An inspiring, yet unassuming artist and teacher
I’ve recently discovered a TV oil painting teacher who seems very humble, unassuming, and inspiring. I’d like to tell you a little about him.
Not just copying…
For years I’ve watched Bob Ross on TV and later on Netflix. I’ve never really tried to paint to along. One thing I do notice of his approach to teaching though, is that what you learn to do, for the most part, is to reproduce a Bob Ross original, rather than learn what to do to paint what you want. Now don’t get me wrong, I know if you followed along and painted enough of his paintings, you’d learn plenty of techniques that you could eventually apply to your own original work, but kind of like the paint and sip classes I teach, you learn by copying exactly what someone else is doing.
No, “Happy Little” references, or beating the devil out of your brushes…
Recently I discovered another TV painting teacher, who doesn’t teach in the same way. He isn’t in a dark studio painting from memory or imagination, rather he is outside, painting what is in front of him, he also doesn’t just teach you to paint what he paints, rather he teaches you the techniques, the steps to take, in order to paint whatever scene find in front of you when you go out. Also different is that you won’t here him refer to “happy little” trees or clouds, and he doesn’t clean his brushes by “beating the devil out of them” and in the process splashing paint and thinner all over the place. His name is Heiner Hertling, and the show he teaches on is called “Your Brush with Nature”.
Not just entertaining, but really teaching…
Honestly from an entertainment perspective, Bob Ross is funnier, and more entertaining to watch, but I think from a learning perspective I like Heiner better. He teaches how to roughly sketch in your scene with earth-tone oil paints on a canvas he has already covered in an earth-tone acrylic base, how to block in your darkest areas first so you can get good darks before your thinner gets clouded. Then how to block in your major color areas, and mix colors on your canvas as you go. He also doesn’t only teach you techniques, but teaches principals of good composition, methods of creating depth in a painting, etc. His paintings have a painterly, spontaneous, impressionistic look which I love.
Basically, he teaches you how to approach a scene and make the decisions you need to make in order to paint it yourself, rather than just teaching you how to copy a mountain lake sunset.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think Bob Ross’s method would definitely be worth learning, and you’d learn plenty that could apply to your own painting, but Heiner just gets down to business with some serious teaching right off the bat.
No exclusive supplies
For Bob Ross’s method, there are certain supplies he uses that you can only get through the Bob Ross company. Things like liquid white, liquid clear, liquid black… those are things that not just any art store carries. Now I’ve read online that some people have found ways to make substitutions for these things, but usually only after working with the Bob Ross brand first, to figure out what products are similar enough.
Heiner Hertling on the other hand, uses oil paints, mineral spirits, and sometimes linseed oil or turpenoid, all things that you can pick up easily at any art supply store, and some of the things are even available at hardware stores. So all in all, his system requires a little less investment to get started.
Since discovering his show, I’ve watched an entire season on Netflix, so far I haven’t painted by his method, mainly because I haven’t really had the weather or oportunity to gather everything and head outside for some plein air painting. However, I do know that I’ve learned a lot, and plan to rewatch again, taking notes, while I wait for the weather to become more agreeable so I can head out to do some painting myself.
Now, I may have just discovered this show, but its been around a while, I found YouTube clips of it that are 9 years old, still its new to me, and its on Netflix if you’re interested in watching more.
Here are two videos, one shows the intro to the show, and the next shows a brief excerpt from the middle of an episode, if you want to see an entire episode though, you can see it on Netflix, just search for “Your Brush with Nature”.
Embedding isn’t allowed on the second video, so all I can do is link to it… you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/419Psm3P6nM