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Old 08-06-2019, 06:59 AM
Cassie Ann Art Cassie Ann Art is offline
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Any Tips for a Beginner?

Hello! I’m a high school artist, and new here to WetCanvas. While working through my art projects, I’ve come up with a list of questions that I would love to get some feedback on. These all apply to composition, but if you have more general answers for them, I’d love to hear those, too.
  • Who are the most controversial or unorthodox artists? What do you think of them, and what did they teach you?
  • What are the biggest myths you see in art?
  • What are the biggest wastes of time?
  • What are your favorite instructional books or resources on art? If people had to teach themselves, what would you suggest they use?
  • What are the biggest mistakes beginners make when working with composition?
  • What mistakes are most common, even at the professional level?
  • Who are the most impressive lesser known teachers?
  • How much do you analyze your composition and stylistic decisions when painting? Do you tend to make long, thought out plans for composition, or go more by gut feeling and intuition?
  • What were some of the best lessons you had to learn?
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:32 AM
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claude j greengrass claude j greengrass is offline
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassie Ann Art
[*]What are the biggest wastes of time?
Waiting for inspiration. Just paint.
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working. --Picasso
and
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.” -- Chuck Close

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassie Ann Art
[*]What are your favorite instructional books or resources on art? If people had to teach themselves, what would you suggest they use?
Mastering Composition - techniques and principles to dramatically improve your painting by Ian Roberts (link to my review on WetCanvase)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassie Ann Art
[*]What are the biggest mistakes beginners make when working with composition?
Starting with too small a brush or switching to too small a brush too soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassie Ann Art
[*]What were some of the best lessons you had to learn?
Just paint. Just paint a lot. You have to paint acres of canvas/paper to learn how to paint. BTW, all painters are self taught, even those who have an MFA
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Old 08-07-2019, 09:39 AM
Cassie Ann Art Cassie Ann Art is offline
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

Thanks for the advice. I definitely agree; waiting for inspiration never gets me as far as just sitting down and working hard does. Could you explain what you mean about switching to a small brush too quickly? Do you mean going detailed too soon in painting, or simply working on too small of a canvas in general?
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:34 AM
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

no matter the surface size, it's wise to start loose and build up gently to tightness.

la
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Old 08-07-2019, 05:43 PM
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassie Ann Art
Thanks for the advice. I definitely agree; waiting for inspiration never gets me as far as just sitting down and working hard does. Could you explain what you mean about switching to a small brush too quickly? Do you mean going detailed too soon in painting, or simply working on too small of a canvas in general?

First you paint the big shapes: between 3 and 7 is generally recommended. Big shapes usually require big brushes. These get refined into subjects: a table, window, a mountain, a river. Finally you add details with a smaller brush. The detail stage for me starts after I have completed 90-95% of the painting.

Almost every beginner I have met in a painting class arrives with 10, 15, or maybe even 20 very small brushes, all almost identical. At the most you only need a couple of these tiny brushes. I paint watercolours and I do most of my painting with a 1" flat or a large round that is about 3/8 of an inch or more in diameter. Joseph Zbukvic advises: "Use a brush that is almost too large". I agree with that advise. YMMV
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Old 08-07-2019, 08:38 PM
DK4242 DK4242 is offline
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

Draw, then draw some more and then draw even more. I've never heard a single artist say they're sorry they spent so much time drawing. Figurative drawing really is the core skill because if you can draw the human figure well, everything else is easy.
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:38 PM
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

do/don't ...

Don't place the subject or horizon or vertical dominance into the dead center zone - there are exceptions (always), but typically, don't do it.

Do find a focal point/subject placement in a quadrant around a third away from almost any edge, it can vary a bit, overlap a bit, can touch edge and/or center, or not.

Do study/understand perspective - 1 point, 2 point 3 point - you can't draw a proper table/chair/banana/cookie/pancake/wineglass if you don't get perspective.

Do study values by working in black(or blue or green or purple, what ever, pick One) and white. Color is important, but Value is where the real power/control is.
One of the best lessons i've learned = 'If you can't seem to make something dark enough, place light next to it - If you can's seem to make something light enough, darken what's next to it.

Do study color and harmony and compliments and temperatures of colors

Composition is complicated, but it can be kind of generalized as proper perspective and placement and that's a great place to start, no matter the subject(s).

Fave artists:
Dali, cause he was crazy, but brilliant with a brush
Michelangelo, cause the Pieta, is far beyond brilliant
DaVinci, cause science, engineering, grave robbing, anatomy

la
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:35 PM
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

1. Keep your water clean
2. Keep your brushes clean
3. Keep your palette clean
4. Keep your paints clean (and fresh)

Sling paint,
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Old 08-08-2019, 11:06 PM
theBongolian theBongolian is offline
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

Quote:
Cassie: Who are the most controversial or unorthodox artists? What do you think of them, and what did they teach you?
What I know about composition I learned as a street photographer. Substitute painting for "photograph" imo these observations apply.

William Eggleston - from "The Democratic Forest:
"I am afraid that there are more people than I can imagine who can go no further than appreciating a picture that is a rectangle with an object in the middle of it, which they can identify. They don't care what is around the object as long as nothing interferes with the object itself, right in the centre. Even after the lessons of Winogrand and Friedlander, they don't get it . . . They want something obvious. The blindness is always apparent when someone lets slip the word `snapshot.' Ignorance can always be covered by `snapshot.' The word has never had any meaning. I am at war with the obvious."--William Eggleston,


Gary Winogrand:
The photograph should be more interesting or more beautiful than what was photographed

Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.

Great photography is always on the edge of failure.

Last edited by theBongolian : 08-08-2019 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 08-09-2019, 06:05 AM
Cassie Ann Art Cassie Ann Art is offline
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

Thanks, everyone, that helps me a lot.
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Old 08-11-2019, 10:06 AM
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

Things about art I wish I had known when I was a teen:

Draw every day. Draw anything around you - it may be a landscape, a tree, your shoe, your foot....just draw.

Forget all the sayings or myths about "real artists never... or always". I grew up thinking "real artists" always drew freehand. I didn't think "real artists" used straight edges or traced. I knew nothing about the grid method. Learn these things. Learn them all and then pick the ones that work for you.

Try different styles. Try different media (including mixed media). Try different tools. Try it all. If it is something you don't like, think about if you can find one positive take away about it.

As mentioned above - Learn perspective, rule of thirds, and value.

Photography books and websites will have information about composition that is helpful for drawing and painting.

Read about artists - famous and not so famous. Watch videos about artists. Sometimes when watching a documentary about an artist a light bulb will come on that "hey, I should try that technique she did". It doesn't mean I have to act like the artist or that I completely copy their style but just suddenly dots are connected. For example I've been doing a little mixed media lately and the other day I was watching a documentary about an not so well known artist. They were showing some of his collage and my mind suddenly opened up to a different way to collage than I was thinking about. Instead of cutting out the shape of a complete item he used different pieces for the values in that object. Maybe this is obvious to others but it hadn't dawned on me.

You may want to read the book "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon.
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:16 PM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

Every artist I know, including the award winning professionals, makes failed pieces. Lots of them. I have seen award winning artists with work I very much admire wipe failed paintings off the canvas. It will happen to you too. Accept it as part of the process of making art.

I wish I had learned this lesson when I was just starting out.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:38 AM
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

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Originally Posted by DaveCrow
Every artist I know, including the award winning professionals, makes failed pieces. Lots of them. I have seen award winning artists with work I very much admire wipe failed paintings off the canvas. It will happen to you too. Accept it as part of the process of making art.

I wish I had learned this lesson when I was just starting out.




While i fully agree with dave here, i'll ad a caution ... Every Single Painting you do will (potentially) have an in between stage, the horrid stage and it can be pretty ghastly - work through it, it's normal. You will learn what's salvageable and what's not - the point is, sometimes it's worth working it through and sometimes it's just not.



la
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:24 AM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

Oh, yes. I forgot to mention the Ugly Stage. Push through it if you can.

Sometimes I have come back to paintings I put away during the ugly stage thinking they were not going to work and found that with fresh eyes I could bring them to successful completion. Other times, well...

Just don't despair if every painting isn't a brilliant masterpiece.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:59 AM
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Re: Any Tips for a Beginner?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveCrow
Oh, yes. I forgot to mention the Ugly Stage. Push through it if you can.

Sometimes I have come back to paintings I put away during the ugly stage thinking they were not going to work and found that with fresh eyes I could bring them to successful completion. Other times, well...

Just don't despair if every painting isn't a brilliant masterpiece.

Deep cleaning my studio in prep for my busy season, I unearthed two practice paintings from when I was starting out and learning and gave up on. Both have good bones, I was just too inexperienced at the time to realize it. SHould have pushed through! (But am going to finish now!)

A really good tool for checking value in colored paintings is to photograph it and convert it to black and white.

A good tool for checking accuracy when painting from photographs is to turn the reference AND the canvas upside down and just look at the shapes. Don't know why it works, but it does.
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