“The best introduction to art is to stroll through a museum. The more art you see, the more you’ll learn to define your own taste.” – Jeanne Frank
In March 2018 there were a total of 4.0 million visits to the DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries in the UK (an increase of around 17,000 visits compared with March 2017). How many of these were painters?
Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Degas, Rubens, Gericault, Dali, Braque, Vermeer, El Greco, Chagall, Caravaggio, Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani, their work went beyond the confines of a museum. First, they had to learn how to paint.
And if you don’t live right next to a museum, why not go online?
Learn to sketch, draw a portrait, draw the human body, paint with a knife, paint a landscape, do watercolours, gouache, oil painting,… mastering fine arts is not a walk in the park.
To become skilled at painting, you need to practise (to learn how to draw expressions, master chiaroscuro, imitate impressionist painters, experiment with painting on fabric, choose a canvas, tackle various techniques, etc.).
Watch any video on painting, they will tell you artistic flair does not happen overnight. It takes years of experience to be able to achieve your goals.
But the internet can be your best friend in your quest to become a professional.
Having private lessons on Skype, or simply watching Youtube videos, learning painting online has many advantages.
There is nothing more demotivating than having to take a painting class when you’re not in the mood.
If you’re tired, don’t have enough time or want to be doing something else, painting lessons at an art school or art workshop can quickly become imprisoning.
An artistic hobby should only be done when you feel like it.
If this is an extra-curricular activity, there should be no obligation.
This is the advantage of online painting classes. You decide what time suits you to paint.
Choosing to learn to paint online also requires you to choose how your learn. You are entirely in control of your progress.
Why not take a class in the middle of nature? Source: Visual Hunt
The type of painting, technique, print, medium, you decide what you learn. A freedom you’ll never get bored of.
Even if you take painting classes face-to-face with a teacher, you should tell them what you want to get out of your lessons to make sure they are worthwhile.
At a local park, in your back garden or living room? What if you could enjoy painting in all your favourite places?
Painting classes in art schools often take place in soulless classrooms. Tables and stools are sometimes the only decorations in the room.
Yet the decor and atmosphere of the room greatly influence the artist.
Treat yourself and take painting classes from your favourite spot.
Learning any kind of art is different for everyone.
I myself learned how to paint in a few different ways.
First by copying what I saw and then by taking weekly classes with a teacher. But online content has also been a great source of inspiration for me.
Thanks to YouTube videos, social media and art blogs, the budding artist can get inspired around the clock.
YouTube is a goldmine for painting classes. Many artists and art students who have channels openly share their knowledge with their YouTube community.
Watching these videos is a great way to progress as Youtubers often explain the difficulties they have personally gone through and what they have learned from their experience. It is very easy to identify with and benefit from these stories.
In addition, some channels give viewers exercises to do. Why not set yourself strict goals from week to week.
Blogs or websites specialising in art are also a wonderful source of information.
Websites are often presented in such a way that you can logically follow a class or course. Beginners, intermediates and even experienced painters can learn accordingly by choosing the category that suits them best.
Blogs are written in a more personal way.
This is another good way to learn. By reading about the experiences of other artists, you can develop as a painter.
Moreover, blogs allow the reader to choose articles which focus on areas that interest them. Nevertheless, blogs are generally less well ranked in comparison to websites offering online courses.
Social media is a great tool for painters as well as artists in general.
Pinterest, Instagram,… The Internet is bursting with ideas and inspiration. Source: Pixabay
This methods really flexes your imagination and creativity.
Pinterest and Instagram, being very visual, are among the most popular social media platforms for artists.
In the form of tutorials or demonstrative photos, a visual image makes it much easier to understand a specific technique or discover a new art style.
Images are often more effective than large paragraphs of text.
During your lunch break or before bed, there’s no easier way to learn how to paint than the internet.
But what kind, of course, should you look for on the internet?
Courses are often organised by theme:
However, there are some drawbacks.
For example, online you cannot be corrected by a teacher.
Of course, you can show your work to friends and get their opinion, but you can’t ask a professional questions while you’re working on your piece.
Learning to paint and learning to draw are one in the same. You need to be able to draw in order to transfer your idea to paper.
Very often you’ll have an image in your head but can’t put it on paper.
To learn the basics of drawing and painting online, there are more options than just websites and Youtube videos.
A learning method that gives you professional advice and allows you to learn in the comfort of your own home: live painting lessons with a teacher.
So put away your colouring pencils and get out your paint brushes!
Because this method is surely one of the most effective learning techniques online.
Hiring a private art tutor means you can get personalised lessons via chat or webcam.
This way the teacher can see exactly what you’re doing and can correct you if needed.
This direct teacher-student contact lets you directly ask questions and, in turn, progress much faster.
Opting for an online tutor also ensures you follow a consistent program from start to finish and don’t drop out because of lack of time or motivation.
Indeed, setting regular appointments with a teacher helps establish a routine.
Get expert painting advice without stepping out your front door. Source: Pixabay
It’s never been simpler to find these kinds of teachers.
Plenty of Superprof teachers currently offer this learning method. You can also look at advertising posters and classifieds online.
You can also take painting classes with one teacher without doing live videos.
On specialised websites or YouTube channels, some teachers can offer you a specific programme to follow through a set of videos.
They also give students the opportunity to contact them if they have any questions.
The chance to improve your art skills and ask for advice on painting materials (brushes, palette, easel, canvas, pencils, paint, drawing board, black stone, art eraser, glaze, drawing pad, binding agent, varnish, Canson paper, watercolour paper, linseed oil, paint remover, turpentine, …).
This does not prevent you from also attending a training course for all levels to learn or improve your sketching or painting technique. Painting workshops organised by artists are often carried out in larger cities as well as small ones.
And why not apply for the Royal College of Art?
Although the practice is key, so is the artistic knowledge. They complement one another.
Jeanne Frank was partly right in saying that painting is best learned from visiting museums.
Even if being a regular visitor to museums and art galleries like Tate Britain, the National Gallery or Sommerset House will not be enough to make you the new Rembrandt, Courbet, Manet or Da Vinci, it definitely helps.
The art world is a very broad field and any form of inspiration is beneficial. While some musicians are inspired by paintings and vice versa, sharpening your eye for art is an excellent way to find inspiration.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Dance at the Moulin de la Galette. Source: Visual Hunt
If you don’t happen to live in London, don’t panic!
Many historical works of art are available online. On art websites, Google images, or even directly on museum websites, it is possible nowadays to find most great masterpieces from recent centuries online.
But what to look out for?
The composition, colours, technique, everything is good to take in. Make a list of the elements you would like to emulate in your own work during your private painting classes.
Reproducing famous works is also a great way to make progress.
I personally have used images taken from the internet when painting. My reproductions have not only taught me different painting techniques but also how to respect the dimensions of the human body as well as perspective.
You’ll also find a range of articles and discussions on art history for free on the internet on platforms like YouTube.