Nellie Windmill 5:08pm, 26 February 2011
When you’re learning something new, there are always a few things you learn down the track that make you think, “I wish somebody told me that at the beginning”. I’m still very much learning myself, but I have gotten to the stage where I’ve accumulated some of those “nice to know at the beginning” things.

I’d love to hear about everyone else's “nice to know at the beginning things” here! We could make a community resource that will save beginner artists everywhere from maddening frustration and self-doubt! Here’s a list of the things that have rocked my world to date, and I’ll be sure to update you with more epiphanies as they come:

- It’s all about layers — if in doubt, add another layer
- Learn the basics — after I bought a couple of intro to acrylics books, I began enjoying painting so much more because some problems I was having that were threatening my sanity were solved. Such as:
- Acrylic drying too quickly? Add a smidge of clear glaze medium or use a wet palette. A wet palette is a tray with a wet sponge in it. On top of the sponge sits a piece of palette paper. A godsend, this one!
- Getting a streaky look with visible brush marks when you’re aiming for smooth and “brushless”? Use several layers of thin paint with a watercolour brush
- You can make acrylic thinner, thicker, transparent or opaque — there’s no need to buy another tube of paint in a shade you already have because you’re after one of these attributes. Buy heavy bodied acrylics, which you can easily thin, and learn a couple of techniques for making opaque paint transparent and transparent paint opaque. "Acrylic Revolution" by Nancy Reyner is an excellent resource for this and many other things.
- You know how sometimes nothing’s going right and you think to yourself, “if I was actually any good at this, this wouldn’t be so hard”? Artists you admire go through this too! On the same day, I read this blog post and this tweet from accomplished artist, Natasha Newton: "I've just realised during my experimental phases (such as now), I throw away approximately 50% of the work I produce". That was a good, good day. These days, I’m much kinder to myself.

Your turn! :)
I really appreciate your time and effort in posting this, and all the information and encouragement!

Sorry I'm not contributing anything to it other than a thumbs up though :)
papigo63 10 years ago
hallo! i agree with everything you said and i still -after 20 years of 'artistic activity'- go through all that, also because i like to experiment new styles and materials. so many times i regret not having gone to an art scholl in my young days. i would have learned so many technical things that took me months to learn by myself.and ,also, experimenting in school probably doesn't give that 'failure feeling' you get when trying something new alone in your workshop.after all, you go to school to learn, failures are more than expected!
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