What is it about the New Year? It fills us full of promise of change and reform. I have had people at the various holiday parties I attended this past week say “THIS year I am going to finally take one of your painting classes and try learning to paint!

I love having this teaching tool that makes it accessible to anyone who wants to try. Where they go after that first painting is different with each student.

Some LOVE it and become weekly regulars. Some people insist that their paintings need to be a Xerox copy and are disappointed when that does not happen easily.

I try to explain that a painting is not supposed to be a copy but an interpretation of what they are looking at.  Some painters will have lots of detail and some will be loose and impressionistic but it will be their choice of what is exciting in the scene they are looking at and what to include. It’s their own perspective they are creating.

The other thing i remind my students is we are making paintings, NOT illustrations! Norman Rockwell did beautiful detailed illustrations, but they are made to be looked at closeup in a magazine.

Pantings are made to to be viewed on a wall several feet away. It is important to have your students look at their pictures that way several times while working on it. If they are not able to jump up and walk back you should pick up the painting and hold it back for them to view. How many times I hear “Oh, that does look better!” after they have been whining about how bad it was.

It’s really a mater of perspective. Sometimes close up is not the best way to view a painting or the life you are creating.

Have you stepped back from your painting lately?