While painting on the coast one day, an on-looker asked how long it took me to paint the picture – which was now almost complete at roughly 1 pm. “Well”, I said, “I started this morning at around 10”. “Wow” said the on-looker. “Well”, I said again; “but it took many years to develop skills to be able to do that”. “Ahhh”, says the on-looker.
We painters know that’s how it is. We have to put in the time to develop our skills. Over time our hand-eye connection strengthens, and we get to incorporate lots of tips we pick up as we go. As we paint, using our experience and applying tips help us paint better, fresher, and yes, faster.
Having been painting for many years, I’ve had the opportunity to glean many helpful ideas. Some have come from other artists, and others I’ve developed over time on my own. A few good ones noted here:
- Always use a rag while painting. I suggest using a real rag – not paper towels. The rag is the counterweight to the palette. You must have that to wipe your brush as you paint. Without it, there is no choice but to carry color on your brush into areas it isn’t intended. The rag is almost always sufficient enough to solve that problem, and once its used a few times, a painter will realize they can’t paint without it.
- Use good supplies and keep them in great shape. Using good supplies is another help to creating good paintings. I suggest artist grade paints (not student grade). These have a higher pigment load, and are generally more archival than lower grade paints. I find it’s also important to use professional paint brushes and keep them in great shape. The quality of your painting will be directly impacted by the quality of your tools. Great supplies and tools can be expensive, but I would say it’s more expensive in the long run to use cheap supplies and tools. Low quality brushes, or expensive high quality brushes that are not taken care of – will keep an artist from doing their best work. Nothing is more costly than that.
Feel free to email me to offer your tip suggestions. I’ll try to post some in the future.