There’s a guy I follow on Twitter named Dennis. He’s an older gentleman. And he’s always doing something difficult for even a young gentleman. Something physical, but very difficult, even if he were young.
To me, that’s inspirational. And it totally applies to art.
Do hard things. Constantly.
You want to be improving. Here’s a work in progress of Allie posing under a waterfall. In real life, this was the latest live model sketch we did over the weekend with an old sketch of her. I’m constantly using both new sketches and recycling the old ones. I recycle the old ones since I’ve improved immensely since then. I want to give those poses proper credit.
As for the waterfall, that was kind of a fantasy waterfall based on some waterfall pictures I sliced together from Pinterest. No, this waterfall doesn’t exist, because it’s several spliced together.
I have no idea if it will turn out good or not. We’ll know in a few weeks.
Constant improvement mindset
I take artistic mindset very seriously. I strongly believe that the difference between artists who make it and artists who don’t comes down to mindset. Quitters never win.
But not quitting is not enough. You got to constantly push yourself. You can’t ever plateau and say to yourself “this is fine.”
Imagine Leonardo da Vinci or Pablo Picasso doing that. Yes, exactly. They never did.
You need to be improving. Constantly.
And sometimes, you really have to push yourself.
Recently, I learned how to make watercolor postcards. I wanted to do something special for my Grandma who’s turning 102 next year.
So I decided to use my artistic skills. Make something really personal. Something that other people can’t give her. Show her how special she is to me.
Grandma was a huge influence on me. She traveled the world. She wanted things done her way. That’s two things that rubbed off on me big time.
She was also a piano teacher in her past. I blew it when I didn’t take my piano lessons seriously. Now I have to do a lot of catch-up because I was totally into sports and totally not into my piano lessons as a kid.
Of course, not at all slamming sports. I’m glad I did them. But I really wish I practiced the piano too.
Where to start?
“So where do I start?”
Here’s the beauty to it. What’s hard for you may not be hard for me. And vice versa. I can guarantee that I’m better than you at five things. I can guarantee that you’re better than me at five things.
Nobody is the same. So this is on you.
What is hard for you? But don’t just do it because it’s hard. (Unless that’s how your brain is wired. In that case, do it!)
Do it because that’s what you need to improve.
I’m constantly trying to get better and better at water. I’m a water person. If you look at all my paintings, you’ll see that water is a big part of a lot of them.
Mermaids. Naiads. Selkies. What do they have in common? Water.
So what is your water? You tell me. Actually, tell me. Leave a comment below. What is your water? What’s a huge part of your art that you need to improve?
Tell yourself you’re gonna do it. And do it. Even if it’s hard. Heck, especially if it’s hard!