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“Your stumbling block will become your stepping stone and that very same thing will be your pedestal.“


by Mea


REDDOOR PUBLISHERS Initiatives & Training Written by: Mea Cell +27(0)72 415 4191 Copyright © Reddoor Publishers 2015 Copyright text © Mea (Mandi) Engelbrecht Photography copyright © Reddoor Publishers except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be re-used, reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the copyright owners. ISBN 978-0-9946729-3-3





Your own creative space There is nothing that frustrates an aspiring

1. When people criticize your paintings

artist more than packing up and clearing

Somehow all your friends & people that

away their art things to make space for the

come by will see it and it will be a talking

routine of life’s living, but the reality is that

topic to inspire you even if there is critics.

everyone don’t have studio space to work in

Know this from the start: your family and

and just close the door on. So I would highly

friends may very well be your greatest

recommend that you try to create a corner

critics but they will probably be your first

or a space in your home for your art

clients as well.

supplies & easel to have a permanent spot,

Here are a few things to keep in mind when

and if it is at a window with a view - all the

someone criticizes your work:




 What might their motive be? Maybe they are jealous and trying to put you off? Is it your issue or their own issue

painting you make – people’s tastes differ. 2. The bottomline is: listen to what the critic says and decide for yourself if it is valid

to deal with?  Is the person qualified to criticize? Do

feedback, and if you can learn from it. If

they have any knowledge or

not, let it go – don’t let it discourage you

experience in painting or art in general

to paint.How to sell your paintings

that you can learn from?  Is it possible that your painting just

In my experience I find that just displaying art is not enough but that People love to be

doesn’t fall in their taste? Every

part of the process and see the artist at

person does not have to like every

work, we are curious by nature, and setting up your easel while your work is on display



is great as a marketing tool. Often paintings

Markets, sins galleries tent to be very

are bought right off the easel while still wet.

selective in the type of art they display, and

Most of my art has sold right off my easel &

this is not a bad thing, but make sure you

most of my students I generated were

target a market that have a lot of feet of

bystanders that started to ask questions.

people that are keen art collectors. Keep

For some people it is a very private thing to

busy with painting there rather than to sit

paint and they want to be left alone. This is

there watching the people walk by. Look up

often the case when you are still

and smile and chat to them, be open to

experimenting and learning. The more you


paint, the more your confidence in your painting abilities will grow. Sadly it is often

You must create your supporters and

the case that great artist resort to Art

market your work yourself. As they say:



“every painting has an owner” but take note

table. Try to get a balance between what you

that you must target the right audience.

want to paint and what people want to buy –

When your at the coast, seascapes are great

you can paint for yourself and your clients.

sellers; the big five sell well at bush markets

Many want to take the symbolic route with a

or wildlife resorts; I sold Tuscan art at

story to tell either way … we all have our

Monte Casino…. You get my drift… Find

place in the sun. But these days we have to

what you are good with, make it your best

rely on ourselves, to produce art and to sell

and present it to the right crowd. Some art

and market it. You will be the artist, agent,

will always be commercial or universal, and

gallery, teacher and marketer/advertiser all

sometimes decorative it the way to

in one. But with the social network and

go…even if it is just to fit in with the

internet it is very possible for you to

curtains or décor… it puts bread on your

promote yourself successfully.



from but always be true to yourself and your There is magic in synergy and networking

own style and do not burn your bridges.

and collaboration,and no need of animosity or jealousy, that is a necessary road to take

3. Oil painting hazards

to make it these days, so never give up, be

Oil paintings can take up to 3 to 6 month if

bold grab every opportunity despite the

not more to dry depending on the thickness

critic or rejection you might face. You will

of the paint, glazing it will nurture the

make great supportive friends on this

painting. Some Old masters paintings are

journey of creativity and surround yourself

even still drying and changing today if you

with artist friends who’s work you admire

look under a microscope, if you varnish the

and have many mentor’s that you can learn

painting to quick it will crack (but some do even like the appeal of the aged look of that)



a interesting fact is that painting with oils

doors, the fumes of Turpentine is hated by

could also be hazardous sins you are

many, specially the mineral one that you

working with flammable materials like

clean your brushes with, that is very

varnish & turpentine and even lead based

chemical and bad for your sinuses but the

oil paint & thus should not smoke near it,

more expensive Genuine Turpentine that is

be careful of what you put in your dustbin

natural and made of blue gum trees with a

as not to ignite flames, but also be careful

lovely sent than that masters of the oil

where you store the paintings while it’s

paints love and uses in the painting of

drying is vital that it is not in a regular living

washes & with your oil mediums.

space as it releases gasses that is

4. Practice to sketch

dangerous to inhale, always paint in a well

From the earlier times even Da Vinci’s

ventilated area, open the windows & outside

planning sketches and drawings are now



worth millions & doodling is the new

later.Observing the basic shapes like

fashion, so it is advisable that you start

circles, triangles,squares and rectangles

keeping a sketching book even if it is just a

within all things and starting from that, light

pocket size one on you at all times, B4

sketching first without rubbing all out and

pencil is also soft and gives lovely edges

then later darker lines over it once you have

and contrast and my Favorite is always

the clarity and working to the final product.

charcoal, rubber and off you go‌ even

Learning to really observe and study things

when eating out it is good to observe life

and not just see them will show you shapes

and people, and to do gesture drawings with

and focus points and shades, drawing them

suggestive lines that are at a distance and

as they are and not as your mind think it is.

not always so detailed, it will give you

Squint your eyes to help you see the larger

confidence to execute your final painting

shapes and patterns and draw them first. Fill



in the details only after the large shapes are

see how horizontal lines become vanishing

drawn accurately.

lines, the further it is away from us.

Insert visual: subject and sketch showing major shapes – make own example?

Reference materials are so easy to access

Turning your reference material upside

these days with the internet, but within that

down even and then drawing it will make it

still make it your own work with your own

more realistic as outline in “Drawing on the

unique application. I always find it a

Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards, a

blessing that even when I do give a demo-

very good book to learn from. And using

workshop every student’s work and

everyday objects even like keys laying on

application is so different and that is what

the table, your hand gestures, seek within it

make our paintings unique. That’s why there

the shaves and use the respective in that,

is a place in the sun for each one of us, and



why there is a market and owner for every

develop.. It is sad that people put


themselves down for not having talent and

Just a word on copyright: if you use a

they do not realize that talent is created by

picture or a painting of someone else as a

perseverance and practice just like any

starting point for your own work, make sure

other skill.

to change it enough so that you don’t break

Tanja started doing art after she read

copyright laws.

somewhere that to learn to paint is 90% perspiration and 10% talent. And the funny

A 365 day challenge

thing is that the more you practice, the more

Imagine if you can take just 15 minutes (or

talented you become.

more) every day for a year to do a quick

5. Fail your way to success

drawing/sketch, how your talent will



Going to different workshops and having

yourself; it must be your crutch and your fix

mentors and to always be eager to learn

each day.” Mea

more will finally one day give you your own style and voice and that will be your talent

then you will not need any other addictions,

platform, even self thought artist draw their

art is your crutch and your therapy and it is

inspiration from somewhere and experiment

a journey even if it stars with crafts and

and fail and try harder next time.

grows to formal fine art..

“A day without creativity used is like an oblivion wasteland …. then you are still

6. What to paint

breathing but not living. You must express

Experiment. Find out which mediums work for you… and seek what you love painting



most and what sells best and that will be

colours and be sure to bring in those grey

your guide on your creative journey.

tones to balance your paining, those binding colours that is left on your pallet

Oil painting 7. Choosing colours for your pallet with oil paints

mixed together is often the last step it needs to perfection. Winsor and Newton oils & Daler Rowney are

You don’t need to buy all the colours of the

lovely oil paints to work with.

rainbow instead you need to learn to create

I would however advise against the ranges

them yourself, one can mix colour’s that

that come in boxes with standard colours.

doesn’t even have a name yet. Paint some

Often the pigments are very low quality and

hardboard white and grid it with masking

colours that should be transparent or

tape and experiment with mixing different



opaque is not. You will struggle to mix the

Titanium white

right colours with most of these paints.

Alizarin crimson

The choice however is between the student

Yellow ochre

& artist oil paint, the price is the biggest

Cobalt Blue

deferens as a intro student stay with what

Burnt sienna

you can afford, but in the long run the artist

Paynes grey

oils pigments are so vibrant and pure and it

9. Mixing your own colours

worth using. I find that the local made Artiste & zeller range is also a lovely paint.

 Here are some standard combinations for mixing all the colours of the rainbow, and more, that you can try:

8. The basic colours you need when you start painting



 crimson/red + blue = purple primarily to secondary

 winsor orange + cerulean blue = mauve (a shade of purple)

 blue + yellow = green

 green + yellow + white = lime green

 red + yellow = orange

 yellow + crimson + white = salmon

 burnt sienna + prussian blue + white =

pink  umbers/siennas/ochres = earthy tones

French colours  blue + green + white = turquoise

Mixing all these with each other gives

 yellow ochre/raw umber/burnt sienna +

various shades of grey but is is important that using transparent colours alone is like a

white = skin tones  sap green + cadmium red + white = skin tones


black hole in your painting, add buff of a


opaque (not transparent colour) to give it body and to bring it forward.

 Mineral turpentine: used to clean paintbrushes  DIY painting medium (similar to Liquin):

Oil painting meduims  You can mix any of the following

o Recipe 1: mix equal quantities of

mediums with your oil paints to get

genuine (artists) turpentine,

different effects:Refined/raw linseed oil:

refined linseed oil and copal

gives a buttery, transparent consistency

(boat) varnish.

and keeps paint wet for longer which is

o Recipe 2: Mix equal quantities of

handy if you need to blend a lot. Genuine

genuine (artists) turpentine and

turpentine: thins paint for sketching and

refined linseed oil.




 DIY refined linseed oil: Make your own by pouring raw linseed oil in a glass jar and put it in the sun until it becomes a lighter colour. It will take several weeks to lighten. 10.

Tools needed for oil painting

Buy the following basic tools in a cheaper quality first and use them to see which ones are your favourites before you spend a lot of money on tools you don’t like to use:

 Round brushes of nylon/sable hair in size 000 - for detail painting  Filberts/flats of natural hog hair in sizes 2, 6 and 12  Filberts/flats of soft hair in sizes 2, 6 and 12  Palet knives – to mix paint, give thick texture or get a messel work effect  Palet: wooden/plastic/disposable (paper) palet; use polistireen food trays




Atlas paints & found in various craft art shops. Or any other texture paint made by


Pigments, mix mediums & texture

various companies, it is water based, I experimented with using pure pigments

paste Texture paste is often judge harshly but it is

(from hardware & wall paint shops) with a

a cheaper version of working with oils

lot of water over the texture paste, the

thickly to get a impasto effect that is 3D, I

colour is so pure, but the pigment has not

found over the years that you can either mix

glue like with acrylics and thus you have to

polyfilla (1cup) with woodclue (3 table

varnish it with a general clear spraypaint

spoons) with a scraper till it is fine and use

that is either gloss, Satin or matt. My

that or better yet Statex that is made by

Tuscany paintings that I sold 283 of in two years over weekends at Monte Casino was



done mainly in this and it is my own

atmosphere and not the main theme of your

invention that is now widely used, one can

painting - the painting is the crux otherwise

even dry it out like water paint and use it as

it remains under crafts. Modge podge can

such. I also prepare my hardboard for my

be used to paste the transfer, napkin or

classes with statex scraped over as a more

decopadge to a canvas but I found that

affordable method to canvases and I do love

mixing a little wood glue with with the

the texture that it gives.

modge podge makes it an acrylic sealer as well. For paper transfers this is ideal as it

Another craft that spilled over into fine art is

makes the transfer waterproof. I like old

using transfers, napkins or decoupage in

fashioned writings in my backgrounds but

paintings Please note that this should be

you can use any design of your choice for a

mainly for a background effect to give

background. Just remember to flip it on the



computer to a mirror image before you print

you’re done with your transfer.. This

it so that it won’t read backwards.. You just

technique also works well on picture frames

glue the paper with the design that you want

and wood projects.

to useface down on your canvas. Preferably use a light, fairly transparent colour acrlyic

Stenciling can also be used on paintings

or chalk paint otherwise you will not be able

and frames. I have experimented with using

to see much of the design, Wait for 3 or

statex or texture paint scraped with your

more hours and then wet the back of the

pallet knife over the surfacewhich gives a

paper with a sponge/spraly bottle and

relief embossed effect. You can paint

carefullyroll the paper off from the canvas.

acrylic or chalk paint over the stenciling,

The design on the paper should stay behind

and sand the design (once it is 100% dry)

on the canvas. Apply a coat of varnish and

with sandpaper. The painting will have a



lovely aged look that you can incorporate in

experiement & to create happy accidents in

your oil painting. Remember that you can

the process.

only use oil paint over a waterbased paint/medium and not the other way round.

Back to the drawing board Many say that you can only paint as good as

Good old chalk paint : now here a whole

you can draw, I beg to differ and it has been

new game plan came in where you can even

proven that even the passed on Old Masters

rework your oil painting with paper &

used glass grit methods to compose their

waterbase elements after you applied chalk

designs in paintings, for my beginners I

paint on it‌ I ofter even use it as a base

even let then use cobalt paper & white board

coat to work on. Do not ever be affait to

chalk (on a dark background) with a reference paper printout sins when we paint



we do change it and make it our owns with

pencil for the highlights and charcoal for the

each individuals application that is Unique.

dept darks and contrast and let the board

And from there we work to the grit method

colour speak for itself leave open spaces,

and then to drawing with shapes in mind.

then you are not fighting to cover the white paper colour with too much soft edging.

When drawing I prefer charcoal to pencils

One tents to over work it sometimes.

sins it has better contrast & your hand becomes looser and less restricted with it. But again you have to experiment and find


What to paint on: Canvas, art boards

and their preparation

what you prefer most. For portrait drawing I

Canvas & artboards can be found at any

like to use a sepia, or colored paperboard

art/craft shop but sins I have been giving

with a bit of texture, and use the white chalk

classes that includes all material I have



resort to a less expensive method by buying

the grit side that gives a great foundation to

sheets of Masonate thin hardboard and

paint on and if this is too absorbent to your

builders warehouse and hardware shops

liking, you can give it a layer of any acrylic

even cut them up to size after they have

sealer or make it (made with modge podge

spread it out on a computer print out. There

and a little woodglue). when this is painted

are many artist that do paint on these

on the statex board it gives the paint a

boards alone, and they always prime their

lovely foundation, one can even paint

boards with a nice thick Gesso that is the

acrylic paint over the statex as basecoat

best but expensive or layers of white acrylic

before you start with the oils, for the student

paint, you can use the grit or the even side

and class purpose this works well for me

but I have experimented now with using

BUT if you art at the point were you want to

statex texture paint that I scrape thinly over

create artwork that will endure the test of



time, using proper stretched canvas that

working a month on one painting, and the

you buy by the meter, stretched over a

secret is to work in layers by first using

frame or rolled and glued to your hardboard,

turpentine washes that dries quick and

and then primed with a good Gesso base. is

working from thin paint to thick with

always recommended when you are at the

impasto pellet work even, Bruch drawing is

point that your art sell’s well and you can

much more freehand and loose instead of

invest in real artist paint.

drawing it out first one can even planning the composition out with black acrylic and a


Various oil paint techniques

thin brush before going over to oils. My

Alla prima (wet on wet one session painting)

workshops are demo based and thus one is

It will always be my preferred choice of

able to teach the effects within a short 3

painting sins I am impatient & dislike



hour session and walk away with a finished

perfectly for street and Tuscany scenes and



Painting in layers

Working with a painting/pallet knife

This normally done by diluting paint with

Pallet knives works well to create an

turpentine and giving the canvas a wash or

impasto effect as paint is applied to the

stain. I normally use yellow ochre with raw

canvas thicker than when you usea brush.

umber, or burnt sienna/burnt umber for the

Also, a messel effect looks great with

shading of a warm undertone painting and

buildings. Plant material can also be created

paynes gray with black/blue/purple for

by dragging the paint across the canvas

shading of a cool undertone painting. This

pallet knife. Scratching and scraping the

effect gives painting depth and works

canvas with a pallet knife can also give



interesting effects and textures. Otherwise,

Toned ground effect

a pallet knife is mainly used to mix your

This is similar to painting in layers but

paint colors.

monotone colours are used. For example, a


painting done in brown monotones will only

A sgraffito effect is created when you

use different shades of brown paint. Very

scratch with a pallet knife, or the back point

little or no other color than brown will be

of a brush or some other tool through a

used when doing a brown monotone

thick, wet layer of paint. Scratching off the

painting. This technique creates a lot of

top layers of paint will bring out the

depth because layers are buildt up form

underlying colors on the canvas and can be

dark to light tones. Da Vinci’s lovely sepia

used to bring in some texture.

drawings is n great example of this.



White ground painting

knife or painted using a paint brush and

This is done byputting paint directly onto

making bold, loose brush strokes.

the white surface of a canvas.It gives the colours in painting a pure, clear and brilliant


quality. The white of the canvas can be

Glazing is done when linseed oil is tinted

unpainted in places to let the white show in

with a transparent paint color and painted in

places as well.

a thin layer over a dried oil painting. The effect is subtle and sometimes barely


discernable with the eye. A painting can be

An impasto effect is created when paint is

glazed for several reasons:

thickly applied to the canvas with a painting



 To wet the painted surface so that you

 To protect the layers of paint

can paint again with a perfect blend to

underneath so that the painting lasts

what is already there


 To enhance colours in previous layers of paint

 To give a painting a lovely sheen that is typical of oil paintings.

 To change the atmosphere of a painting from a cold to warm


undertone, and vica versa

Blending is mainly done while paint is still

 To “age” a painting with burnt umber

wet with linseed oil and gives a smooth transition between colors. Shading is done


this way.



Drybrush or scumbling is done over dry of


Composition & Perspective

semi dry paint with a bristle brush that has just a little bit of paint on it. It creates

goes hand in hand. The balance is so

broken color – the underlying colours will

important and to place things off centre so

still show through in places - and brings out

that the eye can move around. Using the

any texture already on the canvas.

horizontal line and vanishing points is vital

Highlightsare often made by drybrushing a

with buildings. If you are painting buildings

lighter colour of paint onto a darker layer of

that buildings in general have clean strait

paint. Paint can be blended on a palette or

lines, those windows and doors have an

on the canvas by using a palette knife or a

architectural tendency to be symmetrical.


Use a ruler to draw lines that have to be



perfectly straight. You can erase incorrect

Really look at your drawing. Is the

grid lines if they confuse you.

important lines and shapes in your drawing

and focus on the centre point … work

the same as in the reference photo? make


sure of all the detail, and if you have added


creative changes … is it still believable…?


If it is a copyrighted photo you always need

The painting can be divided into blocks and

to change it. Make it your own by putting

then you would be able to see the horizontal

your own interpretation or spin on the

lines and the vanishing points that would

subject in the photo.

determine the perspective in you Painting

Look at your dimensions! But most important: look at your painting and make



sure that the lines, shapes, proportions and

to draw them precisely over in detail. For

focus point is accurate.

example, if you want to enlarge a picture of 3cm x 3cm to fit on a canvas of 27cm x


Grid block drawing

27cm, every 1 cm block on the picture will

To do a grid drawing,both the reference

be matched with a 9cm block on the

photo and the canvas/paper on which you

canvas/paper. Grid drawing is mainly used

want to draw the reference image is divided

to enlarge or reduce the size of a picture

into an equal number of blocks. Then to

and to help you to draw accurately on the

draw the lines per blocks over to the

canvas.The easy method is to use a grid and

canvas. The lines is normally done by

it is very important to make your grid lines

dividing it into 4 blocks and then 6 if there is

accurate. A variation of a millimeter will

a lot of detail. Block can even be numbered



make a big difference in the end result of a

final recourses for your paining Choosing


something to paint has to be an emotional

This is a simple procedure if you focus on

choice, for when creating something

one block on a time. Be patient and

exceptional you have to give something of

concentrate on every detail.

yourself for it to be remarkable. Only when you give something of your self, can you


Reference material

truly express yourself creatively. Choose

Reference material like photos is ideal as

wisely, for when you just start out you need

one is not always in the position to travel to

to keep it simple. Keeping in mind that you

far off places or it is time consuming to

are still acquiring the skill and techniques.

paint from real life and the mood changes

And you can even use various reference

quickly. Photos can be combined to get the

photos for your painting but the proportions



of the different elements in the painting to

To get the shading, light and dimensions

each other should be accurate and correct.

right only takes fine observation.

It is better to learn the proper techniques of

Other easy ways to to use cobalt paper or

drawing as it will give you a natural feel for


free hand drawing. Thus draw the lines!

But most fine artist would define that as

Take the time to create an accurate copy

cheating…starting up it is wise to do simple

and only when you feel confident and

drawing and build on that… and after you

comfortable with the reference picture, try

know the ropes … then you could find easy

to draw the scene out of your head. It takes

ways but make sure it is not direct replicas

logic and vision to create a realistic scene.

and be creative in giving it your own unique style.



To learn from masters has always been the You can use Indian ink or diluted acrylic

best ways to learn technique. Repaint

black paint, or even a permanent marker

paintings you love and see how your own

brush as it gives dark enough, clear lines

unique styles develop thought that.

that the base coat of paint will not cover. Use a ruler when making straight lines.

Try to paint freely using bold big Bruch

Hesitant lines will only confuse you when

strokes and not to copy directly BE

you start painting. After this stage it

CREAITVE. Practice makes perfect and paint

becomes risky to change your basic lines.

with confidents and create unusual effects. Not if you do not know what to do take a




bigger Bruch!


Own support can be made by using hard

of soap as last step in the palm of your

board that is sanded down and painted with


Gesso that seals and primes in one step.

I believe we are in a constant state of

Always put paint in the same places on your

learning, one is at a very dangerous place

pallet to get use to the mixing of the colors.

when you think you know everything.

Holding a long paint brush loosely and

When working with oils using some acrylic

further back from the ferrule will give you

paint instead of oil paint as base coat is also

more looseness in your painting.Always

great since acrylics dries faster than oil

take good care of brushes. Never leave them

paint. You can use oil over acrylic but never

standing up in a jar or use to hot water to

acrylic over oils.

wash it. Take paint out by using paper

Acrylic is water-based so in drawing your

towels and turps and then washing up liquid

sketch black acrylic is great as well as with



under painting, but acrylic dries fast and thus when blending I do prefer oils, even if it takes longer to dry. You can thin acrylic with

Any questions? Want a follow-up class or a

water as it is water-based. You must thin oil

refresher course?

paint with turpentine or one of the other

You are welcome to contact me via any of

mediums (depending on which effect you

the following ways:

want) as it is oil-based and won’t mix with

 Cellphone – 072 415 4191


 E-mail –

Draw the big shapes first. Once their

 Facebook – search for “Mea” Mea

shapes, positions and perspective is correct, continue with drawing in the smaller shapes and details.


Hancock  My blog -


 Web –

that will teach you to paint independently within a remarkably short time. When you do the above 2-day workshop with us, you will get all of the following at a very competitive price:  All the art materials you will need to do the class Plus Expert tuition Plus

I am a traveling art teacher and can come to you if you can arrange 8 to 12 who want to do the class.

classmates  We will throw in this e-book as a free

We present, amongst others, a demo-based 2-day to even 7 days intensive art workshop


 Be inspired by the teachers and your



I am also the ambasodor for Cameo Décor Paint with 3D paste and Potch that works amaizing Call me for more info

Craft Routes


012 548 4811 Affordable decorative frames All Forum stationary shops

Suppliers of art materials Archneers


- Fourways (Near the Monte Casino)

012 342 8432 Her Annie’s

Herbert Evans:

Shop U1 William Nicol Drive Centurion

011 465 8989

012 664 3553

They have a sale every August with 40% off

Jimnettes Lynwoodweg

on all

Atlas paints (statex)

Art Material including canvas and Board

012 804 6737/8

Books to inspire you



Some of the books that inspired me are: - The Artist’s Way - Julia Cameron - The Vein of Gold – Julia Cameron - Drawing on the right side of the Brain Betty Edwards The Art Teacher by Pedro de Lemos The End














Vintage Muse Creative Art Guide by Mea  

Art & Craft Guide to help you on your creative Journey completed by Mea Hancock the Artist who has a Vintage Affair with beauty all around...

Vintage Muse Creative Art Guide by Mea  

Art & Craft Guide to help you on your creative Journey completed by Mea Hancock the Artist who has a Vintage Affair with beauty all around...