Ever since I began this crazy ‘art thing’ almost three years ago, I have constantly been on the look out for artists whose work I admire. Of course, the great art galleries have masterpieces by the Old Masters, but I talking about modern artists who are a bit more relatable! Youtube and Devianart (an art sharing site) are wonderful resources — I frequently browse them in search of inspiration and I learn a lot simply by viewing lots of other artists’ work. It’s always a thrill to see a painting and think ‘wow – I so wish I could draw or paint something like that’. In fact, it was that same sentiment that got me started in the first place. I stumbled across and article in which a woman had drawn a series of self-portraits and was inspired to drawn my own self-portrait (albeit, rather badly).
Youtube is an especially rich source of art tutorials. If asked if I ever took any art lessons, I always reply that I have been taught by the ‘University of Youtube’. I have spent hours watching tutorials on how to draw and paint. Three artists have emerged as my favourite sources of inspiration and learning, each immensely talented but with their own styles and preferred mediums.
1. Lisa Clough, Lachri Fine Art - Coloured pencil
Lisa of Lachri Fine Art is a very talented artist who it seems is able to paint in just about any medium! However, her work that most inspires me is her coloured pencil paintings. I say paintings because they don’t look like drawings. Using odourless mineral spirits to blend the colour pencil pigments, she gives her drawings a depth of colour and value that make them look more like oil paintings. She’s always reminding her viewers to check their values and make sure the darks are dark enough and the lights are light enough. I discovered her work fairly early on in my own art journey and coloured pencils were a natural progression from the graphite sketches I had been doing so far. In addition to demonstrations, Lisa also offers tutorials and advice on coloured pencil techniques, different products, and even some fair and helpful critique of other artist’s work (which of course is voluntarily submitted for critique!). I’m not sure I’d want her razor sharp gaze examining my work just yet, but I’ll keep coming back to her channel for more!
2. Steve Mithcell, The Mind of Watercolor - Watercolour
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, watching Steve’s tutorials is like being taught how to paint by a funny, patient, and extraordinarily talented uncle. About a year and a half ago, I began looking into watercolour painting. It was a few months before I actually had the courage to buy a set of watercolour paints. The Mind of Watercolor is a youtube channel that I have followed since I began painting. Steve has a wonderfully organic style – his style is both fluid and precise. The mixing of the rich hues in his wet-on-wet washes is pretty stunning, but many of his paintings have a lot of fine detail to them as well. He makes it look easy, but it’s really not! Trust me, I’ve tried. His videos are a combination of tutorials on specific techniques, demonstrations, and product reviews. They’re always fun to watch and I always learn. Heck, I’d watch them even if I didn’t learn a thing because he’s such a lovely person!
3. James Gurney – Gouache
James Gurney (I can’t think of him in my head as just ‘James’!!) approaches near deity status in my books. His style is best described as fantastical realism – wonderfully detailed depictions of impossible scenes, but they just look so real! Think the survivors of a post- apocalyptic earth riding dinosaurs through the ruins of a deserted Manhattan. How do you top that!? He is also a champion of painting plein air and his videos recently inspired me to take my own travel journal with my on holiday. It was through him that I first heard of gouache, an opaque watercolour paint. Gouache is under appreciated – it can be thinned down and used like watercolour, but it is opaque so it can also produce works that look more like acrylic or oil. It is also very fast drying and easily portable, which make it great for painting outdoors. James Gurney’s “Gouache in the Wild” DVD is on my wishlist for sure!
So, who inspires you to draw or paint? Do you have any favourite artists, whether they be Youtube stars or one of the Old Masters? Let me know!