Visual Arts Centre

Simple Steps to Tell Your Story Through Painting

1. Find a Story

Art is all about discovering the beauty in the mundane. Open up your eyes, ears, nose as you engage with your surroundings.

Anything can be turned into a story if they fall in the right place and right time. Now, think of an event, a place, a time. It can be anywhere, anytime; it can be yesterday, right now or even tomorrow! Let your imagination go wild!

Also, ask yourself questions that will guide you in crafting out your story. It does not matter if  they are real, imaginary, fictional, or whatever you call it. The only rule is that your story must speak for yourself, it must be representative of who you are, and what you are.

2. Visualize what you want to represent

What is the best way to present your narrative visually? Can a candlelit garden lamp tell your story?  Even though a picture can tell a thousand words, not all pictures do. Find something that connects with you in your story. Then take a photo of it, sketch it out or write it down in words. It need not be something in your story, just something that you connects to. This is the only outline you need to work with

3. Be inspired

Whether if it is visiting a museum, reading a book or attending a show, it is very common for artists get a mental block. Therefore, get out there!

Though we are constantly surrounded by ideas, we usually do not know when to start. Hence, we need to go out there and do it consciously. It is always refreshing to see what other artists have done, and how they go about doing it. Furthermore, adapting the styles and technique of these artists can bring more life to your work!

4. Get what you need

As your ideas slowly converge and finalize, you should have a clear picture of what you want to do with your story. List down the things you need. This list needs to be as detailed as possible, so you would not make multiple trips to the store. Despite making the list as detailed as possible, be open to making small changes to that list while shopping.

While supplies shopping can sound intimidating at times, it can also be very enjoyable and therapeutic. As you walk down the rows of shelves in your local art supply store, your mind wanders off to your next work, and the work after. It is also very refreshing to see supplies that we have never seen or used, and start wondering what to do with them.

5. Paint

Finally, it is time to head back to the canvas. It can be intimidating staring at an empty canvas, but that anxiety will fade gradually as you starts painting. As you put paint onto your canvas, be aware and conscious of every detail of your painting. Make sure that every shade of a colour is well represented and every stroke of your brush bears a certain meaning to your story. Whenever you take a step back, make sure that the painting tells your story back to you. While it can get frustrating whenever you look at your uncompleted work and it speaks nothing, the only solution is to be patient. So hang on, we will all get there!