a workbook primer for the new at art


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Art: 101
One of the most often used comments I get from people who watch as I create a painting is "I can't draw a straight line". It's a well kept secret, of course, but many, and I do mean many, artists can't draw one either.  I confess, have been painting for more than 20 years, I can't draw a straight line either. I use a ruler. 

If you've been bitten with the urge to create the best place to start is in your own home.  Get some paper and any old pencil and start drawing objects in your house. Pick your favorite object and draw it once a day for a month. Keep each days work and at the end of the month pull out your first attempt and compare it to your last.  You will be amazed at how much you have progressed. 

With a little confidence you are ready to move on.  You might want to purchase a how to book on drawing. One of the best books on drawing today is Betty Edwards book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain"  Another must for the new artist is reading art magazines. A great one for beginners is "The Artists Magazine". It's full of how to articles and step-by-step instructions.

Most cities have recreation centers that teach ongoing classes in watercolor and acrylics. Adult education at Technical colleges sometimes have evening classes, great for beginners.  

There are a lot of books written on the subject of art. How to books are aimed at all levels of art instruction. They can teach you all about the materials and techniques you will need to complete a painting. Suggested titles include: for watercolor "Watercolors-Materials & Techniques" by Jose' M. Parramon  and Watercolor for the Serious Beginner 
by Mary Wyhte 

for acrylic The Beginner's Guide Acrylics : A Complete Step-By-Step Guide to Techniques and Materials (The Beginner's Guide Series)
by  Angela Gair

For more recommended book titles on painting techniques visit our Art Book Store.  Titles are selected because the books content and instructional value well out weigh the price.

Once you sign up for a class you will probably take a trip to an art store. Don't let the prices of fine art materials stop you.  You can mail order anything you need.  Some of the best mail order catalogues used by professional artists include, Dick Blick, Art Express, Cheap Joes' Art Stuff, Daniel Smith call 1-800-426-6740 for catalogue.

Another great place to jump start your painting is at an art workshop. You will find advertisements for workshops in many art magazines such as "The Artists Magazine" and "Artists" and "Watercolor Magic" One of the best run workshops in the nation not advertised is the Springmaid Beach Watermedia Workshops held twice a year in Myrtle Beach SC. 

If you have never been to an art workshop you will want to check out our  Special Report- How to get the most out of your Workshop Experience


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Recommended How to Drawing books

How to Draw What You See by
Rudy De Reyna


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Delphia by Jenny Hamilton

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Pursley's Dairy by
Jenny Hamilton

Paintings shown are from the Artists Tour of York County.