Have you ever wanted to paint and thought to yourself, no way I can do that! What better time to saunter into that world you thought elusive to you, while you've got time on your hands? Even if you don't because you're busy homeschooling the kids and entertaining them on top of the daily chores of life, you deserve to take time out for yourself to keep yourself fulfilled, so you can give from a full; not an empty well. Whether it comes to you naturally or not, whether you're naturally talented or not, whether you're an artist or not; it's not forbidden to get out there and give it a go! To get lost in learning, to get lost in beauty, to imagine, to create, to dream.
I myself have always loved drawing/painting portraits and family have been my test subjects over the years. If there's such a saying, art runs in my family, I've seen evidence of it in mine. However my sister is the only one who ever went on to a four year university degree in art and I always admired that she could paint, draw, sculpt, dye silk scarves and more. I used to love it when she took pen to paper; she could just do that professional artist straight line across, while I furtively scratched out my form on paper. To date I still love drawing and painting portraits and do it for the love of it to give away as gifts. I'm no professional, but I can tell you, like everything else, practice and time gives you the experience. It doesn't have to be perfect as your perfect might be different from someone else's and who knows, it could take on a life of its own and lead you to what is uniquely you. Do it for you.
Art comes in many forms, so whatever your niche, do it with passion and gusto. It's not meant to be frustrating, so do it for the love of it, to learn, to be creative. If you've never done it before, what a great time to play and even get the family involved. There are many tools and equipment out there to help you get on your way. You can copy sketches from simple things like tracing paper to fancy light boxes; in fact I think that's the natural progression as a child. If you remember what carbon paper is, have you ever copied a drawing with tracing paper or carbon paper as a kid? And how natural was it to put paper over a coin and rub it with the lead in a pencil for the image to transfer onto paper?
Having mentioned all of the above, I do believe starting free from all that is the best way. Rely on and hone your own instincts and skills. Do it on your own. Learn to study line and form and colours as you look at the subject or object you want to draw. Art teaches you to pay attention, to take in all you see before your eyes, and soon you'll see art in everything you look at. I cannot walk down a street without seeing the beauty that surrounds us. A colour, a shape, a composition. It's what stops us to hold our breath, to pull out the camera and take a picture. When I draw a portrait live, it's amazing all you can see in the face of a person. It's a real study and meditation for me to see that every line of sorrow and joy, that glint in the eye, or sadness. I see all the colours on their skin, and that's what leads me to what I'm painting; I just put down all the colours I see.
It's a good way to approach art. See form, shape and colours and the subject will disappear in a way, and it's like having a graph of colours and shapes to emulate. Be daring. Whenever I start to paint a portrait, as a self-taught non-professional, I panic a little, wonder where to begin, wonder if I can make it happen; yet, I keep going and just put down on canvas or paper, what I see before me. I've learnt to be bold and go with my instincts and what I see before me. Then comes a point in time when it all comes together just before you finish, and you learn, there was nothing scary about giving it a go, being bold. All the colours coming together makes sense.
Loving painting or drawing portraits is a good thing, but it's also demanding in that the subject would want that portrait to look like them, so it may not be for everyone, but it's not to say you can't give it a go. After all, Picasso never felt the need to make his self portrait or portrait of others look like the subject, so be like Picasso. Just let what comes, flow naturally. Experiment, expand, learn. It's also been said to be good for brain function and has an impact on brain wave patterns, emotions, the nervous system, and can actually raise serotonin levels. There's an increasing amount of scientific evidence and art therapy has come to the fore over the years in the recovery of many, and I honestly feel that to be true. In my darkest hours of life, I always said I could practically feel the serotonin flowing through me, and it healed me. It was a saving grace for me, so don't be afraid to try it for that release; especially through the hard times we're all going through now due to COVID-19. We're all in this together, and together we shall heal.
What's your passion? Painting - oils, watercolour, acrylic etc, drawing - pen, pencil, acrylic, charcoal et al, sculpting, street art, 3D aka anamorphic illusion art, fantasy art, embroidering, cake decorating, pottery; whatever your desire, there are many ways to get you started on your art journey. YouTube is filled with free tutorials and innately you'll recognise a good one when you see it. One that fits your vision and your skill level. The subject here is trying something new you had dreamed of but never did, so let's just call it learning how to and beginners tutorials. We are indeed privileged to have social media and to be able to learn visually. With the closure of many facilities, including libraries, borrowing that art book is a thing of the past for now. I remember a time not long ago when I kept returning from the library with more art books than I could carry. The joys of the simple things in life.
Art surrounds us. Mother nature is a work of art and it's healing. The creation of beauty in every flower, canyon, sky, landscape; being amongst it, feeling it, taking it all in and slowing life down a little, to use that cliché, to stop and smell the roses. I especially love looking up at buildings, taking in the architecture; living off Chapel street, walking down Artists Lane a mere few minutes away and enjoying street art. I totally love the sculpture of a nude at The Vineyard on Acland St, in St Kilda. In fact they have it chained as someone walked away with it once. The interior itself is quite goth and for me, a pleasure to take it all in. If you have no time, at least take the time to enjoy all the beauty that surrounds you. I love going to eclectic cafes and restaurants to enjoy the architecture or the interior and look forward to doing it all again.
Here are a few links that'll hopefully lead you to ponder, to dream, to attempt, to create. Art tutorial videos are not necessarily short, but necessarily lengthy enough to give you a good grasp. When you get to the destination of the links below, you can of course click on the name of the originator of the video and see the rest of their art videos etc. I myself would like to learn to sculpt nudes and draw 3D art. Now there's a challenge.
Herakut (5.05mins) - my absolute long time favourite German street art duo. There's a small painting they did on the interior wall of Revolver Upstairs which houses a 24hr night club on the weekends and has (keeping positive and speaking in the present) a fusion Thai restaurant (Col Tans) I love to frequent, of many.
Adnate - one of Australia's amazing street artist of many
Sculpting the Human Figure (9.18mins) - I attended a hobby clay class with Makers Window and this is exactly how we did it; drawing proportions on paper first and I built a puppet with string connecting arms etc
Australia - Impressive and Beautiful (7.31mins) - and don't you forget it. Just to enjoy.
Ben Lawson's Poem about our devastating Bushfire (6.05mins) - so Australian, so touching and moving, but it's his brother Josh who's the poet. Ben's an actor and was recently in the movie Bombshell (2019), playing a small part as Lachlan Murdoch.
As you can see, there are many pathways on YouTube and Instagram where you can get inspiration from other creatives in all genres. Enjoy the thought provoking video below.