Many who set out to learn to paint begin by painting "alla-prima" (meaning all at once or wet into wet"). And many end up putting their brushes down because painting is more difficult than they anticipated. Learning to avoid making muddy mess on the canvas is a frustrating endeavor! But don't put your brushes in the drawer just yet, there is another way.
What most do not realize is that the best painting approach for beginners is the Classical "Indirect" Method. Unfortunately, this method is seldom taught except at some small ateliers like ours.
The Classical Method breaks painting down into several manageable stages that are easier for new painters to grasp.
First beginning with a drawing, you learn the importance of creating an accurate "cartoon" for a painting.
The second stage is monochromatic rub-out underpainting using an earth tone to develop the drawing in paint. This gives you a feel for handling paint with a brush. In baby steps.
The third stage is the "Grisaille" or grey painting. Using an earth tone and white, you paint the forms to completion until realism is achieved, like a black and white photograph. This teaches you the importance of values in conveying three dimensional forms and develops your abilities with the paint and brush.
The final stage is the color layer, where glazes and semi-translucent paint is added over the grisaille to give a full color effect.
And voilà! You just finished a painting...and it's not half bad! Hooray!
I have a firm belief that anyone can learn to paint. But it is like learning any instrument or creative endeavor, you must begin with basics. Even the experienced painter can learn a lot from this method, so we encourage you to try!
I teach this method in my Painting and Drawing Workshop on Tuesdays and Thursday's 9am-12pm at my studio in Santa Ana, CA.
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