Pass It On

March 24, 2013

How does someone who has been painting a long time share knowledge about the art of painting with someone who is a newcomer to the field? I’ve never taught an art class but I’ve been in various classes, some good and some not to good. In some of the not so good ones the teachers were good artists themselves but I think they didn’t really know how to convey their knowledge to a group of people who had never had academic art training but who thought it would be fun to paint a picture they could hang on their wall or give to a relative.

In these classes the instructor woould provide a list of materials and the students, with a wide range of experience and ability, come to class and each start painting something different. The instructor wanders around and makes a few brief comments but the students are pretty much on their own. The classes are usually once a week for maybe about eight weeks. Beginners really won’t learn much under these circumstances.

The reason I’ve been thinking about all this is that this summer for about a week I will be painting with a beginning artist who hopes she can learn something from me, although she paints in a very different style than I do. What I’d like to do during that week is talk to her about some very basic ideas that can apply to any style of painting. Here are a few I’ve come up with so far.

Decide on a center of interest. It shouldn’t be in the middle of the painting.
Lead the eye toward that center by using lines, shapes or light and dark.
Paintings may be more interesting if there is a marked contrast between light and dark.
Don’t use a color in just one place in a painting. Repeat it somewhere else in the painting.
Using complementary colors adds interest to a painting.

I’m sure I’ll come up with more. In the meantime I’m looking at some of my paintings that hang on my walls and wondering why I
I didn’f follow these ideas more closely myself.

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