tips for artists

I have had truckloads of tips for artists  since I started painting, a lot of it has been valuable and some downright harmful. In other words I have had a normal education. I have forgotten the bad and absorbed the good. Some points really hit the spot and are truly memorable. Maybe I heard them at the right time or respected the tutor who said them, it was probably both, but whatever it was they had an impact that has given me real impetus. I have a list of my tips for artists in my studio, here are some, I hope they help you too …

Alan Brain Art Galleries Surrey. The artist's own Studio - Gallery near Woking

Alan Brain Art Gallery Studio Surrey nearWoking

My mentor and friend Topher Schink said 

"Don't bother with Does it Look Right, just ask yourself Does it FEEL right?" 

This artists tip has helped me so much. As his advice took hold I felt "released" from getting it right, I could focus on how it felt. It was easier to do and far more satisfying. I never looked back. I used to write it on the top of my painting so as not to forget it, I don't have to do that now, it is ingrained in me.

Every Painting is an experiment.

 I hear myself saying this a lot at workshops to painters who are besotted by the need to create a good one.  I say it to myself from time to time when I am in a similar mind set. This artists tip reminds me that the painting is an experiment so I am going to do something I have never done before. Experiments fail sometimes but they also lead to wonderful discoveries. I have given myself permission to fail and to make new advances in my work. What a combo?!

Alan Brain Art

Gallery of original abstract paintings for sale

artists quotes

artists quotes famous and not so famous

Alex Powers whom I admire immensely said to me at a class - 

Find your passion! - When we paint something that really interests us it shows and we feel good. 

Being English I don’t talk much about passion except in hushed tones you:)  But seriously, if you think about what you really care about long long before you start painting it begins to crystalise in your mind and then on paper. And they you are flying! And better, you don't have to land!

If you think your painting is getting quirky just think of the greats like Picasso and you realise you have a long way to go.

As I moved away from realism into uncharted territory I got to thinking that my paintings were becoming whacky. I was reluctant to push on and then I heard this tip. Now I can be as whacky as I like.

Look at the work of artists who really draw you... you will probably paint with their influence.

Many great artists influenced each other, Matisse and Diebenkorn for example, it did not limit their own identity but enhanced it. We can do the same and it is easy to find the work of your favourites thanks to Google. 

Have you any tips for artists that have helped you?

Share them here for us all to learn, just add them to the comments box...

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  1. Great site. Plenty of useful info here. I am sending it to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks on your sweat!

  2. Annette E Sykes

    I think that the most useful comment my tutor made was: If it comes from within, no-one else knows whether IT is a mistake, they will accept what they see as right, if it feels right.

  3. Paint from the heart. Study painting techniques. Know your materials. Paintt what excites you and not what you think the public might buy. The market continually changes . Enjoy your creative patb. Organise your time and be disciplined. Have time slots for your business tasks and your painting . Dont forget to take time out otherwise you risk gettjng depleted.

    Happy painting!

  4. Anyway Alan great site. Well done

  5. Anne

    alan congratulations, your work is Magic, Uplifting Inspiring. It has made me feel betterI am recovering from illness, Millions of Good Wishes, and healthto go on pruducing MASTER PIECES. Anne

  6. Thank you so much for the tips.

  7. My dear late friend and tutor used to say dont worry about it not turning out “right” at the end of the day it’s only a piece of paper and a canvas can be painted over you learn from things going wrong, I always pass this on to budding artists who worry about a sky going wrong or a tree etc and when you look back on your earlier work (never throw them away) you will see how much progress you have made. Most of all just enjoy painting.

  8. Pam Hart


    On one of your courses you said, “Do not make a negative comment to anyone about their work.”

    I have applied this to all artwork I come into contact with (including my own) and have looked for something positive in every piece. It has made me observe much more carefully and, therefore, make an effort to accept what the artist is offering without harsh judgement.

    It also stops me being too hard on myself!


    Pam Hart

  9. I have two that stick with me, from different instructors:

    “When I’m painting, I try to imagine that there’s all the paint in the world right here, and it’s all FREE!” (don’t be chintzy with your paints!)

    “Don’t push the River.” (Your art life is a journey, don’t rush it… you will progress as long as you keep working and enjoy the view!)

  10. Novella

    My sentiments exactly ….I have been at this a long long time.
    Love what u do and do what u love. You need to realize no work is wrong or not good.

  11. Kathleen

    My Dad, an artist told me this…..”do you like it? then that’s all that matters”

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