Painting is easy - you just have to know how to get started. Learning to paint is often a seemingly difficult thing for beginners in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. This article explains how to get started painting. You will also find a few helpful tips and tricks that can make the business of getting started with painting a lot easier.
By the way, did you know that drawing or painting improves your general well-being? It's a wonderful way to:
- Forget all your troubles: You are completely focused on your canvas or creative works.
- Relax and see the world from a new point of view.
- To learn from the world, you live in. The French philosopher Henri Bergson said, “The eye sees only what the mind is capable of understanding”.
- Find fulfilment: You experience a sense of pride when creating a piece of art from scratch.
So let's see how you can start to learn to paint!
What are the Essential Painting Materials?
Before you throw yourself into any painting training, you need some essential painting materials. If you make pencil drawings, you only need a pencil and a few sheets of paper.
Paintings on the other hand require a little more preparation. Which painting materials you should buy depends on the type of painting you want to make: watercolour, oil paint, gouache, painting on canvas and so on.
As with all creative arts, there are materials that every self-respecting painter should have in their possession. You can then decide what kind of painting or design you want to make.
Paintbrushes: It is a misconception that it is easy to choose a paintbrush. That is certainly not the case. There are hundreds of options, and you have to choose from:
- Short handles: allows more precise work with watercolours
- Long handles: you can take a step back when painting on canvas
- Flat brushes: for flat areas and surfaces
- Round brushes: for detail without giving too much emphasis
- Curved worn brushes: for blending and fading
- Fan brushes: for shading, painting trees, shrubs, hair and so on
- Bevel (artificial hair only): for high accuracy
- Natural hair: pig, horse, goat and so on
- Artificial hair
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Tip: Brushes with light hair are soft, and those with dark hair are stiff. You can achieve different effects with this.
For example, to paint a portrait with oil paint, you can use brushes with weasel hair (very soft) or brushes with mongoose hair (stiff). Shaving brushes can also be used for fading effects.
Tip: if you use a brush for acrylic paint, it is better not to use it for oil paint.
Canvas is a must for oil paints, while the paper is better for watercolours. Various thicknesses and sizes of paper are available in the art store.
Other tools can also come in handy when you start painting training:
- A painter's palette to mix the primary colours
- An easel: only for oil paint
- An art box to safely store your materials
It all depends on what you want to do when it comes to painting. It is smart to go to an art store and buy good quality items.
What are the Different Painting Techniques?
The two main techniques are working with oil paint and acrylic paint. Oil paint has been used by artists for centuries. All the greatest painters like van Gogh, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci and so on used different techniques to produce the masterpieces that you can see in the museums. If you are painting a live model or a still life, oil paint is the best choice.
Oil paint is thick and oily. It requires a long drying time between each coat, and due to a large amount of pigment, it has very good coverage. The first coat must be thinned with white spirit. Each subsequent layer you add should be thicker and less thinned.
Over time, you will learn how to glaze, paint "wet-on-wet" or " Alla prima ", fade the colours, create an impasto, and even scrape the paint off. Experience is required for working with oil paint. It's not the best method to start with, as you could risk quitting altogether as a novice artist.
To gain painting skills, it is recommended to start with watercolours. And rest assured, it's not just a hobby for kids. Working with watercolours is a versatile technique that anyone can try. Acrylic paint is a somewhat more modern form of painting. It was developed in the 1930s by artists such as Andy Warhol, who have several creative works to their name today.
Acrylic paint contains common dyes but is mixed with synthetic resin. It dries much faster than oil paint when you add it to your artwork or design.
You can achieve almost the same results as oil paint, depending on how you use it. It will resemble a sketch made with coloured pencils if it is heavily diluted. If it is very thick, it can look like an oil painting.
As a beginner, it is better to paint a cow, face or flower vase using the easier watercolours. The time will come when you can make the switch to oil paint. “Practice makes perfect” also applies here.
Find out more about the top painting techniques to improve your art.
Learning to Paint Online
Nowadays, everyone can learn to draw or paint. We look at the internet and how it can help you learn how to create abstract paintings and landscape paintings or draw the human body. It's amazing how many online platforms there are that offer painting training or free courses to learn the fundamentals of drawing and painting!
But remember that you don't become a painter by watching online videos or reading the theory on the internet. A portrait, a landscape or an abstract drawing requires technique, but above all, practice!
What are the benefits of learning via the internet? You can:
- Take lessons when it suits you
- Pick a topic that interests you
- Be responsible for your learning path and development
- Learn to paint wherever you are in the world!
Art is something personal. Without a teacher and learning alone means that you can work without limits, just the way you want.
The internet can provide support, personal development and inspiration materials. There are all kinds of ways to expand your knowledge of the art: YouTube tutorials, websites specialised in painting, social media platforms such as Facebook, and so on.
You can also read up our other article about learning to paint online.
Did you know that some museums offer online tours of their art gallery?
Such is the case for the Louvre and the Guggenheim Museum. So it is no longer necessary to travel to Paris or New York to enjoy art. Search Google Art Project to find all available arts and designs.
Hiring a Private Painting Teacher
If you want to take up painting as a hobby, there are all kinds of painting classes in schools and art associations to choose from. These are often group classes, and if they are one-on-one classes, they can be quite pricey.
However, you can take private lessons without leaving your home.
Why should you try a private painting lesson or course?
- Because of the flexibility: classes can be held at your home, at the teacher's home or via webcam. The choice is yours!
- Due to availability: lesson or course schedules are adaptable and therefore more closely aligned with a student's lesson schedules than painting classes at an art school.
- Due to the lack of an art school or academy: maybe you live in an area where there is no art school or art academy.
- For exam preparation: if you want to take an entrance exam for a large art academy, you need personal support to put together your portfolio. A professional can help you make rapid progress in this regard.
- For tutoring: if you're already in an art academy and have trouble with the fast pace, a tutor can help.
Private training ensures you have the teacher's undivided attention. This allows you to make faster progress.
Superprof has all kinds of tutors in Nigeria who specialise in art lessons. Hourly rates vary depending on the teacher's experience, location and teaching level from 1500 NGN to 5000 NGN per hour. Some teachers work in a single art form. In big cities like Lagos, the rate could go as high as 7000 NGN per hour and as low as 500 NGN per hour in rural areas.
What is the advantage of Superprof? The first lesson with a Superprof tutor is always free. You can therefore see without any worries whether learning at home with a tutor is suitable for you.
Also, before hiring a tutor, you could go through reviews by previous students on their Superprof profile to get a glimpse of the tutor's capability.
Glossary for New Painters
When you start learning to paint, you will undoubtedly encounter strange words. Write down these words and their meanings to use when you start painting.
The glaze is a transparent layer. You will apply it to your painting after you are done. It enhances the colour. The glaze is not used directly on the canvas.
Painting with a Knife
Painting with a knife is a technique that allows you to apply layers of thick paint. However, this painting knife is very different from a regular kitchen knife.
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