Short answer. Yes! You absolutely should learn how to paint and it is so much easier than you think.
If you are reading this, than you most likely already have the inclination to learn this wonderful art-form, but you are most likely hesitant, and for good reason. Most of us have experienced painting while we were children, which most likely didn’t result in some masterful piece of artwork that you and the world are amazed by. Hopefully, I can set your mind at ease and help you take the first step in learning by sharing my own experiences with painting.
Why is learning to paint so scary?
Fundamentally, it is failure which stops most people from tying something new and painting is no exception. We don’t like to try something, find out we are terrible, and end up with something ugly. If it makes you feel any better, here are my first two attempts at painting as an adult.
Not supper impressive, I know. But at the time, I was extremely proud of what I had accomplished. These paintings were far better than I’d ever been able to do before, and most importantly, I enjoyed the experience. Painting has a way of relaxing, calming, and motivating me. These paintings were created as a project for a Shakespeare class I took while attending University in 2018. It would be two more years before I would work on and develop this talent.
Learning to Paint with Oils
The image below is the a picture of the first oil painting I did. Perhaps I was able to do what you see below because several years before I’d watched a few episodes of Bob Ross on YouTube or because I grew up drawing for fun. Either way, I was happy enough with the result that it seemed imperative that I take time to learn and perfect this skill. Well, perfect as much as an artist can.
Perhaps the first thing you should know about oil painting, it takes anywhere from 8-14 days for an oil painting to dry. For the first few days, the oils will smear and can be scraped clean. Having a safe place for the painting to sit and dry is important if you want to take up this art style. It is also worth mentioning that you will have to invest in paint thinners or mineral spirits to clean off your brushes, hands, and pallet. If not, you will have a hell of a time trying to wash anything and will most likely go through an entire bottle of dish soap just in cleaning your hands.
It’s quite alright to be bad at something. Fail forward truly means that in order to move towards your goal, you are going to need to fail. Truthfully, you may fail more than you are comfortable with. Failure can be discouraging and is the stumbling block for most creative people who never make a living off their work.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you are not a successful artist if you never make a living from your work. What I truly want to express is that if making a living from your art is your goal, giving up on this goal means you were not successful.
To put it bluntly, you will fail only if you decide to terminate your dream. No one can take this away from you but you. Learn to pick yourself back up, grow a thick skin, and march forward. Don’t kill your dream.
The Joy of Painting
Bob Ross is perhaps my favorite modern artist. Not only do I enjoy the type of paintings that he performed on his PBS show, “The Joy of Painting.” But I love how painting along with Bob felt. He inspired me by showing that anyone can learn to paint.
His approach to this art form by expressing that there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents, is encouraging to anyone starting out that may be hesitant due to some preconceived notion that painting would be impossible for them to learn.
After my first go at oil painting, I painted along with Bob and here are the first four paintings.
To view more paintings, I have posted my entire oil gallery here.
I hope that you find the courage to being your artist journey and begin to paint. With so many amazing resources online, you can learn from so many others that have gone before you.
The most important part of making art, in my opinion, is having fun. Painting should be something you enjoy doing. A break from the run of the mill tasks that clog our daily existence. It is unbelievable how many people I have personally painted with who were amazed that they too could paint.
Go now and have fun painting your new world!