Hints and Tips

(edited from an article in Artist’s Palette Magazine 2016 issue 148)

  1. Paint the subjects that excite you not the ones you think will please the market and sell. You are more assured of success if you are really involved with your subject.
  2. Always make sure you use  good quality materials. 
  3. Take plenty of time setting up your composition or arranging your model if painting a portrait. 
  4. Charcoal is fine for the first drawing but other artists prefer graphite or go straight to paint. Whatever method you use be sure you are happy with this stage checking the shapes of your objects, the proportions and the negative shapes. 
  5. If you paint from life you should  already have arranged your lights and darks when setting up the still-life. 
  6. Don’t rush each stage, take the time to evaluate the day’s work and always remember the “Fat over Lean “ rule,- start with solvent and thin paint and then gradually  increase the amount of medium/oil in subsequent layers. 
  7. It’s useful to use soft Taklon brushes when painting wet on wet as  the bristle brushes tend to lift paint off a wet passage. 
  8. Keep standing back from you canvas to view your work at the normal viewing distance which in a gallery is about six feet. A passage may look fine close up at the painting range of 12-15 inches but fail when viewed at a distance. Ideally a painting should stand out from across a room, the more so if viewed in a low light setting. 
  9. Know when to stop and resist the temptation to keep adjusting. Few   artists are always 100% happy with their work, but if another brushstroke does not improve anything, then be content to leave it alone and commit yourself by signing your name as your last act..