One of the best ways you can improve your skills and unleash creativity as an artist is to form a painting habit. Just like any ol’ habit, once it’s ingrained in your life you won't need to work at it so hard.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
Set a Schedule
Set aside a specific time each day, or week, to paint. Your life circumstances may not afford you the privilege of painting every single day but if you’ve got at least one “paint date” locked in each week, you’re already ahead of the game.
Make your artist dates a priority on your calendar and honor them like a real appointment as much as possible.
Don't feel like you have to create a masterpiece every time you paint. Start with small, simple projects to build your confidence and get into the habit of painting.
These sessions are about discovery, not completing a finished artwork. Dare yourself to paint “badly.” Take the pressure off and you’ll look forward to them a whole lot more.
Create a Dedicated Space
Set up a dedicated painting space in your home or studio. Not everyone has a spare room to turn into an art studio and that’s okay, it’s not necessary. All you need is a well-lit, comfortable zone that’s free from distractions. In the warmer months, this could even be outside.
If you share space with others you could coordinate with them to do your artistic dates when they’re going to be out of the house.
Experiment with Different Materials
Try experimenting with different types of paint, brushes, and surfaces. This will help you discover what you love and help to develop your own unique style.
Trying out new materials or techniques can also spark fresh ideas and give you a renewed perspective on your work. Even if you don’t like a particular medium, just do it as an exercise and see whether anything interesting comes up for you.
Look for inspiration in the world around you. Pay close attention to the people, objects, and environments that you encounter in your everyday life. As well as interesting shapes, colors, textures, and patterns that might inspire your art.
Take walks, visit art galleries, and browse online to discover new ideas and techniques. Even sitting in a cafe, or riding a bus, can spark inspiration!
Join a Community
Join a local art group or online community to connect with other artists and gain support and feedback.
Collaborating with other artists can also be a great way to generate new ideas and shake up your creative boundaries. You don’t even need to work in the same artistic field. For example, artist Kara Walker collaborated with famed musician Jason Moran for a musical art installation.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes or try new things! Every painting is a learning experience, so embrace the process and enjoy the journey.
Artists aren’t expected to be pros in every art medium. Dare to bomb out. Have a laugh, and then take something from the experience and create something else. Taking a break can also help to recharge your artistic fire if you’re ever feeling flat. Take a breather and resort back to point number 5 above.
Starting a painting habit takes time and dedication but it gets easier the longer you commit. Current research states that it takes around 66 days to form a habit (so, two months). Be patient, be persistent, and don’t drop that ball! When scheduling issues arise, even 30 minutes well spent is better than doing nothing.
Most of all, enjoy the process of creating. Remember why you wanted to be an artist in the first place and hold onto that dream.