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Creativity doesn’t come easy. . . it takes hard work and patience to make good work great. Luckily, with time comes experience and lately I think I have discovered a few things that have helped me improve as a painter.

I paint mostly in acrylic, because of its fast drying time, and have been painting every day for almost a year. As I look back upon some of my earlier work, I can see the progress I’ve made—so today I’d like to share with you some of the advice I’ve gleaned from the internet, other artists, and various resources.

Hopefully these first 9 tips will be helpful to any artist out there who is looking for encouragement and ways to improve:

1. Constantly research art – Search the internet, check out other artist sites, read blogs and look at art, art, art.

2. Do your homework – Study paintings, notice the details, define what it is that appeals to you.

3. Get critiqued – There’s always room for improvement, and other artists may be able to see things you’re missing. Put your feelings aside and learn from them.

4. Study the golden mean – Sometimes the best compositions are also the simplest. Make sure every composition has a good foundation.

5. Make a rough draft – Take the time to do a value study before starting a painting.

6. Put aside time for your art – Set aside an hour or two every day (or at least a few times a week) to paint.

7. Get competitive – Join art challenges as often as possible. Here are a few that I have found helpful (and fun):

www.windowstothewords.blogspot.com/

www.rookiepainter.blogspot.com/

www.paintanddrawtogether.blogspot.com/

www.virtualpaintout.blogspot.com/

www.inspirationallaroundus.blogspot.com/

www.studioatelier.blogspot.com/

8. Make an investment – Purchase the highest quality materials and paints that you can and take care of them!

9. Never give up – Practice makes perfect!

(These next 5 tips are a little more specific, and may just be personal preference, but in the hopes that they’ll help you too, I’m including them as well.)

10. Get an atomizer spray bottle – I like to finely mist my acrylic paints while painting in order to prevent them from drying out.

11. Use a piece of glass for a palette – The one I use is approx 11×14. Glass is very durable, and often cheaper than a store-bought palette.

12. Always keep your brushes wet – I use two jars of water. The first is a quart jar with a plastic dish in the bottom for gently cleaning brushes. The second one is just for resting my brushes in while painting.

Important! Only put approx 1-1.5 inches of water in the 2nd jar so the silver part of the brush will be above the water level. This keeps the brush bristles from becoming loose and wobbly.

13. Store your paints with a wet sponge – I always place a small wet sponge in my Mastersons wet palette box. I place my glass palette inside and seal. This prevents the paint from drying out for several days.

14. Keep a razor blade handy – I use it as a paint scraper to scrape my palette clean. After a quick swipe with a wet paper towel, it’s good as new.

And really, whether you use these tips or not, the most important thing is to always remember to keep learning! If you do, you’re sure to improve.

To learn more about Angela, please visit AngelasAcrylics.blogspot.com.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

A few weeks ago, I sold my first painting. Upon arrival, its new owner wrote back to me exclaiming her love for it. Yes, LOVED, in bold print.

This positive feedback was mostly to do with the quality of the painting but also because of the extra effort I put into shipping it. I made sure to ship it to her promptly, and included a handwritten note of thanks.

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