A few months I signed up for @tenhundred’s course on learnmonthly.com. In the 1-month course, he walks you through his approach to making art.

I had just started getting into painting, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to learn how to think about things, and dive in deeper. I also love the idea of Monthly, because their strategy for creating courses is to find influential/great YouTubers and give them a platform to teach their craft. They also structure everything to occur over the course of a month — which gives you a structured environment to participate in the course with your coursemates and learn together as a community.

Learning new skills from passionate people with practical experience has always been a great experience for me whether it’s in-person or online in a recorded video. It’s how I started programming — I learned the basics from Jesse, and then I spent like 10x my time with him watching RailsCasts and PeepCode videos in an attempt to internalize the knowledge. Learning from people with real experience (vs. reference material/documentation) puts me into a different sort of “beginners mind” mode — where I’m more comfortable diving in and making mistakes. This helps me learn deeper and faster via experimenting instead of trying to memorize rules or concepts and apply them sometime later.

I was super excited to sign up! The idea of learning how to paint from scratch from my favorite artist was too much to pass up. Unfortunately, right as the course got released I got tied up with a super busy work schedule which sapped all of my free/learning time during the month of the course.

I ended up getting super busy during the actual month the course was running, so I didn’t get an opportunity to participate much with my Monthly cohort group at all, but I watched all of the course content and got sucked in during the end of November during the Thanksgiving long weekend. It was great! It really taught me how to think about approaching the creation of a painting. It can be pretty daunting without someone showing you the ropes. I learned everything from brainstorming a concept, prepping a wood panel, transferring sketches to the panel, spatial characteristics of a canvas (back to front is way easier), mixing colors, making use of a mixing medium, and all of the final details that go into prepping a final product that looks professional.

I didn’t really follow the course’s focus on character/story-driven art, but instead, I applied the tenhun process to a simple doodle/color texture/pattern study. It turned out kind of weird, but I’m pretty proud of finishing my first acrylic painting on an 11×14″ wood panel (that I gesso’d and sanded myself)! Below are some of the photos I took from start to finish.

This evening I painted a concrete coaster. It turned outer super weird, but I was mostly exploring colors, and playing around with the tenhun style.

It could be the beginning of a see no evil, speak no evil, see no evil coaster set. But probably not, because it was kind of hard to paint on such a small surface.

I think I either need to start painting on larger surfaces, or get a really tiny brush that allows me to work on small lines. I had a bunch of trouble with the small details and lines on the face.