Sunday, May 20, 2012

Online Painting Lessons?!

I've been disappointed with my paintings lately.  I feel like I am stuck repeating the same mistakes over and over....sometimes, I'm sure, not even realizing it.   As a 'self-taught" artist, I still struggle with basic technical issues.  It's a bit like trying to play a piano with missing keys.  I'm trying to commit to a more concentrated study effort using my own library and the internet where possible.   And I'd like to take more workshops from accomplished artists who are willing to share their own knowledge and personal artistic journeys.  And of course, there will always be a need for continuing "brush mileage" as my artist friend (and workshop teacher) Howard Rees says, but practice can either reinforce bad habits or build and strengthen new and correct ones.

Recently I found a website by Dan Edmondson featuring his online painting course.  I was actually looking for information about how to keep paintings from coming out 'dirty'.  Dan had a nice little video on youtube about that subject and that led to his website.  I have some doubts about online 'correspondence' course art lessons, but I liked Dan's very practical advice.  Although much if it is geared for beginners, I found a number of practical ideas for better painting habits and ... hopefully...results.

This isn't an endorsement of Dan's video course, but only a record of my artistic journey.  When I've gotten through all 10 lessons, I will give you my opinion, however.  Meanwhile, I did lesson #1 today.

Lesson #1  9 x 12 Oil on canvas panel

The setup and the step by step process is provided by Dan, so I claim no credit for the painting.  I felt I learned several things today, however.  The primary lesson is that this painting contains almost NO medium.  There is some walnut oil used in the background, and a bit here and there in specific parts, but for the most part, this is paint straight from the tube.  A giant change for me!  Doing the painting without medium meant a whole new technique with brushes.  It suddenly became about brush 'pressure' and brush stroke.  It took some concentration and experimentation, but I think I began to get it as the painting went along.  Dan provided the tips, but learning them was not particularly easy.  One other thing that I did differently...I never took the lid off my container of OMS!  Normally, I rinse my brush after every passage in OMS...and I use it as a medium as well, reducing everything to a soup..a muddy soup.  This was sure different.  Without OMS to clean my brushes (but not really cleaning them) I just wiped them between strokes and colors.  A new technique that will take some practice, but it seemed to work.

It was fun following Dan Edmondson's lesson #1...and a learning experience too.  I look forward to lesson #2.  


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  2. Nice job, Bruce. I give you credit for taking on a class like this. I look forward to seeing what you paint next.

  3. Thanks Ruth...I feel like I need to move forward in the technical aspects of painting. This is maybe one way to do that. PS...I tried to leave some comments on your site, but had a heck of a time getting past the security check. Maybe it's WORKING! Anyway, your palette knife paintings are inspiring. I wish I had a clue how to approach it. Maybe that's next, huh?