Showing posts with label art tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art tips. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Talent vs Learning? Artistic Talent is so Overrated

What's on my easel?  I'm currently working on these two projects.  The swan is about 2/3 done, but will be put aside for a bit as I'm working on a special commission.  The guitar is a very special commission and this photo shows what's not yet a complete first pass.  There will be many layers to be added, as well as detail work on this 7-string baby, so it'll be a couple of weeks at least.  I don't think I'll show more progress shots.  I'm not sure yet.  

Sooooo, talent or learned skills?

I get so many comments about having talent.  Why, I just had a message in my inbox this morning asking me when did I realize I had such talent.  After the initial first two seconds of feeling flattered, I replied to the person that I think talent is overrated.

That's right.  Overrated.

While for most artists there is an initial degree of talent that starts us on our artistic path, for the most part it's all about learning and work.

No amount of talent will have save your skin if you don't learn the basics, basics on colour, light, shadows, paints, mediums, materials, etc . . .  There is a heck of a lot to learn, and to practice.

No matter the amount of talent, it's learning that practicing that will hone that talent and skill.  Skills do not come naturally.  Maybe a bit at first, but skill comes from a lot of practice.  Years of practice.  And don't kid yourself, the learning and practicing never ends.  Show me an artist who stops learning, and I'll show you an artist in stagnation going nowhere fast.

I have seen so many artists with so called "talent" reach a dead end in their art because they thought their talent was all they needed.  These artists never progressed.

I have also seen artists who were convinced they could never create a nice painting because they didn't have an ounce of talent.  These artists went on to become fabulous artists able to paint a level of realism that you would think took a lifetime to develop, in just a few short years.  Why? Because they had DESIRE.  They had the desire to learn and practice.  They soaked up any precious bit of wisdom and information and relentlessly practiced at honing their newly learned skills.

So, I know many who aren't artists get tired of hearing how it's not about talent, but that's the sobering reality.  Talent will only get you so far.  It's way overrated.  But that's great news.  This means that if you have the desire, yes, you too can be a really great artist and it's never too late to learn.

It's time to stop glorifying talent so much and start recognizing great artists for what they really are, people who dogged determination who didn't give up, people who had a passionate desire, people who showed up and learned, and kept learning.  People who still keep learning.  That's what makes great artists, not talent. Talent almost seems like a myth when you really think about it.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

How to Varnish an Oil Painting


If you're like a lot of people just learning how to paint with oils, you might be intimidated by the thought of applying a final varnish to an oil painting.  Some techniques might seem complicated at first, and it's understandable to be afraid of botching your labour of love by not properly varnishing your painting, and many people have.

I've heard horror stories of people ruining art they slaved over because of various reasons, from not being certain how to use a certain product or method, to not waiting until enough time had lapsed from a work's completion to being dry enough to paint.

Traditionally, one must wait from 6-12 months before applying a final varnish.  Paints need time to cure this long depending on the paint's thickness before being able to varnish.  Why? Because, if you apply a final varnish too soon and the paint is not dry underneath the first dry layers, the varnish will dry faster than the paint, and the underneath layers will cause the varnish to crack over time as the final paint layers dry.

The thought of this alone has put off many people from varnishing an oil painting.  Many use retouch varnish alone and nothing else.  Retouch is fine for situations where you want to hang a piece for a show and plan to varnish later.

Which brings me to another point.  Do you HAVE to varnish an oil painting? No. Should you varnish an oil painting?  YES!

Varnishing will protect your masterpiece from dust, smoke, dirt, and other pollutants.  It'll also give it a nice even finish, as well as bring out the richness of the pigment or enhance the pigments.

I used to be one of those that hated varnishing.  I hated the fumes and I hated the waiting time.  Retouch varnish often was a blessing, but I still wanted a final varnish.  Gamblin's Gamvar varnish was the answer.

Since I started using Gamvar, I've never looked back.  It's easy to use and has no fumes.  You can use it as soon as your painting is dry to the touch.  You can ship artwork three days after varnishing.  It's a final varnish.  One coat is all you need unless you want a very glossy finish.  It's just the best freaking varnish out there.

Varnishing a painting need to be intimidating anymore.  It's downright easy to do and you never need to fear messing up your masterpiece.  Enjoy varnishing!