There are many times when we've been stumped by a painting. At this point we either throw the offending image into the bin, vowing to never paint again……or start looking for solutions somewhere else.
Most of us don't have a skilled artisan at our fingertips who is willing to step up and guide us though our paintings.
Luckily painting tutorials take lots of different forms, and there are thousands of them available. All have their pros and cons.
Click on any of the images below to learn how to paint these beautiful elements and scenes for yourself! (PS: Also, you can scroll to the bottom of the page for many more free tutorials for you to explore!)
For starters there is your local library. This is free and may be wonderful, or it may be full of tragic dog-eared articles from the 1920's which are not relevant to your arts practice today.
Doing a workshop can be a great idea. Having some idea of the tutor's approach to painting tutorials (if you can) is worth doing. Some teachers out there are, how shall I say this......... mind bendingly boring, or indescribably pretentious (wow, Mark, beat around the bush why don't you). Some are also very stingy with their information. Often, though, it can be money well spent.
A magazine subscription is not a bad idea. There are many magazines dedicated to solving problems, but you may have to wait until your problem arises before you get to the gold.
Purchasing a DVD is a great idea! Choose your subject and/or problem area, and hopefully the tutor will help you solve your problems.
There are many sources of painting tutorials out there these days. With DVDs there is no real way to tell what you are getting, until you've paid your money. Word of mouth helps. As do testimonials. Or find a sample or trailer - Youtube is a great resource for this. Mine are great - just ask me, I'll tell you!
This leads us to another great search option for painting tutorials - the Internet. You can find almost anything out here these days (including what Aunty Nancy did at her last work party). Just be careful what you search for (I accidentally discovered that whale tails are not necessarily exclusively about large sea mammals).
Searching specifically for the solution to your problem can very often yield some great painting tutorials, and forums can be useful in this regard. With forums you have the advantage of being able to ask your specific question and very often people will come back with (a variety of) answers.
Fundamentally, as painters who work with realism as a base, there are two major skill sets:
Firstly, your physical skills, including:
√ Mixing colour
√ Dexterity with a brush
√ Range of brush applications
√ Understanding colour theory
√ Understanding perspective
√ Understanding composition
and so many more…..
The second most important thing is your perception or observation skills. This involves discovering all of the information that you need to create a convincing piece of artwork, for example:
√ How does the light hit a tree?
√ What gives that cloud depth in the sky?
√ What makes water look like water?
√ How are things affected by light?
√ What is the negative space doing?
and so much more…..
When one of these areas is out of balance, our paintings don't work. If, for example, you can see the information you need, but you can't get your brush to do what you need it to - this is the area where you need some help mastering the skills. Drag out a blank canvas, and train your brush. Practise makes perfect.
If, you feel comfortable with your brushwork, but don't seem to be able to make the work convincing; there is probably some information missing. You need to learn to look more closely at your subject, to discover the subtlety & nuances that make or breaks it.
Go into the world and look around. Dissect it. Layer, upon layer. Make notes and observe. Discover your own painting tutorials.
Good painting tutorials will address both of those areas.
It's important to note that you are not on your own. Someone out there somewhere has struggled with the same thing you are struggling with, and been victorious!
If you would like to support us by spending some actual money on our tutorial products, click here to visit the shop.
Have fun, and as always, chuck some paint around!
Have you always wanted to learn how to paint water realistically? My unique process teaches you how to paint water, and see water, in a whole new way.
Ever wanted to paint a beautiful, light filled beach landscape? Our free painting lessons will show you exactly how.
How to paint trees. Train your eyes to find the patterns. Then, train your brush to make the patterns, and watch your trees come to life.
We'll investigate four basic concepts and skills to inject more light and life into your skyscapes.
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Discover a simple and powerful strategy to uncomplicate the process of learning how to paint clouds.
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Discover the amazing array of colours within shadow paintings, and the tricks to using them to create amazing paintings.
Uncover the transitions from luminous blues through to glorious golds. Learn which colours to add to your sunset painting. Discover where to put them to make your canvas sing.
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Use our practical color mixing guide to create your own set of go-to default paint recipes.
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Go bananas painting tropical landscapes. Surrender to colour without losing your eye for subtlety.
Free recipe cards and corresponding video tutorials to kickstart you into action!
How to paint fabric. Break down the appearance of fabric, and rebuild it with simple straightforward painting techniques.
Learn some structures and processes to help simplify painting these incredible plants.
On the surface, greys and muted tones could seem a little dull. But nothing could be further from the truth. There is always unexpected colour, and a mood that can be exaggerated and highlighted. Perfect for making stormy paintings.