I still employ this method of learning in school growth to my art career because I know it works, and I believe that you never stop learning in life.
What is my method? I focus on one specific skill at a time, and create exercises that consistently stretch my abilities in that area until I reach a modicum of improvement and then I move on to another area of focus.
Mentally I have divided my areas of study into distinct focus areas. A few of my study categories are: art theory, composition, form, value (total beauty), and edge quality (sense of depth), and color.
When I want to improve in one of these areas, I will devise painting setups and then complete paintings that specifically explore this area of study. I will complete at least one painting, but typically I strive for 3 to 4 paintings that test this specific area an idea.
Each improvement is a metaphorical step in a spiral staircase that eventually leads to mastery. The idea is that with each exercise, another step is taken. When I feel like I have improved enough I then focus on another skill that needs improvement, and typically the next area becomes apparent to me because I will analyze and critique my paintings, identifying what works and what needs improvement.
In the next newsletter, I will discuss an important influence on creating realistic paintings and my thoughts about it. However, I also want to hear from you and know what you are interested in.
This is where I need your help.
Please visit this survey I set up and list out any questions you have about learning to paint with oils. Your questions will help me identify future topics covered.
Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
With warm regards,
PS: Below are two classes I will be teaching in Great Falls, VA starting this September. Read on for details. :)