New to painting

I'm having a hard time with coming up with subjects to paint. I've been interested in a have been dabbling with painting for awhile and have spent a lot of time reading about color theory, composition, values, color mixing, etc but I cannot decide on what I want to paint. I need practice in every area, including sketching. A big part of my problem is that I don't know how to draw so getting what I want to paint, when I do decide, is very discouraging. I've decided to go with a limited pallet. Painting for me is about color and I sent to pick stuff with lots of green. Any suggestions for finding something to paint? I'm like this in every area of my life so it's going to be a challenge.

Comments

  • montanaDGAF

    Welcome to the Forum.

    Join a life drawing class. Get some newsprint and charcoal. All your skills will improve rapidly. What to draw will never be a problem again.

    Denis


  • Hi, @montanaDGAF. If you live in Montana there are plenty of beautiful landscape subjects you could paint. Keep it simple  and fairly small to begin with. Using Mark's limited pallet and learning to mix colour is a great place to start. With drawing, you  could do as @dencal suggests. You can also learn just  by doing. I had difficulty with drawing, too, when I first started but it gets easier the more you do it. In painting you are drawing with the brush.  :)
  • I'm actually in Texas, Montana is really my name. :) 
    I lack the creativity to come up with anything. I end up starting a lot of paintings with too much greenery and then I get frustrated trying to mix greens. I have been new to painting for a few years and I've always used a limited palette. I have so many tabs, bookmarks, saved pages in my google drive on everything from value to color theory using only muted tones. It causes me much anxiety because painting has always been something I can do to escape whatever is bothering me, but it's gotten to the point where it just causes me more stress and anxiety.
  • edited June 12
    @montanaDGAF,

    It seems like you are frustrated with your painting abilities and have identified that you dont know how to draw, but you are asking for suggestions of what to paint. You mention needing practice in every area.

    Maybe tackle one area at a time.

    I would forget about the painting for a while and apply yourself to drawing its just learning and applying yourself. Go to a class or use the infinite amount of resources on the internet.

    There is a very good book Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain by Betty Edwards I recommend it. A particular exercise in that is to copy an image by looking at it and drawing it upside down. 
    This helpfully suspends the over analytical part of the brain. For example if the image was a person sitting in a chair, our analytical part of thinking tries to apply all your preconceived notions of a person and a chair etc.
    When the image is upside down it means you are just dealing with lines and shapes, which after all is the essence of what we are doing when drawing or painting.

    I think anyone who feels that they can not draw and tries this exercise will be pleasantly surprised. 

    Enjoy the process, dont be overly critical, remember the mistakes are a vital part of learning.

    I think when you have got some drawing abilities under your belt you wont feel discouraged by painting.

    As for asking for suggestions on finding something to paint, I find tricky to answer. Because when I do a painting everything I have done in it has come from me and what i have been influenced by. Sometimes I will have been inspired by having seen something and this may trigger ideas.

    Perhaps if you tried some copies of works you admire that may help.

    You said its going to be a challenge, yes it is. But thats part of the beauty. The more challenges you meet and overcome the more competent you will be and the more you will enjoy.

     :) 



  • I'm actually in Texas, Montana is really my name. :) 
    I lack the creativity to come up with anything. I end up starting a lot of paintings with too much greenery and then I get frustrated trying to mix greens. I have been new to painting for a few years and I've always used a limited palette. I have so many tabs, bookmarks, saved pages in my google drive on everything from value to color theory using only muted tones. It causes me much anxiety because painting has always been something I can do to escape whatever is bothering me, but it's gotten to the point where it just causes me more stress and anxiety.
    What kind of picture would you like to paint? Do you have an example image that you'd like to paint but feel you can't do?
  • Welcome to the forum.  Keep working at it and you will get better and better.
  • CBGCBG -
    edited June 12
    @montanaDGAF

    What imagery do you enjoy looking at?  Are there paintings, photos, or any real scenes in your neighborhood that catch your eye, or you love to look at?  Take and keep lots of photos of what you like to look at.

    Painting those or something similar could give you the spiritual fuel you need to keep you at it!
  • edited June 13
    I look for royalty free reference photos online.  Pixabay, Unsplash, and Pexels to name a few.  I use the grid method to draw onto the canvas and as time goes by doing this over and over, it has honed my drawing skills.  Search YouTube for how to draw using a grid.  RixCanDoIt has one and I know there are others.  You basically can print out a copy of what you want to draw the same size as your canvas,  using the poster option when printing if it is larger than 8x10.  I glue mine together.  You can then draw a grid on our printout every one inch, two inches, etc., and then draw the grid on your painting or drawing surface.  This makes it easier to draw onto your surface.  Once you have the drawing, it will help when you get ready to paint.  Over time, it seems easier to just draw something without the grid lines, so I know my drawing is getting better.  Drawing is elemental to good painting and keep going back to drawing between paintings to keep getting better at that.  This one really got me focused on values and details, which in turn helped my patience.  
    tassieguy
  • When I started painting I just did a ton of master studies. This lets you get your feet wet, learn to mix color, handle the brush, prepare canvas, etc without the enormous burden of ten billion other things that go into composing a painting. Plus reading about my favorite artists helped me keep going, the history or the biographies just keep that fire burning despite all the initial failures.
    dencaltassieguy
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