Dear Reader, if you have ever wanted to paint but didn`t know where or how to start, fret not. Salvation is at hand. You are but a few clicks away from enfranchising the creative part of your cerebellum.
As a self-taught artist I have spent a fair amount of time surfing the web magpie-like attempting to lift useful snippets of advice about how to paint. As you might expect there is no shortage of stuff out there. Youtube in particular has an abundance of video footage. Alas, much of it is dross. The few obviously accomplished artists are unwilling to open up sufficiently to unlock their `secrets`, are inarticulate or are simply let down by poor production values. The old adage "Those who can, do. Those who can`t, teach" comes to mind.
As is often the case with adages, happily there are some exceptions. One in particular worth checking out is Will Kemp and his art school.
Will is a seriously gifted painter, classically trained and clearly more than good enough to make a decent living by painting, exhibiting and selling. It is our good fortune that he has also chosen to share his hard-won artistic expertise via his virtual art school. http://willkempartschool.com/
Here you can find a series of informative, downloadable (some of them free, others very good value) video lessons on drawing, acrylics, oils, colour, and many other key aspects. The quality of the footage is high, so that you can see each brushstroke, follow each step as the painting takes shape on the canvas. There is also a wealth of information on the practical aspects of setting up as a painter - those things that you need but nobody ever told you about properly: what mediums to use when, how to prepare a canvas, what brushes to use for what task, how to use colour, what kind of paints to buy etc etc. Even a very informative piece on what kind of lighting to use in your studio. Will avoids pontification or the patronising tone you so often come across. He is disarming, articulate, wise, kind, inspirational.
One of the first of his courses I signed up for was "How to paint a portrait in oils" http://willkempartschool.com/how-to-paint-a-portrait-in-oils-time-lapse-video/
It was fascinating to follow the progress of this seemingly simple self-portrait. How paint can somehow impart `soul`, or at least a different kind of `truth` compared to the implacable cold focus of a photograph. As Philip Larkin said "But o, photography! As no art is/Faithful and disappointing". You can learn a lot about tone, light and shade and contrast by painting in black and white and I was happy with the improvements I felt this course had made in my own work. The painting below was a direct result of following Will`s advice.
So I would just like to say a big thank you to Will for his wonderful tutorials, and encourage any of you who would like to improve on and/or begin their painting odyssey to check him out forthwith.
Woody Allen`s character in Annie Hall wittily adapted the adage, saying "Those who can`t do, teach. And those who can`t teach, teach gym". I`m delighted to say that Will Kemp (a) is not a gym instructor and (b) that he absolutely CAN do.