Visual Arts Centre

6 Tips to Start Painting Today!

painting tips

Have you always admired beautiful oil paintings, and always wanted to pick up the brush, but do not know where to start? Painting might seem like a daunting task but it’s actually not as hard as it looks. Here we explore 6 ways to take the first step to your artistic journey, as well as to gain inspiration from artists who have mastered the art of painting.

how to paint1. Start small

As the saying goes, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Often, you may feel daunted by the scale and time that most paintings seem to require. When you start with small paintings, you see the results of your work quickly. As they require less time to complete, you will have more time to focus on truly mastering the skills and techniques of painting. Completing multiple small paintings that take a few hours each is the first step in integrating painting into your daily lifestyle. SLback lit pears           painting art            how to paint

2. Don’t be afraid of the blank canvas – or of failure

“Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the painter who dares and who has broken the spell of ‘you can’t’ once and for all.”

– Vincent Van Gogh

The famous painter once wrote these words in an emotional letter to his brother. Van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter whose work was influential on 20th-century art. In his lifetime, he had produced over 2100 artworks. He believed that “if one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes… That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity. Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.” Learning to daringly apply paint on a canvas is an important part of painting, and knowing that constantly re-working multiple layers of paint is what gives the finished work depth and substances. Van Gogh Self Portrait Another important point to remember is that no one is a master on the first day – “all things are difficult before they are easy” – Thomas Fuller. Don’t let the concept of failure stop you from enjoying yourself in the moments of creating — an activity that should not only be relaxing but meaningful in itself, as a journey of personal discovery and creation.

3. Paint from things that surround you

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” ― Pablo Picasso

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas

French artist Edgar Degas was a classical painter of modern life. Additionally, he was a master at depicting movement which favoured the subject of dancers. While he initially worked with realism, he is often identified as an Impressionist. The Impressionists painted the realities of the world around them through capturing the immediate effects of light and colour in order to express what they saw in an exact moment. By capturing scenes of everyday contemporary Parisian life, and his portraits of individuals and groups such as that of his aunt’s family, his paintings are striking reflections of his time. The best way to develop a lifestyle of painting is by drawing inspiration from your everyday life – seeing the spectacular in the ordinary and translating it into your own artistic vision.


4. Sketch, sketch, sketch

A key step to starting a painting, and subsequently mastering proportion and perspective is to sketch: as an important foundation, sketching regularly will help your ability to observe and translate what you see onto the canvas. Drawing and sketching also cultivates patience, mental alertness and perseverance. If you’re new to drawing and sketching, why not join us at VAC for our Drawing & Sketching course! Specially targeted at beginners and all levels of experience, you will learn basic concepts of proportion and composition, and learn to represent and give weight to objects using shading (light, contrast, representation/form). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5. Don’t let the materials be more important than the painting

Perhaps one of the obstacles that you may face when thinking of picking up the brush, is actually knowing where to buy a good brush, or to buy the paints. It’s important to not be overwhelmed by the range of brands and materials out there that seem crucial to oil painting, but actually are just products of marketing and advertising. The most basic materials such as oil paints (basic hues of Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red and Cerulean Blue, as well as Titanium White can be mixed to almost every shade of colour), 2-3 good brushes and a jar of turpentine is all you need to start painting. When you are overwhelmed by the materials, always remember that “tools do not make a craftsman”; rather, the actual painting skills are more important. And if you’re still stuck with getting the right materials, why not join us at Painting for Beginners at VAC? All materials are provided, including canvases, brushes, paints, turpentine, palettes, easels, aprons, and of course, a beautiful studio space. No more worrying, start painting! colour wheel

6. Don’t make excuses. Make time.

No one is ever “too busy”. It’s whether you can make time in your schedule to dedicate to painting, even if it’s once a week. It can be incredibly daunting to think of painting often, but if you can find a small opportunity and space, and get into the habit of painting, the idea is far less scary. And a great opportunity to do this is through the Oil/Acrylic Painting course at Visual Arts Centre. Over the course of 8 sessions, you will be taught the complexities of painting under the professional guidance of our instructors, in a comfortable and fully equipped studio space. The regularity of the sessions and flexibility of time slots means that you have no excuses in fitting it into your schedule, so come down and paint with us today! All-Things-Are-Difficult-Before-They-Are-Easy-Resized Disclaimer: All of the images in this post belong to their respective owners. Credit:

Foundation In Digital Art

Embark on a captivating journey into the vibrant world of digital art! Our Foundation in Digital Art workshop invites budding creatives aged nine and above to unleash their imagination and hone their artistic skills in a dynamic, supportive environment. From mastering basic digital tools to crafting mesmerizing digital masterpieces, children will explore a spectrum of techniques guided by seasoned mentors. Through hands-on activities and interactive sessions, participants will discover the endless possibilities of digital expression while fostering creativity and critical thinking. Join us for an exhilarating adventure where young artists transform ideas into stunning visual realities, igniting a passion for digital art

Colour & Texture Exploration With Acrylic Painting & Collage

Prepare to unleash your inner artist in a kaleidoscope of color and creativity with ‘Colour Blast: Acrylic Painting & Collage Techniques’! Dive into a whirlwind adventure where vibrant hues and mesmerizing textures collide in a symphony of imagination. From mastering the art of seamless color blending to discovering the magic of mixed media collage, this journey is a playground for your artistic soul. With each brushstroke, explore new techniques that breathe life into your canvas, transforming it into a vibrant tapestry of expression. Join us and let your creativity run wild as you embark on this colorful escapade!”

World of Manga [Foundation & Styling]

A manga art workshop for children and teenagers sounds like a fantastic idea! Here’s how you might structure it:
Introduction to Manga: Begin by introducing what manga is, its history, and its influence on popular culture worldwide. Show examples of different manga styles and genres to give participants an overview.
Basic Drawing Techniques: Start with the fundamentals of drawing, such as line work, shapes, and proportions. Provide step-by-step instructions on how to draw basic manga characters, focusing on simple shapes that can be built upon.
Character Design: Move on to character design concepts, including creating unique characters, designing their personalities, and developing backstories. Encourage participants to get creative and think outside the box.
Expression and Emotion: Teach how to convey emotions and expressions through facial expressions, body language, and positioning of characters. This can be a fun and interactive exercise where participants practice drawing various emotions.
Storytelling and Paneling: Explore the basics of storytelling in manga, including paneling techniques, pacing, and layout. Show examples of different panel structures and discuss how they affect the flow of the story.
Inking and Coloring: Introduce participants to inking techniques using pens or markers. You can also cover digital inking for those interested. Then, demonstrate basic coloring techniques using markers, colored pencils, or digital software.
Feedback and Collaboration: Provide opportunities for participants to share their work and receive feedback from their peers and instructors. Encourage collaboration by having them work together on short manga projects or collaborative drawings.
Final Showcase: End the workshop with a showcase of participants’ work. This could be in the form of an exhibition, digital gallery, or printed booklet. Celebrate everyone’s creativity and progress throughout the workshop.
Remember to create a supportive and encouraging environment where participants feel free to express themselves and explore their creativity. And don’t forget to have fun! Manga is all about imagination and passion, so let that spirit shine through in your workshop.

Academy Drawing Traditions

The academy drawing and sketching tradition, rooted in centuries of artistic practice, emphasizes disciplined study of form, proportion, and technique. Originating from Renaissance workshops and formalized by institutions like the Royal Academy, it prioritizes meticulous observation and mastery of fundamental skills. Students progress from basic exercises to complex compositions, learning to depict still life and common objects with precision and expression. This tradition values both classical principles and innovation, encouraging artists to push boundaries while maintaining a deep respect for tradition. Through rigorous training and critique, artists within this tradition cultivate a strong foundation for creative exploration and artistic excellence.

Chinese Ink Painting and Calligraphy

This course on Chinese ink painting and calligraphy introduces young learners to the rich traditions of Chinese art. Through hands-on activities, students explore the basics of brush techniques, ink control, and the delicate art of Chinese script. They learn to appreciate the cultural significance of calligraphy and painting, developing skills in creating elegant strokes and expressive brushwork. The course fosters creativity, patience, and fine motor skills, while also providing insights into Chinese history and aesthetics. By the end, children gain confidence in their artistic abilities and a deeper understanding of Chinese cultural heritage.

Funk with Graffiti

Funk With Graffiti Workshop for children is an engaging and creative program aimed at introducing young artists to the vibrant world of graffiti and funk-inspired street style art. Participants learn the basics of graffiti history, techniques, and safety. Guided by professional graffiti artists, children explore the art of designing their unique tags, emphasizing creativity, expression, and individuality. The workshop includes hands-on activities, from sketching concepts to creating final designs with spray paint on provided surfaces. By the end of the session, children gain confidence in their artistic abilities and an appreciation for graffiti and funk as legitimate forms of street art. Each child completes two original artworks, which they proudly take home, showcasing their newfound skills and personal style.

Batik Tales

In the Batik Introduction Handkerchief Painting workshop, participants will learn the traditional art of batik, a wax-resist dyeing technique originating from Indonesia. The workshop begins with a brief history and overview of batik, highlighting its cultural significance and various techniques. Participants will then observe a demonstration of applying wax with tjanting tools and dyeing the fabric. Following the demonstration, each participant will design and create their own batik handkerchief, applying wax to create patterns and then dyeing their fabric. The workshop concludes with a group discussion, allowing participants to share their creations and reflect on their learning experience.