Virtual Art Academy

The 1 Critical Reason Your Art Is In A Rut – How To Improve Your Painting Skills

Cat 1286 Lerici Harbor
Lerici Harbor, by Barry John Raybould,

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If your painting is stuck in a rut here are some suggestions for you to get out of it and start seeing your paintings improve.

How To Improve Your Painting Skills

If your painting is stuck in a rut, it is probably because of a lack of one or more key foundational skills. If you want to know how to improve your painting skills, here is how to go about it.

Step 1: Make A Plan

The Apprentice Program Painting Classes Skill Building Blocks

Decide what you want to achieve? Is it just to be a hobby painter? or do you want to really see some major improvements? If the latter then you need to build a set of foundational skills. Make a list of what you think you need to do better. This might include drawing, making things look three-dimensional, better color harmony, more realistic and true to nature, more expressive brushwork, and so on.

Step 2: Identify Skill Building Exercises

Find some assignments that will build the skills you are lacking. It is much more efficient in terms of time to do short exercises than try to do a complete painting. The actual learning of the skill is typically only taking place during a part of doing a full painting. So for most of your painting time you are not building your skills. Set aside time to do these assignments on a regular basis. If you want to improve your painting skills, it is better to do a little more often than a lot less frequently.

Step 3: Evaluate Your Problems

Step back every now and again, look at the work you are doing, and try to evaluate where the problems are. A good way of doing this is to compare your work with master artists who are particularly good at the skill you are practicing. In the Virtual Art Academy, we study various master artists’ work in detail to understand how they achieved mastery in certain areas. Learn from these masters and you will improve your own painting.

Additional Resources

Key Skill Building Blocks: How To Improve Your Painting Skills

Here are the key skill building blocks you need to continually work on to improve your paintings:

The Virtual Art Academy Building Blocks for how to improve your paintings
Virtual Art Academy Skill Building Blocks™

The concept behind the Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice Program is that you need to build up your skills in nine key areas in order to paint well.

We call these nine areas the Virtual Art Academy Building Blocks™.

Many students are frustrated with their progress, and it is nearly always because they are lacking skills in one of these nine building blocks.

The four-year Apprentice Program will cover every one of these nine Building Blocks in a very thorough way. This will ensure you have a solid foundation for how to improve your paintings.

The nine Building Blocks are:

  • Brushwork Building Block
  • Color Building Block
  • Composition Building Block
  • Concept Building Block
  • Drawing Building Block
  • Form Building Block
  • Notan Building Block
  • Observation Building Block
  • Process Building Block

Other tips for how to improve your painting skills

Here are some more tips for how to improve your painting skills:

  • Stay focused on your learning assignments and always keep in mind what you are practicing.
  • When you are painting, just have fun and relax. Don’t think about assignments and theory. That should be a different time from your learning time.
  • If you want to figure out how to improve your painting skills, go for quantity rather than quality.
  • Study the experts. Read books about master artists, and go to museums to see the works up close in person.
  • Look for interesting compositions and play around with more different options.
  • Try switching media. If you are an oil painter, switch to watercolors and vice versa.
  • Evaluate your work more objectively by looking at your painting in a mirror or turn your painting upside down. Look at just a small part of your painting. Look at it from a distance. You will better see what is lacking if you want to learn how to improve your painting skills.
  • Create a series of related paintings on a particular theme or subject. Each time you create another painting you will be improving your painting skills.

Thank You

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Please feel free to share it with friends. If you are interested in a structured approach for learning how to paint, take a look at my online painting classes.

Happy painting!

Barry John Raybould
Virtual Art Academy

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