This semester I am taking my very first painting class. My biggest mistake in taking this class was assuming that the class was going to be relatively simple. To my surprise the class work and expectations of the class were very different from how I imagined it to be. I thought that the paintings I was going to produce in this class was going to be more abstract and free, but to my surprise it was actually more confined and strict something I didn’t practice as often in my previous art works.

On my first still life painting I was having a lot of trouble mixing the correct shades of colors and actually trying to replicate what I saw with my eyes and transferring that over to my canvas. At first when I thought I was doing a relatively fine job my professor and teacher assistant gave me so much criticism on my art work that I no longer felt confident and instead I began to crumble and feel negative towards my work. I became even more overwhelmed and frustrated when I compared myself to the other students who seemed more experienced than I was and which many of them were. For the next couple of sessions of class I was obsessed with trying to perfect my painting that I failed to enjoy the process of it and in return my painting didn’t look as well as how I pictured it to be.
For the final session of this art piece I knew I couldn’t continue the painting or the remainder of the class sessions feeling horrible about what I made so I took my friends advice in basically trying to enjoy the process of painting and focus on my work rather than constantly comparing myself to other people. My friends’ advice was extremely helpful. On the last day of completing this piece of art I didn’t worry about the results of my art piece, yet I simply tried to complete it to the best of my abilities. And at the end my efforts did pay off and I’m pretty content with the results considering that it’s my very first oil painting.

In the process of producing this one painting I’ve gained a wider perspective and knowledge on painting in general. For one thing, it’s important to develop eye and hand coordination whether painting or drawing. Mineral spirits will also be your best friend in oil painting. I also learned how to take measurements with my paint brush and the proper way to take care of them. Due to my lack of understanding in the beginning of the semester half of my brushes are damaged now because I left them in my mineral spirits thinking that I didn’t need to clean them out after with soap. I also cleansed my brushes the wrong way on my rags so I ended up trimming some parts of the brush to save them. From my first painting session I also had no clue that oil paint spreads once it’s on your skin and that no matter how much water you use to clean it off it won’t come off. The paint will actually continue to spread on your skin where ever you made contact with. The only way to get rid of the paint is to use soap or simply wipe your hands on a rag with some mineral spirits.

Another thing I learned is that painting is so much harder than drawing. There is less control when painting compared to drawing. Also in drawing, shades of pencils are already provided for you when you purchase a set of drawing pencils but in painting you need to actually produce the various values of that color. You also must become familiar with various colors temperatures and pay great detail to objects and the way light bounces off of them in contrast to other things surrounding it. So I learned that the term color is also pretty indefinite when it comes to those in its surroundings.

On my second still life painting which I am still in the process of creating today, I have taken everything I’ve learned thus far and applied it to my art work. I am certainly more comfortable with the materials I am working with now compared to when I originally started. Learning the various techniques in producing a traditional representational painting have also come in pretty handy and made my life easier. Although each day in the painting studio is always a new experience for me and I always tend to learn something new whether I’m applying the paint the right way or ways where I can change my brush stokes to create a new atmosphere to the overall painting. On top of all this, my professor and teacher assistant have especially noticed my gradual improvement and new approach to painting that I am truly happy that I didn’t give up in the beginning of the semester when I felt discouraged.

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3 Responses to “Do not ever assume that a class is going to be simple”

  1.   Christina Papadopouloson 07 Apr 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I know in your class that you’re probably not painting like this, but go check out “The Joy of Painting” with Bob Ross. He’s a man who paints landscapes in 30 minutes. His TV show is usually on at 6:30 PM on Thursdays on CreateTV. I have time warner cable and it’s channel 169. He is amazing, and his voice is so soothing.

    I actually tried painting one of his paintings since we have all the paints from when my grandmother loved his paintings too, and it is NOT as easy as he makes it seem. I implore you to watch his show, since youtube does not have good clips. Watching him paint a full landscape from beginning to end is simply fascinating. I have seem these episodes and many more, and each time I cannot believe the magic that unfolds in front of my eyes.

    Here are some finished paintings he’s done:

    http://www.wallcoo.net/paint/Bob_Ross_CSG/wallpapers/1024×768/bob_ross_csg001_mountain_retreat.jpg

    http://lambofgodnj.org/blogs/monarch/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/bobross.jpg

    http://www.art-supplies-plus.com/Painting_Images/mt%20serenity%205×3.jpg

    http://www.freewebs.com/royart/At%20Dawn's%20Light.jpg

  2.   Christina Papadopouloson 07 Apr 2011 at 4:48 pm

    WOW. The first two links don’t work anymore.

    Use these:

    http://lambofgodnj.org/blogs/monarch/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/bobross.jpg

    http://www.art-supplies-plus.com/Painting_Images/mt%20serenity%205×3.jpg

  3.   Donnaon 23 Apr 2013 at 4:56 am

    I truly love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you build this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own blog and want to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Appreciate it!

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