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Insider Secrets: How I Paint…

As many people are aware, I paint acrylics, watercolours, gouache and pen / ink. Lately, about 80% of my paintings are done digitally on my iPad Pro using Procreate software.

Many ask, how do I paint? Why do I paint what I do? How is it many of my paintings look photographic? Here is some things to think about!

I started painting traditionally about 15 years ago, starting with Watercolours and then 2 years later with Acrylics. But I have painted digitally in Adobe Photoshop for 30+ years. And I ran a graphic design business and web design business since the mid 1980’s. So I am fortunate to have the experience that I do.

I have also taken courses with well known watercolour artists and acrylic artists. This mentoring, helped me move ahead and learn quickly!

A lot of art creation goes beyond the actual painting component. I research almost all my paintings. I sketch out on paper and pen, many image ideas. When I go to bed at night, I paint and compose images in my head. Years ago, I had a photographic memory and could visualize any image or artwork. I suffered my first stroke at age 50, when I suffered some memory loss and all the vision in my right eye. But, I can still paint in my head and that helps me with my art. It sounds weird but visualization in ones head does help.

I study the great masters and take video tutorials of painting techniques 4-5 times a week. For at least 5-7 hours a week total. That’s over 300 hrs a year of video training. Throw in the research, practice drawings and sketches, and you are easily looking at 1000 + hours per year. Spend 1000 hrs our any hobby or skill and eventually you get better. It takes a lot of work, but repetition and practice helps quite a bit.

Now, also consider that painting and art lowers my stress and makes me feel good. Art is very therapeutic during these tough Covid times. I am on permanent disability and yet I can paint even if its for 20 minutes at a stretch before I take a break. Some days, I stop and start every 15-20 mins 5-7 times. Makes for a long day but this is how I work.

On a related note, I paint many paintings (or start them) and then leave them for 1-3 months. Then I come back and finish them. In many cases I upload 2-3 painting photos one after another. So it is not me painting in a marathon session, but spread out over time.

Some folks have asked me why I paint Japanese Gardens one minute, Car paintings the next and then throw in a Pet portrait. I paint hundreds of different subjects to constantly learn and push myself. I get better by trying new techniques, new textures and digital brushes.

Last night I started jotting down ideas on some western themed paintings of old west towns with horses tied up out front of the stables. Ten minutes later I was sketching ideas for a painting I wanted to create on the inside of a blacksmiths shop with two people working metal in low light. You see, there are only 2-3 million ideas floating around in my head. Eventually, I hope to paint them all. I will never be short ideas or end up stuck for ideas to paint.

When I start a painting, digitally or traditionally, rarely do I plan ahead in terms of size. I just start and then later, wish I had gone bigger or smaller. But I paint for the enjoyment of painting and creating art. It’s a process for me.

Lastly, I wanted to share that I take a lot of pictures on my iPhone for researching ideas. I create small sketches on paper or note ideas on my phone of themes to paint. I sometimes just sit down and type out names for paintings. That can be challenging for many but I go with what pops into my head.

In future posts, I will share more about how I paint. If anyone has any questions or would like more information, feel free to email me at gcurrie@eldoren.com and I will try to get back to you! Have a creative day!

About Gordon

Gordon Currie has been painting watercolours, acrylics for over 15 years. Gordon has painted Digitally on an iPad for 4 years/ His work has been displayed all over Canada, the US in private collections.

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