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Top 10 tips for all painters. We have often given specific advice for those who want to paint with oil colors, instructions for those who want to take their first steps in painting with acrylic colors, suggestions for those who want to improve with watercolors, and much more. Each pictorial technique has little secrets, cunning, and particular behaviors. With this article, we want to do something different. There are, in fact, a lot of general tips, which are suitable for all painting techniques and that all painters should know. Sometimes they may seem trivial, but we are sure they can make a difference in the final result. Find out with us what these “tricks” are. We are sure they will allow you to start the New Year with an edge, happy reading!
Learn to paint in reverse
The clouds above, the lake below. The stalk of the apple upwards. The legs of the chair are down. Of course, this is how we usually paint, for the simple fact that this is how we see the world. Sometimes, however, it is the case to look at one’s painting upside down and cool drawings. Because? Because, by continuing to stare at an object – in this case, a canvas – for a long time, we end up not “seeing” it anymore. In short, our sight ends up being addicted to that image, risking no longer grasping specific details. It is a bit like when we look around the house for the keys before going out and then discover that they were right there, in plain sight, on the entrance cabinet.
Buy good brushes
Especially at the beginning, we tend to think that the accessories for painting have a secondary role in the success of a beautiful painting. Creativity, technique are the ones that count. It’s true. But undoubtedly, dealing with poor accessories makes it more difficult. Brushes that shed hair quickly deform, which do not hold the color and release it immediately, or too hard brushes that leave a trace on the painting. Working with this type of accessories is very difficult, if not impossible. Buying good brushes means buying brushes for painting suitable for your painting technique, choosing the material, length, and shape according to your needs, and buying good quality brushes, thus avoiding those found in the supermarket.
Try using a grill
When we talk about the grid, we are talking about the grid to be traced on the canvas – and possibly on the photograph used as a source for the painting – to respect proportions and dimensions. The use of the grid is a very controversial topic: some say it is beneficial, especially for beginners, while others are convinced that it does not allow you to learn correctly how to draw or paint, but only to “copy” square after square, photos or of the images.
Of course, some artists have mastered the arts of drawing and painting that they do not need a grid, being able to draw and paint completely freehand, without any predefined spatial reference. We don’t want to tell you that using the grid is right or wrong, and we want to invite you to try it if you have never done it before: it is a beneficial technique, especially in realistic and large-sized works.
Take photos of your work, step by step. Not for posterity, but for you: in this way, between one session and the next, you will be able to work “mentally” on your painting. On the subway, on a lunch break, in line at the post office. You can always make art!
Never start from a too white canvas
Often, the canvases for painting on the market have a background that is white and even bright white. However, this bright color results from the artist’s chosen primer, who prepared the canvas making it even more precise and luminous. For painters who are not particularly experienced, bright white is not a good starting point, for the simple fact that, on this support, it will be challenging to manage the other colors in the best possible way, which will sometimes be distorted. Much better, therefore, to avoid complicating your life, starting by dulling and darkening the white background to have a more precise and less dangerous starting point. It can do by spreading a light layer of earthy or greenish colors in a much-diluted way to give a background tone to the pictorial support.
Buy quality colors
The above about brushes also applies to colors. Whether they are oil paints, watercolors, acrylics, or gouaches, in all cases, you shouldn’t save excessively on their purchase. It doesn’t mean you have to spend too much on their purchase! On our e-commerce, you can find brands such as Winsor & Newton, Liquitex, Maimeri, and Van Gogh, which offer good quality color lines at very competitive prices.
Take a step back
The painter tends to be at a brush distance from his canvas. It means staying close enough to the painting. But that’s not always good. It is often the case to take a step back, to observe the work done so far from a greater distance. Sometimes it is beneficial to move even further, to see the painting with other eyes: the basic concept is very similar to what we saw at the beginning of this list of tips for painters about the painting upside down.
For the hand holding the brush, for the hand holding the palette, but above all for your mind and eyes, don’t forget to take breaks. Once you are back in front of the painting, you will be much more efficient!
Don’t get stuck on a painting.
Some jobs don’t seem to want to move forward. Sometimes we fail to infuse life into a portrait. Other times a landscape never seems to come to fruition. Then we continue to work on that painting with growing frustration and with some negativity. However, there is a solution. Leave that painting, put it aside, and start working on something else. Moreover, many artists are used to working simultaneously on several canvases and paintings, always to be “fresh” and always have new ideas.
Always use a black and white image as well
When we paint starting from a photograph – made by us, downloaded from the net, or cut out of a magazine – we always have an image full of colors in front of us, from which we try to take inspiration without errors for the colors to use on the canvas. However, it would be beneficial to have a copy of the same image in black and white: this will help us to discover, beyond the individual shades, which areas are darker, and which are lighter. In practice, it will help us in the tonal study of the picture we will paint.