When I was younger, I really thought there was a magic formula for becoming an artist, and I spent a lot time trying to crack the code that would turn me into the next Carol Williams. I bought all kinds of art supplies, read every instructional book and tutorial I could get my hands on and wasted untold hours looking at other people's studios and works in progress. Basically, I spent more time learning how to be an artist than I did actually creating art. It took me years to realize that the only way to get good at something was to do it and do it a lot.
Melanie Miller, who is one of the hobby's premier finishwork artists, had a painting demonstration table at HESTFest.
She sat near the front of the room and answered questions about painting while ticking away at her long term project Neighner.
I went over to watch her work and to introduce her to Cameron Clow, who is painting his first ever custom during this year's NaMoPaiMo.
We started talking about painting and what it takes to become good. I said that one thing I've learned from NaMoPaiMo is there are no excuses. If someone is determined enough, he or she will find a way to make things happen.
Cameron said, "So basically, I need to paint a lot."
Mel nodded and added, "Preferably every day."
For some reason, that's really stuck with me. It's one thing to say, "I will paint more" or "I will paint a lot." Those kind of pledges are open to interpretation. But, "I will paint every day." That's commitment. I'm guessing that's also why Melanie is one of the hobby's premiere finishwork artists.
My goal for this year's NaMoPaiMo is to paint every day. It probably won't turn me into Carol Williams - or Melanie Miller - but I suspect it will make me a much better Jennifer Buxton.
When I was younger, I thought there was a magic formula for becoming an artist, and I was right. If you want to be a good painter, you need to paint a lot, preferably every day. If you do that consistently for years and years, there's no limit to what you might achieve.