Use This to Learn Watercolor 2X FASTER

Sep 21, 2022

If you take a look at the best athletes in the world – the people that are at the top of their game in whatever their field might be – they all have something in common. They all take time to reflect. A professional golfer might record their golf swing. A musician might make a recording of the song that they're working on. Sports teams watch films of their games. 


But this type of reflection is frequently neglected when we are trying to improve as a painter. 

So often, we finish a painting, decide it's either good or bad, and then move on to the next one. But there are valuable lessons that we can take away from every painting we create – if we take the time to reflect on them. 


In today’s video, I teach you a simple but powerful tool I use to track my progress over time. It helps me understand what I need to work on in my painting practice and it helps me maintain a healthy perspective on my progress.


For the longest time, if the painting I just completed was successful or I got good feedback, I'd feel confident. And when I struggled or created something I wasn't happy with, I would begin to doubt myself as a painter – doubt myself as an artist. I found myself on this up and down roller coaster of positive and negative emotions. 


The reality was somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, but often that reality is hard to see. It requires reflection. 


Here is my method for promoting reflection that pushes me forward and keeps me improving:



  • Take photos of your paintings. 


Now, this is pretty natural, especially in the time of social media. But the only way for us to gain perspective in our work is for us to be able to look back on it and see where we’re hitting the mark and where we need improvement. Therefore, photos of our work can be helpful tools. 


  • Create a document for these photos. 


I insert each photo into a Google Doc, creating a log of my work. I recommend setting aside a weekly time where you add paintings to this document. 


  • Reflect on your work. 


Every Sunday night, I look back on what I've painted and make notes. Sometimes I have a lot of observations, and other times, I just put the paintings in and say it was a good week of painting. But it’s always better if I take the time to evaluate what I’ve done and make some observations. 


  • Note any patterns in your notes. 


If you’re like me, you’ll find some running themes in your reflections. This is what you want to pay attention to. Ask yourself, am I seeing any comments more than once? Do my observations suggest a certain skill I need to work on? The answers to these questions offer you something to consciously work on. 


The goal of this is to fuel optimism and develop a growth mindset. It offers you a way to target aspects of your work and to dedicate your time to improving them. It also gives you the chance to sit back and acknowledge the progress you’ve made. You can scroll through your artist’s log and see all the work that you’ve put in over these weeks, which can build morale and momentum. 


Time is the most valuable thing that we have, and I really appreciate you sharing some of yours with me. As always, if there's something that you would like me to make a video about concerning watercolor, leave that in a comment below. I'd love to hear from you. 


Keep working, keep practicing. Keep moving forward and learning, and I'll see you next time.

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