Cheating – Part 2

[If you haven’t read Cheating – Part 1, then start here]

So continuing from the previous post, I’m going to continue shamelessly going through a list of offences I commit while painting.

6. I trace any object I can find to make my life easier.

I don’t own any fancy shmancy drafting tools (although as an engineer, you would think I would finally invest in some). Actually, I don’t even own basic ones, like a ruler beyond 10 cm in length. So instead I use random objects around my apartment when I need certain lines/curves. Canvases make good straight edges while lampshades, lids from various containers, and candles make great circles/curved edges.

I actually free handed the rest of these lines
I actually had to free handed these lines

 

7. I don’t like washing paintbrushes so I use the same one far too long.

This one really just comes down to laziness. I don’t like having lots to clean-up, so I avoid getting things dirty. I’ll use a palette knife instead of brushes whenever possible since they can usually be cleaned by just wiping them with a wet paper towel. When I use paintbrushes, I’ll use the same one to the point that there’s dried clumped on paint all over the bristles. It adds some interesting effects to the painting…[sometimes…] When I reach this point, I usually call it a day.

Strings Attached - Violin - Acrylic on Canvas - 48x20"
Strings Attached – Violin – Acrylic on Canvas – 48×20″

 

8. I don’t use any painting mediums. 

I’m aware that this stuff exists since I see it in the art store all the time, and I’ve heard others discus “priming the canvas” but I really have no idea what they’re talking about. Apparently there are mediums to speed up/delay the drying time, change the texture of the paint, and many many others. There’s a whole (overwhelming) section devoted to this stuff in the art store. I like to keep it simple: paint+brush/palette knife. Easy. Breezy.

Unfortunately the Dollarama doesn't carry this size of canvas
Any texture you see is the result of globs of paint, and not a medium.

 

9. I buy canvases at the Dollarama.

Unscrunch your nose! No, I don’t exclusively shop there, since they only carry the very small sizes, but you can bet that all those little ones are straight from the dollar store. They’re gallery wrapped [ie. staples are on the back and not the side] and I don’t notice any difference in quality. Just price. $1.25 versus about $5, yes please!

Unfortunately the dollar store doesn't carry canvases this big.
Unfortunately the dollar store doesn’t carry canvases this big.

 

10. I use acrylic paint instead of oil.

I used to paint with oils when I first started painting about 7 years ago. Oils are rough. First, they need to be thinned with either turpentine (which is super toxic) and/or oil (I used linseed oil). Next, they take FOREVER to dry. Weeks to MONTHS!!! I like painting in layers, and letting each layer dry before adding the next one, and when it takes several weeks for each layer to dry, it takes several months to finish a painting. I think “real” artists paint “wet-on-wet” but I find that far too difficult. I put my hands all over the painting as I go, and I like to sketch out guidelines with chalk. You can’t do that with wet paint on your canvas. Trust me. I used to get paint on absolutely everything, and oil paint is toxic and not washable, unlike acrylic paint. As I’ve already mentioned, I hate washing paintbrushes, and that hatred probably started from my days of oil painting. That stuff just does not wash out! I love acrylic paint <3 Dries in minutes, washable, non-toxic, doesn’t require thinning… Just lovely.

All acrylic baby
All acrylic baby

 

11. I copy my own paintings in different combinations to make new ones.

I find things that work (usually by accident) and then I run wild with it! With regards to this violin painting, I had the idea for the acoustic guitar first, really liked the finished piece, so have done 3 other instruments since. I also noticed that my paintings with people walking with an umbrella were a big hit, so I threw them into many paintings. Sometimes looking identical as before, other times wearing new outfits. I suppose this is a giant step up from copying other people’s paintings, which is what I used to do when I first started painting.

Exhibit A
Exhibit A

 

So basically this list concludes that I am cheap and lazy. The engineer in me prefers to call this efficient and resourceful.

Check out the reflection in the mirror for a sneak peak at what's on my easel.
Check out the reflection in the mirror for a sneak peak at what’s on my easel.

 

Thoughts? Do any of these confessions surprise you? Can you relate or am I in fact just cheap and lazy?!

Like this painting? Strings Attached – Violin is now SOLD but check out my other listings here.

 

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36 thoughts on “Cheating – Part 2

  • July 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm
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    Yes, yes, yes, and YES! 🙂

    The only thing I don’t do is trace. Not because I’m ambitious or highfalutin, but because I actually like to draw. However, I rarely draw freehand on my $1 canvas. I use the grid system to transfer an image just to save time. Not really cheating, but definitely lazy

    I’m going to switch back to acrylics after I’m done with what I’m doing now. I love painting in layers, too, and I’m running out of patience!!!

    p.s. Love the image in the mirror. Trees are my favorite subject. Can’t wait to see the final product!

    Reply
    • July 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm
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      So nice to know I have company 🙂

      I’ve done the grid thing before too but found that it took me longer to make a grid than it did to actually do the drawing, so kudos to you for that one!

      Reply
  • July 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm
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    Thanks for sharing Agata! I’d just like to add that not all oil paints are toxic and there are eco-friendly thinners. I paint in thin layers that take 2-3 days each to dry, so I can finish a painting within a week usually. But there also exist water-based oil paints that dry much quicker. Acrylics definitely have some advantages, though. I think your “offenses” help to create your unique style!

    Reply
    • July 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm
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      Thanks for the insight Dave. I had no idea about any of those things. Is there a specific brand of oil paint that you use? 2-3 days is much more reasonable than several weeks!

      Reply
      • July 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm
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        I use Williamsburg oil paints but am gradually going to switch over to a water-based oil paint. I think that for your style of art though, acrylics are definitely the way to go, since you apply more paint to the surface with the palette knife, and that would indeed take much longer to dry than thin layers!

        Reply
      • July 24, 2013 at 7:50 am
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        I have to add here that my last (thin) layer of oil paint has not dried yet after 1-1/2 weeks! I’m sure the heat and humidity down here have something to do with it. I pulled out the acrylics last night and can’t wait to start – and finish – a painting.

        Reply
  • July 22, 2013 at 6:20 pm
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    With paint brushes I put used ones into a container of water until I run out – then I take them outside and hit them with the jet of the garden hose.

    I’ve recently started to try a medium to thin my paint to give a more transparent effect, but I’m not sure whether I’m getting the result I’d like.

    Reply
    • July 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm
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      I really like the idea with the garden hose! Brilliant.

      Reply
  • July 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm
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    I like your free and easy approach to your art. I’m a lot like that with mine too. And since yours is fabulous, then what you’re doing obviously works well for you.

    Reply
    • July 22, 2013 at 10:46 pm
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      I think it’s working well for you too 🙂 In any case, I say we stick to what’s been working for us!

      Reply
  • July 24, 2013 at 10:44 am
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    I think your doing everything perfectly. Excellent paintings on the wall, looking great! Based on your description, why would you use oil based paint? 🙂

    Reply
  • July 25, 2013 at 1:21 am
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    I used to love painting with oils. I still do, mostly because I love the smell (terrible, I know). Haven’t done it in forever though. But I started using acrylics after oils and you’re so right, so much more convenient 🙂 Also, I don’t know anything about painting mediums. I used to gesso before painting an oil painting, but when I switched to acrylics I just got lazy and did a base coating before painting the painting over it. AND I totally get canvases literally wherever I can, no matter how much they cost. I don’t normally sell my work anymore, so if I find a canvas for a great price, I’ll snag it up.
    So I’d be inclined to say who cares?! It’s your art, and it’s beautiful. Because art is so subjective, details and technique aren’t completely necessary. There are guidelines, but no actual rules. It works for you, so it’s right.
    Then again, I’ve painted on all kinds of non-traditional surfaces, so my mind is pretty open 🙂

    Reply
    • July 26, 2013 at 10:35 am
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      Glad to hear I’ve got company in my non-conventional ways 🙂 I recently installed an AC unit in my apartment and had to fill a portion of the window with some wood so I had the nice fellow at the Home Depot cut the left over wood into reasonable sized pieces for me that I plan on painting on. Should be interesting 🙂

      Reply
  • July 28, 2013 at 7:26 pm
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    Beautiful painting! I really like the life in it. I also usually ha an idea I go wild with, a lot of female dancing is what I paint and draw mostly and the ideas never seem to dry out 😀

    Reply
    • July 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm
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      Why fix what’s not broken, right?!! If it works, I say run wild with it!

      Reply
  • July 30, 2013 at 8:07 am
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    Hey! I’m thrilled you like some of my work and I’ve been enjoying yours! I wanted to add that if you do need some extra time with your acrylics, golden makes a type called Open Acrylics with a little more dry time. I use water soluble oils as well as acrylics. One a scale i would put reg. acrylics, open acrylics, ws oil, regular oil in terms of drying time. It is nice to have options out there! I find regular acrylics just dry too fast for what i do. And oils are totally out due to the health hazards. Besides, there is a certain ‘look’ to acrylics that you certainly use to your advantage. Peace!

    Reply
    • July 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm
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      Thanks Laura. I may actually try that. I’m working on a large landscape painting and the super fast drying time with my acrylic paint is making it quite challenging.

      Reply
  • August 7, 2013 at 10:25 am
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    You are making GREAT art, so how you get there is not so important, if it’s working, then go with it. YOu have an amazing way with color!!

    Reply
  • August 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm
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    Nothing wrong with being efficient and resourceful.

    Reply
  • August 16, 2013 at 10:32 pm
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    I love that you have a system, I need to develop something that works for me.

    Reply
  • August 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm
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    hahaha, Agata you’re adorable. “Efficient and resourceful” indeed!

    Reply
    • August 26, 2013 at 11:04 am
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      Ahhh Mouna, as are you! Thanks for the comment <3

      Reply
  • August 26, 2013 at 5:56 am
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    Hi Agata, first of all I like your site, your work and most of all your transparency and honesty…And since you’re not going to remember these nice things 🙂 I’m going to give you a little constructive criticism if I may…:) I’m a guitar teacher and I noticed that in the right panel of the ” violin strings attached series ” ( witch I really like by the way ) you made a little mistake..:) The flag on the stem of the blue note is on the wrong side…The convention is to always have the flag on the right side of the stem..(Sorry that’s the teacher in me 🙂 I looked at the other paintings and it looks like it’s the only place you did it !? But then again this his art and that’s what it makes it so unique…:) Its just that as a musician, it caught my eye…:)

    On the cheating subject, please don’t feel this way…
    Some of the best artists and musicians in the world never
    took any lessons and you should be proud of that yourself.
    I come from a family of self taught artists and we’re all teachers of our craft and on top of our game… Like you are !! I have a feeling that you would be a great teacher yourself because I feel that you’re a passionate person
    and that’s the first quality of a good teacher…But the bottom line is ; Art is a question of tastes and tastes can not be disputed…Here’s a link to one of my cousin’s website who’s a self taught artists and teacher of drawing…and yoga… and violin…and…:)

    http://www.gabyhamelin.ca/_images/gallerie/perso/Zoriex.jpg

    As for me, I’m recording my first album right now and I’m
    starting to think that one of your painting could be great on the album cover…hmmmm !! Anyway’s I have a few ideas in mind…As for your work, I’m sure that your ” Strings attached” series would do well with a lot of my students and musicians friends…

    Anyhow, please keep up the good work..!!

    Reply
      • August 26, 2013 at 11:06 am
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        Oh wow! She is incredibly talented!!! I can’t believe that she is self-taught. And she’s also in the Ottawa region. How neat!

        Reply
    • August 26, 2013 at 11:01 am
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      Daniel, thank you so much for your comment, especially for the advice about the stem on the blue note. I honestly had no idea about that. I will remember this for sure though and not make that mistake again. If it isn’t obvious, I have no musical talent and have never read sheet music or played an instrument before (other than the recorder in grade 7…haha) so painting music notes was just a figment of my imagination (which would explain the blue note error).

      I’m also glad you like my site. I try to be as honest and transparent as possible since I can’t stand when other people put up a false persona. Perfection is boring and I don’t care to read about “lies” or when everything is hunky-dorey, rainbows and butterflies, on other peoples websites.

      I’m going to check out your cousin’s website next. I’m very intrigued. That’s incredible that your family is all self taught artists. Funny how much I admire that in others yet think that it makes me a “fake artist”… Okay, lesson learned. Thanks 🙂

      Also, that’s really exciting that you’re working on your first album. I’m very interested to check it out. And would be more than honored to have one of my paintings as your album cover. Please keep me posted.

      Okay, off to check out those sites! Have a great day 🙂

      Reply
  • August 28, 2013 at 11:41 pm
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    May I use one of your paintings – possibly this one with the notes – for the picture on my next post? Of course I’ll put up your link.

    Reply
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  • October 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm
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