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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How to be More Creative


  • Want to know how to improve your skills?
  • Want to know how to be more creative as an artist?
  • What do you think makes a great painting?
  • Putting zing into your paintings!
  • This blog shows you how to find what’s exceptional and how to emphasis it!
How to create emotion.

A5 watercolour painting: Enchanted Forest.

First of all:

  • Don’t be a `Sunday Artist’ (Someday artist!): You must paint at least 4-6 days a week to improve your skills. The more you paint, the more you get control the constitution of your paints, how you wield your brush and how to handle the quality of your watercolour paper. The timing affecting edges (blurring and sharp edges), that is: how and when to apply your paint, etc.
  • Think and breathe art: Act the artist. Always be observing of your surroundings and environment. Whether you are in the country, in your garden at home, down by the beach or sitting on a bench in a park, etc.
  • Feel the mood of the scenes before you: Like the filtering of light in sunsets and misty scenes, hear the chirp of birds and crickets, etc. This puts you in the mood to paint!
  • Check how light transforms things: Sit quietly and look carefully at how light effects things. Not just where the bright colours are and where the dark shadows are. But look for silhouettes and halos. For example when the sun is setting, look for the aura surrounding the seeds of grass, how the sun shines through bare tree branches and twigs, etc.
  • See how important movement and action are: How the plants and leaves move in the breeze, watch butterflies flutter from flower to flower, etc. Do you see the blurring of wheels, wings, etc? What looks static and what needs blurring in your paintings. Are there any oblique action lines or arabesque flowing lines in your composition?
  • Think about what you see: Don’t just look at things, think about how you would paint it. What colours you would use, which shapes are important, etc.
  • Mind power: Don’t be afraid to use your imagination. Bend the facts of reality if need be. Leave out the unnecessary to build a dramatic design/composition.
  • The end result depends on your personal reaction to what you see and your personal way of applying yourself, your style of working, etc.

It’s not about what other people expect of you:

  • Do what appeals to you personally. If you paint what others expect, your skill sensitivity is reduced and the painting falls flat! It has no power to touch the hearts of people. The reason why this happens is because your heart is not in it! You must have enthusiasm, great passion, for what you are doing. If it fascinates you, it may fascinate others…
  • People have different tastes: You can’t please everyone. Generally those closest to you, are the hardest critics! But if you appeal to people’s senses and emotions, you will have a better chance of success of touching their purse!
  • Consider how to make your painting dynamic. You have to appeal to peoples’ inner passions and desires. If you are doing a commission, know your client’s personal interests, what makes them tick.
  • Be yourself: Not a carbon-copy of what other people do. Stamp your unique style on the art world. Rather blaze a trail for others to follow.
  • Think out of the box: Don’t conform. Look beyond the usual mundane stuff. Transform reality into something spectacular. Your twist on authenticity.

 How to make your painting zing!

  • Drawing instant attraction to your painting: Which of the objects are big? Is it a dominate shape? Is it something that people can tolerate?
  • Emphasize your main point of interest: If you don’t have a dominate shape, what can you emphasize and draw attention to it? When you have a statement worth accentuating, strengthen the tone and colour contrast there. Leave most of the rest of the scene in a blur!
  • Which of those details are important do you think? Then leave out all those unimportant fussy details. Only those things that tell the story and direct the eye to the main point of interest are important.
  • Your colour scheme is crucial: There must be enough warm colours in it to make people feel happy and comfortable. And what is the colour combination? Does the combination have an energy vibe relationship?
  • Emotional impact: What have you in the picture that will make an impact on the soul? What’s emotional about it? Is it subtle beauty or dramatic and bold? The secret here is to have warm and cool colours vibe and interacting with one another no matter the type of your composition.

 Think deeply about what I have said:

Sometimes we say, “Oh, I know all that stuff! I’ve heard it all before!”

But do we really scrutinize what we’ve heard or read? Put more thought into it?

  • As artists we often get in a rut, of doing the same old thing over and over again, and it gets boring, for you and your `audience’!
  • But ’thinking between the lines’ of what we have heard or read, we often come up with new and exciting concepts of thought, that carries you onto another thought pattern, then another, and before you know it you are on a higher plane of artistic activity and bound for greater things! And I love that feeling it gives me and the trip of learning new concepts. In fact I can’t help myself. I actually look for things that most people miss, because it gives me a thrill!

Good luck with your own trip!

Please tell me (leave a comment below) how you learnt how to see and absorb the finer things of life, not only how to paint things, but how you went on to achieve success through being more observant.

Find more painting tips:

Start with “Painting Secrets Revealed” category, also found listed in the sidebar of any page on this website.

THE PLACE to be in the Karoo

THE PLACE to be in the Karoo for artists:

This Karoo resort caters for artists besides the usual holiday and weekend accommodation that’s available. There’s art workshops and spacious studio space for artists to use, with beautiful views of the Touw river and surrounding koppies (hills).

This is the place.

A4 pastel painting: This is the cottage where Susan and Peter Walden stayed in during December 2014.

Here is a report from folks that have been there:

Recently Susan and Peter Walden went there. They love nature and wildlife. Even though they aren’t artists, they sent me this lovely report on the place:

“We spent five nights at this wonderful getaway that has to be the most peaceful and serene place that we have ever visited.

The farm is full of contrasts, from the hardy Karoo vegetation, to the lush greenery that surrounds the dam and the river.

Our time was spent exploring the farm during the day where we managed to spot tortoises, two large owls and a whole variety of inland water birds and other species common to the Karoo.

The studio flat where we stayed is sufficient for two, very clean and tastefully decorated. The breakfasts we ordered were five-star quality and is definitely recommended. Nights were spent around the braai (place outside fire for frying meat, fish, etc) and gazing at the stars from the viewpoint of the hammock.

Another must if you are visiting is to purchase some farm fresh eggs and a selection of organic herbs and leaves for your salad, it will leave your taste buds tingling.

We cannot end this review without including the most important ingredient to our holiday experience, and that would be the warmth and friendliness of our hosts Kevin and Lizelle.”

A5 watercolour: Touw river during December.

A5 watercolour: Touw river during December.

Artistic application:

  • First I did an A5 watercolour of the accommodation Susan and Peter stayed in. Because I wanted to depict the leafiness of the Karoo shrubs, the watercolour turned out looking too fussy and busy. So then, I thought chalk pastels would do it more justice. You can see the pastel, at the top of the page. What do you think?
  • And the A5 watercolour immediately above!  Well that was taken from a photo Susan gave me of the Touw River. I left the white of the paper to give the water a sparkling effect. It also shows how strongly the water is flowing past the rocks.

Check out the page introducing these requests: ‘Location Paintings

Contact information:

To learn more about The Place, go to their website: http://www.the-place.co.za/

And if you wish to make bookings enquiries, contact: 028 551 2068   or  071 080 7333 or email:  lizelle@the-place.co.za

The Place in the Karoo, South Africa.

Here is a Google map of the area in which the THE PLACE nestles  in the Karoo, South Africa.