Daily Painting Practice: How to Pick Subjects

Daily Painting Practice: How to Pick Subjects

Daily Painting Practice: How to Pick Subjects

by Mary Gilkerson

Don’t let picking out a subject slow you down. Paint what’s around you, what you know.

When you paint things you know your connection to them, your passion, will come through. Even if they’re relatively banal subjects.

1-Two main sources for subjects:

  • Direct observation of things in front of you
  • Photographs (I recommend your own. See above paragraph.)

2-Make a list of your ideas for subjects. Pick several more than you need.

  • List or gather them if from direct observation, ahead of time
  • Put photos in a folder.

3-Simple is better than complex for quick 20-30 minute paintings. Keep It Simple Smarty!

4-Work with related subjects. This will make paint mixing easier.

Still Stuck?? Here are some ways to get un-stuck.

Use your smart phone camera to snap pics of everyday objects in your house or studio on a simple background. Think Wayne Thiebaud.

Use your phone to walk around your home and around your neighborhood. Snap pics of interesting nooks, crannies and out of the way corners.

Use your phone to snap pics along your daily route. Be sure to pull over and snap while parked. Don’t overthink it. Just pull over every five minutes and snap a photo of whatever you find in front of you. No judgements.

Switch subject matter, medium, or painting surface. Try painting your normal subject from a different angle.

 

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How to Get Started with Daily Painting: Tools & Materials

How to Get Started with Daily Painting: Tools & Materials

Daily Painting Practice: Tools & Materials

What are the tools and materials to make it easy to get started with a daily painting practice?

In today’s video I’ll go over the basics that will let you dive right into a daily painting practice.

Here’s a quick summary:

Work small so that the day’s painting doesn’t feel too precious. Use small panels (Ampersand Gessoboards) or canvases, around 5 x 7″ or 6 x 8”. Can substitute Arches Oil Paper to cut custom sizes if you’d like. Ampersand Gessoboards taped to slightly larger foam core boards make it easy to paint all the way to the edges.

Use larger brushes or painting knives so that you’ll stay loose and keep your shapes more simple. A bonus to using knives is they make cleanup a breeze. Wipe off and you’re good to go.

Use a double primary palette with a handful of convenience colors and mix your paint before you start painting. Painting similar subjects means you’ll be using similar colors. A Masterson Box or similar covered container will keep your paint from drying out. Put a cotton ball with 3 drops of clove oil in the center to help the paint stay moist

A slightly smaller piece of plexiglass makes a great palette that can be dropped into the Masterson Box until needed the next day.

Remember, consistency over quantity. 20-30 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

I went over the benefits of starting a daily painting practice in this video, but one of the main rewards is painting faster with more ease.

 

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Daily Painting: Why Start A Practice

Daily Painting: Why Start A Practice

Daily Painting: Why Start A Practice

The ART + WORK + LIVING 5 Day Painting Challenge

What are some of the reasons you should think about starting a daily painting practice? Pull up a chair and watch the video to find out how painting daily can impact these three things:

  • How productivity can come from small blocks of time
  • How painting regularly creates flow: freely & loosely
  • How unique style happens effortlessly

I ask people joining my email list and facebook group what their biggest issues are with painting.

So many have said that time is it. Making time to paint when they’re overwhelmed by an already full schedule.

Others have said painting more loosely, loosening up so they don’t feel trapped in the details.

And finally, the last big group said developing their own style. What’s the magic bullet for getting your own style of painting?

The answer to all three lies in a relatively simple practice – painting every day.

Before you tell me you just don’t have time, let me point out a couple of things.

Consistency over quantity. Consistency matters. Doing a small painting daily is better for your growth than 5 big paintings a month.

20-30 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

The rewards:

  1. Your work improves.
  2. You stay motivated because ideas flow easily.
  3. Small daily steps move you closer to your goals.
  4. Muscle memory takes over and the difficult things become easier.
  5. You paint faster with more ease.
  6. You paint more intuitively and responsively rather than consciously.
  7. Your own personal style will develop without your even having to thing about it.

 

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