Tips for new artists: How to Improve Your Art and Live Your Passion!!!

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I am writing this post because I am a completely self-taught artist and I want to share what I have learned thus far.  I started oil painting in 1999 and enjoyed it only very sporadically for 3-4 years.  I then put down my brushes for seven years until I decided to give it a whirl again.  Since the beginning of 2010, I have not stopped painting.  I try to paint at the very least five days a week, for several hours at a time. 

I have spent countless numbers of hours painting and learning through trial and error.  I have also spent an untold amount of time researching oil painting techniques on the internet.  I have also indulged in many oil painting tutorials on the web….most of which are free by-the-way!  I am thrilled to say that I am selling my work and have recently completed two commissions for clients.  I have created my own website as well as this blog.  Everyday I do something else to learn more about painting and different mediums (right now I am experimenting with watercolors and acrylics) as well as expanding my online presence.  I have just begun to enter juried art competitions.  

I am a firm believer that you do not need an expensive bachelors or masters degree in fine art in order to be a successful painter.  I also know that if I had had the luxury of having a mentor help me….I would perhaps be much further along in my career…or at the very least…I would have saved a TON of time!  I cannot underestimate the value of being involved in the ‘art community’ be it with a mentor and/or like-minded artists that have your best interest at heart.

What follows is a list of some things I found….and STILL find….helpful to advancing your art career.  It is simply my stream of consciousness about becoming a successful artist.  If I can be of help to any of you reading my blog, do not hesitate to contact me.  You can reach me on this blog or visit the ‘contact’ page on my website:  www. FairesFineArt.com.

Art & Painting Tips, Suggestions, Motivation, and Truths….

You CAN do this without four years in fine art school!  Take classes and local workshops in your area…or in another city.  Try using different mediums.  Research, research, research.  Take photographs of the world.  Learn to see the world differently.  Pay attention to distance/perspective, shadows, light sources.  Notice the fine details in your environment.  Look at art on the internet/museums/galleries.  Go to gallery openings, open studios, and museum events.  Copy and imitate styles you like.  Take classes online for free…or for small fees.  Read art books.  YOU CAN BE REPRESENTED BY GALLERIES WITHOUT A FINE ART DEGREE!  Art is subjective and there are many different types of art markets.  Fine art is all about creativity and technique.  Creativity is natural in kids but we tend to forget about our God-given gifts as adults….but trust me, it is still inside of you…we just need to dig a little deeper.  Technique is about having the ability to utilize the media; therefore, it is imperative that you understand your medium.  Join an art club or your local art league.  Start your own local and/or online art group for emerging artists or beginners.  Get advice and critiques from established artists.  Do not be afraid to ask for feedback from others, including friends and family.  Look at your art in a mirror and/or take digital photos of your art to see what changes you want to make.  A different perspective can make a world of distance.  I find digital photographs to be the most helpful for me.  Take progression photos as your work(s) advances.  Read instructional art books.  Learn to draw.  A great book is:  “The Natural Way to Draw:  A Working Plan for Art Study” by Kimon Nicolaides.  There are many instructional books that are related to your particular medium.  Search and study WordPress.com art blogs….follow the blogs you like…comment on other’s blogs and artwork….this will aid in establishing your very own personal art community.  ***THE MOST IMPORTANT WAY TO IMPROVE IS TO PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!  Spend large amounts of time perfecting techniques.  Paint the same painting over and over again.  Experiment with different subject matter, techniques, and media.  TIME TIME TIME spent in the studio will absolutely improve your abilities and raise your confidence.  Most people did not become good, great, or famous straight out of the gate….they devoted untold hours to perfecting their craft!  Find motivation in books, online, and magazines.  Keep an art journal.  I bought a black, hard-backed, blank page, journal.  This is where I write down ideas I have for paintings or projects.  I also write down notes or paste printed instructions or images in my journal.   I also cut out any images that inspire me and I paste them in my journal for future reference, inspiration, and motivation. DISCIPLINE-PERSISTENCE-CONSISTENCY….THE TRIAD FOR GUARANTEED SUCCESS!!!  Extend  yourself to others in the art community.  Attend open studios in your area.  Go alone so that you can actually MEET people.  If you go with a friend, more than likely, you will end up only talking to the friend you are with and not work at introducing yourself to others.  Step beyond your comfort levels and boundaries….you just might surprise yourself.  BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!  Utilize color theory charts.  Take classes at the local community college.  Try plein air painting (painting outside while looking at the scene in front of you).  People respond to COLOR-STRONG DESIGNS-SKILLED TECHNIQUES-CREATIVITY AND THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX!!!  These fundamental qualities shine through whether the art is abstract or highly detailed and realistic.  NEVER FINISH LEARNING NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU BECOME!!!  BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!  Say, “I can!” instead of “I can’t.”  PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE…..hours, days, weeks, & years of practice….your work will only get better and your confidence will sore!  PASSION to devote the time and the energy.  Sketch anything and everything.  Draw what is in front of you.  IGNORE the pretentious people.  Art comes from the heart.  Draw and paint what you like.  The difference between a talented beginner and an untalented one is that the talented beginner WANTS to do it!  Art is about learning how to interpret and SEE the world differently.  Learn to pay attention to what you see.  Now…..shut off your computer and go paint……JUST PAINT….or draw….or sculpt….JUST DO IT!!!                                                                             

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