7 Mistakes Most New Painters Will Make

by | Oct 12, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

—Emily Henry is Guest Author on Nancy Reyner’s blog writing this article.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you dream of making your very first painting into a masterpiece? This is a tough goal if you are just starting off on your painting journey, and may actually stop you from continuing. Everyone needs to practice and hone their craft. As a brand new painter, there are going to be some mistakes you’re making.
Here are some of the most common mistakes painters make, and how to avoid them.

1. Not Creating Visual Attraction

Most paintings need to have a focal point that’s the main attraction of the image. If you don’t have one, the piece doesn’t have any focus and it just won’t be attention grabbing. Some paintings, like those using color field, would not benefit from a focal point, but still need to attract attention with the colors used and any edges formed between colors. The problem might be that you’re trying too hard to get everything right, rather than creating the right look and feel in the piece itself.

The way to avoid this happening is to think carefully about your focal point or main visual attraction, before you get started on a painting. You can use a viewfinder to narrow down your focus and see what the centerpiece of your art should be.

Used paintbrush with pink paint on wall.
photo credit: Kaboompics.com on pexels

2. Not Priming The Canvas

This is a common mistake that every painter has made. You’re excited to get started, and so you start trying to paint on the canvas right away. If you do this, and you are using oil paint, then you run the risk of paint soaking through and deteriorating the canvas itself. Using acrylic paint does not have this issue, but priming will help the paint stick well to the canvas. If the painting goes through any stress, such as extreme climate change or rolled up for shipping, the primer will help acrylic paintings to remain intact.

“Priming a canvas is essential to get the right look and texture that you want” says art blogger Meredith Holloway, from State Of Writing and Revieweal. “You can get primed canvases, but it pays to learn to prime your own and get the texture you want.”

Oil paint tubes and brush on wooden surface.
photo credit: Ylanite Koppens on pexels

3. Wasting Paint

Once you’re done with a painting session, what do you do with the paint? If you’re washing it away, then you’re simply wasting it. There are lots of ways to save the colors that you have, and save money and time on mixing colors.

If you paint with oils, you can simply place them in the freezer to keep them ready for your next session. If you use watercolors, you can buy palettes with lids. These allow to store the paint safely, and to get the color to right consistency again, just add water. For acrylic painters you can keep mixed colors in jars with lids.

Assorted paintbrushes in front of a blank canvas.
photo credit: pexels-pixabay

4. Not Storing Materials Properly

This is another common mistake that’s so easily avoided. If you’re storing canvases and paints in a warm area, it will damage the quality of the paints and your work. Also, dusty areas will allow dust to settle on the canvas, ruining the texture.

The best place to store your materials is in a cool dry area, away from light.

5. Relying On Pre Mixed Colors

The paint that comes out of the tube looks good, but the shades very seldom work as is for the piece you’re painting. “Imagine a landscape scene for example. Many beginners use greens right out of the tube, and the look is far too bright” says writer Will Anders, from Custom Writing and Urgent Assignments. “Instead, you need to mix colors to match nature more closely.”

Experiment with your colors to get something that’s closer to your actual subject. This will give you a much better overall look.

Woman painting on easel in garden.
photo credit: Jadson Thomas on pexels

6. Including Everything You See

If you’re painting a scene, it’s tempting to try and add in everything you see in the frame. You’re acting as a ‘human camera’, which isn’t required when painting.

Instead, remember you have the option to filter items out as needed. You don’t have to include everything, so decide on your focus and work with that. Choose only the strongest elements that work with the theme, and edit out anything that distracts from that.

Woman painting mural with focus and precision.
photo credit: Brett Sayles on pexels

7. Worrying About The End Result

It’s very hard to complete a painting when you’re worrying about what the end result will be. It’s so easy to start comparing yourself to others, and worrying about what the end result of your work will be like.

Instead, try to just enjoy the creative process. It doesn’t matter about the end result, just enjoy what you’re doing and paint. Every canvas you work on will help you hone your craft, so it doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect.

These are some of the most common mistakes you’re making as a painter. Try to correct these issues, and you’ll get a lot more out of painting both in skill and creative fulfilment.

top banner photo credit: Steve Johnson on pexels
About the Author

Opal Miyamoto blog guest author
Emily Henry is a writer, working with sites like Thesis Writing Service. She writes about painting, helping readers at Studydemic improve their craft. She also tutors students at Politics assignment help.


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Hand painting pink wall with sponge.

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Learn everything you need from your first brushstroke to the finished painting. Acquire techniques and ground breaking concepts to shape your artistic vision.


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About Nancy

Professional fine artist Nancy Reyner’s blog about art, painting and creativity. Her career spans over 30 years. She lives in Santa Fe in the US. Subscribe below for free tips on art and painting.

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