Sunday, May 3, 2009

Learning from Mistakes

Everyone has different learning styles, but I am the type of person who likes to dive in and do it my own way. For my first oil painting, aside from following the "thick over thin" principle I had read about, I pretty much just threw a set of paints haphazardly onto a palette and started painting using a few brushes I had on hand. Yes, I had read about the different types of whites, about pre-mixing colors on the palette before beginning, and how one must have a full array of brushes to complete a successful painting, but I found all of the advice to be overwhelming and often contradictory, and I decided that I would learn the best from actually trying it myself.

Aside from the thick over thin principle, What I learned from this experience is that it actually is quite helpful to premix some colors that you know you will be using, though I don't exactly follow any prescribed methods, and my palette seems to change a little each time I mix the paints. Had I followed someone else's palette and methods exactly from the beginning the process might have been easier, but I think that the lesson would have less meaning to me.

Now, working on a piece smaller in scale on Pastelbord (work in progress shown below), I am learning the value in having more sizes and types of brushes, as I struggle to get thin lines and fine textures.

Occasionally I find that following my own instincts is very helpful in developing my own techniques and style. But other times (and perhaps more often) my mistakes help me to really learn the value of the lessons and advice given by seasoned painters. So I continue on, happily learning and growing from my mistakes.

3 comments:

Vesna Designs said...

Like you, I read every oil book and tip I could get my hands on, but in the end discovered and learnt about oils on my own by constant painting...with each work I learnet something new, discovered a new trick, saw the difference in oil behaivour in respect to environmental heat or mediums, and in the end-it was the best way to do it...as they say - "No pain No gain" - this work is totally beautiful, and you are doing Brilliantly so far...for your final glazing of colours and highlights, oils mixed with Liquin do amazing things to the work :)

Arti said...

You are doing great, Holly.I am still trying to grip the oils...they are beautiful but tough to handle:)

garyruuska said...

It has been said that failure is the key to success. I believe it, and like you, I have learned from my mistakes. Your willingness to dive in with both feet, without fear of failure, is your great strength, and certainly plays a roll in your success. So many talented people never get beyond that fear.