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With the desire, willingness to learn, and making time to practice, anyone can learn to paint in watercolor!

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Tidbitsof Advice

  Tip#1:  Probably one of the most important pieces of advice anyone could share is "No matter what your goal may be, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF and THINK POSITIVE.

  Tip#2:  Learn to crawl or walk before you run.  Do not expect a masterpiece right away or even every time you sit down to paint.........even after you've learned to "run."

  Tip#3:  Re-discover the child within.  Think about a child when they decide to paint or draw.  They jump right in....no hesitation.  They know no rules but instead are driven by the creative nature we all possess.  When complete, they normally display this huge grin and maybe even a giggle as they proudly present their masterpiece.  Something precious even if not perfect (whatever that might be) because it was made by their hand and came from within.

  Tip#4:  RELAX and ENJOY what you are doing.....even if it's only sloshing paint on to paper.

  Tip#5:  Practice, practice, and do it again.  Oh, and let's not forget another important point - PRACTICE!  It's the repetitive process (as with most things in life we need or wish to learn) that helps us reach our goals.

  Tip#6:  DO NOT BE AFRAID TO MAKE A MISTAKE!  Even more importantly, DO NOT view those mistakes as failures.  Mistakes are not failures but instead extremely valuable lessons.  We learn from our mistakes so have fun and feel proud of making them.  The more mistakes made, the more we learn; and the more we learn, the greater knowledge and experience in ability we will have gained.

  Tip#7:  Learn your basic rules, which in reality are only guidelines; however, do NOT be governed by them.  Art is subjective and one's likes or dislikes are based on one's opinion and sometimes mood at any given moment.  And we all know opinions and moods can change like the winds (well for most people, that is).

  Tip#8:  Set yourself free and allow creativity to guide you rather than rigid rules and guidelines.  Don't be afraid to play and experiment.

  Tip#9:  When critiqued by others, only take in what is relative and important to YOU and file away or discard that information that is not.  Art IS subjective.  Remember that a painting you share is YOUR painting.  When you go changing a painting just to please others based on their own perspectives or preferences, that painting loses a part of you and starts to become their painting.

  Tip#10:  Don't be afraid to copy others' work.....even the great masters copied from one another.  BUT REMEMBER, never try to pass off someone else's work as your own.  You wouldn't appreciate it if someone did that to you.  It is best to obtain written permission but at the very least, give the originating artist the credit due when sharing with others.  ABSOLUTELY DO NOT EVER sell a painting you did by copying.  You could get yourself into some serious trouble.

  Tip#11:  This warrants being mentioned again.....Research and understand Copyright pertaining to artwork by other artists, to include tutorials, workshops, photos, magazine illustrations, calendars, greeting cards, etc. before EVER ATTEMPTING TO SELL or take credit for artwork you have completed.  Your best and safest bet is to work from your own experiences or from photos you personally take.

  Tip#12:  Don't fall into the habit of following tutorials.  Break free and work from photographs; or better yet, go out and paint what you are seeing right before your eyes and personally experiencing.

  Tip#13:  Get to know your subject.  Although it's not necessary to know how to draw, it is my own personal experience that learning to draw does indeed make a difference.  If you feel comfortable with a subject, it will show in the ending results of how you painted it.

  Tip#14:  Take your camera everywhere you go.  There is a painting out there just waiting for you to create.

  Tip#15:  Whether it be drawing or painting, think "essence" when trying to capture your subject on to paper......keep it simple.  Less actually can mean more.

  Tip#16:  Leave something to the viewer's imagination.  Let him/her fill in the missing bits.  Just give enough that tells a story or sets the mood you wish for others to see or experience.  This is achieved by being "suggestive" with detail or even how you put your paint onto paper as in broken lines or lost and found edges.

  Tip#17:  If struggling for simplicity when painting from a photograph........that is, your mind wants to include every little detail you might see but you don't want to include everything, shrink the photo down in size and paint from that.  If small enough, you don't see all the detail which will help free the brain from wanting to include it.

  Tip#18:  If struggling for simplicity while "on location," I've heard squinting one's eyes can help.  Try concentrating on values, form, and overall shapes rather than all the detail.

  Tip#19:  As mentioned in Tip#18, concentrate on shapes, lights, and darks rather than what the subject actually is.

  Tip#20:  Find yourself a painting pal or get involved in a sketch crawl (group of others who get together to sketch or paint).  If no one locally, get involved with an internet group.  Having someone to share this journey can make all the difference in the world.....not to mention added fun.  One of my favorite groups is Cathy Johnson's, Artist's Journal Workshop, on Facebook.  Everyday matters is another great group to join through Facebook.

  Tip#21:  Save your practice pieces and doodles if working on individual sheets.  Do not be too quick to toss in the trash.  Save individual sheets in three-ring binders using acid free clear document protectors.  Even if you place everything in a box, you will at least have your work to sit and look through.

  Tip#22:  Keep an Artist's journal.  One of the greatest pleasures I have personally found is keeping a journal of all my work.  In addition to paintings and/or illustrations, I writes notes that may include materials used (brushes, paint colors, etc.); notes as to why I chose a particular subject; and/or sometimes my feelings on that day, etc.  Some people include motivational and/or scriptural versus.  The journal is yours to do with whatever you wish!!!  Make it fun! 

  Tip#23:  Store digital copies of your work.  Use a scanner or camera to take pictures of everything you do.  A back-up you may wish you had should there be the misfortune of something happening to your original work.  In addition, this also gives you a permanent recording of those paintings you might sell or give away as gifts.

  Tip#24:  Make a back-up of your back-up.  Hard drives are mechanical and destined to fail you at some unexpected time.  Make sure you save all your digital recordings to CD, DVD, or some other reliable source.  I've learned the hard way that you cannot rely on external hard drives.  Just another mechanical device to let you down.

  Tip#25:  ENJOY- HAVE FUN!!!!