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.


Cheating – Part 1

Did that title capture your attention? If you’re wondering if it’s okay to cheat in your relationship, the answer is no. Always no. Don’t do it. However, you can relax, I’m not here to give relationship advice.

Now onto something I feel slightly more comfortable talking about.

When it comes to painting, I often feel like I am “cheating”. I don’t know the rules of art because I’ve never had any education in it. Perhaps this is why I feel like a fraud calling myself an artist. “Real” artists studied art. I just kind of dabbled with it my whole life and found things that work for me. I actually get really nervous talking to anyone who has any type of formal art training because I feel like I have no credibility and therefore no idea what I’m talking about. I assume that most of the stuff I say/do makes them cringe.

In this post and the next one, I’ll show you how I got to my most recent finished painting with the help of my cringe-worthy “technique.”

1. I don’t plan my paintings in advance.

I sometimes have a general idea of what I want it to look like in the end, but very rarely. Most paintings start with me painting a background and then assuming I’ll come back to it one day and decide what to do next. I’m pretty sure “real” artists sketch out the whole painting and paint in a more orderly fashion as they go. Way less waste of paint and time that way.

See all that paint behind the violin? Waste!!!
See all that paint behind the violin? Waste!!!

2. I mix colors on the actual canvas instead of on a palette.

I usually use a palette knife to do the background and literally slap paint right onto the canvas. I just scoop it out of the bottle with the palette knife (or squirt it if it’s a small tube)  and move it around until it looks somewhat pleasing to the eye. I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to mix the colors on a palette then apply them to the canvas.

3. I use tracing paper.

Yes, you read that right. ALL THE TIME! See this violin, and how it’s symmetrical… well thank you tracing paper. I drew half, traced it, cut it out, flipped it over, and traced it again. Voila. Symmetry.

And you guys probably thought I could actually draw...
And you guys probably thought I could actually draw…

4. I Google search images of things I want to paint.

I can’t just visualize certain things in my head. Far from it. So I rely on Google Images. For example, I knew I wanted to paint a violin, but do you honestly think I’ve ever touched one, let alone seen one, in real life? Nope.

Thanks google
Thanks Google!

5. I paint on my lap, on the floor, at my kitchen table, at my desk… 

…yet I have a giant, gorgeous easel taking up the majority of my tiny apartment! No specific reason for this, sometimes I just feel like it. This is especially true for smaller paintings. I prefer to rest my hand on the painting instead of sitting upright with a paintbrush. However, I always regret this when I get up and have aches in my back and knees from sitting on the ground hunched over. Can’t win em all!

Starting to look like something...
Lot’s of back pain to bring you this violin. You’re welcome.


… I’m going to end this post here for today since it’s getting pretty long and I’d hate to bore you to tears.

Come back soon for the rest of this list, as well as the finished painting. 

I’m curious, do you think less of my “talent” now? Or if you are an artist, do any of these things make you cringe? Be honest!!! 





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