So far in my painting journey, I have completed 4 paintings and thought this was an appropriate time to look back at what I have learnt, and where to go from here. I also have joined some online groups that are associated with acrylic painting. I believe that during a learning process, it is appropriate to stop sometime in the middle to evaluate what is working and what is not. This way, I can see if I am accomplishing my goal, and if I am not, I can re-evaluate how I will accomplish my goal. In the classroom, when students are learning a new skill, I think it is important to teach them how to reflect on their learning and look at the big picture. So far, I have reflecting on each individual painting, however in this post, I want to look at all the painting and reading that I have done thus far.
Looking at the types of tutorials I have been using, I am surprised at how I am learning best. It appears that I learn best by watching artists paint, and mimicking their actions. Prior to painting, I always thought I was a visual and auditory learner, however I am finding that those videos with audio leave me frustrated and I do not learn as much. I was very surprised at how my painting where I did not follow a tutorial went as I did not have a “set in stone” plan when I started, but used my painting instinct as to what should be included in it.
In addition to watching tutorials, I have been reading a lot about acrylic painting. At the
beginning, I thought I would just “dive in” and paint, however now I am realizing that by reading about what I am doing, and different techniques, it is going to help me to become less reliant on the videos. For example, at the beginning of painting, I was using old paintbrushes (probably from my childhood) and disregarded when the video would discussthe different brush to use. After reading more about different techniques of painting and watching videos of artists painting, I decided I needed to do more research about having the correct brushes. I also decided that it would lead to fewer frustrations if I had to correct brushes so I went to Michaels and bought a new package of brushes! I consulted this graphic which discusses the different kinds of acrylic brushes. I found this was a very good learning sources, as it matched each brush with what kind of painting it is good with. I was introduced to the fan brush, which I had never heard of before. I used it the fan brush of my paintings, and am quite happy with the results.
In terms of where I have been learning, I have been watching YouTube videos about different techniques, and have also joined a Facebook group called “Acrylic Painting”. It is a group with 34,000 members and is a place for discussion about acrylic painting and also a place for people to sell their art. Reading the discussions are quite insightful and I have learned a lot about some of the problems people have when painting and how to solve these problems. I have also been inspired by the beautiful works of art that are presented in the group. It motivates me to keep learning! I was even brave enough to post, asking members where they learn from when it comes to acrylic painting. You can read that thread below:
Overall, I am very happy with my progress up to this point. While there have been frustrations, I am also very pleased with the progress and the amount of information that I have learned throughout this process. I am discovering new sources of information and connecting with others. This will transfer to teaching very well, as I am exposing myself to others and getting practice connecting with others via the internet. I am also “looking outside the box” to find tutorials and ways to learn. I am also learning how important reflection is. By going through the process of reflecting when learning a new skill is important, as I am able to see the steps. In the classroom, students will be asked to reflect on their learning of a new skill. Many times, students just answer saying “it was good” or “it was easy”. I read this article, called Learning Through Reflecting. In it, it said that many students are not taught how to properly reflect and educators do not ask students often to reflect on their learning. I believe that by having students learning, it is essential to your teaching. If the teacher understands where the students are in their learning, they are able to use that feedback for future lessons. This will ensure that the teaching is effective for the students as they are able to communicate with you if your instructional strategy worked for them.
In terms of where I will go next with painting, I am going to investigate many of the sources that were recommended to me in the Facebook group. I also hope to post a piece of art in the group and ask for critiques (this scares me a little bit). I hope to learn some new techniques and incorporate these into the ones that I have already learnt.
I hope you continue to follow my journey!