As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I got a set of water-mixable oil paints for Christmas. I’m in the process of learning to paint with them. After my first session, I realized I really did need to purchase the painting medium (to thin paint when it was too thick—water works but it makes the paint sticky instead of easy-flowing). Last weekend, with that medium finally at hand, I decided to do some more exploring.
I dutifully read the colour mixing instructions in the oil painting book I had bought but instead of reassuring me, they left me feeling completely overwhelmed (especially since the instructions assume 13 colours; I have only four plus white). However I did follow directions to the extent I could and ended up with all these columns of colours blended from light to dark.
Now what? As I stared at what I’d done, suddenly stockings emerged. So instead of tackling the next set of instructions with my usual OCD-ness, I tossed the book aside and decided to play. That’s when the fun began.
In the process of turning my canvas pad sheet of colour swatches into stockings and other objects, I also learned a lot about colour mixing (the object of the lesson) as well as mark-making and—and a big bonus—got to be better friends with my paints.
How do you learn a new skill? Is play part of your process? After seeing how it improved my attitude and learning last week, I’m going to try to incorporate it more often.