I’m feeling inspired by all things painterly due to an upcoming Floral Painting class at Gather on March 16th. Participants will learn to make their own floral masterpiece taught by Durham, NC based graphic designer/painter Sarah Jane Tart at our downtown Cary, NC studio and classroom space. Students will paint from a fresh bouquet still life. Very fun. If you’d like to join, you can register here.
Whenever I begin a painting or any piece of graphic art I first start by assembling inspiration either digitally or on a physical pinboard. I then start to see what patterns are emerging. Here I see lots of earthy muted shades of salmon, terracotta, sage greens, rust, charcoal, creams and gray blues. As far as graphics I see repeated rectangular and circular shapes stacked together in an organic fashion. Identifying these commonalities helps to give you a visual template to refer to in the back of your head of imagery that resonates with you and styles to experiment with and incorporate into your piece.
While not specifically floral per say, elements from the above can still be worked into your own art in subtle ways creating texture and layers. My own art process and process in general involves lots of layers built upon one another. I am currently working with encaustic painting techniques just as a personal creative release and I’m enjoying it a lot.
I love how messy that painting is. It is a chance to work with your hands and get them dirty and to step away from all the screens we are so often focused on. It is a good excuse to just experiment and not have set expectations or results in mind as far as output. When I’m painting I certainly get paint all over my hands, surfaces, feet you name it so it’s always good to have an apron on hand to protect your clothes.
Having the tools that you need on hand is definitely helpful when the urge to create strikes. As you get better at your craft you can invest in higher quality brushes and paints but I am a firm believer that you should start with what you have and learn as much as you can, then when your skills improve and you meet the tools at your level you will be amazed at how symbiotic it becomes. This recently happened when I upgraded my camera which I have been using for years and years to a much more professional level one, I was blown away at how much my skills that have been growing over time gelled with the technology. I’m glad I’ve worked my way up, it was such a treat to reward myself with the “next level” of tool instead of just having it straight out of the gate.
As far as taking care of your painting tools, the most important thing is washing out your brushes after every use so they don’t harden and become permanently unusable. You should store your brushes bristle side up as well and you can even make (or buy) brush rolls that store nicely when you amass a large collection or need a portable solution.
As far as paints to buy, again, start with what you can and as far as colors you really only need a basic palette of red, yellow, blue, black and white and from there every color can be mixed, this way you are really creating the colors you need and want versus having to buy a specific shade. My painting teacher in college drilled that into as, as well as how to make our own canvases (super easy) and that the paint should be the consistency of tomato soup so it is easy to spread on the canvas. As far as painting on canvas you also want to make sure it is primed with gesso first so that the paint “takes” evenly.
Are you a painter, a dabbler? Do you prefer oils or acrylics or watercolor? Something else? Do you want to learn or just have a pretty floral painting to hang on your wall? Will you be joining us for the Painting Florals Class at Gather on Saturday March 16th? If so, you’ll need to register here.