Expensive Mistakes

Not so much a mistake but a lapse in judgement.

Not that it was really a lapse in judgement, either. It was more of a calculated logical thought process tempered in the fires of reasoning. But there really is no point in trying to explain why I do the things I do, mostly because that would take far longer than just explaining that I’ve done them. I’ve been working towards a collection of materials for some time, though. So this is hardly something unexpected. Mostly because I’ve been looking to get a nice set of flat brushes that compliment the nice set of round brushes I bought some time ago.

I’ve got this thing about brushes. It’s kind of concerning.

I also bought a fan brush because they’re neat and I’m sure I’ll find a use for it. At some point. For some reason. In any case, I’ve finally decided to settle (for lack of a better word) on a collection of materials which I believe suit what I’m attempting to do. I don’t know if they’re the materials I’ll be sticking with forever- but they’re the ones I’m sticking with for now.

Spontaneously purchased some gouache tubes while I was at it, too. It’s… an interesting material. I’ve not used them for much outside of a small test piece, but I’ve learned a little more about them in the process of painting that test piece. I’ve also discovered the joys of layering gouache. Which isn’t actually as easy as it might seem, as the paint never actually dries (as far as I can tell) and can always be reactivated even after several hours. Well, no, it does dry, but it doesn’t stay dry. That might be a better way to explain it. It’s an interesting detail that I wasn’t too aware of and so my first attempts were somewhat flawed. I’m really enjoying the creamy texture of the paint, though. The styles I could create with it are gorgeous.

Moggie makes the mistake of going to the local art store.

I suppose it’s more that I’m approaching it wrong as it’s kind of like acrylic and watercolour had a baby. A very creamy baby. Which means you need to approach it in a similar way to how you would approach watercolour, working light to dark instead of dark to light. Not that you can’t overlay colours. Just that you’re going to run into issues if you’re trying to overlay incredibly light colours over incredibly dark ones. As the darker ones will reactivate and blend endlessly into the lighter ones. Some of my issues are definitely my own.

Which I’ll work out by learning more about the material in time.

It’s kind of exciting, though. I’ve really enjoyed being able to learn new things about acrylic (and even digital) painting. Gouache is just another test that I’ve forced myself to go through for reasons I can’t quite explain, but will appreciate once I do something I really like with that particular material. Like every other material I own. It’s, again, a thing I’ve got for materials.

That doesn’t mean I’m entirely abandoning acrylic painting, either. I’ve got my own set of issues with that particular style of painting as well. But, as I mentioned in Mushroom Inspired, I’m starting to change what I consider are my conventional approaches to different subject matter. I may be doing more watercolour painting in the future. That could extend to gouache and acrylic painting, too. It also may not. I may continue with things as they are. But there’s definitely something different about how I see things, how I approach them, and my level of confidence with the range of materials that I use. I can’t tell if that’s just experience evolving into confidence or whether I’ve reached another artistic plateau. The latter sounds terribly conceited.

Have a nice week, all!



Those Wasted Resources

Surprisingly this is not related to a video game class with a particularly complex series of skills that often results in a waste of their precious resource. It really isn’t. But it could be if you just believe!

It’s related to the age old theory of new artists who believe that they shouldn’t/can’t use expensive or rare materials for fear of wasting them. Admittedly it’s a logical conclusion as I know from having, well, let’s say expensive taste in art materials, that you often may end up using an entire batch of something in a wasted fashion. Look at graphic markers- £5 a piece! You wouldn’t want to waste that would you?

Now the answer to that question may shock you as it’s not “no”.

Not to say that you should willingly throw away great materials or deliberately run down rare supplies for the sake of it. But there is a certain amount of waste that comes with using new materials.

For example, in the case of bristol board, perhaps one of the most expensive boards you can buy, you need to get used to the way it works. How it can absorb that much ink. How it can be layered with colour, liquid or dry, and how you can continue to pile on the abuse which it will keep on taking. As far as even applying watercolour to it.
This is something that you can only learn in one way- by using it. You can psychically talk to it and discover its precious secrets (though I figure most people feel that way about women rather than paper).

So there is an amount of time you must spend wasting something.

Sure some materials are very expensive, like marker, or watercolour paper, or oil paint tubes- but you need to get hands on. You need to know what they do. If you shy away from them until you’ve “learned enough” you’re never going to touch them and that’s an even bigger waste. You’ve spent the cash- might as well use it for whatever you can.

It also begs the question of “how do you learn something without doing it?”

Think back to school, I’m sure we’ve all been, and all had to study something like mathematics with the endless hours of equations and theories, which lead to final exams. Why do you think that was? (And the answer is surprisingly not confusing torture with equations that no longer had numbers but letters.) It’s because you need to get the practice- you need to learn- before you can apply it.
Applying it came in the final exam where hours of (horrid) equations which (completely destroyed and) taxed your brain were finally put to good use. Well, as good as it could.

Point is- there’s a methodology in learning and using materials and you cannot skip that stage. It’s like trying to start a drawing with absolutely no sketch or concept, you likely would end up with something either perfectly illegible or a lucky brilliant streak.

So the next time you sit there, comforting your sketchbook for the loss of it’s brother sheet, as I can’t be the only one who does that, remember that there is a point to waste.

Or, rather, what you perceive as waste. Some people who’ve seen it probably really love it. Art is funny like that as most of it comes down to perspective, or personal or social factors, that influence what something means to you. To you it’s a horrid scrawling of lines and colours. To someone else it could be an example of primal use of colour and line to create something.
You really cannot tell. Which is both great and horrible…but that’s a story for another day.

Have a nice weekend, all!