“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Can you remember the movie, “She’s All That?” If you watched it, you will remember how much the lead character loved painting (even her shoes were full of paint). So is painting just a hobby, or can it be more than that?

Society needs art and artists, so you could make a career out of painting. In fact, the city of Cape Town is regarded as Africa's leading art capital.

If you are still reading this article, you may just be interested in knowing everything you need to know about painting as a hobby or as a potential career path.

Painting as a hobby sounds like fun but did you know that drawing or painting improves your overall well-being?

Through painting, you can:

  • Escape your woes: A blank canvas allows you to paint your worries and woes away
  • Change your perspective: You can finally get to see things from an entirely new view
  • Have a sense of purpose: The pride that you will have once you complete a painting is like no other, but for many painting gives them a purpose as well as all the pleasure associated with a beautifully painted canvas

Sounds like quite the artistic treat, where can you start?

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Getting Acquainted with the Paint and the Paint Brush Set

Being a painter means knowing your tools well. As a painter, your main tool will be your paintbrush. Before you dip your brush into a palette of paint, some sort of preparation is needed.

To begin your painting journey, we advise you to familiarise yourself with watercolours, oil-based paint, encaustic, gouache, and acrylic paint. Let’s look at what the features of these paints are:

  • Water paint: Translucent paint that contains pigment and a binder. Once the water dries, the stain appears
  • Oil-based paint: Long-lasting coverage that provides a silky glossy finish
  • Encaustic: Wax-based paint with a more apparent pigment
  • Gouache: The paint is such that the colour of the canvas doesn’t show through the paint and you can guess that the paint stains darker than most other paints
  • Acrylic paints: This is a lightweight, and versatile paint that is extremely durable

So while you are getting to grips with the different types of paints, also get familiarised with the assortment of brushes.

As a painter, your main struggle will be choosing a paintbrush or a kit of paintbrushes. There is a wide selection of brushes that you can choose from.

  • Short handles: When painting with watercolour paints, your short handle brushes will give you better grip
  • Long handles: This type of paintbrush works when painting on a canvas
  • Flat brushes: Flat brushes can be used for painting on flat areas
  • Curved worn brushes: Painters use this type of brush for shading and blending techniques
  • Fan brushes: The traditional fan brush works well for shading, drawing a tree, foliage, hair, etc.
  • Natural hair: pig, horse, and goat hair are used to make these types of brushes
  • Synthetic hair: You will ultimately choose nylon bristles or polyester bristles if you are more comfortable painting with brushes made of any other hair besides animal hair
  • Shaving brushes: When you use shaving brushes, it produces a fading effect.

A good guide when selecting brushes is to look at the colour of the brush hairs. If the brush has lighter hair, the brush is softer. Darker hair brushes are sharp.

Remember that it is always best to go shopping with an art expert when stocking up your painting kit. An art expert will give you advice like buy one type of paintbrush for watercolours and a completely separate brush for painting with other paint types like acrylics.

So would you choose to paint on paper or a canvas? Which types of paint are best for painting on paper and which types of paint work well when painting on a canvas?

Learning to Paint for Beginners

Learn about the history of art with painting lessons.
Brushes are the most important part of an artist's tool kit. Source: Pixabay

While painting may be in your blood, if you want to understand the different painting techniques, perhaps go for painting lessons for beginners.

Oil painting is the type of paint used by almost all famous artists. The reason why oil paint is favourable for painting still life paintings and models is that it is thick and oily. You must know that oil paint offers an entirely new experience, especially if you are skilled at all the techniques and tricks that you can try with oil paint.

While ideally, a beginner painter will start with water-based paints, you can gradually progress to oil painting if you are keen on painting.

Learning to paint for beginners is as easy as taking a few beginner painting classes. You can start learning to paint more sophisticatedly by starting with the basics of painting first.

Your classes may entail beginning by drawing a vase and then painting the vase using watercolours. Your painting instructor will assist you in terms of how to paint within the lines and produce a masterpiece.

Eventually, you will be able to advance to oil painting with the help of an expert painting instructor.  Classes for painters allow you to learn painting techniques, and to become a better painter.

It’s not only the art techniques that you will learn about when you take art classes but also the art-related vocabulary. Keep your pen and notepad ready so that you could make note of key terms that you hear and stumble across. Soon you too could be explaining what glazing and knife painting is.

Can I Take Art Lessons Online?

girl painting and using phone
The Internet is a great tool for enriching your knowledge of the world of art. Source: Unsplash

Like many other lessons that you can take online, you can take art lessons via the internet too. It is not as complex as you might think it may be.

There are so many online platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Classroom that allow expert painters to teach the basics of art and painting.

You would be surprised to know that there are many painting classes being offered for free online. While getting the technique right online is much harder, it is not entirely possible. Plus there are several other benefits of using the internet for online learning.

Why would taking art classes online be effective?

  • You could take classes at a time of your convenience
  • You can take your learning into your own hands
  • Learn with instructors who are not based close to where you are
  • Take art classes even when the country is placed in lockdown or when Covid-19  case statistics are high
  • Online instructors can effectively teach you the art of drawing and painting in the same way that a face-to-face instructor can

Online classes could also mean watching a bunch of YouTube video tutorials. The more tutorials you watch, the easier it will be to learn your own technique and perfect it.

Don’t restrict your online learning journey to just watching videos of people drawing and painting. Even researching art and famous artists can be helpful in your artistic learning journey.

Painting Lessons Near Me

teacher helping art student paint on canvas
A home tutor will be fully invested in your progress. Source: Pexels

If you feel that you are not dedicated enough to go the online learning route, you can always opt for private face-to-face learning or group classes.

Would you want to travel for painting lessons or would you rather take lessons from the comfort of your home?

You can very well learn to paint from your picturesque living room, with a private home tutor.

Private painting classes offer:

  • Flexible learning: You can set your classes at a time that best suits you. You can learn at a time when you are available to learn
  • Your area may not offer art schools: While not many areas in South Africa have art schools that you can attend, you can choose to take lessons in your area with a tutor who is willing to travel to you since none of the art schools are located nearby
  • For tutoring: if you are already an art school student or studying architecture,  you could seek additional help from a tutor

A private painting class offers you the chance to learn how to paint and draw at your pace. You will also gain the undivided attention of your tutor.

Where Can You Find a Painting Tutor?

The Superprof online platform provides you with the chance to choose from a variety of art tutors. You can pay reasonable rates for these private tutorial classes. You can even get your first lesson for free. This Superprof offering is ideal since you can get a taste of what learning with a specific tutor can feel like. That way you know whether you chose the right tutor to provide you with art classes or not.

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Laila

Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.