It’s weird. I was a musician all the way back to the late 80s. And I’ve found a bit of overlap between common mistakes beginning musicians make and common mistakes beginning watercolor artists make.
For instance, everyone in the late 80s wanted to play guitar. I watched the same pattern every time with beginning guitarists.
There were those who bought cheap, horrible equipment. Then they rationalized why they bought barely playable garbage. “I’ll get better equipment when I get better.”
Well, their guitar and amp were so bad that they never practiced. And of course, if you don’t practice, you never get better.
Meanwhile, those who put every single penny they could into getting the best equipment they could afford stuck with it and actually became decent musicians.
Same thing with watercolors.
Don’t buy the cheapest equipment
“But I’ll get better stuff when I get better.”
No, you’ll more than likely give up and quit because watercolors suck!
Actually, watercolors are awesome. She just purchased the absolute worst crap and she’s getting horrible results with what she purchased.
Now her best friend on the other hand is enjoying watercolors. She loves waking up in the morning and seeing what else she can learn.
Because she doesn’t paint with shit.
She committed to buying the best equipment she can afford and a few lessons. And a year later, she’s actually pretty good and has the works to prove it!
Should have bought a lesson or two
I told this story already in an earlier article but it bears repeating.
I had a bass player try out for a band a long, long time ago. He had top of the line gear. The best. The kind the professionals used.
But, he couldn’t play the bass.
That’s the opposite extreme of the previous mistake.
Now, had he spent a little of that money on lessons, we would have given him a shot. Super cool guy. We definitely would have loved to work with him.
But you can’t hire a guy who can’t play.
Same thing with watercolors. Sure, “self-taught” is all the rage nowadays. Everyone loves to brag about being self-taught. It makes them look oh so cool.
You know what?
I’d rather see results than labels. So would that old lady there with the big checkbook who wants to buy a painting.
I’ll readily admit I’m not the smartest person who ever lived. So rather than tooting my own horn about my awesomeness, I hired an art coach to help me master the fundamentals.
And needless to say, I improved very fast.
Now, how the person learns is just as important as how good of a teacher someone is. The student has to be willing to listen and do the work.
With the emphasis on doing the work. Nobody gets better by osmosis. You have to work hard to get better. And that goes for anything.
Put in the work. But do it the right way. And in a year, you can look back and smile how far you’ve progressed.