If you want to improve your art skills, attending an art class is a good step to take. However, art is largely about following your own initiative and motivating yourself, so the best thing to do is to practice in between classes. Art classes can be very useful, but ultimately you have to learn how to do it by yourself.
The reason why I’m talking about this is because people assume artists have this innate ability to draw or paint really well. The truth is that it isn’t really the case at all. As is the case with any talent, the only things that are going to get you to a high level of success are practice, practice and more practice! Unless, of course, you’re a prodigy!
There was a recession in England when I was in my early twenties, which resulted in me finding myself out of work. To be honest, I wasn’t 100% keen to find another job. I spent my time socialising with friends and pretending to be looking for a job. I decided to set myself a goal: I set myself a timeframe to learn how to draw portraits of people and vastly improve my painting skills working with a new medium. At this stage I was already quite proficient with pastels and graphite pencils, but I really wanted to excel at watercolours. I
thought if I could master watercolours, then I’d find it easier to tackle oils and acrylics, which at that time just seemed daunting.
To help me improve my skills and reach my goal I bought a few books on drawing people and painting with watercolours. I would practice painting fruits and vegetables at first, then once my confidence grew I moved on to more intricate subject matters. I could easily spend eight hours a day every day of the week completing all the exercises in the books. I managed to achieve my goals and started undertaking commissions from neighbours and work colleagues.
I don’t think anyone reaches their full potential when it comes to painting and drawing. There’s always something you can do better and part of the fun is constantly learning new things along the way. I do believe the more you practice, the better you get, but there’s no upper limit of how good you can be. With each painting, I’m honing my skills, learning new things and learning to become even more efficient for when I start the next painting.