How to Start a Painting with Confidence

There are many ways to develop confidence in your painting and they mostly consist of doing the mundane things you want to skip in order to get to the painting.

I watch my students roll their eyes then take a deep breath when I tell them, you are going to do thumbnail sketches before starting a painting.  

One of the ways of developing confidence in your painting consist of doing thumbnail sketches.  I had a student once who was really upset about doing the thumbnail sketches.  She stated she hadn’t traveled her long distance to take my workshop only to spend time doing thumbnail sketches. Sometimes when we know how to do something we deem it unimportant.  

Why spend your time doing such a mundane thing and do so many?  Well, thumbnail sketches are like playing the scales on the piano or writing in a journal….it warms you up, clears out the cobwebs in your brain, plus centers you in the task you have chosen.  

Thumbnail sketches are a vital part of painting.  Sometimes we underestimate the value of the simple things.  

It doesn’t matter if you are doing a landscape, still life or abstract your thumbnail sketches will help you decide your values, shapes, and most important, your design.  

Have you ever approached the canvas or paper ready to paint not knowing what the painting is going to say?  (more about that in another newsletter) Your excitement is so high you just want to paint NOW!

So exactly what do thumbnail sketches do for you?

    • Decides your design
    • Gives you the freedom to paint from your heart
    • Locates your center of interest
    • Develops confidence in your art
    • Gives you clarity
    • plus…
    • It saves you time

With these things out of your way you can paint and know what you are doing.  You know all the essential things about your painting …… design, value and shapes.

Next week I will share with you just how I do my thumbnail sketches.

Now, my question to you is…Do you do thumbnail sketches?  If not, why?  Leave your responses below.


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