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How to Learn and Improve Painting Skills Easily

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Published on: 13 Sep 2022

Are you new to the world of painting? If you are, you know you face the dilemma of where to begin. When you approach a blank canvas, you are scared of running a brush across without ruining it. Or, are you a painter who has just run out of ideas and inspirations to help you find new insights on painting? This blog is for both beginners and skilled painters, and it covers the essential details about how you can paint the world with your colours. 

Anyone can be a painter if they have a passion for painting. Someone who is an engineer can practice his passion for painting alongside. A student who needs to express themselves can practice painting. Painting has no rules. It's the art of freedom, experimentation, exploration, and expressionism. 

So, let's bring out your artistic side through this blog. As you read it, you will know the potential of painting and to what extent it can make you a better version of yourself. 

To begin with, let's first understand: why painting? Is it just for being creative, or is there more to this skill that can add value to your life? 

Let's understand why learning painting can help in the next section. 

Why should you learn how to paint?

Taking care of your mind is as important as taking care of your body. While the world is rapidly progressing, it's nice to take a break sometimes to do what you like. Following a passion or a skill can be therapeutic to you in many ways.

Painting is fun and beautiful. It has potential, not only in terms of helping your career but also because it can expand the horizons of your mind. Without further delay, let's examine the 5 reasons you must learn painting.

1. To push creative growth

Remember how when we were kids, we used to colour a lot? Our schools and parents would give us drawing books to fill with colours. The reason behind doing so was to build memory power and to create awareness of colours. As you grew, the aspects of art changed from mere colouring to drawing shapes, houses, fruits, or even landscapes. The more you drew, the better your creativity became. 

When you paint, the analytical left side of the brain gets stimulated, enhancing creative growth. Along with creativity, you practice patience and focus, which allow you to learn the skill at your own pace. The more you practice, the better you become at painting your creativity. 

2. To build emotional strength

Painting involves thinking and working at the same time. When an artist is painting, their minds are simultaneously on a roll. They are not just thinking about how they want to paint but picturing their thoughts and emotions to paint them on the canvas. What may look like colours spilt on a canvas to a layman is the artist's battle of emotions sprayed to portray a part of themselves. 

Painting is an outlet for painters through which they let out their feelings. They can express thoughts that social reservations have repressed. They can convey opinions that they are too shy to put in words otherwise. And, when an artist paints their emotions, they can control their feelings better. 

3. To build problem-solving skills

Painting compels an artist to think conceptually. The artist begins by imagining a picture. But, in the painting process, there are a lot of changes that occur in the picture. These changes can be due to limitations of colours, any other resource, or new ideas and opinions. 

The initial vision keeps evolving to fit the best narrative an artist can find. Constant thinking, brainstorming, and evolution improve problem-solving skills. In this manner, the artist begins to think outside the box, which is one of the critical assets in life. 

4. To provide stress relief

Painting can reduce stress and anxiety. Any artistic activity can be a great way to release pent-up emotions. People who struggle with sharing their feelings with others or are introverted can let out these feelings through painting. 

Additionally, painting compels you to be attentive and focused. It gives your mind a break from the stress factors in your life. When you paint, your brain relaxes and thus, you face less stress. 

5. To enhance self-esteem

Painting is a great way to build your confidence and self-esteem. It can inspire you to enhance your skills and reach new heights in life. It helps you accept and explore who you are. The more you know about yourself, the better you become at accepting yourself wholly. With self-acceptance comes self-love. 

Moreover, as you upgrade your painting skills, you get a sense of accomplishment which boosts your self-esteem. Seeing in front of you something beautiful that you have created makes you feel proud and worthy. 

These are the ways painting can help you grow immensely. Even though painting can be a great skill to enhance your personal growth, can it be a medium of income? Painting as a career is a reluctant subject for many people. In the next section, let's find out if painting can be a career and, if it can be, how well it can work for you. 

Can painting be your career?

Painting as a career is not something new or unheard of. The world has the most decorative history in the case of painting. Vincent Van Gogh, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, and Claude Monet are some of the biggest names in painting. In the 21st century, we have huge inspirations like Luc Tuyman, Julie Mehretu, and Ibrahim El-Salahi. The scope for postmodern art is still alive and thriving. 

The prospects of modern art are fueled by people's need to express, convey, and, sometimes, even rebel. To make a career out of painting, you must dedicate yourself to this art. 

Painting is a challenging job that will need determination, hard work, and patience. Consistency is the key to establishing yourself as a painter. It would help if you persistently kept trying until you become the fine artist you want to be. If you plan on selling paintings, understand what people will put their money on and add your own story, emotions, and visions to give it a unique appeal. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your style of painting? Would you change your style and subject as per people's demands?
  • Will you provide customised paintings?
  • Will you add commissions for the size and the subject? 

You can also try specific methods to boost your career as a painter. For instance:

Market yourself and your work on social media.

Join social learning apps to get feedback on your work so you can understand people's demands. 

Think out of the box to create unique masterpieces that can intrigue people. 

Additionally, if you are a beginner on this path, you can try painting while multitasking. You can try a temporary job to sustain yourself until your career as a painter grows. This way, you can also afford new tools to enhance your painting skills. 

 Painting has been one of the trendiest skills, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. The future of painting is bright and full of expressionism. Let's understand the current scenario of painting and where it might be going in the next section. 

The 21st-century painting trends

Artistic styles are forever evolving. The 2022 artistic trends demand serenity, nostalgia, creativity, innovation, and expressionism. The times are uncertain, and in such an unpredictable era, artists look for inspiration and self-expression. Let's look at the trends of paintings that will inspire you to draw an idea of your own:

1. Self-expression

Art by Jillian Thottan

painting

"Over time, I've realised how easy it is for me to turn towards art and express myself."

Self-expressionism is all about expressing yourself through art. Your emotions, mental health, dissatisfactions, achievements, sexuality, and gender expression can all fit into this narrative. Self-expressionism themes in painting highlight what goes on in your mind and heart. 

2. Escape to the fantasy

Soft Attachment by Fuco Ueda

Escape to the fantasy

"….it is a way of representing their contact, the human element wants, craving this contact with earthly nature and somehow succeeds in intermediating with the beyond.."

Have you ever faced moments when your fantasy seemed better than reality? We all have had those imaginations. Painting those fantasies are a way to express the reality you want to escape. It's an exciting way of depicting reality by showing fantasy. There's undeniable beauty and mystery to it. 

3. Political minefield

American Policy In The 21st Century by Gheorghe Virtosu.

Painting American policy

"I've made no secret of my critique of the US's organisational and operational strengths and weaknesses. It is top-heavy, with too many senior officials and unclear chains of authority. It is partially paralysed by a system of policy formulation that somehow manages to be both timidly cautious and aggressively adversarial."

Painting plays a vital role in society. Since ancient times, painters have painted society and political scenarios using their interpretations. In 2022, painting using political themes highlights important issues and contributes to valuable discussions. If you have any political views, agreements, or disagreements to express, you can express them through painting. 

4. Nature

"My goal is to project the visual vibrations of energy, light, excitement and enthusiasm through my intuitive and colourful translations of beauty…"

Nature

Nature will always be a subject of fascination for artists. You can try painting the landscape around you or the landscapes of the places you travel to. Nature is beautiful in itself. So, it's a theme worth exploring.

5. Nostalgia

"You're in Good Hands" by Francois Chartier

Good hands
"to capture viewers and make them look at something they know but at a different angle with smaller details revealed in their beauty and simplicity"

As the world moves ahead, we dive deeper into nostalgia. I know I still miss the 90s and the early 2000s. Somehow, without all the technological advancements taking up my day, I had more time to cherish the world around me. The simpler times of the past, the lives people lived, the fashion, and even the food can trigger nostalgia. You can put the nostalgic feelings on a canvas and let your brush stroke every memory.

Since you know the themes you can work on, let's begin by understanding the basic tools you will need to paint. 

What are the best tools for painting?

Painting requires certain tools. And, to make your understanding of these tools easy, here's a list of tools that can help you and how they work. Let's get started!

1. Scotch tape or painter's tape

Clean lines can add a hint of professionalism to your painting. Artists use scotch tape to create neat boundaries on the canvas. You can find these online for low prices. Try it, and you will see a lot of difference in your paintings. 

2. Paint tray

A sturdy paint tray made of metal can help you for a long time. You can use it with paint rollers. Having a paint tray can help you mix your colours well. Just remember to wash the paint tray before use every time. Old paint residues can get mixed with new ones and ruin your painting experience. 

3. Paint roller

This is especially important for larger-sized canvases. Paint rollers can easily cover a lot of areas. However, check the construction carefully before buying a paint roller. Wool rollers are ideal for oil-based paint, whereas nylon rollers and synthetic rollers are great for latex-based paint. Also, ensure that the roller's nap is short of giving a smooth finish. 

4. Paint brushes

Paint brushes are the foundation of building a lovely painting. There are several types of brushes depending on the size, volume, and more. For instance, angled brushes are great for covering straight lines, whereas flat brushes can paint larger spaces evenly. Round brushes add more details to the painting, liner brushes cover the delicate areas of the canvas, and fan brushes create unique textures.

These are the primary tools you will need to create a beautiful painting. Now that you know the tools you need, it's time to learn the techniques that can help you paint. In the next section, we will learn more about the methods you can use to build a painting. 

5 techniques for a solid foundation for painting 

Learning how to paint is a step-by-step process. As you grow in this field, you will come across several techniques to help you master the art of painting. Let's look at 5 simple yet effective painting techniques that can help you build a solid foundation. 

Technique 1: Brushstrokes

Begin by using a quality brush. Brush techniques are the same for various types of painting. Whether you are trying oil painting, latex painting, mineral painting, or chalk painting, what matters is the brush you use. 

For instance, oil painting requires oil-based paint, so it is best to use brushes with natural bristles. On the other hand, natural bristles won't work for latex paints. So, you cause synthetic brushes which go perfectly with solvent-based paints. You can also go through the instructions provided by paint manufacturers to know which brush to use. 

Technique 2: Composition

Composition means understanding how you can bring various elements of the painting together. Decide carefully which subject you want to paint and the canvas size. 

Next, decide how you want to place the subject. Will it be in the centre? Will it be placed horizontally or vertically? Analyse carefully, or else the placing can appear awkward. Balance the contrast and the colours accordingly. 

Technique 3: Drawing Abstract Shapes

Abstract shapes give a larger preview of the painting. Unlike what most people learn about staying within the lines, painting has no such rules. You can get creative with these abstract shapes and add as many distinct features as possible. 

Technique 4. Colour Theory

The colour wheel is an essential aspect of painting. You can use the visible spectrum of colours in your painting. The colour wheel is used for colour mixing. You can make your colour wheel and use it to derive interesting colour combinations on your canvas. 

Technique 5. Perspective Drawing in Pencil and Paper 

Perspective drawing using pencil and paper is an excellent beginning for newbies. It's all about how relative your picture looks. Before you paint, draw your vision on the canvas. Take a step back and look at the picture as a whole to get a larger perspective. Performing this activity can help you understand the raw version of your vision. 

Those are the techniques you can try as a beginner.

If you are already someone who paints and needs a boost of motivation, we have assembled a few tips to help you improve. Check out these tips for skilled painters who wish to grow in this field. 

How to find inspiration when you're stuck?

Inspiration is the source of creativity. Anyone who has ever painted has been inspired by someone or something in life. It could be the nearby surroundings, an important figure, a story, a novel, a location, a movie, or anything. 

At the same time, you may face moments where you fail to find inspiration. Whenever you approach the canvas, your creativity battles to find something motivational. Don't worry. Here are some valuable tips which can help you find inspiration when you need it. Let's go through these pointers.

1. Inspire yourself through practice

This may sound cliché, but practice does make a person perfect. Creating something every day can unlock inspirational sources for you. Feeling confused? Let's understand better. 

Imagine yourself as an artist devoid of attention. So, instead of throwing away your brushes, you give 15 minutes every day to paint. There's no specific image that you want to paint. Instead, you let your body connect with your mind to paint anything and everything. This slowly forms a creative habit. As you develop this habit, your mind will expand and start having more ideas. Such kind of dynamic learning takes time but can indeed show prominent results. The more you practice, the more you fall into the habit of being creative.

 2. Journal your journey

I know journaling and writing can be tedious tasks if you don't have the habit yet. But, it can be the ideal catalyst you need to light up your creativity. Make a list of daily ideas to draw inspiration from them later. You can make these bullet lists on your laptop, PC, or something more hardcover. Having too many ideas at once in your head can feel confusing and exhausting. Your brain responds to this by nullifying each concept. So, transform those ideas into written words. Your mind can rest, and you won't lose the inspirational treasure. 

3. Out with the old, in with the space

Sometimes lack of inspiration can be because of reasons as simple as not having a new environment to focus on. Even though it sounds like a challenging task, you need to part with your supplies and tools once in a while. 

How would that help in finding inspiration? 

Your workspace is a major source of inspiration, even if you cannot actively realise it. Overstuffed workspaces create a suffocating atmosphere that can kill your creativity. The more you hoard, the more confined your mind feels. Instead of working space, it feels more like a storage basement. Keep things you constantly use and get rid of those you have barely touched. If you don't want to throw them away, you can donate them to someone. You can also box them up and store them if you think you can use them later. The purpose is to build more space so that your mind can breathe. When your mind breathes, it gets more inspired to create. 

4. Allow yourself mistakes

Perfection is not what art strives to achieve. What art really wants to show is the beauty in imperfections. Many people are too scared of making mistakes in paintings. The constant fear leads to a lack of inspiration and confidence and the fear of taking risks. Allowing yourself the space to make mistakes can be more inspiring than destructive. "Happy accidents" are not unheard of in the artistic business. Check out "The Large Glass" by Marcel Duchamp. The artwork was broken right before its exhibit. The artist glued the broken piece of glass and presented it (happily) as the finished product. Even artists like Michelangelo went through several trial and error methods to give unique masterpieces. Just remember, in art, there are no mistakes but just the learning process. 

5. Take breaks

Painting may be your passion, but that doesn't mean you have to work 24/7 on it. Working consecutively on anything can make you dull, bored, and exhausted. Allow yourself tiny breaks now and then so that your brain can refresh itself. It is well-known that breaks yield more productivity. Additionally, your creative level flows better after breaks which helps you achieve satisfaction. Breaks are essential to balance your strong work desire and emotional and mental health. Taking a 25 to 90 minutes long break can help you get energised and work with more zeal. 

Besides, working on a painting means constantly stressing over how to paint, add details, decorating elements, and decide what works or doesn't work for it. This can create a stressful atmosphere inside your mind, leading to anxiety, sleeplessness, and other problems. The best would be to give your mind a break and let it restore so that it can cope with the situation more creatively. You can go out, cook, read a book, play a game, or do anything you love. Who knows, maybe you will find inspiration in the daily chores! 

6. Avoid relying too much on the internet

The internet is a great place to learn new things. But, at the same time, it can be the full stop to your creativity and imagination if you rely too much on it. Searching for inspiration on the internet is fine. But, you may find yourself going deeper into the rabbit hole, trying to find the answer to every question and every problem. There are 2 possibilities in this situation:

You will become dependent on the internet to find inspiration. Instead of being creative, you may rely on the internet to find something for you. Thus, you will struggle with finding an idea for your painting. This will only lead to disappointment and frustration since you'd know you weren't creative. 

You could face the problem of having too many inspirations. This will create a hotch-potch of ideas in your head. You will realise that the ideas are drowning you and you will feel immobilised with all the burden in your mind. 

The best would be to use the internet in controlled measures and let your mind handle the creative aspects of painting. Take one idea or technique at a time and focus on it until you are ready to jump to the next. 

So, you now understand the various aspects of painting and how you can work on it. Do you need guidance to practice painting practically?

KoolStories is the best social learning app to help you learn painting at your own pace. You can join for free, watch videos, meet like-minded artistic people, and learn your passion in a thriving environment. Talk to our expert creators or go through their micro-learning courses if you want to know more about painting. KoolStories has a complete social learning experience that can help you grow skills indefinitely without wasting your time or money. 

FAQ

Do I need to know how to draw to paint?

Painting is a free art that allows mistakes and unpolished talents. It is a skill that doesn't require you to have additional skills. You don't need drawing skills to learn how to paint. You can simply start painting on a canvas and let your creativity flow. 

 

What kind of paint can I begin with?

You can start painting using oil, acrylic, watercolours, and pastels. The best paint for beginners would be acrylic since it dries faster and can be used on various surfaces. 

 

Can I mix paint of different brands and qualities?

Yes, you can mix paint of different brands and quality but be more careful about the type of paint you are using. For instance, avoid using acrylic paint on oil-based paint. 

 

How many brushes are required to paint?

Painting has no specific rules. You can get as many brushes as possible based on your budget and requirements. Remember to maintain your brushes after buying them by cleaning them every once in a while. 

 

How long does it take to finish a painting?

A painting takes as long as an artist wants it to. There's no time limit or deadlines to paint. The painting is complete when the artist is completely satisfied with the artwork. So, don't hurry; take it slow, and let your creative mind work on it at its own pace.