In the last week I’ve reviewed four books – a general painting book, a watercolour book, an acrylic painting book and an oil painting book. Some have been better than others for a whole variety of reasons. Of the four I’m going to spend time working with three of them over the next 6 months. But more than learning about how to paint in various ways though I also learned about what different mediums are particularly good for. For instance the abstract, geometric, very brightly coloured acylic painting I used to do was perfect for acrylics.
Now although I don’t know for sure because I’m not an oil painter, my feeling is that oil painting is perfect for portraits. There’s a luminous warmth to the way oil paint can be used which I’ve never seen in another medium and this seems perfect for drawing living human beings. Then there’s watercolour which, in our watery world, is capable of drawing sky and weather and land in ways which I don’t think other mediums can match. All of these things said, each medium can do much much more than I’ve suggested. There are beautiful watercolour portraits and wonderful oil or acrylic landscapes. So this brings me to a central question. What do I want to do now and in what medium?
(1) I was planning to spend some time working in acrylic again, trying to develop a more formal and rigorous technique. But the Acrylics book I bought wasn’t very good for that type of learning and I don’t know how to go on from here without any teaching. So I’m going keep the acrylics for more abstract and surreal type painting where there are clear sections of bright, graded colour. F0r example I might redo this painting in acrylics but grade each section of the landscape gently from one colour to another (with corresponding changes in tone too).
I think this would work really well in acrylics and I could make the hills look much more three dimensional in interesting ways. It might be fun. But I won’t be concentrating on acrylic work.
(2) I definitely want to continue with watercolour. It’s medium I found frustratingly, throw-it-out-the-window-in-disgust, difficult at first but now I am beginning to really love. So I am going to use the brilliant watercolour book I reviewed…
…to improve my technique, along with some excellent tutorials on You Tube. I’m going to move from student paint (W&N Cotman Watercolours) which I’m using at the moment, to Artists quality paints (probably from the Winsor and Newton range again). I’m also going to get a board and learn to stretch my paper do all the other proper things I’ve not really bothered with yet like using gouche white and masking fluid. Once I’ve got my basic skills working well I want to try a wider range of painting with watercolour – trying to use deeper colour, having a go at abstract work and trying to make really accurate biological paintings which look photo-realistic. I feel quite excited just thinking about it!
(3) At some point, probably later next year, I also want to have a go at oil painting. I’ll need to get some second hand materials as the old ones I was using were lost when I last moved house. (They went into the loft and never came out again – honestly, lofts are like the Burmuda Triangle where I’m concerned!)
I’m also going to be moving house in the next few months which will also be exciting and challenging. Once I’m settled I want to think about exhibiting my work for the first time and maybe selling it.
So lots of exciting things to come! 🙂