How to make astonishing improvements in your art
Making leaps is hard. I thought I was doing great because I took all the proper steps to become a practicing artist. I took the first step to start creating art. Starting is always the hardest part, so great job to me. Then, I got the courage to share my art with the world. I feel my skin getting thicker and that feels great, too. I am disciplined and consistent in practicing my craft. I draw and paint almost daily, even if it was just for 20 mins sometimes. I have to say that this part is pretty impressive too. A large part of me really thought that by taking all these steps, I will be able to improve my art slowly but consistently, and leaps will surely follow. One day in the near future, I will become a great artist, maybe even sell my work for money (Haha!). Then, reality hit me. It isn't that simple. Even with all the hard work, improvements don't just follow, not to mention leaps.
I spent a lot of time experimenting and searching for the right combinations to create my art pieces. I can definitely see improvements in my art (I am sure you can too if you follow my journey). However, I haven't really felt like I "got it" - not yet anyways. I get frustrated a lot, but I understand being frustrated is part of the process, and it is something I should actually appreciate. So I continued with my "pin ball" journey of trying and spinning and repeat.
Sometimes, unexpected encounters make long lasting impact on our lives. Recently, My husband and I had the random urge to check out our local library because we were ordering so many books from Amazon that our little apartment is starting to fill with books. While there, I discovered many great art books written about the very things that I wanted to learn, and things that I didn't even know I needed to improve on. This sounds so obvious, but honestly I really didn't think it would be such a fruitful library visit! I checked out a few books on watercolor and digital painting. As I slowly read through the books, I discovered methods and techniques other professional artists use. Things that would never even occur to me if I didn't stumble upon these books. The danger of not knowing what you don't know is real. I incorporated some of the techniques immediately into my own. I think reading these books made me leap into a new level!
I didn't realize that reading books can improvement my art so significantly. I always thought we only get better by doing/practicing, which is something that everyone says. I now believe that we get better by reading/learning first, and then by doing. The two goes hand in hand. Sometimes practicing in isolation only reinforces bad habits. we bang our heads against a problem and hoping the problem solves itself by our persistence. It couldn't be more far from the truth. Sometimes, that just creates headaches.
Thinking back on a time when I learned the most and improved the fastest. That was in school where we were instructed to read textbooks, go to classes to hear what the professors have to say, and then do homework to practice. This was how I learned the fastest and best. I am not in school anymore - for a long time in fact. These learning methods feel like distant memories that have nothing to do with what I am doing now, but I am reminded that this is not true at all through my accidental library experience. We have to remind ourselves that we need to remain in the mindset of being a student for the rest of our lives. Even if you are an expert in your field already, this still rings true because we should always be learning and improving. Read books on the subjects that we want to improve on, discuss with like-minded people, and then lastly, put in the hours to practice. Leaps and improvements don't happen in isolation.
I am excited that I understood this principle recently, and I wanted to share it with you because it really made a difference in my art pursuit. I hope you can experience this yourself.
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