Art Blogs

Have you ever wondered what a real professional artist does week after week?
Well have a look at Anat Ronen’s work and while you are looking she is possibly working, brush in hand.  This is really good. go to

Lets Paint

 Tips For The Real Beginner

So! You want to be an artist.
These notes are my thoughts and may be of use to those beginning to paint. The information is derived from my experiences and learning and may not be correct in every detail 

Art paints –        Oil paint is thinned with turpentine or similar medium

                         Acrylic paint is water based

                         Water color paint is not the same as acrylic paint

                         Water color paint is applied in a series of washes.

                         Pen or pencil drawings may be colored with a water-color wash.

                         Brushes are cleaned in turpentine for oils or water for acrylic or water colors.

                         Oil paints are sometimes too thick and require thinning

                         Most acrylic paints are ready to flow off the brush

                         Some brands have 2 or more qualities of the same color. e.g. junior, student and artist

                         Student quality is recommended for beginners, junior quality is for play schools.

                         Artist quality paints are more expensive, some being very expensive.

                         Quality paint does not fade away when mixed with other colors

                         There can be great variations in a color with different brands of paint

                         Paint that is too thin and runny is not easy to use

                         Paint should be firm like thick cream or toothpaste

                         Never squeeze a tube of oil paint before you buy it (it stays squeezed)

                         Linseed oil is for experts and makes a mess of beginners paintings

                         Have plenty of white paint on hand, you will need it

                         Make sure you have fresh air when working, even if the paint does not smell

                         All paints omit fumes

                         Acrylic retarding medium is useful, it stops the paint drying too fast

                         Paint dries fast in a warm, dry breeze

Lists of colors –    These are some common colors used for painting Australian landscapes                   

                         Most paints are student quality               

                         White, if painting in oils Titanium White

                         Burnt Umber. (Burnt umber and white are good colors to start practicing the brush strokes)

                         Blue, Crimson, Warm Yellow and White are the minimum needed to paint in full color

                         Blue. There are many blues

                         The 3 basic blues are, Ultramarine, Cobalt and Prussian – morning, noon and night

                         Good strong blues for mid day skies are, Phthalo blue or Windsor blue. (both artist quality)       

                         For distant mountains and for mixing grays, Cobalt blue or Cerulean blue

                         Crimson. or cool red, Alizarin crimson, Crimson Lake, all give a similar result

                         Warm Yellow or Cadmium or Cadmium deep, all look more like an orange than a lemon.

                         Indian yellow is warm and bright when used with white. The color of golden wheat

                         Here are 2 colors similar to Indian yellow – Australian sienna, Australian red-gold

                         Burnt sienna, a red-brown soil color, when mixed with blue makes a black

                         Raw sienna, a distant yellow

                         Verdian or Phthalo green or Prussian green used mainly for green tints

                         Warm red or Cadmium red or Vermilion – fire engine red – used only in the foreground

A basic list –      White – Phthalo blue – Cobalt blue – Crimson – Warm red – Burnt sienna – Warm yellow –                                         

                         Raw sienna – Viridian

Warm and cool

Colors            –   Similar to fire, warm colors are colors close to you while cool colors are seen in the distance

                         Fire engine red is very warm,  lemon yellow is cool,  burnt sienna is warm,  raw sienna is cool

                         If raw sienna is placed on a white background the raw sienna looks warm

                         In nature all colors fade into a cooler blue or grey as they move into the far distance

Tones            –   Tones of color means light or heavy, pale or dark, soft or strong

Paulette          –   Use a flat palette

                         You can not pick up paint with a painting knife from a dished palette

                         A palette must not be porous, use a sealed surface so the paint will not soak in and dry out

                         Some good pallets are, a piece of glass, wall or floor tile, large dinner plate, scrap of artists canvas

                         Tear off palette pads are very useful

                         If working with children, use shallow dishes so the brushes do not go deep into the paint pot

Brushes          –   Hog bristle brushes are used for oil or acrylic painting, hog bristle is a firm white bristle

                         Many hardware stores stock a good range of hog bristle art brushes

                         Small soft hair brushes are used for fine lines and can be bought at newsagent

                         Long or short handle makes no difference

                         The size of the brush is stamped on the handle.

                         Different brands of brushes have different numbers for the same sized brush

                         Common house painting brushes may be used

                         Very soft, big brushes are of no use, they become sloppy when loaded with paint.

                         It is wise to have several similar favorite brushes, they do wear out.

                         A fan brush can be made by driving a clout down the middle of a round brush

                         Kerosene is ok for cleaning brushes after oil painting               

                         Hold a small soft haired brush under hot running water to regain its pointy shape

                         Do not clean your brushes excessively while painting.

                         Clean your brush with a cloth each time before picking up paint

                         A brush will retain its desired shape if cleaned with a cloth while painting

                         Wipe your painting knife every time before picking up paint

Canvas   –           Artist’s canvas comes in rolls and can be purchased by the yard or meter

                         The common width for canvas is 52 inches

                         A standard roll is about 6 yards long.

                         Much larger and wider roles are not uncommon

                         There are many different qualities of artist canvas

                         Pre-primed canvas is unde coated ready to accept the paint. Oil or acrylic

                         Stretched canvas on frames can be useful but expensive for learning to paint

                         Prepared artist panels are cardboard with a primed canvas surface                                                

                         Pre-primed canvas, stretched canvas and canvas panels are for painting in oils or acrylics

                         An ideal situation is for primed canvas to be pinned down on a firm, flat surface

                         Masked off with masking tape the area to be painted leaving about a 2 inch border

                         Canvas can be glued to hard board with PVA glue (white colored woodwork glue)

                         The canvas can be glued down before or after being painted

                         Some canvas will shrink when wet

                         Some canvas will wrinkle while being glued down but will soon flatten out

                         Hard board, primed with flat PVA house paint is ok to paint on with oils or acrylics

                         Hard board is Masonite, Craft wood, Custom wood etc. Some plywood is ok

                         When under coating hard board, finish all the final brush strokes in the one direction

                         Plaster board walls are great to paint on but must be unde coated with water based paint         

                         If painting on metal surfaces such as milk cans or saw blades, use oil primer and oil paint

                         Small scenes can be painted on gum leaves – they look good


 Frames               Most oil or acrylic paintings do not require glass when framed

                         Most oil or acrylic paintings do not require a colored mount around the painting

                         It is easier to paint a picture to suit a frame than to find a frame to suit a picture

                         A picture frame should be of the same style as the furniture in the room where it hangs

                         Nowadays stretched canvases may be hung without a frame, it looks modern

                         A dark frame will enhance the perspective in a landscape painting

Varnishing         Paintings with a final varnish are less likely to become marked and are easier to clean

                         Varnish may be gloss or matt

                         Gloss varnish reflects light like a mirror making it difficult to view the painting at times

                         Matt varnish does not reflect light

                         Varnish can be brushed on or sprayed from a pressure packed can

                         When varnishing, lay the painting face up on newspaper in a dust free area

                         Pressure pact spraying may need 5 coats, the spray is very fine

                         Use only Artist Picture Varnish

                         The same varnish is used for oil or acrylic paintings

                          A varnished painting may be cleaned using a nail brush with pure soap and water

Learning  –      Learning to paint with brush or knife is similar to learning to eat with chop sticks

                     The brush is an extension of the hand and takes a little time to co-ordinate

                     The co-ordination of the hand and brush can be practised without producing a picture

                      Learn to use the brush by painting squares, curves and circles etc. in one brush stroke

                      Doodling with the brush is great practise

                      Painting is an acquired skill requiring practice

                      It is ok to copy

                      It is ok to paint the same picture over and over

                      It is ok to use a ruler or compass or anything to get the desired effect

                      Mistakes can often be seen when the work is viewed in a mirror

                      Painting many little pictures at the one time is a good way of learning

                      Practice clouds, foliage, grass, reflections etc. individually

                      Brush strokes can be practiced any time without producing a complete picture

                      Each time you pick up the brush your skills will improve, even when painting the garden shed

                      Mistakes are part of the learning process; you learn what not to do

                      Take time to think about and observe the rules of perspective drawing

                      Take time to observe how colors fade into the distance in a landscape

                      Keep your first paintings to look back on

                      Paint for the fun of it

                      While painting, stand or sit correctly, you might be there longer than you expect

                      If you like to draw in black and white, try painting in black and white