No Masterpieces: Tips on Getting Started

Graffiti Girl

Graffiti Girl

You don’t need to paint a masterpiece everyday. You don’t need to paint good paintings all of the time. As a matter of fact, if you are paintings good paintings all of the time, you aren’t learning a darned thing. Take the pressure off yourself. Play a little. As Bob Burridge says, “Give yourself permission to fail, to create,” to do whatever it takes to get started.

Here are just a handful of tricks to get you going:

1. Paint on (gessoed) paper. This is a great way to loosen up; forget the canvas and experiment on paper.

2. Copy another artist’s painting. Tried and true, it’s been going on for years. See what you can learn from copying.

3. Paint a really bad painting on purpose. See just how lousy you can make it. Later use it as an under-painting (oil and acrylic artists). You can actually do several of these to just loosen up. Who knows, you may discover a new way to paint?

4. Paint a really simple object, like a coffee cup, ten times, a little series. Use different colors, lighting, etc. Don’t spend time finding the perfect subject, just grab a mundane object and begin!

5. Paint a piece in black and white. Study the values. Black and white paintings can actually be pretty nifty.

6. “Prime” a canvas. In other words, paint a painting on a canvas that you know will be an under-painting. Create a work that you have no intension of considering a finished piece, so that you “release” yourself from the concept of completing a “good painting” today. You are only painting “under-paintings” today. You may want to keep your paint a little on the thin side for this one.

7. Pick a number and use it as a theme. Try studying the number 4 (for example) and create a painting around the number 4.

These are just a handful of ideas. There are infinite possibilities! Let me know how you “Get Started!”



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