A Beginner’s Guide to Painting with Maegan Harbridge


As the pandemic began and the world fell into uncertainty, many people chose a hobby as something to know, learn and understand at a time when the world was blanketed in insecurity and uncertainty. ‘instability.

Maegan Harbridge, an Emily Carr University of Art and Design graduate and PhD candidate at York, delves into their journey as painters and explores how beginners can begin their artistic journey.

“I grew up in a small town, so I would have liked to be exposed to more contemporary and modern art at a younger, more formative age. You can learn a lot by looking at other people’s work and finding what you’re drawn to,” says Harbridge.

While Harbridge primarily paints abstract pieces, they explain how an artist’s journey is ever-changing. “Who knows what my art will look like in six months. I’m so inspired and feel like a sponge always soaking things up.

“Painting is an art of living. It takes so long to train. So I think to be an artist, it’s really important to maintain a practice, almost daily in some way,” says Harbridge. “When you do that, it really becomes a lifestyle dedicated to your craft, whether that’s writing or painting.”

With any learning experience and activity, there is also a beneficial angle, whether that is the intention or not. With regard to painting, Harbridge likens it to a “meditative practice”.

“Painting is a place I go to so I can focus and refocus and I think you would find a lot of commonalities with meditation practices and painting practices. You are very involved in the moment and in what you re doing it for me, I get a huge sense of accomplishment from that. It’s refreshing. I feel like painting is an escape where I can refocus.

Although it can be overwhelming to start something new, Harbridge explains the importance of pushing yourself to try something new or unexpected. “I think taking a course that pushes you out of your comfort zone, or out of your preconceptions of what you think is good, is a great way to start.” Harbridge said.

“The general public has a certain preconceived idea of ​​what art is and what is good. I think it’s really important for young artists, for all artists in fact, to always fight against that and challenge those preconceptions.

For beginner painters, Harbridge recommends getting a color wheel and learning about complementary colors, analogous colors, and tertiary colors.

“The more failures you have as an artist, potentially, the more really good work you’re going to create, so the only way to do that is to set up some kind of practice for yourself.”


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