You are looking at photos of things you'd like to paint or just thinking about a painting you'd love to create, but you are worried about being able to pull it off.  Saying to yourself,  "I just don't think I can do it",  you set it aside for another time.  Have you ever done that?  Do you ever go back and try it?  Or do you just sigh, knowing you don't have the courage.

     In order to learn new things and get better in your painting, and yes, even build confidence in yourself and your ability as an artist, you MUST try to do that painting!  It may not come out perfect, but just try it.  You may surprise yourself!  I know this from experience.  I have actually sat looking at some photos I took, knowing I wanted to paint that scene.  I really wanted to do it, but didn't think I had the ability.  Having read over and over from instructors how important it is to PUSH yourself BEYOND what you think you can do,  I finally bit the bullet and tried it.  I took it slow and stepped back A LOT to look at my progress as I went along, and Lo and behold, I succeeded!  Now that sent my confidence soaring!

     Since then, I may hesitate, but I have not allowed myself to walk away from a project just because I was scared to try it.  The fact is we never improve if we stay in our comfort zone.  We HAVE to push ourselves to try newer and harder things in order to become a better artist.  Try new subjects, colors, mediums,  or styles of painting, any of which expand your learning and improve your skill. Even if something is just LITTLE more difficult than the previous, it helps us to grow.

     Also, painting even for a few minutes, daily will improve your skill level rapidly!  One day a week is all some can do, but if you can spend 30 minutes daily you will see a tremendous difference very soon. Keep your corner, area of a room, whole room, whatever you have set up and ready to go at any time.  I have a Masterson Stay-wet sealable palette that I keep paint in all the time.  I have until recently used the sponge and palette paper in it.  But I finally got tired of keeping the sponge and paper wet.  I now have a piece of glass in it.  I do use paper towels folded and kept wet for the "piles" of paint and I spray the paint often to keep it wet.  I like the glass better instead of changing out the sponge and paper as they rot from constant use, it gets expensive.  If you do this, paint the bottom of the palette grey under the glass.  It makes mixing and comparing colors much easier and more accurate than white. If the paints dry on the glass, I just scrape it with a glass scraper. This is what most oil painters do.  I have a desk by my easel. On it I keep my water bin, my palette, my brushes, gesso, spray bottle, paper towels and sometimes tubes of paint if it is a large canvas.  The desk has two drawers for paint and supplies.  Everything is within reach while I work.  I have overhead lights plus two "daylight" lamps that have bendable necks so I can aim them where I want.  I have a rolling chair that is high and I plan on getting a clamp with a long arm that will hold any photo or drawing I am using for the painting. ( I have been lazy about getting one)  My easel is huge and not really portable.  I can move it around some, but certainly cannot take it out of the room without taking it apart.  I also have smaller ones that I used previously, and won't part with.  You never know when they will come in handy.  I must have 8 easels, some table, some floor.  I use them all from time to time, usually when teaching and displaying art.  These are not all necessary to become an artist, but trust me, the more you paint, the more you accumulate supplies. Don't get rid of things just because you got something new, unless of course, it is ruined or you just don't have room.  You never know when it may come in handy.

     FYI, an artist I know recommends an aluminum easel called Stanrite #500.  It is lightweight and highly portable, yet is very sturdy and will hold a large canvas. They run around $120.00 which is a reasonable price.  If I had known about these before I bought mine, I'd have one.  If I ever buy another one it will be one of these.  We do travel and I like to take supplies with me.  This would be nice to take along.  I have a rolling storage bag that holds my paints and supplies.  My friend uses a suitcase with wheels; whatever works for you.

     So, think about what I've said and get your feet wet!  Don't shy away from a challenge, jump in with both feet by pulling out that project you've put away till you're a better artist (we all have them) and get busy.  Even if you take it slow, that's ok.  And, if you make a mistake, just paint over it (the mistake) and try again. You'll be glad you did!  And don't forget to whoop with joy when you finish!  I did!!

     Below is one of the paintings I was scared to try.  But I worked up the courage to tackle it.  It took me a month and I wore out three sable brushes doing the hair on his coat, but you won't believe how proud I was when he was finally done! This was the hardest painting I had ever tried, and a gentleman bought it as a gift for his wife.  He said he wanted to get her something "special".  Yep, I whooped for joy.. after he left of course.  LOL!

16 x 20
Acrylic on canvas


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