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Painting is Like Cooking

Several cooking ingredients pictured

When inquisitive beginners ask me about painting, I tell them its a bit like cooking. You have equipment like a stove, (your easel), tools like pots and pans, (think brushes and palette), you have ingredients, (your paints), a recipe, (realism, abstract, etc.) and then there is you, (the chef).

All of this holds true with many different mediums and creative outlets. You can also either begin with someone else’s recipe (copy a style) or you can create your own, (shoot for originally).

As with cooking, there’s not just learning how to use the equipment and tools. You have to learn how to make them work for you and to do what you want with the ingredients that you choose. And those ingredients, if taken directly from someone else’s recipe, will not always net the same results. Because as with cooking, you may find your results taste differently even by trying to follow the same path.

In the end, the question is have you found your own personal happiness? Does your dish taste good to you and if not, why? For starters, be visual first. Even before you learn to use everything, try and have visual confidence and understanding of where you would like to go. In learning, you may miss your visual target, but you’ll at least better understand that you have and what you think you need to do to fix it. I think some beginners become experienced painters, but their work never progresses or truly improves. They don’t see the error of their ways.

To become a chef, you need to become a cook first, and there is a big difference between cooks and chefs. Cooks, generally speaking, know the rules of cooking but they lack creativity and especially visual and flavor or taste based originally. Chefs understand ingredients so well, that they can do just that. Be original and masterful in the process.

In the end, everyone’s taste is not the same. But what you make, should taste good to you! The reason for learning the equipment and tools and or rules of theory is to master what you intend to accomplish or say through painting


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