Ben’s Ranting – ‘How to’ art books

Hi, and welcome to what is probably a very unexpected episode of Ben’s ranting…

So..this time, it’s about instructional books that teach you how to paint, or instruct you on how to draw/paint landscapes/still life pieces etc.

I don’t know about you, but I find art exciting because it comes in so many different forms. But this is primarily focused on painting. I like painting and looking at paintings because no two pieces are the same. Every painter has his/her own approach to their work, they interpret what they see in their own way, and perhaps more importantly, they bring their own thoughts, feelings, emotions and experiences into their work.

Therefore, these kinds of books irk me. They may as well be called ‘how to make tedious, ubiquitous, apathetic, and predictable paintings ever’.

If every painter followed these instructional books, every painting would be exactly the same; a boring, representational view portraying exactly what the artist see’s in front of them. I just find these kind of kitsch paintings souless.

To me, a camera is about taking a ‘pretty picture’. But paintings are so much more. The artist can incorporate their own imagery, choose their own colours, paint in whatever size brush they choose short, a painter can do whatever the hell they want.

Hundreds of people paint, but nobody else is painting the way I am. I am a unique painter, because I don’t follow these instructional books. I bring whatI see into the painting, and I bring what feel into the painting. Nobody else goes on my walks, listens to the music I’m listening to when I’m out, or experiences what I feel when I’m out. It’s emotions and experiences that bring life to a painting and make it unique. 

A ‘good’ painting isn’t one that depicts a vista or scene exactly, but one that physically explores the medium of paint, and brings the physical aspect of it to life.