BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — As children we were always instructed to color within the lines of our coloring books. We carefully pushed crayons and swept markers, filling the white spaces with bright colors. Some were flawless, not a shade out of place. Others consisted of harsh scribbles that not only didn’t stay within the specified boundaries, but seemed to have a rebellious nature — as though it was done on purpose for dramatic effect and couldn’t be tamed.
There was enough pressure with those outlines of Sleeping Beauty, Ninja Turtles and the Easter eggs, but nothing causes more sweat to form on the brow than a blank canvas. Yikes! For many of us, the issue is that we have no idea where to start or how to approach a picture.
Caitlin Sise, owner of Art on Tap, a paint and sip studio in Clifton Park, provides the proper strokes so that you can make your own masterpieces, worthy of hanging on the walls of your home.
Conquer Your Fear
Take a chance, make a change and brush away. “The major obstacle with painting is that people are a little bit scared of it almost, so I think being open to it is the first step,” Sise said. “We have people who come in and say that they can’t draw a stick figure, and it’s letting them know that they are capable of it.”
Brush type depends on your preference; Sise compared it to liking regular or mechanical pencils. “I like working with bristle brushes; they leave more brush stroke,” Sise said. “I would recommend having a large 1 inch brush, a really fine detail brush, a smaller quarter-inch.”
“Acrylic is the best paint for beginners because it dries really quickly in five to 10 minutes, so if you paint something and you don’t love it, you can just paint right over it,” Sise said. “Oil paint can take months to dry and watercolor tends to be tough as well because once you put it on, it’s there.”
Location, location, location
“Canvas is nice because it absorbs the moisture content in your paint faster than paper,” Sise said. “I would recommend a basic canvas to start.”
Break It Down
This is not referring to breaking your canvas in half if you make a mistake! “Rather than looking at the entire picture, painting or idea that you have, break it down into smaller pieces so that you’re not trying to tackle one gigantic thing all at once,” Sise said.
The saying “Practice makes perfect” is a cliché for a reason. “The more that you do it, the more you will learn,” Sise said. “Everyone’s brush stroke and painting style is different, so don’t just try to replicate someone else’s style.”
Experiment with Colors
Have fun experimenting and fashioning diverse hues like you did in elementary school, combining blue and red to make purple. It’s time to take it to the next level. “It’s important to learn color mixing and not just use paints right out of the bottle,” Sise said. “It’s what creates depth and more of a finished painting.”
“With art there is no right or wrong way to do it,” Sise said. “A lot of it is just what feels good so you could use the same brush for the entire painting — it’s whatever you feel comfortable doing. You have to find your comfort level and go from there.”
Mix Things Up
For the more advanced artist:
“You learn a lot of things by approaching your medium in different ways,” Sise said. “It builds up your toolbox and improves your skills whether you’re drawing or painting — it jogs the creativity.”