Thursday, September 14, 2006

I’m Ready to Paint – Where do I Start?

OK - you have paints, brushes, palette, a painting surface and some water but where do you start?

Every painter has their own process, but I like to start at the back of the picture and work forward. In other words I start by painting the background and things that are furthest away and then work forward from there.

I paint a lot of landscapes and seascapes and it makes sense to start at the farthest away area. Usually this means starting with the sky. Then the distant land areas, middle distance land, and finally the foreground area.

Painting in this order means that the areas that are closer can overlap the further away areas and this helps to ‘push them back’. This helps to give depth to the painting.

In the Acrylic Painting Course we look at all the ways to give depth to a painting, for example having the most detail in the foreground. However working ‘from the back’ is a good method that helps to achieve this too.

Or all at once?

Some painters prefer to work the entire picture at the same time. This helps them to get the balance between the different areas right as the painting progresses.

This ‘all at once’ method is used when painting the portrait in the Acrylic Painting Course. I think it is the best way of working when painting portraits, animal pictures and some still life scenes.

Learning to Paint

However when you are just learning to paint it can be a bit overwhelming to have to think about the whole of the picture. It is easier to just concentrate on the one area you are painting at the time.

Also with acrylic paints it is fairly easy to go back and add some extra color when you want to get the balance of a painting ‘just right’. In watercolors this would be more of a problem.

The best way is probably to try both methods and see which one you prefer!

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