Mike Barr Art Blog
The title of this blog may raise a few incredulous eyebrows, but seriously, there is no better way to improve your painting skills than spending more time with the brush.
For those of us who are happy with where we are in our painting skills this is not for you, but for those who would like to improve and do so in a measurable way - read on.
So, what does more brush-hours really mean?
What it doesn't mean, is spending inordinate amounts of time on 'one' painting. I recently met a painting aquaintance who told me that he had already spent 100 hours on a commissioned painting for a freind. I confess to being quietly horrified by such tales and think what could be achieved in that time.
How about 100 or more paintings in 100 hours!
Does that sound totally unrealistic to you or have I got your attention?
Firstly, take off your serious-artist hat - this is going to be fun!
Next, don't imagine that any of the paintings that you are about to do will be 'keepers' - this will loosen you up straight away and you will find that many of the paintings 'will' turn out to be 'keepers'.
Stick to one subject matter and keep it simple. Repetition of the subject will have you improving. It will give you a confidence with the brush that will spill over into whatever else you paint.
Paint small, but big! That means paint on small canvasses but use a bigger brush than you would normally use. Paint on 10×8 or smaller. Use a minimum 1/2 flat brush (for oils and acrylics) to do the whole work - if you do want to use a small brush, do so for 'one minute only', right at the end of your allotted hour.
Avoid using a pencil to draw any outlines before you paint! Use a brush to draw with. This will stop you from getting bogged down in needless detail and have you looking at the larger shapes. Apart from that, it's a wonderful feeling to draw with a brush - it will make you feel like an artist!
Your hour time limit is a maximum, aim to finish early and even go for two paintings in an hour. Have four or five canvasses or boards ready to go in any one sesssion.
This is no doubt not how you would normally paint, but try it, it's a joyous experience and one well worth trying before embarking on a full-days painting of a larger work.
So, what do you do with all these little paintings you produce? The world is your oyster! Sell them on eBay, give them away as gifts, frame them and put them in shows or even have an exhibition of small works.
How do I know all this will work?
Well, it worked for me by producing hundreds of little beachscapes that sold on eBay. After years of dabbling a few times a year, the many small works for eBay set me on the course I am on now.
The painting at the head of this blog is one of hundreds that I have done of similar subjects. It's a half-hour painting done as a demonstration at an art show, but totally saleable.
Next time - setting up a 'small works' blog.