What is your reason for wanting to take art classes?
To develop skills? • Learn new techniques? • Recharge creativity? • Develop creativity?
Do you enjoy the arts and want to become involved in something artistic?
Oils are easiest for beginners and very forgiving. Are you an information sponge? I can show you how to fix any problem with a painting. Newbies to this medium can begin a painting the first day and often finish their first painting within 8-10 weeks.
Working with oils gives you lots of time to adjust your painting and blend colors. I have my students use a special medium which allows the paint to dry within 24 hours. Oils can give you rich, deep colors that maintain their intensity when dry. They can be used thick or thin or as a glaze. Light refracts through the layers of oil paint, creating a luminous appearance of depth. They are durable and can last for generations.
You are supposed to be able to mix water soluble oils with regular oil paints but here again my students have found that mixing the two types have caused their paintings to form small cracks as they dry. Because of these issues, I encourage students to use traditional oils.
Watercolors take much more patience because they tend to be unpredictable. Do you have a thoughtful, meditative personality? Before creating paintings, newbies to this medium work through many small exercises for the first few weeks to learn how to control the medium before moving on to making finished paintings.
- How the different pigment (colors) viscosities react with each other…
- Water control: How much (or how little) water is needed to create different effects (sometimes it feels as if you’re watching the water dry, but waiting until it’s just right is one of the keys to mastering watercolors)…
- How different papers react with the paint…
- Dozens of techniques for applying paint…
- Brushwork skills (so you don’t make “mud”)… and so much more.
With watercolors, it is more difficult to cover a mistake. Your work is more fragile and must be specially framed for it to last.
Mixed-Media can mean using different mediums all in one painting. Are you super creative and full of confidence? You might want to be using acrylics, watercolors, oils, pastel, collage, found objects and more.
Often before tackling a mixed media project, it’s wise to have some skills in one or more of the above mediums as well as a good understanding of composition, color mixing and how well each of the different mediums work together.
Acrylics may seem like the best choice for a beginner but I’ve found that this medium works best for students who prefer a more graphic or illustrative style (flat color areas with hard edges).
Acrylics dry very quick, I mean REALLY QUICK. Although working time can be increased by adding retarding medium or constantly spraying your work with water, this can be very tricky to learn. The fast drying time makes acrylics difficult to create smooth blending, so beginner work can often look chalky and streaky. Remixing colors to match a previous color is extremely difficult even for one who is proficient in painting, so most beginners end up purchasing many, many tubes of color.
Acrylics are also very hard on brushes and the paint is difficult to remove once it’s dried. Colors usually dry darker than when first applied, plus using the cheaper student quality acrylics that have extra fillers added, often create a more pronounced color shift. Contrary to popular belief, acrylic paints can contain various toxins within their pigments.