For my learning project, I’ve decided to teach myself to paint, specifically with acrylics. I have some experience working with watercolors, however I have always wanted to expand my knowledge so that I would be able to capture images and ideas in different ways.
The last time I attempted to paint with acrylics, I was probably around twelve years old. My dad is an artist, so I grew up watching him paint and he made it look so effortless. Needless to say, I had my bar set pretty high going in. It resulted in these…questionable masterpieces:
Several years later, I got over my trauma and joined the art club in my first year of high school. While I didn’t remain in the club long, I stayed long enough to participate in both drawing and watercolor classes, which reignited my love of creating art. Since then, I have tried to improve my watercolor skills with the help of YouTube videos and through trial and error. While I’m still far from where I would like to one day be, I think I have come a long way.
I think what made acrylics so difficult for me was the precision required. With watercolors, you let the colors flow, then build off of what they create. It is generally less precise, and creates more of an impression, capturing more of the feeling of what you are attempting to depict. Additionally, you leave white spaces to create highlights and various other effects, or layer on pigment heavier to create the darker shades. You generally don’t have to mix the varying shades that you need of one color, because the water will do that for you. Different colors will blend themselves together as you let the water and pigment do their thing.
With acrylics, you must capture every detail, filling every space on your canvas, paper, or board. There is significantly less room for error, and even the impressionist-style paintings have to be extremely precise or risk looking ill-painted.
However, this precision also opens up the opportunity for a much wider-variety of painting styles. Throughout this course, as I teach myself to paint, I will also be experimenting with different techniques to discover my own, personal style. Each week, through the use of online videos, blogs, websites, and whatever other resources I am able to discover, I will try multiple different styles and ways of painting the same thing (such as clouds, water, trees, grass, flowers and light), before creating a larger painting, incorporating the method I like the most or that best suits the look I am trying to achieve. These methods may vary from simply being in a different style, to using different colors or different types of brushes, or to using a completely different tool or medium to paint. It will be exciting to see how many different ways people have come up with to do the same thing!
To further build my skills and make my project more accessible to others, I will try to capture my learning in different ways throughout the semester, such as through pictures, time-lapses, and short videos.