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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

SOS for Painting More Often

'Marsh Walk'          5x7      oil on panel       ©Karen Margulis
available $75
 It wasn't really my plan. I didn't intend to paint 2 daily paintings every day. I joined the 30 paintings in 30 day challenge so I would be motivated (ok....pushed) to paint more with oils. It is day 5 and I have 10 paintings to show for my effort. I can't stop now and I am glad I began doing both a small pastel and a small oil. I have learned so much already by having an immediate and very direct comparison of the two mediums.

But I have learned something even more valuable and I need to share my discovery. It is important for all new painters and for all of us who want to paint more often.

I call it the SOS for Painting Practice. Intrigued? Read on!

'Marsh Walk II'         5x7       pastel          $75
SOS For Painting Practice
If you want to paint more frequently there are three things that will help. Painting more often doesn't mean only Daily Painting or doing a challenge....it simply means making time for art even with a busy schedule. It means taking time out at least weekly to paint and not waiting for a class or workshop or the perfect conditions.  What is SOS?


  • SIMPLE: Keep it simple and you are going to have more success. Start with a simple set up and a limited palette. Use the same paper or surface. Practicing with the same materials will help you master them. You will get to know what they do and how they work. Gradually introduce new supplies. Starting out with 25 tubes of paint or 500 pastels can be overwhelming. Keep it simple for success.
  • ORGANIZED: I don't usually stay organized but I am finding that having all of my oil painting supplies handy and very organized is making it easier to quickly get started. I am taking time to clean up and set up for the next painting before moving on to something else. Being organized is a game changer! Take time to get organized.
  • SLOW & STEADY: Understand that it takes many many paintings before you will feel comfortable. Making the commitment for the long term will remove the pressure to perform. Reminding yourself that it is only practice will free you to play and explore. The result will be a happier painting experience and ultimately better paintings.
I have taken my own advice and set up a small area dedicated to oil painting. I have my paints, brushes, water, paper towels, wipes, reference photos and toned panels all together and ready to go. It is making it very easy to do my quick daily painting without spending so much time setting everything up.


Pattie Wall said...

Boy, what a great bunch of practice. I looked through the past 5 days - they are all super on their own merit! Some days the pastels speak to me more than the oils and vice versa. But the contrast between them is so interesting. YOU ARE SO RIGHT. Painting as much as one can DOES make a difference. And as you've stated, having materials ready and available is key, too!

Vanessa Lim said...

Thank you Karen for sharing theses good advices ! Your blog (and your works off course) are a great source of inspiration for me :)
I am testing oil painting right now just like you and I had a question... For your daily pastels you said in a previous post that 15-20 minutes were enough to make a daily painting (which is hard for me). Is it the same for your daily oil paintings ?

Cindy Williams said...

You are such an inspiration! I am a pastel painter and cant wait for your next post in my inbox I love your art and tutorials!

Nancy Fusco said...

I have done this as well, setup a dedicated oil painting area and a separate acrylic area. I am in a one bedroom space. I started in acrylics so I feel more comfortable with them but love the blending time of oils. I also use the Cobra Water Miscible Oils. I setup my acrylic area on the ottoman right in front of my favorite chair so it's right there at the end of a workday for me to paint. I had previously kept all my supplies in drawers and under the bed but there just wasn't enough inertia after a long day to drag it all out to paint and then put it all away. And my oil paint area is on my old computer desk, with the sliding drawer holding the palette, paints and paper towels. I even cut up the paper towel sheets into hand size so I don't even have to stop to fold them over when I need to wipe the brush or palette knife. They're ready to go!

I've set my mind that I have a studio with a bed in it instead of a bedroom with some art supplies in it! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wisdom of simplicity.

Dotty Seiter said...

March walk in oil: The colors! Your ability to set me down right in the salt marsh to breathe in the salty air, to hear the rustle of grasses! Wow!

robertsloan2art said...

Having just become DISorganized in a move, I completely agree with these principles! Ironically I've found myself mostly reduced to one large Moleskine and a particular set of watercolor pencils. Other supplies got packed for best moving and now that I am in a smaller place instead of the huge one planned, reorganizing for the small space will mean a lot of back and forth with a storage shed.

I have some pastels sets handy, all favorites. But my sanded paper was out of reach and even unsanded pastel paper only found this morning. But I've been doing watercolor pencil or pen-watercolor horses since I got here. It's a good time for equine practice and for really getting into those watercolor pencils. A set of 24 woodless Cretacolor ones are great for that, they really don't wear down fast at all and the range is broad enough even for sky studies and so on. I'm using a mechanical pencil instead of my tins of drawing pencils. The whole "art store" is all boxed up and safe... till later, when we get my nook sorted out better and dresser painted.

Life happens and if you keep it simple it's possible to keep painting during disruptions! Still not posting though, working on getting that sorted out.