It is often said that to improve in our art skills we must keep at it.  In other words, we must paint and paint a lot!  I have always been told to paint as often as possible, meaning every day, even if for only an hour.  The reason is that constant and continual work improves our work quickly.  Just as children go to school on a daily basis, we are going to art school daily when we paint every day.

     Take advantage of painting CD's that allow you to do a painting following step-by-step directions.  This is the same as going to school or doing a workshop, but for a much lower price.  The advantage here is that you can do it over and over getting better each time, and learning more each time as well.  These can be purchased on the artist's website and perhaps on eBay too.  I have quite a few in my bookcase that I have purchased and recorded from educational shows.  The recorded ones cannot be sold, but they can be passed along as gifts to friends and students.

     Another avenue is to take advantage of subscriptions to artists online schools.  There are several out there that are very good teachers.  My personal favorite is also rather inexpensive.  His name is Johannes Vloothius.  {Pronounced Loothies}  He is Canadian as is a very good teacher, plus his schooling is rather inexpensive.  His books and CD's are available through North Light Books (artist and he works in many mediums, but focuses on oil, pastels, and watercolors.  Of course, oils and acrylics are interchangeable in his lessons. He is known worldwide, and considered one of the best teachers around.  He will do a 3 part lesson for $19.95, and each lesson can be 3 hours long.  However, each one focuses on a different medium, so it may work better for you to purchase a CD through the website if you only do one particular medium.

     You could also try joining a Plein Air group if one is available in your area.  They are usually free or very low cost, and the benefits are great.  Nothing compares to working outdoors for the light is completely different than photos.  Paintings done en plain air sing compared to studio paintings.  Many artists do a small "study" painting to establish the colors then do a large painting in the studio from that study.  These are usually very successful artists!  Follow their example if possible, even if you only go out in your back yard.  You will see a big difference in your work, believe me.

     My latest painting is another larger one.  It is of Roseate Spoonbills.  They are larger, beautiful pink and white birds with an unusual "flat" bill.  They feed by sweeping their bill through the water to gather insects, etc.  It's very interesting to watch.  There is a large "rookery" or bird breeding area here in St Augustine at the Alligator Farm.  Photographers "flock" here every spring with their cameras to capture close ups of all the nesting birds, and many purchase season passes so they can come every day.

     The photo is below for you to see.  Enjoy and thanks for looking!

24 x 36
Acrylic on stretched canvas




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