Arts in Society (AiS) Grantee Awarded $30k 2022 Cycle

Shortcuts to Learning to Paint: What are they?

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Thank you, Canvas Rebel for inviting me to interview with you, again.

We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Jana L Bussanich. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Jana L below.

How did you learn to do what you do?
I am a self-taught watercolorist, painting instructor, and author of Watercolor Technique and Color Theory Essentials: Cultivate an Art Practice that Works for You and Your Art, released in 2021.
Knowing what you know now, what could you have done to speed up your learning process?
Two things are true, there are no shortcuts to learning to paint, but there are shortcuts that make possible the likelihood that you’ll learn to paint. The only way to master the discipline of painting is to do it, but the fact that we don’t know how to do it is why many people with the secret wish to learn to paint never start. Establishing a regular art practice and getting to know your materials is the most crucial first step to learning to paint. Painting requires moving between learning and integrating acquired knowledge. It helps to understand what painting is–it’s drawing with a paintbrush in your hand. And drawing is seeing. It is the calibration between the hand and the eye. The hand records what the eye sees. To speed your learning to paint, attend to the discipline of drawing, which we might say is the discipline of seeing.
What skills do you think were most essential?
Before a skill can be fully developed, there must be interest. So the first question might be, “am I interested in watercolor as means of expression in art-making? It’s essential to start with your interest, in this case, painting with watercolor, so that you’ll be less likely to quit when the thing you are learning feels hard. Because learning something new is challenging (whether you are interested in it or not), an interest followed leads to an aptitude developed. Aptitude (or talent) developed builds to competency, and competency boosts more
Photo: Watercolor by Jana L. Bussanich after Winslow Homer, Stowing the Sail