For my learning project, I decided to teach myself how to paint with acrylics. While I have some experience using watercolors, I wanted to branch out in what I was able to do and try something new.
A Summary of my Learning Project:
Week One: It’s All in the Details
For my first week, I chose what I would do for my project. I used my old acrylic paintings and my recent watercolors to establish a baseline, and decide how and what I wanted to learn.
Week Two: I’ve Got My Head in the Clouds
To start off, I wanted to learn how to paint clouds, as they are often the focal point of a painting. I also chose to do them first, since they would be the most different from watercolor painting, where you simply leave parts of the paper white. I decided to try multiple techniques before moving on to my actual painting in order to get a feel for it.
Painting Clouds in Acrylics lesson – A very simple tutorial that creates fluffy, white clouds. However, the use of only white didn’t create the depth that I wanted.
How to Paint Clouds using Q Tip and Acrylics – I liked the effect created with the use of Q-tips, and how the addition of other colours changed the depth of the cloud. I hope to use this technique of painting in my future classrooms.
- Tulip Field Acrylic Painting – The tutorial for the painting I did for the week. It introduced another technique (using sponges) that would be fun to use in the classroom.
During this week, I decided to challenge myself even further by starting a painting on a larger canvas (going out of my comfort zone of doing little paintings) and tried to do my own painting (without a specific tutorial). I learned multiple techniques for painting grass – some more detailed and some more impressionistic. I used Hyperlapse to document my progress. I also discovered a couple of apps that have helped me on my learning journey.
- Acrylics Painting – An app that compiles YouTube painting tutorials and categorizes them. Helpful for beginners.
- Sketch a Day – An app that connects artists acorss the globe. Users can post their own tutorials, as well as images of their paintings or drawings. There is a daily challenge that people can participate in.
- Why I’m A Fan of the Fan Brush – A website run by artists that has painting tutorials and blog posts. In particular, I focused on using the fan brush in different ways to create grass.
- Painting Masses, Not Grasses – This is how I ultimately decided to paint my grass for the week. He provides simple instructions with pictures to demonstrate.
- Chuck Black – a very in-depth explanation about how to paint very detailed grass. I hoped to use this as inspiration for the grass in my large painting.
Next, I wanted to learn to paint water. However, I decided to take a more impressionistic approach after doing my research. I wanted to explore my old love of impressionist painters and felt that the impressionist way of painting water more accurately captured the movement. I learned how to use Windows Photos Movie Editor as well as Book Creator (link to my book here) to document my learning.
- I watched some palette-knife painting tutorials to get some inspiration, including this Sunrise Painting tutorial. This site gave a little more detail about how to go about using this technique and why you may choose to do so.
- This tutorial gave me the inspiration for colours and brush-techniques.
- This site let me explore impressionist techniques a little more in-depth.
Painting like Van Gogh Acrylic painting for beginners clive5art – I wanted my painting to look something like this when I was finished. I realized after that I would need thicker paints and a smaller brush in order to properly imitate this look.
Week Five: Winds of Change
This week, I decided to focus more on finishing my large painting. I learned how to paint rocks, fur, and finished the grass I had started to work on. All of these steps helped me to learn how to paint light coming from a certain direction, and how to keep it consistent for multiple objects.
I tried to branch out in my PLN for my project, and ended up finding a few Twitter pages and people to follow (including @angelafineart and @Artsherpa), which has helped me to find new places for tutorials. I also learned how to use Gif-Maker this week, which helped me to show my learning in a new way.
- Chuck Black and “Painting Masses, Not Grasses,” – I combined these two techniques in order to achieve a more detailed looking grass, while still maintaining a proper perspective for my painting. I did smaller, more detailed masses, painting each on individually, like in Chuck Black’s tutorial.
- How to Paint Texture – I used this tutorial when I was painting the bisons’ fur.
- How to Paint Rocks and Cliffs – this site helped me to paint the rocks so that the colours, lighting, and texture would all work together to create the proper effect.
Week Six: Making Faces
I decided to take a completely different route this week and decided to try my hand at
portrait painting. It was a lot harder than expected, even by doing an abstract portrait, but taught me a lot about colour palettes, details, texture, and shadowing. I learned how to use Milanote to organize my resources, and LunaPic to edit my photo.
- How to Paint a Realistic Portrait in 5 Steps – this is what I originally hoped to do, but didn’t feel ready to tackle something so realistic for my first attempt. I also didn’t have to proper materials to create the glazes. These resources helped me to better understand this one (as far as colours, techniques, and blending):
How to Paint Abstract Self Portraits for Beginners – This site helped to walk me through the editing of my photo and the creation of my painting. While I didn’t use their paint-by-number option, it would be a fun activity for people wanting to learn to paint on their own.
My Biggest Takeaways About Online Learning:
- I can do it. For years, I have avoided online classes because I didn’t think I would be able to learn as well without in-person instruction. However, I’ve learnt that I can learn online, even without an online course sending me information about what I need to learn. There is so much information available online that I can literally teach myself to do anything I want to. I just have to be willing to take the time to find good resources to teach me, and then put in the effort.
- Technology and social media don’t have to be scary. Learning to use them properly, and for things I enjoy and am passionate about (such as teaching and painting), can help me to make connections with people who have similar interests, allowing us to learn from each other.
- The importance of self-directed learning. I would never have been able to learn what I did in a classroom, even if I took an art or painting class. Having the freedom to choose what I wanted to learn, when I wanted to learn it, and how I would show what I learned made me more invested in what I was learning. Giving students the same freedom – such as with a Genius Hour Project – will allow them the same joy from learning. Even if I try to incorporate every student’s interests in my lessons, they may not enjoy it as much as a self-directed project, where they have control over all the variables.
While I still prefer in-person classes for instruction for a plethora of reasons (staring at a screen just isn’t the same), I have learned a lot about online instruction and appreciate it a lot more than I used to. There is a lot to be gained from this type of learning, some of which aren’t as possible in a physical classroom environment.