Painting Demos– When You Learn by Doing

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“City Park Egret”8×8, oil on canvas, $100 [button link=”http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/denise-hopkins/city-park-egret/349309”] Buy Now[/button]

When I first set out to pursue art whole-heartedly in April 2014, my game plan was to create a series of videos– painting demos. I tried to make a few but was eventually scared off by their amateur nature. I know nothing about lighting, have no special equipment. The videos I made were unfocused, shadowy. And when I finally did make one I was kinda, sorta happy with, youtube rejected it because I’d put it to a Goo Goo Dolls song. Who knew you couldn’t do that? I’d never heard of royalty free music. So I abandoned the whole idea and focused instead on just painting every day.

Now, almost a year into this whole business of art, and I’ve just started to revisit the video idea. I’ve not gotten any better at videography, but painting every day has taught me something perhaps more valuable: you get good by doing. I wasn’t going to get any better at videos by not making them. There’s no magic. I figure if I just start, I’ll learn a thing or two. I’ll have a jumping off point. A start line. A place from which to expand.

Before I started selling my work (i.e. making it regularly enough that I’d have something to sell), I did a lot of research and came across a wonderful website called The Abundant Artist which is an invaluable resource for artists without any business skills to learn a few business skills. I signed up for their E-mail list, and I remember getting an immediate E-mail response. It was something along the lines of “Thank you for subscribing. What are you struggling with?” The host, Cory, then asked me to send a short response to his question. I felt very silly doing so, but attempting to be an artist felt just about the silliest thing I’d ever done anyway. So why not?

I sent Cory an E-mail that explained I had so many ideas and just didn’t know where to start. I was trying to refine my ideas. I was trying to perfect them.

He sent a very short answer: Just start.

And I did. The results have been this blog, a new and focused love of painting, and growing sales and followers. Most importantly, I’ve become a better painter.

Today’s painting is based on a photo I took in New Orleans City Park about a month ago. We were eating lunch at a picnic table when I spotted this egret whom I then stalked and photographed. The painting is loose, even for me. I call it a sketch because I traded detail for blocks of color. I took about a hundred photos of this guy, so you can expect some more paintings. And, of course, more amateur videos. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll get pretty good at it.

Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

March 11, 2015

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