You’re about to learn a ton and I’m right there with ya.
I found a phenomenal artist who shared so many beginner details that I never even thought about asking the questions.
I didn’t think that was possible. I’m always the one at the party diving in with the 20 questions interrogation that sends new people to the other side of the room.
I recently found the video below and decided that I absolutely HAD to interview Rebekah Stephenson.
I thought the painting turned out beautifully… until I interviewed the artist and found out the canvas wasn’t complete. The video is just the first of a three-part series!
She took me by the hand in her studio as we went through all of her tools. We were like two little girls with a chest full of dress up clothes.
I never knew about all of the paint and paintbrush options available before the interview with Rebekah.
First, she shared something that I have heard from many artists. They all have moments of feeling like…. well, holy crap this is intimidating.
Rebekah says just start. After the first painting, do another one.
“You’re threshold gets larger and then you can keep growing that way by pushing it a little past where you’re comfortable,” said Stephenson. “And each time just doing something a little bit different.”
Find Rebekah Stephenson HERE.
Before she ever picks up a brush, she has a brilliant trick to mentally prepare for what’s ahead.
“I start with a different color than white because white is so daunting.”
She’s so right! Looking at a big white space is very daunting.
The artist starts with a red or black canvas. You can use a roller to fill the canvas and then brush the sides.
I asked her about paintbrushes. It seems like I can never get a good line and always have little wispy hair-like strays.
“I like the ones that are a little bit reddish. They seem to hold their bristles in better, but I like the ones that can get to a really fine tip.”
If the line isn’t exact enough, she uses painters tape after her creation is almost complete (right up my alley).
Then, there’s the paint. Acrylic is the easiest… in my humble beginner opinion. It dries quickly and is very inexpensive.
I learned from Rebekah the regular craft store kind of acrylic paint, that you can buy for a couple of dollars, is actually more difficult.
You’ll use more paint for a third of the price of the acrylic brand that Rebekah prefers.
“The Golden. I’m slowly buying them, but they have an amazing amount of pigment in them and they’re really potent.”
Rebekah started with water-color. Many of the artists I’ve interviewed for the DIY April blog say the same thing.
The reason I avoid water-color (although I’ve never tried it) is the paint strokes are permanent. It dries almost immediately and there isn’t an easy way to go back and cover up mistakes.
Rebekah had a great idea that I’m going to try for the same effect.
“Acrylic can actually act like a water-color if you get it thin enough.”
She adds a little bit of water. There’s no magic recipe. Just try a little water and add more if needed.
There’s also a way to create the same effect as oil paint without the long drying time.
“I have a gel medium that you can mix with it and it makes it act like an oil, although it dries faster.”
That’s actually what it’s called. The label says gel medium. It’s in a jar and resembles a substance like mayonnaise, but a little thicker.
You can also use the gel medium to seal your painting once it’s finished.
Now that we’ve covered the tools, there’s more. I thought about Rebekah’s advice on the process of painting a large space last weekend when I was painting a drop cloth for curtains.
Click play to hear how Rebekah used a paper bag to create a stencil… and more.
I started in a corner and moved on. That’s a bad idea.
By the time I finished, my brush strokes were completely different. I ended up throwing the drop cloth away and plan on starting over next weekend.
“What I was always taught, and what has always worked for me, is you want to work the whole painting at the same time.”
One final piece of advice… I asked Rebekah how much paint to use on the brush.
The answer is you’ll know that right away if it drips or doesn’t cover the spot.
Oh, and you don’t want to get so much paint on the brush that it hits the metal holder on the handle.
The paint will dry underneath the metal and you won’t have the nice thin bristles you need for easy lines.
We’ve covered a lot here, but I know there’s more to learn. I’m still on a journey to find out more for newbies like us.
If you are reading this and are a pro, please share your advice in the comment section. We would all appreciate that AND you might drum up some business!
Check out Rebekah’s tutorial on how to get started with charcoal.