I wanted to share something that I've been thinking about recently which I feel will help a lot of beginning painters. When I was beginning and learning about different methods, I thought there was a very clear right and wrong with painting. Like many beginners, I was very eager to learn the right way to paint.
This desire to learn fueled a lot of my early studies and inspired me to read a lot, which is definitely a positive thing. But the problem with this thinking is it really narrowed my perspective. The more I paint, the more I realize that to limit myself as an artist is not beneficial to my growth. It is true that I've found certain ways of working that work better for me, but how was I supposed to know that when I was beginning?
I am always trying to break out of the mold that "I have to do it this way". The bigger questions with painting are beyond things like which brush to use. To me, the bigger questions are about principles: value, color, narrative, light, shape, feeling.
The thing is, I don't think you can skip right to the advanced stages of painting going through the beginner's mindset. That growth is not something that you can read in a book or something that can be taught. It definitely helps to read and to have someone teach you, but I find myself having to answer a lot of those questions myself.
So, while I don't think there's a right way or wrong way to paint, I think there's a right way but it has to be at the right time and in the right place. This type of knowledge can only be experienced and it comes to me as more of a feeling than a logical sequence.
So if you're a beginner, I'd say it's good to experiment, try soft brushes and bristle brushes, test out cadmium yellow light and cadmium lemon, paint on smooth canvas and rough canvas, the list goes on... I think you'll find that it's not a concrete process. For instance, I usually use bristle brushes, but there's situations that call for a soft brush as well, same thing with palette colors and all those other questions. Buddhists would call this the middle path, between right and wrong.
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone and remember to be kind to each other in these hard times.