Number 3 on the list, "Buy quality materials", is one I can't stress enough. I talked about it some in my blog post titled "Where Do Your Paints Come From". Buying quality art materials will help you achieve better results. It’s tough enough to get a good result when you are learning to paint without giving yourself a further handicap by using inferior paints, brushes and supports. Often times new students are given art kits as gifts from well meaning grandparents or parents. These kits contain paints, brushes, supports and instructions and can cost anywhere from $15 up to $100s. Needless to say the lower priced kits (in the $15 to $30 range) often contain inferior products and are not worth the money spent on them. Inferior brands to watch out for are Reeves, Basics and Winton. The higher priced kits by Grumbacher, Winsor & Newton, Liquitex and Golden are by far the better deals even though they cost more. Buying cheap is often a false economy and is likely to set you up for frustration and disappointment. For more info on supplies check out my supply lists for oil painting and or acrylic painting.
Number 4, Do workshops or take classes with different teachers. There is no right or wrong way to paint, there are only results. With such a multitude of techniques and different ways of working no one person can show you or teach you all that’s possible. Every workshop or art class is worthwhile practice and who knows what you might learn that will be useful. You may find not all instructors or teachers are to your liking. There could be a personality conflict or the level of instruction is at a higher level then you are ready for. Either way, you will still learn something even if it isn't what you expected.
Number 5, You have an artistic license. Use it. An artistic license means you do not have to limit your options to what is before you or to what is ‘real.’ Use reference material, remember your painting is your creation. You can change the color, change the tone, emphasize, minimize, simplify, change the position of, add in or leave out any element of your painting to make it a better picture. Experimenting is a huge part of the creative process. Be open minded to all the ideas that pop into your head. If a creative idea is not working for some reason or another, put it aside for awhile and move on to something else. Maybe it will come around later or maybe it won't. The more you work at being creative, the more creative ideas will come to mind.
To finish up this post, I want to leave you with these two quotes.
"I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else."
"Just as our eyes need light in order to see, our minds need ideas in order to create."