Oil Painting Advice: Learn How to “Paint Like You”

When it comes to learning how to paint, many of you know that a good way to start is by copying the work of those who are much more experienced, and learning directly from them. This teaches you not only the process of how to get from point A to point B, but also how to manipulate the paint so that you can begin creating works that are uniquely yours. George Gallo helps you do both and offers oil painting instructions in Impressionist Painting for the Landscape: Secrets For Successful Oil Painting. “The point of this book isn’t for you to learn to paint like me but for you to learn to paint like you,” he says. “All of us learn by copying others, the same way that we learned to walk by imitating the people around us, but eventually all of us develop our own swagger. I implore all of you to take risks as you work. When you’re reaching–that’s when you’re at your best. Learn to paint with expression and don’t be afraid to mess up, because you will, just like every great master before you.”

“If the brushstrokes are the words of the painting, then they are also the punctuation–periods, commas and exclamation points. It’s far more exciting to see how an artist feels about a place rather than just look at what he sees. See brushstrokes as something joyful and expressive unto themselves. Always imagine the different ways to put them down. There’s terrific excitement in the juxtaposition of vertical strokes alongside horizontal strokes combined with choppy strokes and smooth strokes, all deliciously expressing your excitement about everything around you.  This, to me, is where the greater art lies because it’s produced by the fire of the heart as opposed to the cold and removed intellect of the mind. Of course painting can’t be all heart; knowledge must be acquired to let the heart roam free. But as you gather more and more knowledge, imagine the freedom you’ll feel as you cut loose and create without judgment. You’ll be able to just react and work joyfully faster than the speed of thought. This should be your goal. Your life and your paintings will be much better as a result.”

Impressionist Painting for the Landscape by George Gallo and Cindy Salaski is full of inspiration like this. In addition to their guidance, the authors have included 50 painting lessons, 80 landscapes, and 7 step-by-step demonstrations, so you can “learn how to paint like you” with these oil painting basics.

Happy painting,
Cherie

Cherie Haas, online editor
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