So You Want to be a Better Painter? Make More Paintings

There are so many resources available to artists in these days of data and information consumption. Ads can be seen everywhere promising that we can be better painters or sell more paintings or be masters of color just by signing up for this or that seminar, or newsletter, or whatever the ad du jour happens to be.

So do you want to be a better painter? MAKE MORE PAINTINGS! You will not become a better painter by reading a book, taking a 2-hour seminar, watching a video, or painting an hour a month. Those activities may eventually contribute to your skill level, but the ONLY WAY to become a better painter is to make more paintings. You have to paint thousands of paintings. Not one or two a year. How about a hundred paintings a year? How about two hundred? Painting all of these pieces allows you to develop your voice as a painter. It took me many years to develop my voice.

Being a good painter does not happen quickly. I have been painting for nearly 25 years and I am still learning, growing and improving my skills. I have painted thousands of paintings and I will paint thousands more. I spend time with paint. Workshop students ask me "How can I be a better painter?" My advice to them is two-fold: 1. Learn the basics: the fundamentals of design, composition and color; 2. Make more paintings. You cannot ever be a good painter if you don't learn the basics. That is the foundation for everything you do. Beyond learning the basics you have to put the basics into practice by painting. Paint, fail, learn. Paint, fail, learn. Don't be afraid of failure for it is a valuable part of the process. Embrace failure as a potential outcome of experimentation.

Workshop students also ask "Why do your colors look so amazing and mine are dull and muddy?" My response is that I have spent a quarter of century, thousands of hours of work, and made thousands of paintings experimenting with color. It isn't that I am more talented, or have more skills. It is simply that I have spent more time with paint. Again, you don't learn color from books. You learn color from mixing it in the studio. Get familiar with the basics of the color wheel, because the science behind it works and somebody already figured it out for you. Now you have to apply the basic knowledge in practice. Mix every color you have with every other color and see what happens. Make color charts of the results. Then mix more colors and make more color charts. Mix these three together and see what happens; then these three; then these. Record the results so you can refer to them at a later date.

There is no fast way to build an art career and be a better painter. Like everything else that matters, it takes lots of time and work. The good news is that if someone like me can do it, anyone can! Now stop reading and get into the studio!

If you want to learn to be a better painter, you can paint with me here or join one of my online courses.