There is nothing quite like the joy of learning to paint and finding out all the little ‘tricks’ that improve your artwork. As a self taught artist, who first really began painting just over a year ago, I am still in the process of discovering effective techniques- and I really do mean DISCOVERING. There is an absolute wealth of information available in books, magazines, and on-line for anyone who wants to learn a thing or two about the ‘proper way’ of painting. I could have spent hours and hours reading some of these sources of information in great detail before I embarked on my journey of discovering how to paint, but I didn’t. I found that the more I read, the more I became overwhelmed with information and afraid that I would do it wrong. As a general rule, I just don’t believe that something done for enjoyment should be tainted by any sort of anxiety or fear of failure-where is the joy in that? So I threw caution to the wind and started to paint, and despite having NO idea what I was doing, I immediately fell in love.
To begin with, my attempts were clumsy and mediocre to say the least. I didn’t really know the difference between the different types of paint, which brushes I should be using, what I should be painting on or even HOW I should paint. I didn’t even know what my painting preference or ‘style’ was. In essence there were so many things I DID NOT KNOW and inevitably there were so many things I needed to learn.
Of course, as with any skill in life, painting takes a huge amount of practice, commitment and passion. In my case, it is also accompanied by a substantial amount of trial and error. Although this can be incredibly frustrating at times, it can also be remarkably rewarding. After several months of grappling with my sheer desire to create something beautiful (yet painting something rather blasé), I eventually noticed that something magical was starting to happen….
I had improved in leaps and bounds!
This made me think that the only explanation had to be some form of wizardry. Which got me thinking- art is a lot like magic.
Here’s 5 quick reasons why:
1) It takes you away to your own little world, where you can become lost in a dream land of your creation that is yours and yours alone.
2) You may quite often see a piece of art and wonder ‘How on EARTH did the artist do that?!’ I know that I frequently find myself utterly astonished and mesmerised by the work of other artists. Just like a magician, a successful artist makes a career out of astounding their audience and improving their skills and craft.
3) It can make you feel a rainbow of emotions that you cannot explain, nor do you always understand. It has a power over our hearts and our minds that can enchant, enrapture, enlighten, amaze, confuse, comfort and astound us without any words.
4) It can transport you back through time with one look. Suddenly you are six years old watching your mother struggle against a picnic blanket on a sandy beach. And if TIME TRAVEL isn’t magical, I don’t know what is!
5) In the form of optical illusions, art can make us see things that are not really there, or perceive images that differ from objective reality. Yes, you could be bold enough to argue that visual trickery is not unlike MIND CONTROL. This dissociation between what is actually before our eyes, and what we BELIEVE we are seeing is after all, beyond our own conscious volition.
I hope that this brief list has provided you with a fleeting insight as to why art can be so magical. If it hasn’t, I would whole heartedly encourage you to try it- you might just be pleasantly surprised!
Keep an eye out for my next post where I will be writing a quick and easy ‘How To’ start painting list.