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Artists need repetition to be successful

Artists need repetition if they’re going to produce good art.

I don’t mean painting the same thing over and over. I also don’t mean painting in circles.

Think of it this way. When you meet a musician, she warms up by practicing her scales over and over again. Her playing becomes more fluid the more she practices.

It’s the same concept with artists. You’ll need to draw constantly, sometimes the same subject dozens of times before they look like they should.

If an artist isn’t willing to do that, she probably won’t ever amount to anything.

I didn’t put anything for sale until…

I didn’t put anything up for sale until I painted 100 paintings. By then, I got pretty good with each brush stroke. I nailed my techniques.

Of course, I’ll always be learning. Learning takes a lifetime. But, I’m already good at my own style of art.

From there, I’ll start expanding my style.

I recently started dabbling in monochromatic painting for instance. But being aware how much artists need repetition, I still practice my bread and butter on a daily basis. My bread and butter is painting Allie and Roxy.

We have constant modeling sessions. I’ve occasionally used other models besides them, but they’re some of my besties and it’s way better to use someone you’re comfortable with, especially if you’re pouring your heart into your work. They know exactly what I’m aiming for, and the posing comes natural.

What does “artists need repetition” mean for you?

What’s your bread and butter? What are your musical scales that you warm up to? I already told you that mine are figure drawing, based off of live models. I draw the first thing every morning right after I make coffee. What about you?

artists need repetition example
I’ll explain my mistakes in this one below

In the above painting, I made two major errors. This one is not for sale, despite the drawing being really good.

I overestimated two things in this painting – how the black would cover and also how her yellow hair would cover. You can plainly see that I did a bad job with her hair. There’s way too much white in there.

Also, this was before I started using gouache. Now, I use black gouache when I want black. I found that my style calls for both watercolor and gouache at the same time. I usually use them approximately 60/40 respectively.

But getting back to the subject, this painting was before my 100th painting. It’s an “undergraduate” mistake. Nailed the drawing. Nailed the expression. I really liked the hand and the wood wand. But that weak black and the spotty yellow killed an otherwise pretty good painting.

So don’t get frustrated

So my friends, don’t get frustrated. Just keep painting. You’re only just beginning until you’ve had 100 paintings.

I know that sounds like a lot. If you’re just starting, you’ll get there. And you’ll be very glad you did. People who’ve been doing this for awhile are laughing to themselves, probably thinking “100 paintings? That’s nothing!”

You’ll see what I mean that once you reach that point, you stop making undergraduate mistakes.

Repetition, my friends. Keep painting!