How did you learn to paint?

alisandeOctober 23, 2007

I love books and enjoy the learn-by-doing process, but I've been thinking that it would be fun to take a decorative painting class. So much depends on the class and the teacher, though. It's been years since I took any kind of crafts class.

Just wondering how all of you acquired your considerable skills.


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I was hoping Painting Fool would pop in here to tell you about the Society of Tole and Decorative Painting. She is a member and attends lots of seminars and even does some teaching.

There used to be lots of Painting shops where you could buy books and supplies, see samples and take classes. Not too many of those left--at least not in my area. I think Michael's is still doing painting classes--at least for One Stroke.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take a class at a friend's home and learn the basics and some handy tips and tricks. She limited her classes to 10 people, so we got lots of individual attention and help. Just little things like the right brush to use, and the way to hold the brush can make a big difference. She ended up moving away, so the rest I have just picked up from reading painting books and watching videos. I know there is allot more I could learn, but I enjoy my craft painting, and really have no desire to become a "professional".

By all means, if you have the desire, you should sign up for a class. You could arrange to meet the teacher ahead of time and see what project is going to be painted and what techniques you would learn.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 2:08AM
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Hey Susan~ I started my painting career (lol) at church. Our ladies group gets together once a month to do fun projects and my first painting project was a simple pumpkin cut out. I was hooked! I watched some of those ladies turn that simple pumpkin into a beautiful work of art. That was probably about 15 years ago. I just kept on painting and reading about how to do techniques and practicing them. I'm still not great, but I'm sure having fun! Never had any classes, but I wouldn't mind taking some when my kids all get into school. :) ~Anj

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 8:55AM
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Hi Yall, I have been vacationing in the mountains the past few weeks and the internet is so slow up there, I was unable to get through to this website. I always had the ability to draw but really didn't know anything about paints or brushes. I tried painting but didn't understand acrylic vice oil paints so I took a painting class and from that moment on I have not stopped painting. This was in March 1982. I love taking classes because I think you can learn a little from each teacher. Eventually, you will come up with your own style and techniques. If you look on the Society of Decorative painters (STDP) you should be able to locate a teacher in your area. I paint from books all the time, I just don't have the patience to follow the directions so I paint the colors I like and basically use their patterns or I draw my own. If I can see it I can draw it.

I am off to another painting class - this time with Peggy Harris (check out her website) She paints the prettiest little animals, we are painting a fawn today and raccoons tomorrow. I am taking a class with Ros Stallcup in February. I have heard she is so much fun.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 8:29AM
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Hi Pf, I've been hoping you would stop by. I've been trying to find the stroke rose worksheet you posted for us without success. I have it saved (and printed) but can't figure out how to get it back on here. Could you please post it again so she can have it? Maybe post it on the gallery and title it Stroke Rose Worksheet, so it will be easy to find when needed. Thank you so much.

I love deers, such gorgeous eyes! Know you will enjoy that class. Ros Stallcup does beautiful flowers, let us know how the class goes.

Take care and come back often.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 12:38PM
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I teach decorative painting classes and have also published several books on the subject. My students much prefer classroom, of course, because invariably there are always questions when learning from books. But there are more books out there than teachers! Definately take classes if you can find some, but load up on the books as well-- with them you can learn at your own pace. Check out DecoArt's website too - they have a list of teachers for each state.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kerry Trout Decorative Painting

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 10:28PM
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Wow! We have a published artist dropping in! That is wonderful. Kerry, I looked at the site you posted, your painting is wonderful. I loved the princess banner, but what really impressed me most was the dogs--you really captured that special look in their eyes! Not an easy task I am sure.

Your painting is amazing--waaaay out of my league for sure. Thanks for sharing your work with us.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 11:51PM
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Hi Kerry! I love your From Flea Market to Fabulous book. Yes, you are so far out of my league we aren't even in the same ballpark! ha But love drooling over your work. It's wonderful. Glad you came by! ~Anj

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 12:06AM
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Kerry, what a beautiful website! Like Luvs, I was captivated by your pet portraits. I loved the murals, tooÂI'll have to go back to look at them all. And that tray with the farm lady and chickens really spoke to's me, except for the hair, dress, shoes, and chickens. :-)

I will definitely check out your books!


    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 6:53AM
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Hey, ladies! Thanks for the kind words about my work. I really love painting dogs. Cats, not so much, and I'm not sure why....? I like painting all sorts of subjects, though, and probably couldn't be pinned down on a favorite. Right now I'm working on my fifth book entitled "Charming Cottages & Villages". That's whats keeping my busy right now, although once in a while I'll put pieces on ebay to pick up some mad money. I enjoy flea markets and yard sales, so I always look for things that can be transformed with paint, like those trays Susan mentioned. I am surprised how people fight over painted trays at auction!

I have to admit I have been a member of GardenWeb for a long time, but in the birdwatching forum -- silly me never realized there was one for decorative painting!

Now enough talk about being in different league - I hear that a lot and it bothers me. I did teach myself to paint, BUT I was blessed with artistic genes. So I don't like to take the credit (thanks, Mom!). The key is to paint everyday, and paint something over and over again until you get it right. I have done that so many times. You've seen Priscilla Hauser's roses? I thought they were breathtaking, and was determined to duplicate them. Hah! Not an easy feat. I did them over and over again for years, but never could get them like her's. The result was a rose that finally worked, but it was MY rose. During my practice, unbeknownst to me, I had developed my own rose. My point is this (and I tell my students this all the time): Copy an artist's technique as much as you want. Its a wonderful learning tool. But don't expect it to be a carbon copy once you're finished. That's no fun. The end result will be your own version painted in your own style.

Well, looks I got a bit wordy here. Sorry about that! I have enjoyed reading the posts here in this forum, and love to see so many people excited about painting! Keep it up!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kerry Trout Decorative Painting

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 11:27AM
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There's a birdwatching forum???? I gotta go check that out! ~Anj

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 12:13PM
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I have NO formal training! LOL Nobody taught me to do anything that I do...I just gave it a shot and if it worked, it worked and if not, I played around until it did! LOL

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 10:48AM
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