Want to be an artist, do you?!

How badly do you want to be an artist?

I hear people say,I want to learn how to paint. Please will you teach me!”

  • Before you become an artist, understand what is required of an artist and what their lifestyle is like.
  • And if you’re not an artist, have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an artist?
Want colour?

A5 watercolour: Autumn time.

What must you do to become an artist?

First of all, do you enjoy doodling? What is your imagination like? Do you have a pronounced eye for spectacular colour combinations? Are you fascinated by the beauty and buzz of Nature all around you?

How great is your desire to become an artist? Is your desire strong enough to face disappoint and challenges? For not every painting is a successful masterpiece. We learn a lot from our mistakes!

  • To become a good artist, it doesn’t happen miraculously overnight. It’s like learning to read and write, you have to spend a lot of time practicing different skills and techniques to acquire a talent for it. Are you willing to make time to draw and paint often and on a regular basis?
  • How much do you pay attention to the things around you? Are you aware of the basic shapes of things?
  • Are you able to go with the flow of what’s happening on your watercolour paper? Or do you fuss about perfection and the finest details? And stress out when you make mistakes?
  • Do you think art classes are a social event, with tea and cake, or are you willing to take your lessons and homework seriously? How ambitious are you?

Wanting isn’t enough:

A good artist continues to draw and paint, no matter the opposition. And doesn’t freak out or stress out when accidents or mistakes happen. Art is their whole world!

The best way to learn how to draw and paint, is to act the part of an artist, until you become the part. Continuing against all odds, in the belief you’ll be successful in whatever you are doing! And remembering: nothing happens, unless you are doing something, even if it means changing gear to achieve it.

What type of lifestyle do artists live?

Aaah, now that’s a question! Not all artists behave or paint the same, because of their personalities.

  • Professional artists know they have to paint often, to keep up with expectations and commissions. To them it’s a career and they need a fair amount of time be creative in. So that’s why their homes are usually in a mess! Unless of cause, they have a willing spouse to fill in for them!
  • Generally the way you dress is who and what you are. Some artists wear weird clothes. Others look and behave like any other ‘normal’ 9-5 `Johnny’.
  • I must say, dressing as you like, personally; gives one a feeling of confidence and independence. This is important. It’s a sign of maturity and acceptance of one’s self! Been proud of your uniqueness, leaves behind the feeling of insecurity. With this open attitude, your personal artistic style starts to blossom from strength to strength.

What do the general public think of artists?

  1. Because some artists dress weird people tend to think all artists are weird. (With tongue in cheek) if that is the case, I say to myself… “then, ‘normal’ people have no excuse for their own bizarre behaviour!” He-he!
  2. The other thing, sadly the public generally expect to pay very little for original paintings. Yet pay a lot of money to a plumber! Possibly they think artists live on the smell of an oil rag. If artists are paid so poorly, why do people judge artists’ skill by the abode they live in?! There should be more respect for exceptional talent.

Having read that artists don’t get paid much, do you still want to be an artist?

So why do artists then still continue, in spite of that?

You have to understand the inner spirit of an artist.

  • As an artist, you can’t help yourself. You live and breathe art. Art runs in your blood so much so, that you have to paint no matter what. And if you can’t paint, for whatever reason, you feel controlled by circumstances and somewhat depressed.
  • Everything you look at, you are inclined to assess for possible compositions. Sizing up tones and colour contrasts becomes a game. And forever looking out for special light effects, etc to paint.
  • Been more observant of beauty in every day mundane situations, artists are deeply privileged. Why? Because ‘normal’ people miss so much, their lives are bland and boring!

Further more:

Because of artists’ intense observance, they also notice facial expressions and body language. This leads to acquiring a spiritual awareness of everything, even, the energy of Nature and the atmospheric condition of space. This deep sensitive consciousness is maybe what ‘normal’ people think is weird, because these inspired artists see what others don’t see or quite understand!

  • Having read all that… do you still want to be an artist?
  • And if you are an artist, do you agree with what has been said?
  • Please leave a comment….
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Colour: Famous artists’ best kept secret

Selecting Colour Combinations:

Want to know the best and easy way to select colours for your paintings?

We have often heard it been said:

“Artists tend to use colours according to their mood they are in. And it also shows the personality of the artist!”

Small A5 watercolour: An abstract scene, using bright bold colours.

So what colour combinations do you paint with?

Cheerful colours or gloomy colours? Dull colours or gradated colours?

This blog is all about colour schemes and how to select the best colour combinations for your paintings. How to make them ‘zing’ and come alive.

First gather your paints together:

  1. Then sort and divide the colours into three basic formats: Light, bright, and muted colours
  2. And make a colour chart with three columns. See illustration example below:

First column:

Light fresh colours: Pure white, light yellows, lime green

Second column:

Bright intensity: Clean medium yellows, fresh oranges, reds, blues, purples, magenta.

Third column:

Muted and dusty colours: yellow ocher, raw umber, raw sienna, burnt sienna, burnt umber, Terra Vert green, chrome oxide green, indigo, Neutral Tint, black. This also includes olive, russet and teal (mixtures of the secondary colours*). And natural grays.

  • Orange and violet makes russet.
  • Orange and green makes olive.
  • Green and violet makes teal.
  • Natural grays are a mixture of opposing warm and cool colours.
Best to grade your colours

Colour chart: Colours are divided into three columns, according intensity and quality. This list is only a suggestion, it all depends on what paints you have in stock personally.

Then consider how to use colour combinations:

  1. If you paint all bright fresh clean colours in your painting’s composition, they all `shout’ at once! The brassy effect is very confusing and disconcerting!
  2. But if they are surrounded or accompanied with muted and natural grey colours, they `sing’ beautifully together.
  3. The light fresh colours are for highlights. And highlights glitter with natural grays surrounding them. Contrast of tones makes them sparkle too.

Placing colours to their best advantage:

Arrangement of the elements in your composition is very important too.

Basic shapes and the simplicity of the composition: Each shape or area has a basic underlying colour and tone. And each of these area-shapes sits side by side. Their relationships are either bold or intermingle with the neighbours. The overall combination is important. It should make a dramatic emotional impact on the soul of the prospective buyer.

Best use of colour:

Is, knowing the emotional and dramatic impact and effect of colours on people!

  • A contrast of warm and cool colours.
  • A dynamic contrast of tone at the main point of interest.
  • Reducing fickle unnecessary details and including atmospheric blurred areas to amplify the major shapes and points of interest.
  • Gradating colours in atmospheric areas and in fresh clean seawater.

Try doing this,

And let me know if it helped you simplify the way you choose your colours and put them together. I would like to know.

Have fun. I like messing around with colours, it’s so exciting.

Give Yourself a Break!

What you get, is how much you give of yourself!

If you want better results, you need to give more of yourself. How much time do you set aside to work on your ambitions? How often do you practice honing in on your skills?

Artistic talent is born according to your inner vibes. How you feel about what you are painting. How you react to your environment. What your attitude is. And how you express yourself. And what you do with what you have learnt…

What do you expect from your first art lessons?

Keep in mind your first art classes will seem somewhat vague at first to you. Because there is so much to learn before you can produce a decent painting. The teacher needs to brief you on what to buy and introduce you to art jargon and theory terms, etc.

Give yourself a break

A5 watercolour: Late sunset.

 Art is complex:

There are so many facets to art: The constitution of pigments, how to apply paint, what tools and materials to use for what, how elements in paintings are arranged, how colours relate and mixed, etc, etc.

  • You can’t learn everything in the first lesson. You need to learn precept on precept, from concept to concept, each theory having a different application.
  • Working on very basic exercises at first so you understand what is occurring, how the pigments interact and how to mix and control the paint, before moving onto simple compositions.
  • If you intend to learn how to do huge complex compositions, you’ll get to the point sooner or later in your lessons, that simple compositions have more impact than more complex compositions, no matter what the size of the painting!
  • The important thing here is; if you learn the basics, you’ll have a stronger foundation to stand on, build your talent on. The more you know and experience, the less mistakes you’ll make.

 There are many facets to art.

Professionals will tell you there is always something new and exciting to learn. Your attitude and what you conceive as fact at one time, changes as your knowledge grows and your experience cultivates. When you look back on your past experiences you realize that each exercise had a learning curve. There is always something new to do and investigate. That is why art is so fascinating and full of adventure.

Each theory or skill depends on the medium, style and subject matter employed. It isn’t something you can absorb overnight, because techniques, laws and application skills are diversely integrated. Depending on the peculiarities and intricacies of the medium applied, the support used, whether paper or canvas, the choice of subject matter, your personal style of working, etc has diverse results.

Don’t give up:

Most students give up after just a few lessons because they didn’t know what art really entails, what was expected of them or how to get the best out of their lessons. It is heart breaking for a teacher to see someone give up before they have even begun to enjoy producing fabulous paintings.

  • Skill is something you gain through lots of practice and hard work. Anything worthwhile doesn’t come easy or cheap. Your whole heart has to be in there, to make it successful.
  • You need patience with yourself when your abilities are challenged. Challenges aren’t brick walls. They represent your next step up, another level of achievement, if you only persevere a little longer. And if you are not getting it right at any point, don’t force the issue, relax, reconsider what you may be doing wrong and then try again. Remember you are in a learning curve right there. How you handle each situation, is what makes the difference. You and your attitude are the key to your success.
  • Going to art classes means learning new things, finding new ways of doing things, how to improve your skills. Are you willing to learn new things?

The point is to enjoy painting, no matter what the subject matter is, even if you think it’s an insignificant exercise or not, each and every experience teaches you something.

Give your teacher and yourself a chance,

  • By listening and doing what is required in the lessons. He or she has a purpose or objective to each lesson.
  • Give of yourself. Open up your inner self, so you can express yourself more freely in whatever you are painting. When you relax your brushstrokes flow easier are more artistically.

And when artists THINK they have achieved fame:

Artists, who think they know it all and think they don’t have to learn anything more, stagnate in their isolated groove. They forget new theories, styles and techniques are being introduced all the time out there in the art world. So if you want future sales, you have to produce fresh unique material frequently.

You learn more when you are humble and hungry for knowledge. Therefore there is a need to be committed and enthusiastic enough to do personal research to develop new techniques to advance the chances of your paintings been sold regularly!

Has this blog helped you? Do you want to learn more how art classes are run?

There is more info on art classes. Just clink on the following links:

If you have something important to add what is said here, please feel free to add your it to the comment box below:

How Art Teachers Retain Attendance!

How do art teachers keep their students attending their classes?

What attracts people to certain art teachers?

You may ask: Does the art teacher look prosperous? What is the art teacher’s home and studio like?  Is the art teacher a professional artist? How many attend and who attends those classes?

As it turns out it isn’t how qualified the art teacher is as a professional artist. It’s how vibrant the personality of the art teacher is. How exciting people find their classes, how the teacher presents their lessons, how they treat their students and what they actually provide that sets them apart as fantastic art teachers.

Art teacher

A5 watercolour: Stream flowing down through a valley, with blue flowers growing wild on both sides.

What type of art classes do you provide?

First consider, people have different needs and expectations.

  • Whether they want serious classes or stimulating social art classes.
  • Whether students want to hear the `boring’ stuff about art principles or just go straight into painting?
  • Are they happy to go the extra mile? Take notes and follow through by experimenting with what they have learnt at home too?
  • As a teacher do you observe the personality traits of your students? Considering some students like to steal the limelight! On the other hand, others don’t like drawing attention to themselves or are slow to perform an exercise because they’re scared of making mistakes?
  • Not everyone has the some skills. Some are good at analyzing form and drawing things, and others are better at colour combinations rather than structured form.
  • Some people sum up a situation and follow instruction easily and others need different ways of absorbing knowledge or recognizing things.

So many people desire to attend art classes:

Most say they “want to learn how to draw and paint”. But as it turns out, few have enough enthusiasm to make their desires come to fruition!

Why then, do some people stop attending art classes?

  • Some expect to paint a fantastic painting only after one lesson. Sometimes it’s the need to show their spouses and validate the reason for going to art classes.
  • For others, they don’t feel they are getting their money’s worth.
  • Those taught by a private artist or attend an art group, feel they can terminate fees or their membership at any time because they don’t take art all that seriously.
  • People, who aren’t putting in personal effort, sooner or later get to the point when they aren’t achieving anything and easily give up.
  • Others hit on the idea of taking art classes, perhaps because it’s the in-thing to do. Because they aren’t serious, they tend to while away their time, until something else more important in their estimation comes along.

Why then, do some people keep attending their art courses?

  • You’ll find that those who attend professional art colleges or university, stick it out to the end to receive a diploma, that they can add to their CV. Attending private art classes doesn’t ensure a decent income without a prestige diploma.
  • Have you noticed art teachers with dominant personalities aren’t shy to put out that it’s the in-thing to attend their art group! They keep their followers like mother hens. Their students continue attending their classes because they want to be seen as one of this prominent art group.
  • Bringing in other artists to do demonstrations, specializing in different techniques.
  • Special outings: going on field trips, doing plein-air painting at exciting venues.
  • And because new artists find it hard to get into galleries for the first time, they really appreciate it when their teacher provides a sales outlet for their artworks. Of cause the students need to realize, each painting has to be of high standard to make an impressionable impact on the public.

What makes people enjoy their art classes?

  • They get lots of praise from their teachers. Even for minor efforts, because their teacher knows several little successful steps eventually makes a great artist.
  • Each student likes to know they are important. How do you relate to your students? Do you just hover around and help those who demand your attention? How do those who are struggling feel about it?
  • Have you noticed how positive people put enthusiasm into whatever they do? They put everything into what they are doing. By dressing and acting the part of an artist they start becoming the part!

How can art teachers be more effective?

  • Most people want or need personal guidance often, during class. This means reducing the number of students per sessions. When people work in a close entity they become friends and become united as a group.
  • Sometimes there are problems the students are having and don’t want to discuss it in front of the rest of the class. Ask them to write their problems down and don’t be afraid to add questions. So the teacher can privately analyse them and redirect future lessons. In this way the teacher can reach all the students’ needs.

For extra suggestions:

How do you set out your studio? Is it easy to get around to each person and to follow-up after having given a demon on how things are done?

  • For quick help, have each student set out and label their colours in the same order, so the teacher can select a colour quickly and the student knows what pigment the teacher used in the exercise.
  • Have colour charts hanging on the walls, as reminders of what pigments can use to make up colour mixtures, what are the complimentary colours, etc.
  • Have a file filled with examples of each technique, that you can select from according to each lesson needs and circulate them around the classroom, so each student has something to identify with.
  • Have mobile trolleys on wheels filled with necessary art material and tools. Like hairdressers use, they are easily and quickly wheeled to where they are needed.

Check out this link too, on art classes: 12 BASIC FACTS about ART CLASSES

Please leave a comment below:  Let us know what you think about this topic. There are so many artists out there that would like to hear what you think too.


12 basic facts concerning art classes:

  • This blog is for new aspiring artists, who intent to attend art classes and are hoping their classes will meet their expectations.
  • And also, what is revealed here, may also be of interest to art teachers.
  • Success depends on you and your attitude.
art classes

A5 watercolour: Heavy spring rains strongly flowing over waterfalls

What do the general public think of art?

To start with, people generally think drawing and painting is a pleasant way to while away one’s leisure time, as a hobby or side-line interest, and therefore don’t take it seriously.

Buying art materials for your art classes:

So those who have that mind-set, tend to buy inferior cheap kiddies’ craft paints and brushes.

  • They don’t realize if they want to turn out paintings that look professional, they need to buy proper artists’ materials.
  • Buying art materials doesn’t have to be expensive, if you buy just the basics to start with.
  • Be aware shop assistants are only too willing to sell you every paraphernalia they have on their shelves! You don’t have to buy everything at once.
  • Buy what the teacher asks you to bring to class, because he or she knows what is required to get the best results according to the set syllabus.

What do you expect to pay for your art classes?

  • How much is the plumber or electrician paid? Should the art teacher with many years of experience, be paid any less?
  • The cost of  lessons depends on how often you attend classes during a month and over what period time the course runs.
  • Private lessons where the teacher comes to your home will naturally cost more.
  • Location fieldwork also involves transport and accommodation costs.

Do you expect quick results?

When the teacher starts with a demo, to show how things are done, most people respond with, “Oh that looks so easy to do! Surely, what is there to it? You just wave your brush and Walla a good painting just happens!”

But when their efforts don’t turn out as expected, they think the teacher’s brush must truly be a magic wand!  In truth, the wielding of the teacher’s brush comes with many years of experience.

  • Rome wasn’t built in a day! Just like you learnt to read and write at school, so it is with art.
  • People aren’t born with artistic talent. The old masters started out as babies too. Their talent grew because of their dedication and devotion to their ambitions.
  • Gaining skills is a process, progressing from stage by stage, a little here and a little there, building on what was experienced.
  • Little steps of success breeds encouragement! Surprisingly confidence is gained through small achievements.

You want to know if you’ll be successful?

What you put in is what you get out!

  • Taking art classes is a serious commitment if you want your classes to meet your expectations.
  • It takes personal effort! Putting in extra time. Testing out what you have learnt, soon afterwards at home.
  • Talent doesn’t just happen without personal input. Just like learning how to play the piano, you have to practice often to perfect your deftness.
  • Keep trying, doing your best, sooner or later you will win!

Most people think theory is boring!

It’s their opinion that theory isn’t necessary… they want to rush into painting straight away.  Like buying a new product… “If all else fails, then read the instructions!”

  • I often wonder why some people come to art classes if they don’t want to learn anything new.
  • It’s a well-known fact, that if you don’t know what to do or how to proceed with something, you are inclined to procrastinate until nothing gets done at all!
  • If you know what you are supposed to do before you start anything, your confidence carries you along and your endeavours are more successful.
  • Each art teacher is an artist in their own right. An each artist has their own way of doing things.
  • Often people harp on what their last teacher said or did. So why did they seek out a new teacher? What did they want, that last teacher wasn’t providing? Are they willing to learn something new or not from their new teacher’s experience?
  • When people are set in their ways, they limit their artistic growth.

Improving dexterity:

It’s not all about what you know, but HOW you put it into practice.

  • Been willing to listen and watch your teacher carefully, when they demonstrate how things are done. Even if you have to ask the teacher to repeat what they’ve just done, so you can watch the finer points of the technique.
  • Each lesson is especially prepared, to have an objective purpose, which is ultimately aimed at improving each student’s dexterity.
  • Sad to say, sometimes you’ll get a dominating character who takes over the lesson by doing their own thing in class. It’s so distracting, that the set technique for that lesson isn’t accomplished, and therefore, no one lands up learning anything new!

Keeping notes and doing homework:

I know it is so easy to forget what the teacher has just taught or shown you. And I also know it’s hard to take down notes when everything is moving on so quickly. So don’t be afraid to ask the teacher to slow down a little, so you can take some notes.

  • Learn how to abbreviate your notes so you can absorb more info.
  • You can always refer back to your notes when you are back home and working on your own.
  • Put each exercise you have done in a file and then record how you did it when you get home.
  • Take time out at home to make simple charts that you can refer to later, for revision or to sort out colour schemes, etc for future commissions.
  • Take what you have learnt in class and check it against what you see in real life. Nature has a lot to teach you, so be more observant of your surroundings.

What are your ambitions?

  • Before taking art classes, ask what you can expect from the lessons on offer?
  • Say what medium and style of work you want to do.
  • The teacher needs to know how serious you are and how often you want your lessons.

How deep is your inner drive?

  • Art and inspiration is a spiritual experience. Creativity doesn’t come from a faint heart. It requires devotion, drawing deep from within, how you feel about what you see and do. Your passion puts fire and glory into your work.
  • Art is a way of life. Be prepared to live, think and `breathe’ art to become a successful artist.

The perks of learning to paint:

  • When you are tuned in artistically, looking for differences in hues and tones, etc in your surrounding environment, you’ll begin to see things so very differently, that the whole world seems to come alive with colour.
  • When buying or sewing clothes you start to think of combinations of colour and style. Your whole way of dressing will be different.
  • Art changes your whole outlook on life. Your attitude to life changes because of the beauty you see in mundane, everyday things.

What is the power behind artistic creativity?

What keeps artists painting?  In spite of the many mistakes they may make? There are several reasons. To some it maybe that they desire to be recognized as  famous artists, but more likely:

  • The determination to succeed against all opposition. The thrill of the adventure with each pictures’ different composition challenges.
  • The buzz one gets painting the beauty of the world. Been out, painting in the country and hearing the sounds of Nature, the wind rustling through the trees and grass, birds singing and brooks tinkling over rocks, seeing butterflies flapping from flower to flower,
  • The ecstasy when one mixes beautiful hues of colour and applies it to the canvas. Seeing the different blends and combinations of colour has the power to thrill the soul.
  • There is a thrill of anticipation when first starting on a painting. You so enjoy the `high’ of the challenge while painting it and then when it’s finished you almost feel sad that it is finished. And if it turned out better than you expected, you feel elated that YOU where the one that actually painted it. You did it! It’s your creation.
  • And let’s face it, that the picture you’ve been painting will actually sell. That someone out there actually appreciated what you painted, enough to buy it!

Comments are welcome:

Love to know what do you expect of your art classes?

See introductory page on art classes seminar.