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The 3 Most Effective Ways to Get Your Painting Sessions Started

January 17, 2015

The 3 Most Effective Ways to Get Your Painting Sessions Started 

 It's a fair bet: if you're reading this, you're a serious amateur, passionate to become a professional artist. A session plan will get you started.

1.Set a time limit for your session.

  • Your plan begins with a calendar, marking out the must-do events of your regular week. The gaps – when you have 'free' time – are the asset you'll use to schedule studio sessions. Decide on the time of day or evening that best fits into your normal routine. It all depends on your present situation. The plan will be different for a full-time mother of young children, a shift-worker or if you're in full-time work.Talk it over with your partner to be sure both of you know what's involved and agree on the plan. When your decision is made, write it down.
  • This is an important step. Please don't skip it. The inevitable times will come when, for you or your partner, it all seems too hard. This is when a written record of what you both agreed, and why, will keep you going.


2.Prepare ahead for your painting session. A painting takes as long as it takes. Faster is not always better.

  • Spend as many sessions as it takes in drafting a new piece.Whether your medium is oils, watercolours, acrylics or pastels doesn't matter. Whether your chosen subject is portrait, landscape, animals or abstract design doesn't matter either. Just start doodling your ideas in pencil or scribbling down the ideas that inspire you.
  • When the piece takes shape in your mind, gather your reference drawings, notes or photographs into one place in your studio. Stick them in a drawer or file them in a manilla folder. Just be sure to keep these resources in the same place, so they're at hand when you're ready to begin the final painting.

3.Set up a routine for your session. These steps will get you started with a minimum of fuss and delay.

  • Keep printed copies of the Colour Wheel and use them to work out the colour compositions for the painting. This step alone will save you many hours and a lot of wasted paint.
  • Make it a habit to set out your paints in the same order on your palette. It doesn't matter much which order you choose, the best is the one you prefer and will stick to using.

Keep a timer in your studio. It can be any kind you like but make sure it stays in your painting space. Set it for the number of hours you allot for a session, including the time it will take to clean your palette and brushes. If you miss that step, you're letting yourself in for unnecessary hassles.

TIP_Remind yourself of the difference between a Sunday painter and a pro.

A professional ballet dancer does a limbering-up routine at the barre every day. A concert pianist practices scales everyday. A professional actor does vocal exercises before taking the stage. You can make yourself into a professional painter by adopting the same sort of practice in your home studio.©Dorothy Gauvin

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