has been edited by Jim (edited October 18, 2000).]

10-18-2000, 04:05 PM

I visited your site...decent work! I could see the Bob Ross thing with your landscapes, and I can tell you that until you've painted plein airs onlocation, you have no idea what's missing in your landscape work.

Oh..I don't mean its not good. Its, well, contrived..and what I find, serendipitous.

Let's say its sorta like the safety of board games versus getting in the ring with a prized fighter and playing the "let's duck the big punch" game!

When you are facing time restraints determined by the sun and the atmosphere and NOT as determined by you. When the shadows and light present a drama that is breath taking, but nature intends to thwart you in the next ten minutes by removing the very thing that caught your eye...to leave you with, "now...what was it that I thought was cool? Why am I here?"

Its another animal. I will venture so far as to say there is landscape painting, and then there is LANDSCAPE PAINTING!...

Now...the spontaneity demanded of me; the dead on interpretation required of my eye; the immediate ability to mix color right away with no time to dabble and arrive at it...these are things that a painter learning to command will find benefit all chosen genres.

The difference now is...my past wildlife art appears more contrived and studio built. The experience of painting out of doors has resulted in such tremendous growth not just as a "landscape" painter but simply as an artist, that my wildlife works will breathe more life, as will my portraits, etc;

I can name a half-dozen names alone that are Wild Wing artists, known for their wildlife art that are painting plein air landscapes on the side, and the difference it has made in their wildlife paintings is wonderful. Jim Lamb, Marc Hanson, Gary Moss...etc; so, I would encourage you to take advantage of nature's studio where as an artist your eye and technical abilities will advance. You don't have to think of yourself as a landscape painter...just understand it will teach you to be a better painter overall!

My time is limited, and I will share more later concerning your wildlife or other questions. As for your glue question, I use acrylic matt medium. I sponge brush medium onto the surface rather liberally, lay the canvas on top and rub it so the canvas appears wet. I apply more medium where the canvas looks drier. I do this to the edges, and when dry (in about a half-hour to an hour), I trim the edges of the canvas off. Then I put on a couple coats of gesso.

You can put canvas on masonite this way; birch or cherry veneer; white core foam board; etc;

[This message has been edited by lseiler (edited October 18, 2000).]

10-24-2000, 09:42 PM
<FONT COLOR="Orange">Thanks Larry,</FONT c>,

for the advice you gave me. I guess I better practice more to achieve the detail you do, that might take plenty of practice. I am not discouraged by what you wrote but it has also helped me want to paint even more, even if just practicing how to paint a tail of a blue jay or sqirrel or a tree.

11-08-2000, 11:29 PM
I am tring to do a waterfall in acrylics, will proably post when I get it done.

02-07-2001, 10:38 PM
I went back tonight and reread this post and I am planning to try to paint as much as I can to gain practice and to learn how to paint, when I have enough time. Are canvas boards good for beginning painters like myself who haven`t painted much or would masonite be better?

02-07-2001, 11:51 PM
Do you ever watch the PBS tv shows that have painters on demonstrating a painting from start to finish? Bob Ross was one, but also there is Yarnell, who will walk you through a landscape in a few weeks (6 weeks maybe?)
I found watching these artists to be fascinating! To actually see how they paint clouds in the sky, leaves on the trees, and snow on mountains! They make it look SO simple, of course, but in watching them I've learned a lot of techniques, that only now am I having the chance to practise- trees, for instance.
I am sure there must be videos available, and depending on the type of art you'd like to paint, maybe you can find an artists video that teaches that.
Yarnell has a website- darned if i can't remember his first name though!

As for which surface, Darrell achieves amazing detail on canvas. For me, though, it is too rough as I haven't yet mastered the flow of paint. I did use canvas today for my landscape, but it was not finely detailed work- more painterly.

What I do for my birds is buy the masonite, and I coat the smooth side with 3 or more coats of gesso, using a small sponge roller. This will leave a lovely texture that you can either use as is, or sand down smooth between coats. You can dry each coat with a hairdryer to cut down waiting time.
Just get in there and try, Animal! Dont' give up, keep going. Remember what Larry said!

Each time it will get easier and better.
Keep at it!

Bev http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

02-08-2001, 06:51 AM
On the subject of videos... check your local library! I found that there are oodles of them but they may need to get them from the interlibrary loan -- there is more available than what you see on the shelves. I can now "shop" the library online too! :0) So, dont wait until you need to buy a video sight unseen, check it out first from the library and see if you want to own it!