Oil Painting as a Relaxing Hobby
Painting as a hobby can be a very satisfying and relaxing form of recreation. The hobby of oil painting or watercolor painting can help balance your life, especially if you are in a high-stress occupation or position. Winston Churchill had the fate of the world in his hands during the heady days of World War II, yet he found the time to paint, in fact, it helped him to relax and gave him an outlet that had nothing to do with politics or the problems of the world. Start painting.
But I’m not talented.
Baloney! People always say, “I can’t draw a straight line.” So what? Painting is not about drawing a straight line. It’s not even about drawing or painting anything accurately. Its more about how you’re feeling. Its more about what you might express if you had a brush in your hand. Just pick one up, dip it into a color that appeals to you and dab it on, swirl it around, jab it and swish it. Just paint and don’t worry if its art or not. Art will come later. Right now lets paint.
Painting in the great outdoors.
Painting scenes from nature is a great way to to combine creativity with the outdoors. It even has a name. In the art world its called “plein air,” a fancy French name for “in the open air.” It was the way the Impressionists painted. They had to get those brushstrokes down before the light changed, so there wasn’t a lot of time for details, just a quick impression, just the essence of the scene.
Of course you can always finish your painting when you get back home. Watercolor painting is a good way to get a scene rendered quickly, and watercolors dry faster than oils so you won’t have to worrry about carrying around a wet canvas. You’ll also need a portable easel. Of course, if you don’t like strangers watching you work, this kind of painting is not for you.
Painting from your imagination or a photograph.
You can always set up a small studio in a spare room or garage. Near a window is perfect for the natural light, but strategically placed lamps with special bulbs that mimic the light of the sun will also do. And painting a scene from your imagination or a photograph gives you all the time in the world to paint until your work pleases you. If you’re interested in portraits, sit in front of a mirror and start with yourself. Get the hang of the human face before you ask your neighbors to pose for you. So what are you waiting for? Start painting!
How to Choose an Art Medium
A visit to the art supply store to buy art medium and supplies may be a tad too overwhelming for a beginner artist. Since investing in quality art supplies such as paints and pastels requires a sizeable investment, it is imperative that new artists should choose the medium they will enjoy working with. To figure this out, there are several factors, such as easy clean-up, portability and desired results that should be considered.
Art Supplies for the On-the-Go Artist
New artists that like to create art in different locations or in the spur of the moment need art media that travel well and are easy to clean up. For this type of artist, colored pencils, watercolors or graphite are the best choices.
Colored pencils and graphite easily fit into a backpack along with a pencil sharpener, eraser and a sketchbook, so they can go anywhere, fast. Watercolors can be purchased in small, travel friendly pans, they dry quickly and clean up with water, making them the number one paint choice for plein air art and traveling artist.
For beginning artists that dream of painting the next masterpiece, of course paints are the obvious medium option, but there are many types of paint to choose from. Here is a breakdown of the most common artist paints:
- Oil Paint- Oil paints are slow drying; this means that mistakes can be easily corrected. They have a creamy feel and can be layered numerous times. To learn more about oil paints read Oil Painting Tips and Terms.
- Acrylic Paints- Acrylics are water based paints that dry quickly and clean up with soap and water. This medium can easily mimic watercolor and oil paints simply by adding more or less water. To learn more about acrylic painting read Acrylic Painting for Beginners.
- Watercolor Paints- This is the fastest dying paint. These paints come in two types: transparent and opaque. Watercolor artist like this painting medium because it is often unpredictable and it can be layered to create luminescent images.
Painting with Dry Media
Many new artists think that paintings must be done with wet media. Not true. There are several types of dry art media that are used for painting, such as:
- Soft Pastel- Soft pastel is pure pigment mixed with binders and molded into sticks. Pastel can be layered to create various effects that mimic wet media.
- Oil Pastels- This type of pastel leaves rich strokes that look like oil paints. They can also be layered or used in conjunction with wet media.
Dry media painting is a good choice for the artist that likes drawing, but wants to create painterly pieces.
Most artists will find that one or two media fit well with a certain style depending on its characteristics. Considering the uses of each art medium is a good way for new artists to choose a direction in fine art.