Black Friday… art education

Have you bought anything in the Black Friday sales? Usually my husband and I get excited and optimistic about being able to buy a few things we’ve been wanting to get, only to discover nothing we’re looking for is actually on sale. Similar things happened this year when it came to “in person” shopping, but I made a couple of online purchases I wanted to mention.

I’m a self-taught artist. Growing up in Scotland I took Art as a subject at school, and studied it up to CSYS level (that’s Sixth Year Studies – above “Higher” level. Sorry I know that’s all jargon to North Americans! So I did have some art teaching, but it was just high school classes. I’ll have to write a post about that some time. I considered going to art college – my mum had a contact at Glasgow School of Art so we went for a visit, but it didn’t seem like my kind of place; at that time (early-mid-90s) everything was very much “Modern Art”, and I wasn’t impressed by any of the art I saw there because I have always been a detailed painter of realism. Something else I’ll have to post about sometime!

Anyway, I’ve always just painted. And drawn. For a long time it was just for myself, but I did it a lot, so I learned through doing.

Times have changed and there is now a whole lot of educational material online. I’ve dipped into it here and there (a Youtube video here, a Domestika course there) but more out of interest than for actual practice and learning.

But the wonderful thing about technology now is it’s presenting opportunities to learn that weren’t remotely available before. In “the old days”, if you admired an artist you bought a book – if they had one. And stared at the pictures trying to work out how they painted. Now you can watch little videos they make themselves on social media actually showing them paint – I confess I’m so averse to making these videos myself and yet I hugely appreciate those artists who do! It’s fascinating to discover little bits of their process, and often finding it’s very similar to my own.

A few of the artists I follow online have video tutorials available for sale. They usually feel like an indulgent purchase so I’ve not bought any, until Black Friday! (Wow it took me a long time to get to the point). Two of the artists I follow had Black Friday offers:

Scott Waddell:

and Andrew Tischler:

Scott Waddell is an American painter who does amazingly detailed oil paintings, and uses an interesting technique that does not require multiple passes; he paints in great detail on the first pass. Andrew Tischler is a New Zealand-based artist who mainly paints very impressive large landscape paintings. Both artists excel at realism in oil paint, something I am looking to improve my skills in – portraits are a challenge all their own, and tones and detail in landscape can be tricky to master.

Most of my life up to this point has been spent working in acrylics. It’s still my go-to paint because it’s simple, but there are things it just can’t do well; mainly blending because it dries so fast. So I build my acrylic work through multiple layers and glazes. As I’ve moved into oil painting I’ve found it’s easier than I expected, but I know there are tips and tricks to it that I don’t know, and there aren’t art classes around here to teach me. So this Black Friday I took advantage of the sales and got some money off 2 different tutorials, one from each artist. Both are excellent teachers (Waddell teaches at Grand Central Atelier in New York) so this is a great example of the opportunities afforded by all this new technology! I’m excited to watch and learn.