7 Mistakes Artists Make

Seven Mistakes Artists Make: The Artist As the  Student
We all make mistakes.. And here is a list of the TOP Seven I have come across…as a student myself, and during 35 years of teaching others to draw and paint.  See if you recognize yourself; and if you do … ARE YOU WILLING TO CHANGE ?
1.  The Someday Syndrome Or better known as the I DON”T HAVE TIME…. This is a fatal mistake… because you never even commit to trying to find the time or make any effort to get started. You just give a long sigh whenever you see a beautiful piece of art or a wonderful student exhibit and think “I could do that … if only I had the time.“ or Someday … you tell your friends…I am going to take some Art Lessons… I was pretty good when I was young.  WHAT YOU REALLY ARE SAYING IS …IT HASN’T BECOME A NEED IN YOUR LIFE YET. THE PLEASURE OF LEARNING  TO  DRAW OR PAINT IS NOT IMPORTANT TO YOU .
2.I CAN”T AFFORD IT… Lessons and art supplies cost too much.
Look around the room or in your closet.. How many items can you spot you haven’t worn or used in the last 6 months.. What did they cost? Do they have any LASTING VALUE? Could you re-sell them for more than you paid?
You have to re-train yourself to realize you are investing in a lifetime of fun and
fellowship…and many times if you get pretty good.. you can sell your ARTWORK to others…and redeem the cost many times over. But in case you aren’t convinced…ask yourself what you have already available to you… a pencil?  Computer paper? Maybe a set of children’s washable markers or watercolors you bought for the grandchildren? How much does it cost to check out ArtBooks at the library? ANYTHING WORTH DOING IS TIME ANd MONEY WELL SPENT… What you really are saying is …it is not worth it to me to learn how to paint or draw.
3. Showing up for art class… but not preparing for it.. Or  WHY AM I HERE?….You show up for class time just hoping you’ll get an idea or inspiration after you get there and because you don’t have a goal in mind… you bring everything you own in the way of art supplies… but no reference material… photos or thumbnail sketches…and you spend you whole time trying to come up with a plan of action…GO BACK AND REMEMBER ..WHY YOU SIGNED UP…MADE THE TIME… AND PAID FOR THE CLASS…Don’t depend on your teacher for your inspiration… She or He is there to teach you
4. I DIDN’T LEARN A THING… You take 2 or 3 day workshop with a new teacher or medium… and then spend your whole time painting like you always do…instead of trying the methods being taught.  I watch this over and over.. WHY WOULD YOU SPEND THE MONEY AND TIME IF YOU AREN”T WILLING TO MESS UP? We learn by making mistakes and correcting them…We stagnate if we just do the same thing over and over and aren’t willing to learn anything new.
5.Wanting to come home from class with a completed …framed painting after a few lessons…DID you sign up for a HOW TO PAINT LIKE REMBRANDT IN THREE EASY LESSONS… or did you plan to be willing to learn the process of  drawing and painting? There is a big difference… Think about it. [To learn more about Rembrandt and his journey .. Check out a library book on his life.]
6. LETTING YOUR TEACHER PAINT ON YOUR PAINTING OR FINISH IT UP FOR YOU…DON’T DO IT. ….Just remember to ask questions… say: can you explain that?  Speak up!  IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS.. The result of not asking or letting your teacher work on your art IS THAT YOU WILL  ONLY BE ABLE TO PAINT WHILE YOU ARE WITH YOUR TEACHER AND never ON YOUR OWN… If you don’t learn the process … work on the individual skills… and do it yourself…
you may never realize the benefits of creating your own art …from your own ideas and  from your own inspiration… and THAT.…MY FRIEND…  is the difference in a picture and a PAINTING.    ’NOUGH SAID.
7. NOT DOING YOUR HOMEWORK… O.K… You didn’t let your kids get away with this.. And neither should you. If you are really serious about learning to paint ..or draw.. You absolutely have to practice what you learned in class  after you get home….You may discover that there were several KEY points that your teacher made that you did not understand.. or hear. If that is the case… write down a list of your questions so that you can bring them up to the Instructor during the next class time.
If you understood most of it… paint it again…and again… again.  They say it takes hearing or doing anything around 16 times before your brain automatically
“gets” it. You may be a quick study… but practicing any skill is time well spent.
If you don’t have time to physically practice….write what you can remember in a journal for future reference. AND YES.. I am going to say it…”PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT”…..Just remember three words… Plan… Practice… and  Process. The results? YOU ARE A  DEDICATED PAINTER….
I HOPE YOU WILL TAKE THE TIME TO REALLY CONSIDER THESE  7 COMMON MISTAKES AND UTILIZE THEM AS A CHECK LIST OF THINGS YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE GUILTY OF…We all make mistakes.. But We don’t have to repeat them …Enjoy Your Art… and Enjoy living the Artistic life.


  1. Here are 7 mistakes that I have seen amateur artists make:

    1. Not using the basics: drawing, color theory, Not learning how to draw.
    2. Not taking classes or workshops
    3. Worrying to much about mistakes. We all make mistakes, so learn to correct them and move on.
    4. Thinking your art has to be perfect
    5. Working in isolation. Learn from other artists
    6. Not spending money on art, You can

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