The Biggest (And Easiest) Way to Improve Your Art
Updated: Jan 9, 2022
There are many ways you can improve your artwork. I think all of these can
be divided into two primary categories - the "physical" and the "mental". The
"physical" would be the obvious things like learning to paint people better, or
improving perspective in your cityscapes. The "mental" aspects of
improvement are often harder to pinpoint, and thus more challenging to
work on. But these improvements can be some of the quickest ways to improve your art.
One of these I'd like to bring to your attention is . . . "Mindset".
Here is one definition of mindset - "a mental attitude or disposition that
predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations".
That's quite a mouthful. It could also be defined as "an inclination, or a
habit". Or in one word - your beliefs. Let's unpack this a bit.
In a nutshell, the first definition says that the mindset you have when you
are painting (or thinking about beginning one) determines how or where that
art will go. The way you are thinking about yourself and your art actually
helps or hinders your progress. I really believe that!
For one thing, your Confidence in yourself and your abilities will determine
how well you accomplish what you set out to do with that piece of art (click
on "confidence" to open an article I wrote about that).
Another valuable part of your mindset is your willingness to Grow in your
art. This means being available to take chances and experiment with new
things. Sometimes things won't work out like you wanted or planned when
you try something new, but this flexible segment of your mindset will allow
you to grow. This always brings improvement, but you have to stick with it
until it does.
Here's something else you may have not thought about - you have to be
Tough in your mindset. What does that mean? You have to be willing to do
your own art and not care what other people think or say - paint for yourself
and your artistic vision! How many times have you let someone's comments
(or their not even noticing your work) sway your confidence in your vision
for your work? You will never please everyone, and until you get tough you
won't even please yourself.
At the same time, your mindset should be one of Sharing. Serve others
with your art . . . this is done by being open with it, sharing your ideas with
others and working with other artists. Have you ever noticed that the best
artists are the ones who are very open and sharing with their ideas and
knowledge? That's because it comes back to you . . . we all gain as artists as
we open up and share with each other.
Be aware also that there are two different basic mindsets. Some people have
a "fixed" mindset - they think that all their traits are fixed, beyond their
control to change or improve. Others work with a "growth" mindset. They
see their personal qualities, like intelligence, talents, and personalities as
things that can be improved and developed.
Obviously as artists we belong in the second group - the one with a "growth"
mindset. There is no mountain too tall to conquer if you have the right
mindset - use this first mental skill to improve your attitude and your art!