My grandmother introduced me to paint when I was 5 years old. My Mom didn’t much like the mess or the smell so I used lots of colored pencils as a kid. When I picked up paint again in my 20’s I thought I could jump right back into it. I did jump, and I painted a lot. Life and art lead me into creating collaborative paintings (FingerSmears®) at events around the country.
I continued to paint on my own when I wasn’t FingerSmearing but my work lacked a richness I couldn’t seem to reach. I thought I needed to switch to oil paint and then perhaps, I would find that magic. I struggled with the transition from acrylic to oil and searched for opportunities to study with great painters while living in very rural Idaho. I took several workshops in beautiful destinations from great painters. These workshops tend to be large and perhaps geared toward the more experienced painters. Much of the information went right over my head because I lacked a foundation of the basics. I still learned, and I had a blast of course. I made friends all over the country who I still visit and paint with. A community of painting friends is a fun thing to develop and maintain.
When we moved back to the east coast almost a decade ago I was asked to teach a basics class. I thought – sure, I can do that! When I researched what a basics class covers, I realized that I didn’t know A LOT of it! My understanding of these basics made a massive difference in the way I began to paint. It also made it easier to understand the more complex concepts I had heard, but struggled to put into practice. That’s what the basics did for me. I also loved what it did for the folks I was teaching it to.
Students began to tell me about how they were ‘seeing’ things differently. They noticed light and saw color, and everything around them seemed more beautiful – even though they had seen it hundreds of times before. They were delighted to see how the learning of this new craft seemed to be spilling out into their everyday lives, and they were happier for it. This was really inspiring for me too. I had something to share that others really appreciated, and apparently I was good at sharing it!
Today, there is plenty of science out there that all points to the powerful positive effects of making art. I’m excited for you to feel it. Enjoy the basics of oil painting!