I have made no secret of the fact that I have no artistic ability. I am a huge fan of art. I have profound respect for the skill involved in any type of creative expression; but I have no ability myself. I’m okay with it, I enjoy other things and I love being an awed observer of others’ abilities. If you are any level of artist, I think you are amazing.
That being said, many of my friends are artists and they constantly tell me that it requires practice, patience, and more practice. You can do it! That’s what I hear constantly. And at Artify we really believe that doing something artistic every day makes anyone an artist. Who am I to go against the company motto? The office is filled with people making art and coming up with creative ideas. They use artists to test their brushes, they contact artists to get feedback on existing products, and they constantly make connections with artists who they can collaborate with.
So here I am going to document my very first attempt to put paint on a canvas. Please keep this in mind as you continue reading, I am hoping that you also think you are not an artist. I can handle the feedback; my skin is thick. Let’s see what happens!
Of course, I got my hands on some canvases. Artify gave me brushes, a palette knife, and a huge selection of paints. Wow, so much color variety! I don’t know which colors to use. Now I have the materials set out on the table I open my computer and go to YouTube. If I know anything, it’s that YouTube can teach us how to do anything. Search for beginner painting. Beginner Acrylic painting.
I found a tutorial that seemed easy. Let’s give it a try. I chose the small canvas as suggested and went to work. This is going to use primarily three or four colors and a palette knife. The first instructions said to draw some basic trees on the canvas.
Some dots of paint in the right spots. So far this is right up my alley. At this point my canvas looks exactly the same as the demonstration online. Okay, I can do this, feeling positive. Time to grab the knife. The next step asks us to spread the white out to the top and bottom of the canvas. Then the yellow, but just go up as if it were some trees growing beside a river. Let’s try it.
The yellow can be spread downwards a little bit also, we will need it to look like a reflection in the water. Okay, that was good, let’s spread the orange now, going a little higher than the yellow; these trees are taller.
So far it doesn’t look like anything at all. I understand that. But I have watched Bob Ross enough to know that the moment isn’t quite right yet. I’m still feeling very good about this. In the tutorial they have added more paint in spots. Maybe the orange and the red wasn’t enough to spread as tall as you want. Go ahead and add more dots of paint to be spread.
Now comes some tricky parts. Choose a brush, a wide one, and blend out the edges at the top. Also, the teacher has grabbed some white paint from the center and dabbed it into the leaves. We need to create some spaces and branches and trunks in the woods. It’s not a pile of leaves!
I’m not super-happy with the brush work at the top, but now we use the knife again and some brown paint. Time to paint the shoreline first. Once that is done, I dipped the edge of the palette knife into the brown shore and randomly added tree trunks and branches. Wow, this step suddenly has made my mess of paint start to look like trees on a muddy shore. I think I made the dirt line a little too wide. That’s okay with me; remember my first statement, I am not an artist yet.
Oh no, more brushwork now. I won’t learn how to do it unless I try. Smearing some color into the water, grabbing some of the brown of course. Oh! This actually went much better than I thought it would. I like the look already.
Now it’s time to add details with a clean edge of the knife. Dipped in the white this time we make horizontal lines in the water. I thought I liked the reflection before but this really makes it look even better. I’m still not happy with the brush work I did at the top, but the rest of this painting is really coming together. I keep pausing the video and starting it again. That is a huge advantage, like having a private teacher.
One more step is to dip the knife edge in brown paint again and add some lines in the water. Some vertical lines with the white, even getting some red on the knife is not the end of the world. I keep going until I feel like it is enough. Wow, how empowering! Here is the final product.
Now artists are mostly kind and gentle souls who will all tell me how great this is for my first attempt. Can I tell you a secret? I’m super-proud of it. I enjoyed the process, I learned a lot, and I like the end result. It may have been my first, but it won’t be my last. I have more videos to watch and I am going to try to live by the motto of my friends at Artify – do something artistic every day.
Stay tuned for more!