Here are some of the things I have learned over the last 34 years of being an artist.
If you want to succeed at being a professional artist you need to study everything you can get your hands on.
You have to have the patience of Job to become a great artist.
It will not happen over night, you have to put in your time and earn the right to be called a fine artist.
To be a good teacher, it takes years of study.
You have to climb the ladder to success one rung at a time, you can’t skip a rung!
You cannot ride on the coattails of a successful artist who is your friend; you have to do it by yourself.
If you are going to try to get into a gallery you will need to build an impressive resume’.
You don’t need a degree to become a fine artist, just some talent, determination and hard work.
You need to be able to take a lot of criticism of your work. There will always be some judging your art and these people are known as “critics”.
One of the first things you need to learn about is your tools of the trade.
You need to learn all about brushes and then you need to learn how to control your brush so you can get the results you want.
12. Now you will want to investigate the oils, which ones are student grades which are paints with less pigment but are much cheaper and the professional grade paints. I personally recommend you start with the pro grade as the results will be much better! Plus, you will not have to use as much paint. You may find that the oil paint has too much oil content, this is no biggie…simply squeeze them out on a newspaper before putting them on your palette. The newspaper will absorb the surplus oil. 13. Now we come to our support, do you want to paint on board, canvas or canvas paper? Each one is really different, and it will be a very personal choice because the results will be different with each one. I would suggest you start out with an inexpensive canvas and then try a board. Painting on paper is ok to practice on but not when you want to save something you created.
14. If you make a mistake painting do not try to cover it with more oil it is much better to scrape it off with a knife and re-do it.
15. If your goal is to paint a photorealistic painting, you will need a good array of small brush sizes. It is virtually impossible to illustrate a photorealistic painting with large brushes. Always use the precise tool for the job you are trying to accomplish.
16. Learn how to use a variety of brush strokes, repetitive strokes are boring and will not keep your viewer’s attention.
16. Put out a good amount of paint on your palette, don’t be stingy.
17. Use a Masterson’s palette that you can put a lid on so your paints won’t dry out.
18. If you just don’t have time to clean your brushes thoroughly simply put them in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer. They won’t dry out and will be ready when you have the time to really clean them.
19. Pick up a good amount of paint on your brush, applying dry, scratchy paint looks like you are afraid to paint, you need to be the master of your paint!
20. Your brush is not a poker, it is a brush, so use it like a brush and apply “strokes” Don’t poke at your canvas!
21. Don’t get so involved in one area of your painting that you neglect the rest; every square inch on the canvas is as important as the other!
22. Never try to paint something you know nothing about, know your subject, know all there is to know about it before you try to capture it on canvas.
23. Don’t paint what you know, but what you “see”, always look at your reference!
24. Don’t listen to your family or admirers. Learn how to paint for yourself and avoid seeking the opinions of others until you have your own opinion and confidence as an artist.
25. Paint what you love, not what someone says you “should” paint.
26. Try to use larger brushes as long as possible.
27. Don’t use too much white paint, it will make your art look like chalk.
28. Don’t scrub the paint on, lay it on and leave it alone.
29. Let some mistakes alone, great paintings are often full of fantastic accidents!
30. Stop trying to paint like someone else. Just paint what you feel, be yourself.
31. Stop thinking so much…get painting. Painting is not an intellectual activity!
32. Don’t worry about the end results, if it is awful you can paint over it, but remember everything you paint is a learning process!