10 Reasons Not to Listen to Anyone Else

Why you shouldn’t listen to me!

I spend quite a lot of time – probably too much – reading other artists’ blogs and transcripts to their videos (I rarely listen to them talking, they take up too much precious time and I can read quicker than I can listen!)

And one thing I would like to share with you is the best piece of advice that I have ever given anyone about learning to paint:

Don’t listen to anyone else’s opinion!

Now I know I have to explain what I mean by that crazy statement. The internet is FULL TO BURSTING with other people’s opinions. You can’t spend a minute of any day without being compelled to absorb, evaluate, accept or reject someone else’s thinking process. Or, worse still, the “thoughts” of a computer in the guise of Artificial Intelligence.

Case in point: I have just read an article (well, it was a transcript actually of a video) by a fellow artist, describing her top ten mistakes made by other people in watercolor painting. I cannot agree with one single one of those mistakes! They do not correlate with my own experience, nor with what I know of other painters’ experiences.

That doesn’t mean she’s wrong, that just means she sees things differently to me. If I were to compile a list of the ten most commonly made mistakes I would start off by saying there’s no such thing as a mistake in art first of all, and then I would say that the following “actions” or “lack of actions” are likely to cause frustration in the artist.

  1. Not painting often enough. Painting daily for 10 minutes is better than weekly for an hour.
  2. Trying to paint from photographs. Very difficult to get a good result for a beginner.
  3. Trying to copy art from Pinterest etc. that unbeknownst to you is created digitally. Almost impossible to do.
  4. Using EXCLUSIVELY small brushes, small pans of paint and small pieces of paper. Small scale is meant for outdoor sketching.
  5. Using paper that is too expensive for you to be willing to throw it away. You need to be liberal with paper.
  6. Using paper that is intended for different types of art than what you do. Some good paper is too absorbent for beginners.
  7. Not believing in the need to be able to draw before you paint. Even in this modern age some kind of drawing is essential.
  8. Thinking that the more supplies you have the better your art will be. More likely, too many supplies will inhibit you.
  9. Thinking that there are rules, and that if you learn them you will become a better painter. My rule is that rules are made to be broken.

Now, there are only nine in this list, not ten, because just as I finished writing this article my computer programme crashed and deleted the final hundred words I’d written. Those of you who have ever written anything online will know what that does to your head. I cannot remember number ten. So I will leave it out. (I have now vowed to never ever write another word online! …searching for a typewriter…)

So as I say, don’t pay any attention to me! Find a teacher you can relate to, preferably in person but if that’s not possible, then choose one from YouTube. Follow their advice or better still deliberately ignore it, and do your best to follow your own lights on your art journey. You can expect setbacks along the way, but know that you are following in the footsteps of Turner and Van Gogh, and that it’s all worthwhile.

Happy painting!


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14 thoughts on “10 Reasons Not to Listen to Anyone Else”

  1. Love your top 9 rules to follow. Most of all, I love the one about not learning how to draw before you know how to paint. I was in this online class for 3 years with an (very famous) artist who never wanted us to start with a pencil. And I didn’t know how to draw. I finally got so frustrated that I stopped subscribing so that I could learn to draw first. Now my favorite thing is to paint and then add ink to it. Makes all the difference. I’m so happy I found your channel, I feel more at home here!

    1. I think it’s possible that some painters who can draw with no effort don’t think it matters – and some painters think that it’s irrelevant. But art relies on an understanding of LINE and from there you can do your expressive work. I’m glad you took the time to learn about drawing. And thanks for your support for our channel, I’m so glad you enjoy my videos xxx sending seasons greetings and love, Diane xxx

  2. Thank you for your honesty!!! I agree with another post and your comments..learning to draw helped me tremendously and your downloads along with a “bright light” were eye opening. I follow you exclusively now and through your tutorials my paintings/cards/bookmarks have improved dramatically!! I love doodles, ink adds so much to my paintings. I literally can’t thank you enough, wishing you the best of this Holiday season, AND love the long videos!!! Allows more time for learning, feel as though I’m right there in your studio!! Thank goodness I found you!! Respectfully, Jean..

    1. Hi Jean and thanks so much for your lovely message. It’s great when folk take the time to explain what it is that they find helpful in the channel, as that way I can do more of the same! We have found the longer videos to be incredibly popular and I am so glad they are your companion as you make progress in painting. I haven’t used ink much in the last few weeks but you remind me to include that in my next video! Sending best seasonal wishes and love and thanks, Diane xxx

  3. Thanks for this – it all makes a lot of sense. Sometimes I don’t draw for awhile and just paint. Then I am drawn (!) to drawing again. This blog entry inspires me to get back to drawing in my sketchbook daily. I used to document my life and it was fun as well as helping me gain better skills. I love your channel – it is the only one I follow and I love the perks we get on Patreon. Just keep doing what you do, you’re awesome!

  4. Charlie Benedick

    You’ve made me bold, and to paint with abandon. Do I like my painting at the end of the day? Sometimes and sometimes not. But as you say, we’re learning and it should be FUN! Which you have made it fun for us. I love your little dialogues when you paint. It is so relaxing to listen to you. I’m not a fan of the Christmas music in the background. LOL Keep on painting and talking to us, Diane. We love ya!

  5. Oh Diane, as a recent retiree, I just LOVE your long videos and enjoy listening to you, as your tutorials lead me to join you to try to paint beautiful art! This month, I joined your Patreon, so that I can explore all things Diane and to have more access to the resources you provide. My 55 year-old sister who was born with Down’s Syndrome, also enjoys watching and painting along with your videos. She is constantly saying, ‘WOW, how does she do that? I think I can do that!” It warms my heart to see her so happy and feeling able to create something special and unique with her capabilities. As her full-time caregiver, watercolor is our way of putting the day-to-day stuff aside, hang out together in a fun space for a while and dive into your lovely world of beauty and color! We appreciate the Christmas tutorials that will help us create hand-painted cards for family and friends! May you and the entire Diane Antone community enjoy a wonderful, bright and creative Holiday Season! Best wishes to all, Leslye

  6. Your post is totally in line with my way of thinking! At each paragraph I was saying Yes! Yes! Yes! I found you in you in youtube about one and a half years ago, and never let you go! I love the carefree way of teaching that you have, your way of thinking along the painting process and your mellow and sometimes undeciding voice, that makes the painting session so real and not studied, like so many other. I’m sure you put tons of research and work before the taping, but you come across so natural and unrehearsed that is so fresh to hear and easy to follow. I felled in love with your whimsical animals and birds, and last year and so far this one, my Christmas cards for family and closed friends, have been based in your beautiful and fun designs. Every single card is a different one/theme, according what I think the recepient would like, some Christmas designs, and some that will just make you smile!
    Thank you Diane, for just being you, with a big caring heart for all things living on this beautiful earth. I don’t usually post much, but I wanted to let you know how grateful I am to have you in my path!

  7. marielouisedavidson

    Thank you, Diane, for this amazing and helpful list of “mistakes”. So helpful and liberating! I love your channel and really appreciate all the friendly advice, encouragement, and “real-life” painting. It does feel as though all of us are in the studio with you.
    Many people have written about drawing. I deliberately taught myself to draw a bit before I started dabbling in watercolor, which I love but usually have limited success. The drawing is much more relaxing and fun than I thought it would be.
    I love your experiments, the abstracts, the animals, all of it! I also love your mark-making and doodling tutorials. I am guilty of looking at way too many YouTube channels and getting hopelessly depressed or frustrated by my efforts to follow all of them. I may follow some of your “fans” advice and just stick to your channel for a while. Many thanks!

  8. I love your Youtube tutorials as well. I particulary love that you paint sometimes random and whimsical things, because that’s what I want to paint. I’m one of those people who isn’t very good at drawing and I appreciate that you provide us with sketches, as sometimes I just long to paint without having to go through the frustration of trying to draw something first. I do sometimes sketch along with you and I am trying to improve my drawing, but I’m not there yet! I also like that you chat away while you’re working rather than play tinned music.
    I thought my (grownup) daughter and I had tried lots of hobbies, but you beat us hollow! We’ve now learnt to settle down to our absolute favourites – so that we have time to eat!
    Keep up the great vidoes!

  9. MaryAnne Pollack Home

    Just found you on You Tube and plan on following you exclusively as a beginner water colorist! I absolutely LOVE your long “join me” videos. They are like ASMR! So informative and it makes me believe I can dive in and just have fun. Thank you for your generosity!

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