We all make mistakes, especially when we’re still in the early stages of developing our skills. It’s really useful to be aware of some of the common errors other people make, as it will help us overcome them or avoid them all together.
With painting, there tends to be a combination of practical and mindset mistakes – here are seven of the most typical:
1. Forgetting that it’s a constant learning process
We are always developing our skills and it’s not as simple as taking one course or reading one book. There are lots of ways you can work on your painting skills whether it’s through specific classes, YouTube tutorials or blog posts.
Even experienced painters continue to work on their skills.
2. Comparing yourself to other painters
The only person you should compare yourself to is you. You have your own individual style and method which might be adapted thanks to other artists of tutorials. However, falling into the comparison trap can lead you to create paintings that are more about imitation than originality.
When you look at a finished piece of art, you only see the final end product that the experienced artist wants you to see. You don’t see the journey they took – the frustrations, mistakes and learning process. It’s an unfair comparison.
Other artists should serve as inspiration. The aim is not to copy but to learn and develop your own personal process and style.
3. Getting rid of pieces that you think aren’t good enough
There are times when you will feel disappointed and frustrated with what you have created. But if you get rid of it or hide it away, you won’t be able to look back and track your progress. We often take some of our skills for granted but looking back and seeing how far we’ve come can be the motivation we need when we’re doubting ourselves.
Use it as an opportunity to see how you have developed your skills and style. You might also find themes in your work, or an old painting might inspire a new creation.
The other benefit of not hiding away work you’re not happy with is that you can get constructive criticism (and praise!) from other people. Plus, you never know when someone will point out something that you’ve completely missed or never even considered. Both criticism and praise will help you develop your painting skills and you’ll make faster progress.
4. Painters Aiming For Perfectionism
The problem with perfectionism is that when it comes to art, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever be satisfied. Exactly how do you define perfect in a piece of art? What you might think are the final strokes to create the perfect painting might go unnoticed by everyone else.
Plus, you’ll miss out on the enjoyment of the process. By putting yourself under pressure and unrealistic expectations, you take the joy out of painting.
5. Rushing to get to the detail
This is a practical mistake that many new painters make. Avoid rushing in and focusing on the little details until you’ve got the correct form shadows.
If you don’t get the foundations right, you’ll struggle to get the details right no matter what else you do – they just won’t look right. Take time in the early stages to make color and tonal decisions. At this point, it will be much easier to re-arrange different elements.
6. Painting exactly what you see
Your aim is not to create an exact copy of what is in front of you. You are creating an interpretation and capturing the essence of the setting. Select elements of a scene that you think are most important and feel free to leave out unnecessary elements. You can also change the position of something in the setting or the color or even take elements from different scenes and bring them together.