How to start painting

Painting has been a lifelong passion for me. Whether it’s for pleasure, work, or therapy, I always strive to make it part of my daily life. I started painting when I was young, like most everyone else, but it really took off in high school. I found that during my free periods and study hall I would make my way to the art room to hang out and my style of choice always came back to abstract expressionism. The freedom of mark making and colors was such freedom for me. The time spent in the art room creating abstract expressionist work was a time for me to be by myself, creating who knows what! All I know is the feeling it left with me; the feeling of peace and joy and that is something I have carried that with me my whole life. I would love to share the joy it brings me with anyone who is willing to try it!


So often people tell me they love art but cant paint, or cant draw. I always respond with the same thing…Yes you can, we are all inherently born with it! The gift of creativity is something we all have; we just have to learn to tap into it. I think as adults we are afraid of failure, messing up, or not being perfect. Those ideologies have to be thrown out the window when you create. We are not robots, we are humans, and imperfections are the clear path to finding our way. Allowing yourself to make a mistake and not be upset is a gift; not comparing yourself to the person next to you is a life lesson, and in the art world it’s especially true. There is not one day I walk into my studio where I look at everything and think, “I’m finished, and everything is perfect!” I don’t think artists ever ‘arrive’. We just keep down our path, and some days the path is beautiful lined with the sweetest flowers and perfect seventy degrees and sunshine and other days it might be a little drizzly, but such is life, and you just keep on moving forward. The motivation for me to keep pushing forward is that there is so much to be discovered, unveiled, and seen. We all have the ability to see something completely unique; sharing that is what art is all about.


How do I get started?

  • The first thing I suggest is think about what medium you want to try first. A medium is the tool you use to create. For example, colored pencils, acrylic paints, oil pastels, etc. Colored pencils are easy to travel with so if you think you’ll be taking your new art passion on the road, I suggest them for ease. Acrylics are fun because you can easily blend colors and make your own and with acrylics you have the option for added texture.
  • Next thing you will want to choose is what you would like to put said medium on: sketch book (see mine below), canvas boards (see mine below), canvas wrap, etc. If you go the sketch book route I recommend buying a heavier weight (page thickness) so that the colors/water/acrylics won’t show through. The page thickness will also come in handy if you get into your mark making, as do many abstract expressionist artists, and you wont break through the paper! Canvas boards are nice because when your done you can pop them into a frame! And its a lot less expensive to frame a canvas board than a canvas wrap!
  • Next, think about if you have an idea of what you would like the result to look like (no worries if not, I never know what to expect when I start!). What I mean by that is are you looking to create something that is easily recognizable aka Realistic Art. Or are you trying to create Abstract Expressionism by working with colors and marks to display feelings and emotions. Maybe you don’t know which one better suits you and you will want to try both!
  • A fun exercise I do is I set up a still life of flowers. I paint or sketch a realistic version, and then I do it again in an abstract way. When I paint abstract my brush is much looser; my gut is basically driving the marks. The colors don’t necessarily copy that of the real world, and scale isn’t really a priority. By painting in this way, it helps me to clue in on what I’m really seeing and feeling when I view them.
  • Finally, crank up the tunes, and enjoy! Art has this magical way of transferring emotions and energy, so have fun with it!

    I would love to see what you create, please tag me on Instagram @ChristineMuellerArt




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