Strokes are no joke: Simple yet effective painting techniques to improve your ability

It’s easy to think you don’t need tuition in how to paint – especially if you are a self-taught artist. You could be convinced that art is simply about pouring your heart and soul onto the canvas – in which case, it perhaps wouldn’t be entirely clear to you how a little extra instruction could help you.

However, as the long-established art newspaper artdaily.com points out: “Most artists know the feeling of their vision only taking them so far.” When you hit a rut yourself, how should you take the next step?

Upgrade your art supplies

If you’ve been using the same brushes, paints and grade of paper for a while, you could be pleasantly surprised by how much better your work soon looks after you have replaced all of these supplies.

The Dummies website explains: “A well-cared-for sable brush can last your whole career and produce the same fine lines on its last day of work as on its first.” Meanwhile, switching to a higher grade of paper can help to improve your paintings’ depth – and pricier paints can result in richer colors.

Learn from the experts

There are a few obvious ways you could do this, like visiting art galleries and reading art books and art magazines. You could also sign up for workshops and life drawing classes where you would be able to see masters at work and study their methods closely.

However, you don’t need to just turn to other artists – you could also learn from people who deal more in the business side of art, such as art collector Charles Saatchi, who has no shortage of opinion pieces on his website.

Experiment to spark your creativity

Sometimes, people can just settle too comfortably into their familiar routines – and this easily applies to many artists. For this reason, you would be well-advised to try something outside of your comfort zone – like recreating an existing painting from a different angle or creating a series of related paintings.

You could also get some fresh ideas from turning a painting upside down, zooming in on it or looking at it in a mirror. Exploring a new theme for your next painting wouldn’t go amiss, either.

Find unfamiliar ways to add texture

While a dry, flat brush can help you to blend different paints and create smooth transitions between them, Creative Bloq says reassuringly: “Almost anything can be used to add texture to your paint.” The site mentions the examples of using eggshells and sand to “add interest to a painting”.

For a subtly noisy or grainy effect, you could even use an old toothbrush to spatter the canvas with paint.

Add mediums to your paint

Mediums are fluids that, when added to paint, can modulate its consistency and texture. If you use acrylic paints, for example, you could invest in mediums that would let you give the paint a matte or gloss finish.

The matte medium can be especially useful for sealing paper or a board and, in this way, preventing paint from soaking into it.

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