4" x 10" watercolor
Lately I've been thinking about what has helped me grow the most as an artist and I've narrowed it down to three simple things.
1. I have always kept a sketchbook. This is by far what has helped me the most. I remember when I first started getting serious about art again how frustrated I was with how ugly my first sketches and paintings were and then feeling amazed when I looked back and saw how much my skills grew simply by drawing a lot. Maintaining your artist's eye is exactly like exercise, if you don't use it you lose it.
2. I have a superhuman power to be able to face rejection and failure over and over again (followed by weeping and cupcake eating) and then pick myself up and try again with a FIERCE resolution to learn from my failures and overcome them.
This is crucial to any artist's success.
You have to believe in yourself and what you can do SO much that it won't matter to you what anyone else thinks about you or your work. Let them reject you from their show or make snide comments about your excessive use of pink but don't let them see it get to you. Learn from the criticism what you can, then smile and return to your easel with your head held high and a renewed determination to try again.
Let your failures turn into a driving force to improve and not be defeated.
3. I always have and ever will absolutely love to paint and create. It's who I am. Without this love, this passion (or obsession some might say) the first two simply don't matter. This is why we are artists.
(I feel like I'm repeating myself because I know I've said something along these lines lots of times before, but I've been thinking about the upcoming portrait class I'm teaching and what I want to tell the students and these three things came to my mind and would not leave. :)
(And yes. . . that's me in the mask)