Painting is both a discipline and a creative outlet. As you evolve, so does your art. And as in other aspects of life, you have to put your effort into painting in order to hone your skills and develop your personal artistic style. It is not like riding a bicycle, you have to do it often, and preferably once per day. (I heard that! Yes, you do have time. Turn off your video game, or stop playing with your phone for 30 minutes per day, and you will have time to paint a picture!) Yes, masterpieces take much longer, but initially, you need to learn how to paint, understand what colors work with what, and develop your personal style.
There was a movement that began not too many years ago where you painted an oil painting a day. These were small works, 8 by 6 inches or 5 by 7 inches, basically the size of a postcard. The idea was to paint a small painting per day, everyday. Now, what to paint for these pieces is generally, whatever is sitting in front of you, a coffee cup, a plant, a gum wrapper, anything. The point is to learn how your paint works, what you like, what you do not, and what like to paint, what you hate to paint. Now some people are special in the fact they can draw from their imaginations, like mermaids, fairies, dragons, etc. Excellent! Do it!
If you have a small paint box that can hold a canvas called a pochade box, you can take it to work and paint during breaks and lunch. It is a fun outlet for the stress of a day job.
Also, it doesn’t have to be oil paint. It can be anything that you like to create with. People brought knitting supplies to work! It’s something!
You know you found what you like when hours have flown by and you are still happy creating.
So many artists paint what they don’t want to in order to make a buck. Yes, I’ve fallen into that trap many times. It is detrimental to your health as well as your art because it causes stress and anxiety, both of which reduces your quality of your life and can be seen in your art.
Many artists also fall into the trap of the belief that you need art classes and colleges in order to become a great artist. Not really. Look at many of the local artists hanging up in the galleries. I’ll bet you more than half were self taught. I took a drawing class in college, the rest of my education has been through the public library system of books, and now a YouTube warrior.
Painting is a constant learning process and self discovery. You cannot put yourself through a cookie cutter art class and expect to know everything about art. Classes and colleges show you things you need to know to get started but it takes dedication.
There’s a certain rhythm that flows, creative juices if you will, that comes when one is perfectly content while painting. It feels very much like a meditation. At the end of the meditation, you feel either fully rested or extremely exhausted. Either or, you should feel satisfied with the endeavor. That’s when you know you’ve found what you are looking for. Follow that rhythm and you will have great paintings.