Why Paint Studies are a Good Art Practice

1 min read
08 Apr

Paint Study - Abstract in Acrylic 2019

Paint Studies ... Why I do them

When I started doing paint studies in January 2019, it was as a break from making artwork (or so I thought). In fact that's the thing. When you aren't focused on the end result, you feel a great sense of freedom during the creative process.

Paint studies evolved even though I didn't set out to do them, they just happened when I was 'playing' with acrylic paint. I realised that the paint study process gave me a unique opportunity to learn and get to grips with acrylic paint before making a piece of artwork.

I also do paint studies when I'm going through artists' block, say in between art projects. Mostly I approach them not worrying about the outcome. In fact, I've found paint studies to be enlightening when there's no aim in mind, except for your colour scheme, choice of medium and surface. 

Maybe being an artist where my main interest is abstract (and abstract realism) artwork offers this artistic luxury. All I know is, there's much joy working with the paint, along with a kind of meditative element too. And sometimes, what appears on the blank surface can surprise you. 

Paint Study Abstract Realism in Acrylic 2019

Practice, practice, practice ...

It's all about the practice element.You're practising your craft, which will eventually in time build your artistic confidence.

It's those unknown elements that keep me working on paint studies. You get to know your artist (creative) self in interesting ways. And if the term 'study' puts you off, don't let it. It's just a way of approaching and understanding what you may be working on. 

Paint studies can actually have more impact than say more elaborately planned work, due to those unknowns that can refresh an exploration of the subject you're working on. 

Where do Paint Studies lead to?

When you 'finish' a paint study, you can step back and look at the potential of the piece and ask yourself:

  • Could you use this piece and make another version say with a different colour scheme, different medium?
  • Could you try making a larger or smaller version of the same piece?
  • Could you add layers to the piece?

The options are endless. You can of course abandon the piece altogether but I would strongly recommend never discarding drawings, sketches, or paintings that 'don't work'. Nothing is wasted as you may be able to explore developing the piece further or take a photo and then rejig the pieces into a collage.

Do let me know in the Comments section below, whether you've found paint studies to be revealing. Or maybe you've found another way to practice your craft? 

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Cover Image: Steve Johnson / Unsplash

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